Report sheds light on Wagner Group crimes in Africa

Sahel

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data ProjectĀ (ACLED) issued aĀ new reportĀ Aug. 30 on the Wagner Group’s activities in the Central African Republic and Mali, and it makes for chilling reading. The Russian mercenary group has targeted civilians in more than half of its operations in CAR (where it began operating in 2018) and over 70% in Mali (where it arrived last year). Its CAR deployment was initially limited to training the national armed forces, but it took on a direct combat role in late 2020 as rebels threatened the capital. It won praise for helping the state capture major towns, but abuses have now angered large parts of the civilian population. In jihadist-hit Mali, the mercenaries have also been involved in a number of high-profile abusesā€”mostly notably in the central town of Moura, where hundredsĀ of non-combatants were massacred earlier this year.

Wagner has engaged in dozens of countries in recent years (and has stepped out of the shadows in Ukraine), yet its operations remain hard to scrutinize, and the Kremlin denies formal ties. Though Western nations have rightly called out Wagner crimes, critics charge thatĀ they rarely reflect on how their own policy failings (and abuses) have bolstered Russian influence.

From The New Humanitarian, Sept. 4.

See our last report on the Wagner Group.

Map: Wikivoyage

  1. Mali investigates alleged killings of civilians

    Mali’s military announced Oct. 8 that it has opened an investigation into the alleged killing of 53 villagers, while at the same time denouncing “disinformation.” The announcement follows media reports in September of abuses by Malian troops and Wagner Group mercenaries. The alleged killings took place in Nia-Ouro village, near Gouni-Habe, in the central Mopti region. (AFP)

  2. UN experts warn of crimes against humanity in Maliā€‹

    In a press release Jan. 31, UN experts called for an investigation into potential crimes against humanity committed in Mali by both government forces and the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group. (Jurist)

  3. Mali military op responsible for deaths of 500: UN report

    Malian forces backed by foreign military personnel are believed to have killed at least 500 people over several days in a village in March 22, a UN report finds. The announcement comes just months after Mali expelled the UN peacekeeping mission from its borders.

    The figures announced in the May 12 report came from a fact-finding mission carried out by the UN Human Rights Office. It found that the majority of those killed were summarily executed. These deaths occurred over a five-day period, during what has been labeled as Operation Moura. (Jurist)