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Russian Military Plane Lands in Central African Republic, Arising Speculation

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Friday marked the arrival of a Russian delegation in the Central African Republic (CAR) following their visit to Burkina Faso on Thursday. The delegation was transported by a military aircraft according to flight tracking data and witnessed by a Reuters reporter on site.

The arrival has raised concerns among several Western nations regarding the escalating Russian presence across Africa. In recent years, there has been a shift in African alliances, with the new military leaders of Burkina Faso and Mali shifting away from their historical alignment with former colonial power, France. This transition has resulted in increased turmoil in these regions.

This heightened Russian involvement is believed to be spearheaded by the private military contractor Wagner Group, which has been active in CAR since 2018. The group, known for their mercenary activities, has advocated for President Faustin Archange Touadera in opposing rebel factions and expanding Russian influence in the mineral-plentiful state. Additionally, the Wagner Group possesses several concessions in CAR, including a gold mine.

The future of Wagner Group's role within CAR and Africa as a whole remains uncertain with the untimely loss of their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a plane crash. Following his death, security analysts anticipate a greater involvement and oversight from the Russian state.

The Russian delegation's exact purpose for their visit has yet to be clarified by authorities. Both CAR's government and Russia's defence ministry have not issued any comments regarding the event. Nevertheless, the Burkinabe presidency disclosed previously that interim President Ibrahim Traore had met a Russian delegation led by deputy defence minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov. Their discussions were centred around potential military cooperation.

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