Wagner Group slaughtered tens of civilians on CAR diamond and gold mining sites

Once more, Russia-linked mercenary group Wagner killed ten people, among which 3 women. The massacre took place in Gordill, in the North East of the Central African Republic, during the night of March 13 to 14. Tens of civilians are now scattered into the bush. Inhabitants of the neighbouring village Manou had to escape too.

Wagner exploits important gold reserve in the country to the detriment of the civilian population. Wagners’ predatory behaviour has become recurrent, and increasingly violent near mining sites. A bit earlier, on March 12, Wagner mercenaries had led another attack against a diamond mining site next to Markounda, a sub-prefecture of Ouham, which borders with Chad in the North-western CAR. Five miners, Abdoulaye Sakine, Nouradine Ali, Adalmahamout Babakar, Aradi Haou and Moussa Ibriss were killed in this assault.

For months, Wagner’s violent procedures have included mass summary execution and torture, and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. This was also the case in Aïgbado (a gold mining site) on January 16 and 17, 2022 where at least 65 civilians were massacred by the Russian mercenaries.

Devastation caused by Wagner around the mining sites they exploit has obviously become a pattern. As previously pointed out by United Nations experts, Russian influence in CAR involves at least two closely linked organisations behind which Wagner is legally hiding. Both are property of Evgeny Prigozhin and have in common their predatory tendances: Lobaye Invest and Sewa security. Lobaye Invest has extracted gold and diamonds since 2017. Sewa Security is in charge of the President’s security.

The seizure of power by Russians in CAR builds on multiple routes (violence, resource extraction, political pressure) and is part of a global strategy in Africa. Unfortunately, this predatory behaviour is currently spreading to Mali where unarmed civilians are already becoming new targets. Other sub-Saharan countries could follow, for instance Burkina Faso, where the political situation presents striking resemblances with Mali.

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