Several hundred fighters from the Russian paramilitary group, Wagner, have arrived in the Central African Republic (CAR) to ensure security ahead of a July 30 constitutional referendum, according to the Officers Community for International Security (COSI). COSI, said to be a front company for the Wagner group in CAR and led by Alexander Ivanov, announced the development amid rumors about the group’s status and operations following an aborted mutiny in Russia.
- Several hundred “experienced” Wagner fighters have arrived in CAR to help soldiers and law enforcement agencies provide security in anticipation of a constitutional referendum scheduled for July 30.
- The US alleges that COSI, which announced the Wagner group’s arrival in CAR, is a front for the Wagner group in the Central African Republic and is led by Alexander Ivanov, who has been under US sanctions since January.
- According to COSI, their instructors have been training the Central African security forces for over five years and have significantly enhanced the country’s overall security.
- Earlier in July, there were claims that an unspecified number of Wagner mercenaries were leaving the Central African Republic, a claim that was strongly refuted by the government.
- The continuation of Wagner’s operations was unclear following its failed mutiny in Russia in June, but it has not ceased interventions in Syria and various African countries, and Bangui confirmed that Wagner’s activities would “continue”.