Published On: Sat, Jul 29th, 2023

Wagner chief Prigozhin reveals future plans in chilling new interview | World | News

Wagner Group warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin dismissed claims his mercenaries are leaving the African continent.

In a telephone interview with French-speaking Afrique Média, a man believed to be Mr Prigozhin stated: “We aren’t reducing [our presence in the continent].”

After thanking the newsreader for going directly to the source to seek information, he told the Cameroon-based news outlet that Wagner is “ready to increase our various contingents” and will continue to fulfil all its obligations in Africa.

The warlord added his paramilitary group was ready to develop and deepen relations with African nations.

The telephone interview was shared on the news outlet’s YouTube channel on Thursday.

In early July, reports claimed Wagner soldiers had been leaving the CAR, one of the nations where they are most active.

But the claims were denied by Fidèle Gouandjika, a special minister and adviser to the nation’s president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

In the first video in which Mr Prigozhin appeared since his attempted coup against the Russian military leadership, the warlord could be heard telling some of his men camped in Belarus about future missions in Africa.

After congratulating to the mercenaries for their efforts in Ukraine, Mr Prigozhin said they will “stay here in Belarus for a certain time”, where Wagner should help the local army become ‘the second-best in the world’.

Later on, he said, Wagner would go “on a new path to Africa”.

Earlier this week, Mr Prigozhin was photographed in St Petersburg where a Russia-Africa summit was being led by Vladimir Putin.

There, he confirmed some of his men had reached the CAR ahead of a constitutional referendum taking place on Sunday (July 23), which could allow President Touadéra to extend his term.

Wagner has been operating in Africa since 2018, and its soldiers have been accused of committing brutal abuse in parts of the continent.

Mr Prigozhin recently denied allegations of atrocities, saying all the activities undertaken by Wagner in Africa have been lawful and served to benefit both the countries hosting his men and their relations with Russia.

Among their operations, Wagner soldiers supported five years ago the president of the CAR in his fight against rebel groups.

They have since remained present in the country, and in mid-July some soldiers were seen taking part in a military medal ceremony.

Pictures taken at the event in the city of Bombari showed Wagner troops being pinned with the nation’s highest military honour, the Cross for Military Valour.

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