The failed Wagner Group rebellion in Russia has shown the risk posed by organizing mercenaries in African states that partner with them, the US State Department said on Monday.
"The message we've delivered to these countries, publicly and privately in the past, is that every time Wagner enters a country, death and destruction ensues," the spokesperson told reporters. of American diplomacy Matthew Miller .
“Wagner is exploiting local people, we see them extracting local wealth, committing human rights abuses ,” he added.
"What happened over the weekend reinforces the concerns we have expressed about the instability the Wagner Group brings with it when it enters conflict ," Miller continued.
The Russian paramilitary group is increasingly active in Africa , particularly in Mali where the military junta employs these mercenaries and has sided diplomatically with Russia since the deterioration of its relations with France , a former colonial power.
The UN in early May accused the Malian army and "foreign" fighters of executing at least 500 people in March 2022 during an anti-jihadist operation in Moura . Westerners, including the Americans, assure that these foreign fighters are members of Wagner .
The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, however announced on Monday that Wagner's men would continue to operate in Mali and the Central African Republic "as instructors".
Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin led a brief armed mutiny between Friday night and Saturday night that rocked Russia.
For 24 hours, Mr. Prigozhin's forces seized several military sites in the strategic city of Rostov (southwest) and traveled hundreds of kilometers towards Moscow before the leader of Wagner ended his rebellion in exchange for immunity promised by the Kremlin for him and his men.