Several hundred "experienced" Wagner fighters have arrived in the Central African Republic to "ensure security" ahead of the July 30 referendum, a group linked to the Russian paramilitary group said on Sunday.
"Another aircraft has arrived in Bangui with instructors to work in the Central African Republic. The scheduled rotation continues. Several hundred experienced professionals from the Wagner company are joining the team working in the CAR," the Officers Community said on Telegram for international security (COSI).
"Russian instructors will continue to help soldiers from the Central African armed forces and CAR law enforcement agencies provide security, in anticipation of the constitutional referendum scheduled for July 30," the statement said.
Along with this release, COSI released a photo showing at least 30 people masked in military fatigues, standing in line on what appears to be an airport runway. According to the United States, COSI is a front company for the Wagner group in the Central African Republic. It is led by a Russian, Alexander Ivanov, under US sanctions since January.
In its press release published on Sunday, the COSI assures that its instructors have been training for "more than five years" the Central African security forces and have thus made it possible "to strengthen the country's general level of security".
At the beginning of July, several foreign sources had claimed that an unknown number of Wagner mercenaries were leaving the Central African Republic, information firmly denied by the government.
The status of the private paramilitary company and the continuation of its operations have been uncertain since its aborted mutiny in Russia on June 23-24.
But its interventions abroad, particularly in Syria and several African countries ( Sudan , Central African Republic, Mali ) have not been publicly questioned. As soon as the end of the mutiny was announced, Bangui affirmed that Wagner's activities would "continue" .