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Antony Blinken: "Wagner takes advantage of the situation in Niger"

Antony Blinken: "Wagner takes advantage of the situation in Niger"
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a press conference   -  
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Boureima Hama/AP


The head of the American diplomacy Antony Blinken warned in an interview published on Tuesday that Wagner was taking advantage of the instability caused by the coup in Niger, the group of Russian mercenaries having already moved closer to neighboring Mali.

The US secretary of state tells the BBC he does not believe Wagner - who initiated a failed rebellion attempt against Moscow in June - was behind the coup that ousted the president elected Mohamed Bazoum from office.

"I think what happened, and what continues to happen in Niger, was not orchestrated by Russia or Wagner," Blinken said. "But insofar as they take advantage of it - and this is a repetition of what has happened in other countries, where they have brought only bad things in their wake - it is not a good thing,” he added.

“Wherever Wagner went: death, destruction, and exploitation followed,” he added.

In Africa, Wagner offers a catalog of services to struggling plans. In Mali, in the Central African Republic, it protects the power in place, offers military training, even legal advice to rewrite the mining code or the Constitution.

In exchange, the group practices predation and pays itself on local resources, in particular gold mines and other minerals.

"The whole of the central Sahel region could come under Russian influence via the Wagner group whose brutal terrorism has been clearly exposed in Ukraine," wrote President-elect Mohamed Bazoum in an op-ed published Thursday in the Washington Post.

From the capital Niamey, Antony Blinken 's deputy said yesterday that "the people who took this decision (of the coup) understand very well the risks to their sovereignty posed by an invitation from Wagner" .

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