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Private American military company in discussions with the Central African Republic

Private American military company in discussions with the Central African Republic
President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadera on his arrival at the ....   -  
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Staniclav Krasilnikov/TASS Host Photo Agency

Central African Republic

The American private military company Bancroft Global Development is in discussions with the Central African Republic, it told AFP, while the Russian mercenary group Wagner, established in the country in 2018, is in the process of reorganization.

Responding to a question from AFP, Bancroft's communications service denied having deployed to Bangui but admitted contacts with the regime of President Faustin Archange Touadéra.

"Starting in July, Bancroft agreed to a framework to discuss possible future activities with the government of the Central African Republic. That's it," the group said in an email.

On December 23, Radio Ndeke Luka broadcast a recording in which the presidential spokesperson, Albert Yaloké Mokpème, explained that the Central African Republic (CAR) was carrying out "work to diversify its relations" in terms of security.

“As part of the reconstruction of the national army (...), we called on partners including the Russian Federation, Angola, Morocco, Guinea (...) who are helping us to train our soldiers,” he added. “The United States is also offering to the Central African Republic to train its soldiers, both on Central African soil and on American soil. ”

Asked Tuesday by AFP about the already effective presence of Bancroft, Mr. Mokpème did not confirm it. “The training of our army remains our priority,” he said. But “the substance of the matter, I am not in a position to talk about it”.

Hundreds of mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner arrived in the Central African Republic in 2018, officially to train the army, according to Moscow. At the end of 2020, the system was reinforced to curb a rebel offensive on Bangui.

The rise of Russian power in the CAR was accompanied by the disgrace of France , a former colonial power, against a backdrop of growing anti-French sentiment. Wagner has established itself as one of the government's main security partners and the last French soldiers left the country in December 2022.

The sulphurous Russian group, however, has today entered a phase of recomposition since its aborted mutiny in Russia in June and the death of its founder Evgeni Prigojine in August.

According to the French daily Le Monde , Washington offered the CAR a security agreement at the end of 2022 for President Touadéra in exchange for distancing itself from Wagner. Neither Washington nor Bangui have confirmed.

In his communication with AFP, Bancroft for his part dissociated himself from the American authorities. "There are articles that confuse Bancroft and the policies of the United States government in CAR. They are (...) erroneous. "

On its website, the group specifies that "the largest contributor to Bancroft's activities is the US Department of State".

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