Wagner revolt in Russia dims outlook for its operations in Africa

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A revolt by the Wagner force in Russia poses a diplomatic quandary for Mali and Central African Republic (CAR), where forces from the mercenary group have played an increasingly central role in long-running internal conflicts.

As the Wagner fighters barrelled towards Moscow on Saturday after seizing a southern city overnight, spokespeople for the governments of Mali and CAR declined to comment on the turmoil and how it might affect their security strategies against armed groups.

Kremlin … naturally Mali will suffer the consequences on the security front,” said Malian political analyst Bassirou Doumbia.

Mali, where military authorities seized power in coups in 2020 and 2021, is battling a years-long operation against armed groups affiliated with ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. It has said Russian forces there are not Wagner mercenaries but trainers helping local troops with equipment bought from Russia.

But the alliance has soured relations with the United Nations and alienated Western powers, who have said the fighters are Wagner forces and have alleged that they have committed possible war crimes alongside Malian soldiers