Wagner`s mercenaries fleeing Africa with their loots
By Adeola Musa
Faced with the uncertainty of their future, after the recent demise of their late leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, several foot soldiers of the Russian mercenary group- Wagner, have been fleeing Africa, back to Russia.
The unfolding development is said to be connected to what is believed to be the recent formal absorption of the group into the Russian`s Defense Ministry which seems to suggest the end of the Prigozhin era for the soldiers.
According to ‘Kommersant’, a Russian Daily Newspaper, the absorption of the mercenaries of the group into the Russian Defense Ministry, was ordered by Vladimir Putin, Russia`s President, after his recent meeting with Yunus-bek, deputy defense minister, and Andrey Troshevro, the new leader he appointed for the group.
Abandoned by their leaders and threatened by the Russian state as traitors, several of the Wagner mercenaries were said to have boarded their first flight from Bamako back home, last week, while, others were also seen trying to secure available seats in the subsequent flights, in the week, a development that is leaving the military juntas in the West African countries, that are currently depending on the group in a state of confusion.
Accused of treason by Russia, most of the mercenaries are said to be preparing for a long period of inactivity, after they were woken up in the morning hours of Thursday, August 24, to the tragic demise of their top leaders.
The death of Prigozhin and his lieutenants which is being speculated in some quarters to have been engineered by Russia`s security service has created tremendous fear in persons, and regimes that worked with Wagner, and supported Prigozhin when he was alive.
The Russian government, still outraged by the attempted coup by the Prigozhin-led Wagner against Moscow, is believed has sustained a massive campaign geared at eliminating all traces of the June 2023 rebellion.
Believing that he has been betrayed, Experts are of the view that Putin has not forgiven any of the mercenaries that is believed to be loyal to Prigozhin and would stop at nothing until all danger to him has been eliminated.
Those who died alongside Prigozhin, on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, in the explosion of his private jet, was Dmitry Utkin, first founder of the Wagner and admirer of Hitler, and his body was said to have been covered with tattoos of the Nazi symbols.
The death of Utkin, 18 months after launching a war in Ukraine, is suggesting that the real Nazi that Putin said he is out to eliminate was actually within his own camp.
Since the demise of Prigozhin, the group has been in a state of disorder, misunderstanding, and uncertainty are said to have characterized its rank, and left to their own devices, the mercenaries have step up the act of looting and human right abuses in the countries where they are deployed in Africa.
Recently, several villages in Mali, particularly in Timbuktu, where the mercenaries are active have been looted, an indication that the ongoing systematic looting of African natural resources, gold, and diamonds adopted by the group still persists.
Tons of crude gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars are believed to have been stolen by Wagner from mines in the Central African Republic and Sudan, as fighting continues in the two -war-torn countries, and monies that subsequently derived from the stolen resources have been confirmed to be disappearing into the pockets of foreign armed men courtesy of the military juntas that engaged them, at a time when the countries they took over are finding it extremely difficult to pay their civil servants properly.
Just as the fleeing mercenaries is generating concerns among military rulers engaging them, available information is suggesting a link between the Wagner Group and the pro-junta rally that was staged in Niamey, after the overthrown of President Bazoum.
The Wagner Group was said to have invested more than 3,000,000 naira to pay protesters who raised Russian flags, as well as the pro-Wagner banners and posters, with portraits of Yevgeny Prigozhin and Vladimir Putin side-by-side on August 6th.
The protesters were also said to have been paid by Wagner to instigate violence against foreign embassies and military bases, of countries believed to be opposed to military coup that took place in the country.
Musa, a public analyst writes from Kano