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Concerned Cameroonian pro-democracy activists met at three venues in the world earlier this week, to launch a global initiative meant to advocate for international intervention to halt ongoing human rights violations in the country.

The activists thronged venues in Johannesburg (South Africa), Geneva (Switzerland) and New York (USA) to launch the Global Initiative, a multi-pronged approach meant to pressure President Paul Biya’s administration to end the military brutality.

International human rights watchdogs that include Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have over the past few weeks published harrowing details of events in which the Cameroonian military fired indiscriminately at civilians. Many have reportedly been killed, while more than 200,000 are said to have been displaced during the last few months, during clashes between Biya’s government and members of the English-speaking part of the country, who are fighting for the separate state of Ambazonia.

The United States government said earlier this week it was scaling back on its security assistance with Biya’s government, emphasizing the need to for the ruling elite to show greater transparency in investigating credible allegations of gross violations of human rights by the security forces, particularly in the Northwest, Southwest, and Far North Regions.

Last summer, Amnesty International released an analysis of two videos that appeared to show Cameroonian security forces executing unarmed people, including children, in the country’s far northern region.

Patrick Ayuk, Director of Sam Soya Center for Democracy and Human Rights (SSCDHR), told Southern Express News Friday that the press conferences, held Thursday, marked  the  launch of  the Global Initiative by faith leaders and non-governmental organisations and peace and human rights groups.

“The press conferences were held to call on the UN Human Rights Council to immediately send a high-level fact-finding delegation to stop the ongoing military brutality and other forms of violence in Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia),” said Mr Ayuk.

“The Johannesburg conference took place at Christ the King Cathedral in Berea. The coalition remains a non-partisan force focusing on an immediate end to violence and ultimately lead to a peaceful exercise of self-determination of Human Rights, consistent with international declaration of human rights.”

He said the coalition would be submitting a petition during the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that will be held in Geneva on February 25.

Author: Mxolisi Ncube

Source: southernexpress.co.za

The United States will withhold military assistance to Cameroon over allegations of gross human rights violations by its security forces in the northwest, southwest and far north regions, a state department official said on Wednesday.

According to the official, the US had terminated a C-130 aircraft training program, and halted deliveries of four defender boats, nine armored vehicles and an upgrade of a Cessna aircraft for Cameroon’s rapid intervention battalion.

Furthermore, the United States had withdrawn its offer for Cameroon to be part of the State Partnership Program, a military cooperation program, the official said.

We do not take these measures lightly, but we will not shirk from reducing assistance further if evolving conditions require it.

“We do not take these measures lightly, but we will not shirk from reducing assistance further if evolving conditions require it,” the official said. “For the time being, other programs will continue.”

Cameroon has cooperated closely with the United States in the fight against Islamist militant group Boko Haram in West and central Africa. But rights groups have accused authorities of using the fight against Boko Haram to crack down on political opponents, and make arbitrary arrests and torture people.

Cameroon’s ongoing political crisis

Authorities arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto in January, accusing him of mobilizing dissent against President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country since 1982.

Biya has been accused by the opposition and rights groups of cracking down in the Anglophone Southwest region to root out armed separatists trying to end his grip on power.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon during Boko Haram’s campaign to carve out an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.

“We emphasize that it is in Cameroon’s interest to show greater transparency in investigating credible allegations of gross violations of human rights security forces,” the State Department official said.

Source: africanews

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The corpses of at least nine young men were discovered in Mamfe, Manyu Division of the South West region on Monday morning, sources have confirmed.

Local sources said at least four corpses were discovered at Okoyong, three at Besongabang and one at Banya quarter while another around a primary school.  Gruesome images which we got showed young men in their mid twenties lying in their own pool of blood.

Circumstances surrounding their demise are still not clear but locals say sporadic gunshots were heard last night in Mamfe while others talk of a military raid in the area.

Gunshots were equally heard in Mamfe early this morning as several residents preferred to remain indoors for their sfaety.

Last week, a boy in his twenties succumbed to a stray bullet during an exchange of fire between security forces and Ambazonia restoration fighters in Mamfe.

Source: journalducameroun.com

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Kumbo Town is the second largest town in the North West Region of Cameroon, one of the restive English-speaking regions clamouring for autonomy. In recent times it has become an epicentre in the on-going conflict between Cameroon military forces and restorationist forces of the putative Republic of Ambazonia, often known as the Amba Boys. An unprecedented wave of violence has taken the town captive and is rooted in the New Year’s message of President Paul Biya as he approaches his 86th birthday, to use crude military force to quell the uprising if the terrorist/rebels do not lay down their arms.

In the early hours of January 1st, at 00.05am, to show allegiance to Biya (now in power for over 26 years), there was a deafening and frightful salvo of gunshots in all military facilities in the town causing the inhabitants flee to safety. The war had started.

The Score Board
In this month of January 2019 areas of the town such as Mbev, Ndzenji, Squares, SAC Junction, Mantum, Ber, and Meluf have been deprived of the right to own and live in decent houses. The conflagration of military fire has reduced many houses to ashes and forced many people to flee to unknown destinations, paving the way for mass looting from the forces of lawlessness and disorder. Many doors of houses are standing ajar after their crude acts. Soldiers come in waves and depart with looted material, especially Android appliances and food items. This probably is a well orchestrated and planned tool and strategy in this war of attrition. Target killings, extra-judicial execution, disappearances and abductions have become the hallmark of their presence.

In Mbve on January 18th, a pregnant nurse on her way to resume work at Shisong General Hospital was mercilessly gunned down by soldier from a rooftop.Two days later an early dawn raid was effected by the military within the premises of Shisong Hospital causing double trauma for the hospital patients as well as the Cardiac Unit. A young Internally Displaced boy of 17 who had never witnessed heavy military presence ran into the house where he was hosted for safety, but was unfortunately pulled out and riddled with bullets beyond recognition. Shisong, which hosted many IDPs, is experiencing a re-displacement, making a bad case worse. There is almost daily military presence and shooting around the hospital in the night and the IDPs plus their hosts have all flocked into the wards. No one can be certain of what is to come. There is an atmosphere of foreboding.

Everyone seems resigned to their fate. The military units making their entry from the West Region into Kumbo are leaving behind a trail of destruction of houses beyond imagination. Food stuff for people’s consumption is set ablaze. This is scorched earth policy. The civilians must pay the price.
January 21st a young bike rider at Squares-Kumbo round-about, who had just dropped off a passenger, ran into a military convoy returning from Shisong and was pulled off his bike and slaughtered with impunity. In Tankum Quarter, the story was no different; two young boys in their teens had their throats slit open by the military on allegations of being Amba affiliates. Minutes later military canisters were directed to another quarter, Kongir, setting a house ablaze, killing a two year old child therein, and wounding the sister and mother, who were lying in bed. Also, women have been raped with impunity. Goats and chickens have equally paid a price with their lives for roaming freely in town. They are shot and packed into military vans possibly for consumption. Beer parlours with stocks of beer that have been locked are invaded by these unfriendly visitors who consume the stock to excess and then shatter the remains into bits and pieces, thereby ruining the business of a proprietor.

Kumbo Town which used to be bustling with activity has become a dead town, a ghost town, a town abandoned to fate. About seven out of every ten houses have been abandoned. Frequent electricity black-outs or cuts are alarming. The cost of petrol and diesel has risen to absurd heights. The prices of basic foodstuffs have risen considerably. Getting water for use and consumption has become a Herculean task. Many people die in homes because they cannot afford the means to reach hospital. Many pregnant women have escaped into the bushes and far off villages for safety, disregarding anti-natal checks and clinics.

Commercial activities are at a standstill, with a gross shortage of basic commodities – even those that are available are sold at unbearable prices. Educational facilities are completely shut down and unemployment has soared. Dead IDPs are buried in the absence of relations by people of good will. Houses along the main road in the town are branded with bullet holes. Civilian farms within the precincts of military facilities have been torched and destroyed in order to create a buffer zone. Fugitives and IDPs moving into other regions are not free from harassment and death-threats. In Douala, IDPs are forced to pay a tax before being accommodated. Some are demeaned through innuendo and ethnic slurs. Many people wearing clothing of certain colours have become targets for the military. Wearers of black, the classic icon of tough guys, and red the emblematic insignia of Amba Boys, have become targets for elimination by the military. Bike Riders have not been spared from this fate.

On the other hand, Amba Boys that shoot for restoration forces, though defending and fighting for the marginalised, have equally left their own mark. Government sympathisers and those critical of them are whisked-off to unknown destinations where they are tortured beyond recognition and released only when a ransom is paid. They have frequently interrupted the little attempted commercial activity with death threats. Any Amba critic or sell-out receives the crown of brutality from the Amba Fist of Fury. Transit fees/fares demanded by Amba affiliates are heartbreaking. Moving from one Administrative Division to another is a nightmare with numerous check-points for both Amba and military forces. Having identity papers with a Cameroon Government Logo is nauseating and acrimonious to Amba Boys and a lack of them at Cameroon Government checkpoints is an occasion for arrest, torture, incarceration and death. This is the predicament of the inhabitants of Kumbo.

Reflection: “Actions that are designed for the methodical extermination of an entire people, nation or ethnic minority are always to be condemned as horrendous crimes” (Gaudium et Spes 79). “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation” (Gaudium et Spes 80). The obligation of preventing war lies on all nations. A world organisation that has Supreme legitimacy and authority seem to be the most apt means of preventing war and promoting peace.

Conclusion: Pride which is the spurious feeling of superiority leads to errors of judgment with the consequences of disgrace, destruction, opposition, and downfall. There is the need for upgrading the call to the international community to intervene and force the warring parties to the bargaining table in an inclusive dialogue; for the pen is mightier than the sword. If the present trend of events continues unabated, there will surely be a replay of the Rwandan episode, plunging the entire Central African Sub-region into a morass. A stitch in time saves nine! For now, “as wanton boys are to the flies so are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport.”
Source: Independent Catholic News.

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Lawyers of the detained leaders of the Ambazonia have urged the Yaounde military tribunal to return the accused to Nigeria where they were arrested over a year ago for their nationalities to be established.

They made their submission on Thursday January 10 as the case against the ten detained Ambazonia re-opened at the Yaounde military tribunal.

The detainees had rejectted their Cameroonian nationality in the previous hearing and did same on Wednesday insisting they were refugees of the former British Southern Cameroons on exile in Nigeria at the time of their arrest and extradition to Nigeria. The case wase adjourned for the 7

Barrister Patrick Yong said the military tribunal is not competent to try the accused given that questions have been raised over their nationality.

Given that their nationality is a subject of debate, only a civil court can establish it according to section 41(1) of the 1968 nationality codde. The residences of the accused have been mentioned by the judge and going by the Section 41(2) of the 1968 nationality code, « any such action shall be brought before the court of the domicile or failing that the residence of the person whose nationality is disputed, according to the rules of procedure in force, and the raising of Cameroon of foreign of procedure in force, and the raising of Cameroon of foreign nationality as a defence before any other court suspends further proceedings until decided in the ordinary civil court ».

He thus urged the court to order for the detainees to be flown back to Nigeria where their nationalites can be determined.

However, the Prosecutor Colonel Engono Thadée Consatant raised an objection saying most of the accused have worked for the Cameroon Public Service for years and can not today deny their Cameroonian nationality. He cited various means where loss of nationality can be applied but said the Ambazonia leaders do not fall under that category. Quoting Section 31(a) of the 1968 nationality code( Any Cameroon adult national who wilfully acquires or keeps a foreign nationality), he said the Ambazonia leaders still maintain their Cameroonian nationality. He defended the decision to extradite the Ambazonia leaders to Cameroon claiming they pose a heavy security threat to Nigeria thus they can also not be returned.

Source: journalducameroun

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Anglophone activists in Cameroon and the diaspora have accused Cameroonian government-backed security forces of burning dead bodies of secessionist fighters a day after the bodies were piled in a spot in Bali the North West region of Cameroon.

Mark Bareta a leading figure in the Anglophone struggle said, ‘La Republique (The Cameroon Government backed) military set corpses of 30 Young men Ablaze! Untold darkness, lamentation and melancholy unravel Bali in the Northern zone of Southern Cameroons’, he continues by lamenting ‘Oh Lord we can’t live with these people’.

Another staunch activist for the protection of Anglophone rights in Cameroon, Jude Mortimer Kehla posted two pictures of the harrowing incident on his Facebook page and cried to one Facebook user the pictures are of ‘Young men burnt in Bali (in the Northwest region of Cameroon)’, telling another, ‘Children reduced to so much charred meat’.  National Times could not post the pictures because they are too graphic.

National Times can confirm that the 17 dead bodies were of secessionist fighters killed in Bali. However, we could not independently verify the authenticity of the claims that the youths were killed by Cameroonian government-backed forces neither could we confirm that they were burnt by government-backed forces.

More than 1000 youths have died in the conflict between government-backed security forces and secessionist groups in Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions. While most of the casualties have been recorded by secessionist fighters, dozens of government-backed security agents have also been killed in the killings. Fighting between different secessionist groups have also led to the death of dozens of others.

This is the second instance where corpses of death secessionist fighters have been burnt instead of been buried. It is unknown why the perpetrators of this heinous practice decide to burn the corpses rather than burying them or returning the dead bodies to their various communities.

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Source: natimesnews.com

A priest serving in Cameroon has been killed by military gunfire, amid a military and political conflict that has rocked the country in recent years.

Fr. Cosmas Ombato Ondari was reportedly killed Nov. 21 in Mamfe, a city in the country’s southwest, CNA has learned. Onari, a member of the Mill Hill Missionaries, had been serving in the country since March 2017, when he was ordained a priest.

Ondari is the second priest killed in recent months in the country. Fr. Alexander Sob Nougi was killed July 20 in the same province where Onari was shot. Nougi was shot at close range, in an attack that Church officials said was a targeted assassination.

In October, a 19-year-old seminarian was killed in a neighboring province, the epicenter of the country’s military conflict.

Earlier this month, a group of religious sisters was kidnapped by guerillas in the country’s northwest and released the next day.

Since 2017, guerillas in Cameroon have been fighting for the separation of the country’s English-speaking regions from its French-speaking territory. The fighters declared in October 2017 the independence of a new nation they have named ‘Ambazonia.’

The nearly three-year conflict has led to several hundred deaths on both sides, and sent 300,000 refugees to Nigeria. There are more than 80,000 internally displaced persons in Cameroon.

The separatist fighters are known to dig up trenches on the main road leading from Bamenda, the capital city of the Northwest Region, to many other villages and towns surrounding it, mainly in a bid to prevent military transport and soldiers from reaching their hideouts.

On May 30, 2017, Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Bala of Bafia, Cameroon disappeared from his residence. His body was recovered in a river two days later, although an autopsy determined he had not drowned.

Cameroon’s bishops’ conference maintains the bishop was murdered and accuses the government of failing to investigate the crime. His death is not believed to be related to the country’s military conflict.

Source: catholicnewsagency

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A senior Cameroon military officer has revealed that the Ambazonian Restoration Forces are not losing in the Southern Cameroons war and that the Unity Palace needs a new occupant to bring peace to the divided nation. Speaking on Monday to our undercover reporter in Yaoundé, the military baron who hails from the Far North region and whose name we are withholding noted that relatively speaking nothing changed ever since troops were deployed to crush the Anglophone uprising.

Citing former French President Jacques Chirac, the top military officer said “No one ever wins a war and I can sincerely tell you that there is no military solution to the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon.”

The Head of State should engage the leadership of the Anglophones in the Diaspora and convince them that it was time to come to the negotiation table,” he added. Without going into some military details, the French Cameroun soldier further pointed out that Biya is currently making the path to reconcile the nation rockier. “I believe and fervently too that the key to solving the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon is to bring in the United States government to incentivize the Ambazonian Interim government to negotiate.” He said.

The Francophone army commander said the Abuja action against the Anglophone leadership was a costly mistake and a diplomatic blunder that has made reconciliation between Francophones and Anglophones too far-fetched. He claimed that a majority of Francophone political elites sees no military solution to the Anglophone crisis.

Cameroon Intelligence Report gathered that Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo has placed a ban on media houses shedding fresh light on Cameroon military’s failure to contain the Ambazonian Liberation Forces and stabilize the territory. There are fears that with presidential elections just three months away in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, separatist fighters may gain strength as the Biya regime   in Yaounde struggles to monitor not only Southern Cameroonians but also the Bamilekes who are reportedly behind Prof Maurice Kamto.

We understand that the Southern Cameroons Interim Government decreed a county-by-county policing of the Ambazonian territory and this has cemented the position of fighters under the Ambazonia Security Council (ASC) who are now taking control over larger chunks of the rural areas while the Biya government had seen its control shrink. The Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) has failed to secure Southern Cameroons and have also suffered a high number of casualties in their battle against the Ambazonia Restoration Forces.

Author: Asu Vera Eyere and Sama Ernest

Source: cameroonintelligencereport

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13-year-old Ching Randy was seeking refuge in the bush in Bafia around Muyuka in Fako Division of Cameroon’s South West Region when he was shot by soldiers.
« The boy could barely survive because he was shot with live bullets in the head » a source revealed to Mimi Mefo info.

His family immediately laid him to rest in the bushes yesterday Wednesday, October 17, 2018, for fear of being targeted by soldiers who are in the area for surveillance.

Ching Randy was a student of Government Bilingual High School GBHS Muyuka.

The education of many youths in Muyuka and the entire North West and South West Regions of Cameroon have been interrupted since the anglophone crisis escalated in 2016.
Muyuka is now a no-go-area as the military continues to battle with pro-independence fighters.
The town, like neighboring Ekona has remained deserted for months now.

Author: Mimi Mefo

Source: mimimefoinfos

When Central African Republic (CAR) pleaded for help last year to fight marauding militias, former colonial ruler France offered guns it had seized off Somalia. But Russia objected and donated its own weapons instead.

By early February, Russia had sent nine planes with weapons along with dozens of contractors to train local soldiers and secure mining projects, marking the start of its highest-profile military foray in sub-Saharan Africa for decades.

Muscling in on a country dominated by France for years served as a statement of intent about Moscow’s renewed push for global prestige and influence, and is part of a wider campaign shaking up long-standing power dynamics on the continent.

Since Western nations sanctioned Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014, Moscow has signed 19 military cooperation deals in sub-Saharan Africa, including with Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, according to its foreign and defense ministries and state media.

The continent’s 54 member states at the United Nations – three of which sit on the Security Council at any given time –  form the organization’s largest voting bloc and one of its most coherent, making them attractive allies for Russia.

“The West is not very much loved by many countries. And many (see) Russia as the country that will oppose the West,” said Dmitri Bondarenko, an anthropologist and historian at Russia’s Institute for African Studies.

Besides sending arms and contractors to CAR, Russian national Valery Zakharov is a security adviser to President Faustin-Archange Touadera and Russia’s defense ministry said last week it planned to establish a five-person team at CAR’s defense ministry.

Russia’s moves come at a time when the defense ministry’s influence over Kremlin foreign policy is growing against a backdrop of heightened tension with the West.

SEIZED WEAPONS

When CAR made its plea in 2017, there was recognition that a spike in ethnic fighting could turn into a far larger conflict and that its security forces were too weak to tackle myriad armed groups.

CAR has been under a U.N. arms embargo since 2013 so weapons shipments must be approved by the U.N. Security Council’s CAR sanctions committee, made up of the Council’s 15 members, including France and Russia. It operates by consensus.

France first offered to help CAR buy old weapons but the proposal was too expensive. France then offered 1,400 AK47 assault rifles it had seized off Somalia in 2016, according to a Security Council memo and four diplomats.

Russia objected on the grounds that weapons seized for breaching the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia could not be recycled for use in another country under embargo, two diplomats said.

But mindful of the need for a quick solution, the sanctions committee approved Moscow’s donation of AK47s, sniper rifles, machineguns and grenade launchers in December, according to committee documents and diplomats.

“We presented our problem and Russia offered to help us, subject to Security Council approval,” said Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, CAR’s presidential spokesman. “If peace is restored tomorrow in CAR, I think everyone will be happy.”

Russia’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment about committee proceedings.

France’s foreign ministry said Russia must strictly respect the terms of its arms embargo exemption to keep the weapons out of the wrong hands.

‘WE’RE NOT INTERESTED’

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union forged close military and diplomatic ties with many African countries. It was involved in proxy wars in states such as Angola, Ethiopia and Mozambique and helped independence movements fight Western colonial powers.

Russia is now trying to revive some of the relationships that lapsed after the Soviet Union’s collapse. It joins a number of countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates looking to set up bases in Africa, mediate in diplomatic stand-offs and strike business deals.

China has long had a major economic presence in Africa but it has shied away from any military involvement. It did go a step further last year, however, opening its first military base outside China in Djibouti.

Near the world’s busiest shipping lanes, Djibouti is also home to a large French base, the only U.S. base in Africa, an Italian camp and Japan’s only overseas base.

Djibouti blocked Russian attempts to set up a base, however, saying it wanted to avoid becoming the terrain for a proxy war. Moscow is now planning to build a logistics center at a port in neighboring Eritrea.

While France has a military bases outside Djibouti in former colonies Gabon, Ivory Coast and Senegal and its soldiers also operate in Chad, Mali and Niger, analysts say Washington’s influence is on the wane.

Its trade with the continent has halved in the past decade, though much of that is due to U.S. shale replacing oil imports from Africa. Diplomatic posts have gone unfilled and a task force based in CAR tracking warlord Joseph Kony left last year.

“Our actions on the diplomatic and military side have sent a huge signal to our partners that we’re not interested in Africa,” said Donald Bolduc, who commanded U.S. special forces across the continent until last year.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy said Washington’s commitment to Africa was unwavering but, “there is space for other countries to play a positive role in the region”.

AFRICAN DEALS

As part of Russia’s renewed push, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went on a five-nation tour of Africa in March, attended a summit in South Africa in June and visited Rwanda, chair of the African Union, this year.

Russia has also struck military cooperation deals with many African countries since 2015, though some have yet to come into force. The agreements typically involve providing weapons and training in areas such as counter-terrorism and piracy.

Analysts caution that the deals often appear more symbolic than transformative and say it’s not clear if Russia has the resources, or desire, to continue expanding its presence.

But as in the Cold War, military deals can come alongside economic links, such as mining and energy agreements. Ethiopia signed its deal in April, a month after Lavrov visited to discuss nuclear energy, agriculture and transportation projects.

Russian firms have signed mineral deals in Sudan, which cooperates with Moscow in defense technology, and Russia is looking at diamond and platinum projects in Zimbabwe as well as energy projects in Chad.

Over the past decade, Russian trade with sub-Saharan Africa has increased fast, albeit from a low base. From 2010-2017, total trade rose to $4.2 billion a year from $1.6 billion, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies www.csis.org.

During the same period, China’s total trade with sub-Saharan Africa nearly doubled to $165 billion while U.S. trade more than halved to $37 billion.

WAGNER GROUP

Since arriving in CAR, the Russians’ remit has expanded beyond military advice and into various economic and diplomatic activities, a Western diplomat and security source said, fuelling the beginnings of a Western backlash.

In August, France, the United Kingdom and the United States blocked a Russian request to send more weapons. The U.S. mission to the United Nations said in a note to the sanctions committee that it was awaiting, “confirmation that measures had been taken to ensure the secure management of the previous donation”.

Estimates of the number of Russians in CAR vary widely, from 250 to 1,000. Touadera’s spokesman declined to provide details, nor say what activities the Russians were engaged in.

Yevgeny Shabayev, head of a chapter of a paramilitary Cossack organization who has ties to Russian security contractors, said there could be 1,000 in CAR and 5,000 to 10,000 across Africa, including in Sudan, South Sudan and Libya.

One Russian private military contractor, the Wagner group, was thrust into the spotlight in July when three Russian journalists were killed in CAR while investigating its alleged presence there.

Reuters has been unable to confirm whether Wagner contractors are in CAR. People with ties to the group have told Reuters it has carried out clandestine combat missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine and Syria.

Russian authorities deny Wagner contractors carry out their orders. They have denied any role in the journalists’ deaths.

Russia has also stepped into negotiations with militias in CAR, adding to Western misgivings about its presence.

According to a U.N. panel of experts, Touadera’s Russian adviser has met militia leaders several times to discuss disarmament and the distribution of natural resources revenue.

Russia said in August after brokering talks between armed groups that Touadera had expressed gratitude for its involvement and that it intended to continue its mediation.

Reuters was unable to contact the adviser, Zakharov, for comment.

“There is a real division between that guy and the rest of the presidential advisers,” the security source said. “When you ask, ‘Can we see your colleague?’ they say, ‘Who, our colleague? We don’t know him’.”

Author: Aaron Ross

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