Russian mercenaries accused of torture and killings of civilians in Central African Republic – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 3, 2022)

Russian mercenaries have been involved in the torture and killing of civilians in the Central African Republic over the past three years, witnesses have told a human-rights group.

The witnesses described how Russian contractors killed at least 12 unarmed men at a roadblock last year, according to a report on Tuesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW). They also recounted how Russian mercenaries unlawfully detained and tortured civilians in several other incidents in recent years.

The HRW report’s findings are the latest evidence of atrocities by Wagner Group, a Kremlin-connected private military contractor with growing operations in several African countries. In another recent case, Wagner Group was reportedly implicated in the massacre of 300 to 500 civilians in a village in central Mali in late March.

Analysts say the Russian military contractor is increasingly active in Africa, helping Moscow to expand its political influence and gain access to government revenue and natural resources. Mali’s military junta announced on Monday that it is terminating its defence agreements with France.

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