New reporting is showing how Russia uses its Wagner Group mercenaries to extract diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR).
Research published in December 2022 by Belgian newspaper De Standaard, the media network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), and the All Eyes on Wagner project concluded that “in exchange for military support to the government in the CAR, the Russian Wagner Group gets access to precious raw materials.”
Since it established a base in CAR, the Wagner Group moved quickly to seize and control numerous mines. “Wherever there are mines and diggers, these people [linked to Wagner] are there, armed,” the EIC report said. “When someone [a gold or diamond miner] comes across something good, they go to that person.
“There have even been assassinations like that, to take other people’s merchandise.” Dozens of miners reportedly were killed in at least three major attacks in 2022, allegedly involving mercenaries working for Wagner. The group was founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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