Russian mercenaries in Sudan: What is the Wagner Group’s role? (Al Jazeera – April 17, 2023)

The Russian mercenary group has been accused of plundering Sudan’s gold resources to bankroll operations in Ukraine.

After battles have broken out in Sudan between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), questions have arisen over the involvement of the Wagner Group, a powerful Russian mercenary organisation that has been active in Sudan for years.

Here is what you need to know about the group and its involvement in the African country:

What is the Wagner Group?

The group first came to widespread attention in 2014 when Wagner mercenaries are thought to have been involved in the Russian annexation of Crimea and fighting in eastern Ukraine.

They are also believed to have been involved in the Syrian war, supporting Russian armed forces, which intervened on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in 2015.

The Wagner Group is headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former inmate who once catered at the Kremlin, earning him the nickname “Putin’s chef”. His fortune grew and so did his private army. It soon appeared in African countries like Libya, where it fought in the civil war in support of a renegade general, Khalifa Haftar.

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