Russia’s Wagner Group recruits convicts in Central African Republic

29 November 2022, 11:31 PM
Headquarters of

Headquarters of "Wagnerites" destroyed in Popasna, Luhansk region (Photo:Denis Kazansky via Facebook)

Operating in the Central African Republic, Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner Group has recruited dozens of men who were charged with rape and murder, The Daily Beast reported on Nov. 29, citing high-ranking CAR officials.

Many of the newly-recruited mercenaries are insurgents, whom the government considers terrorists for their use of violence and intimidation against civilians and military personnel for political purposes, The Daily Beast's sources say.

Among those released from prisons, there are rebels who were detained for attacking the village of Bokolobo in southern CAR and raping women and girls, as well as people detained for killing CAR soldiers during an assault on a military camp in the southeastern city of Bakuma, back in April.

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“No one can stop them (Wagner) because the government has given them enough power to do whatever they want,” one of the officials said.

Another source added that the Wagner Group explained its recruitment program with "the urgent need for (more) personnel in Mali and Ukraine."

“I think more than 20 people who were detained for serious crimes were released,” the source added.

The Daily Beast writes that many dangerous criminals in the CAR are held in police and military facilities – rather than in the usual prisons – which are understaffed and poorly guarded. It’s reported that Wagner tried, but failed to recruit people from CAR prisons.

In the wake of significant casualties Russian forces suffer during the invasion Ukraine, Russian PMCs began recruiting prisoners. According to Russian media reports, the number of prisoners in Russia’s penitentiary system decreased by 23,000, in September and October.

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