EU widens sanctions against Wagner Group

Brussels (Caasimada Online) – The European Union has on Saturday announced further sanctions against Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries for “human rights abuses” in the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, and Ukraine.  

This move comes after the EU imposed sanctions on the group in 2021 for its activities in Ukraine.

The Wagner Group has been active in various countries worldwide, focusing on Africa, where it has been accused of human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, and other violent acts.  

The latest EU sanctions aim to address the international dimension and gravity of the group’s activities and its destabilizing impact on the countries where it operates. 

In Mali, the head of Wagner’s forces has been sanctioned, while in the Central African Republic, high-profile members of the group have been added to the list. 

The EU sanctions have also hit gold and diamond companies linked to Wagner in these countries.  

A Central African radio station has also been listed “for engaging in online influence operations on behalf of Russia and the Wagner Group to manipulate public opinion.” 

The sanctions are a response to the threat posed by the Wagner Group’s activities to the people of the countries where they operate and the European Union as a whole.  

In light of this, it is crucial to understand the context and history of the Wagner Group’s activities in these countries. 

FILE – Visitors wearing military camouflage stand at the entrance of the ‘PMC Wagner Centre’, which is associated with businessman and founder of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block during National Unity Day, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 4, 2022.

Central African Republic 

The Central African Republic has been politically unstable since 2013, when the Seleka rebel group seized power.  

This led to a countercoup by the anti-Balaka militia, which escalated into a sectarian conflict. In 2014, French troops were deployed to the country as part of Operation Sangaris, a peacekeeping mission to stabilize the country. 

However, the presence of the Wagner Group in the country, at the invitation of President Touadera, has been a source of controversy.  

The group has been accused of exacerbating the violence and committing human rights abuses. 

Wagner Group in Mali and Sudan 

The Wagner Group has been involved in Mali’s ongoing conflict since 2018.  The group’s fighters have been accused of involvement in acts of violence and numerous human rights cases of abuse, including extrajudicial killings. 

Mali is currently ruled by a junta that forced France to remove troops deployed there in 2020.

Sudan has been experiencing a period of political instability since the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.  

The Wagner Group’s involvement in the country is linked to its gold and diamond industries, which have been controversial due to alleged human rights abuses and links to armed groups.