Central Africa denies Wagner fighters are leaving

A presidential adviser in Central Africa Republic (CAR) has denied reports that fighters from Russian mercenary group Wagner have been preparing to leave the country.

The future of the private paramilitary group’s operations in Africa has been uncertain after it launched a short-lived mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.

Fidele Gouandjika, a special adviser to President Faustin-Archange Touadera, termed reports of the mercenary fighters leaving the country as dishonest, media reported.

“They are all here… and what the media is saying are nothing but dishonest allegations,” he is quoted as saying on Friday.

Wagner fighters were deployed to the country in 2018 to fight rebels. UN experts have accused the Russian mercenaries of committing grave human rights violations in the country.

Media quotes a source as saying that Wagner posts in CAR had been abandoned and that Ilyushin-76 Russian troop carrying planes had taken off, adding that the reports were “rather well founded”.

The aircraft has been frequently used since 2018 to move Wagner fighters to and from the capital Bangui.

After the end of last month’s Wagner’s mutiny in Russia, the CAR said the group’s activities in the country would “continue”.

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