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“Russia’s Wagner Group Is Fueling Terrorism in Africa”

Writing for Foreign Policy, Colin P. Clarke, the director of research at the Soufan Group and a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center, warns “Russia’s Wagner Group Is Fueling Terrorism in Africa” as “Moscow’s scramble for valuable resources has come at the cost of regional security.”

He writes:

“Research that examines best practices and lessons learned from all insurgencies waged between the end of World War II and 2009 suggests that the Wagner Group’s approach in Africa is likely to further destabilize the countries where it operates. Historically, collective and escalating repression against insurgents as well as a singular focus on kinetic operations have failed to quell conflicts and, more often than not, have prolonged them rather than contributing toward their cessation. The Sahel is no exception. There are three primary ways in which Wagner’s presence will directly affect the terrorist threat emanating from the region.”

He adds: “human rights abuses perpetrated by Wagner Group forces are likely to contribute to grievances among the population, which in turn provide fertile ground for terrorist groups like al Qaeda-linked Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin and the Islamic State Sahel Province to recruit new members, providing much-needed resources to these organizations. (…)

Second, Wagner’s transactional relationships with Sahelian governments will further delegitimize these regimes in the eyes of the population. (…) Wagner’s assistance comes with no strings attached, so African dictators need not concern themselves with lectures about human rights, anti-corruption initiatives, and good governance.”

Separately, an analysis by the French Directorate-General for External Security (Direction générale de la Sécurité extérieure), France’s foreign intelligence agency sheds more light on France’s strategy to deal with the presence of the Wagner Group in Africa. A source is quoted by Le Figaro:

“We withdraw and let Wagner bury itself. We let them stretch their logistical chains. We sometimes put obstacles in their way to maintain pressure. The population will eventually realise how ineffective they are” (source rens).