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Russia’s Wagner Soldiers Arrive In Central African Republic For A Referendum

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According to the presidency, dozens of soldiers from Russia’s private military firm, Wagner, have arrived in the Central African Republic to assist in securing a constitutional referendum on July 30 that could result in the president being re-elected.

A short-lived revolt in Russia, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the organisation, prompted concerns about the future of Wagner’s military and business operations there, especially in the Central African Republic. Days later, hundreds of Wagner troops left the country.

The administration has previously claimed that the relocation of the military was a rotation of forces, not a withdrawal.

Talking about the new coming, spokesperson Albert Yaloke Mokpem said, “Every year there is a rotation. Some go and others arrive with logistics and they do this regularly at all levels, on the military and administrative assistance. They are also here to secure the constitutional referendum.” However the spokesperson did not talk about the number of soldiers.

He pointed out that the new mercenaries were just arriving and seen in social media in dozens on the tarmac. Numerous troops had arrived, according to a senior CAR military official in the nation’s capital.

Since gaining its independence in 1960, the nation, which has 5.5 million inhabitants and is endowed with gold, diamonds, and timber, has struggled to establish stability.

When then-president Francois Bozize was overthrown by a rebellion in 2013, it sparked another phase of conflict between armed groups that hold sections of territory, further destabilizing the nation.

In order to combat the rebel groups, CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who was initially elected in 2016 and again in 2020, appealed to Russia for assistance.

He is campaigning for the constitutional amendment that, if approved, would abolish the two-term restriction on the presidency and allow him to seek office again.

In 2018, Russia initially dispatched security contractors to the country. In 2019, it increased its assistance with more than 1,500 troops, including instructors and soldiers who are fighting alongside the army of the nation.

A few of the soldiers are on Touadera’s security detail and frequently accompany him.

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