Small Wars Journal

Why This US General Says Russian Wagner Mercenaries In Africa ‘Concern Me Greatly’

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 3:52pm

Why This U.S. General Says Russian Wagner Mercenaries In Africa ‘Concern Me Greatly’ by Kyle Rempfer - Military Times

The nominee to lead U.S. Africa Command has dealt with Russian mercenaries before during his time in Syria, and is planning to look into their operations on the African continent in his new role.


“I have some experience with these groups and specifically the Wagner Group from my time in Syria,” Gen. Stephen J. Townsend told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing this week. “I think they concern me greatly, I’m sure they concern Gen. Waldhauser [the current AFRICOM commander] as well.”


Russian mercenaries have been reportedly active across the continent, where they offer African governments training and equipment much like U.S. troops would, but without human rights oversight, American officials said during the hearing.


Wagner Group, a private military company allegedly ran by a former Russian intelligence officer with deep Kremlin connections, acts as a Russian proxy force, officials said…

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