Private military companies threaten Africa

92 Views

The African continent suffered from decades of civil wars and fighting that tore its countries and obstructed growth in it, and even led to the pensions and starvation of these peoples, and in the last years a new factor appeared that makes the danger that threatens Africa worse.

The parties of the conflict and the competing factions have resorted to private military companies that provide logistical services, recruit mercenaries, and fight with a party against the other in exchange for money, and each party is strengthened by it  on the other.

So it was necessary to introduce these mercenary companies and the relations between them and foreign countries and their interests with them.

Perhaps the most prominent of these companies is (Wagner):

It is a Russian paramilitary organization, which some described as a private military company (or a private agency for military contracting), which its contractors believed to have participated in various conflicts around the world, including the war in Syria alongside the Syrian government as well as in Ukraine in the period between 2014 and 2015 alongside the separatist forces in the region of Donbas

Others, including the reports of the New York Times, believe that Wagner is actually an  independent unit that belongs to the Russian Ministry of Defense and/or the main intelligence directorate , that the Russian government uses in conflicts that require denial, where its forces are trained in the facilities of the Ministry of Defense. It is believed that it is owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, even he is called  “Putin’s Chef” because of his work in the field of serving food at the dinner attended by Vladimir Putin with prominent foreign figures. Prigozhin denied his relationship with Wagner until September 2022 Where he admitted that he participated in the establishment of the group.

Wagner has participated ini conflicts in different countries in Africa, including Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Mozambique. And soon we will see it in other African countries and in more fierce battles.

  • In Libya, it was reported that the Wagner Group supported the Libyan National Army in its struggle against the national reconciliation government recognized by the United Nations. In Sudan, it was reported that the Wagner Group provided support to ousted President Omar al -Bashir and helped in training the Sudanese security forces. In the Central African Republic, the Wagner Group has participated in providing military assistance to the government and participated in combat operations against various rebel groups. In Mozambique, the Wagner Group was accused of helping the Mozambician government in its efforts to combat rebellion in the northern region of the country, especially in Cabo Delgado Province.
  • It is worth noting that the participation of the Wagner Group in these countries is often controversial and raised concerns about its activities, transparency and accountability. Several reports have linked the Wagner Group to human rights violations and violations of international law in these regions.
  • Reports and investigations indicate that the Wagner Group works with the knowledge of the Russian government and its implicit approval, and it is often seen as a tool for the advancement of Russian interests abroad without direct participation from the Russian army. The Wagner Group is believed to have participated in operations in countries where Russia has strategic interests. The Wagner group is known to employ individuals as private military contractors, and they are often referred to as mercenaries. The majority of its members are said to be Russian citizens of military backgrounds, including veterans of the Russian armed forces and other security agencies. However, there were reports on the Wagner group that recruited individuals from other countries as well, such as Belarus, Ukraine and Serbia, among other countries.
  • The exact sources of the weapons of the Vagner Group and the supply of ammunition are not always clear due to the secret nature of the organization. However, there were various reports and allegations indicating several possible ways that the group gets its weapons:

Russian military surplus: Some reports indicate that the Wagner Group has the ability to access excess weapons from the Russian army. This can include retired or old equipment that the Russian armed forces no longer use but still work.

Arms Manufacturers: The Wagner Group may get weapons and ammunition through various weapons manufacturers and dealers. It can be obtained from different countries, including Russia and other countries that produce and export military equipment.

informal channels: There were allegations that the Wagner Group is getting weapons through unofficial channels, which could involve smuggling weapons or dealing with private arms dealers.

local sources: In some conflict areas, the Wagner Group may obtain weapons and ammunition from local militias, rebel groups or other armed entities.

  • The operations and activities of the Wagner Group have raised concerns about its role in conflict areas and potential violations of international law and human rights. As a private military company, its activities are often protected from public audit, which makes it difficult to understand the entire range
  • The process of employing the Wagner Group and similar entities is often secret, and the details of the exact size of the Vagner Group, its structure and operations are often secret. As a private military company, its operations and members are not subject to the same level of transparency and accountability, such as the regular military forces, which raises concerns about its activities and potential human rights violations in conflict areas.
  • Besides the Russian Wagner group associated with the Russian government, there were many other mercenary groups involved in civil wars and conflicts in Africa. Mercenaries are private members or military companies that provide services to achieve financial gains to fight in conflicts on behalf of one of the parties concerned. They were employed by various governments, rebel groups or private entities to support their interests in various African conflicts.

Some examples of other mercenary groups that participated in the conflicts in Africa include the following:

Executive Outcome: This Private military company  has worked in South Africa during the 1990s and participated in conflicts in Angola and Sierra Leone.

Sandline International: Another private military company from the United Kingdom, Sandline International, participated in conflicts in Sierra Leone.

Frontier Services Group (FSG): Although it is not a strict mercenary group, FSG, a private security company based in Hong Kong founded by Eric Prince, participated in various African countries, and provides security and logistical services.

SARCEN International: This private military company from Uganda participated in Somalia operations and other African countries.

Northbridge Services Group: This private military company was active in providing security services in various African countries.

S.T.T.E.P International Ltd: Founded by the former Executive Outcome employees, and this South African company has participated in the control of illegal fishing and fighting rebellion in Africa.

  • Mercenary participation in conflicts can be very controversial and raises concerns about accountability, transparency and potential human rights violations. International law generally does not encourage the use of mercenaries, and efforts have been made to regulate and prevent their activities in conflict areas. However, some conflicts in Africa have seen the existence of such groups despite these concerns.

Connecting these mercenary armies to different countries confirms their interests in controlling mineral resources in Africa by launching a proxy war.

The African Union, as the representative body of 55 African countries, has a decisive role that it plays both to stop employing private armies by countries and with foreign countries that support them. There is also a need for the United Nations and global forces to exercise their influence over the sponsorships of private armies in raising unrest in Africa.

This requires international legislation and monitoring to control these new instability weapons.

Is it possible to see a new security company with Arab fighters joining the list of security companies fighting terrorism ??? …

No comments

Thualfuqar Center for Strategic Studies, Research and Human Rights .... Thualfuqar center is a private, independent research institution concerned with public affairs in Iraq and the effects of its regional and international environment.

contact us