Central African media: riots started after Russian mercenaries kill local resident

Russian mercenaries killed an inhabitant of the Central African city of Damara, local news outlet Corbeau News Centrafrique reports.

The news outlet reports that, after the killing on the morning of July 31, a riot broke out in the city, which led to several other deaths, including one Russian, according to unconfirmed information.

Local residents demanded that the Russians leave the city and the country’s interior minister had arrived there.

Damara is roughly halfway between Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, and Sibut. News came out on the evening of July 31 that Russian journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, filmmaker Alexander Rastorguev and cameraman Kirill Radchenko had been killed not far from the town of Sibut. The Russian crew was in Central Africa to shoot a documentary about the Russian private military company the Wagner Group which is operating in the country.

It is reported that the Russian journalist had been stopped at a roadblock. The Russian news outlet MediaZona reports, citing its source, that the group was attacked while on their way to meet a local fixer. Their driver, who survived, later said that they had been ambushed.

The Wagner Group is a private military company (PMC) which was active in Ukraine, and then in Syria. In spring this year, reports came out that Wagner mercenaries had arrived in the Central African Republic. The PMC was placed on the US sanctions list in June 2017.

The Wagner PMC is connected to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the co-owner of the Concord company group who is also known as “Putin’s chef”. In November 2017, Prigozhin denied having ties to the PMC. Before his denial, news had come out that the CEO of Concord Management and Consulting, the company which oversees his restaurant holdings, was none other than Dmitry Utkin, the person believed to be the commander and founder of the Wagner PMC. This was confirmed by a source close to Prigozhin.

  Russia, Russian mercenaries, Africa, Wagner