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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Russia’s Wagner group has presence in Sudan, could benefit from ongoing crisis

Apr 24, 2023

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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The Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, has close ties with Sudanese security forces. While there is no evidence Wagner fighters are taking part in Sudan’s current armed conflict, there are certainly indications Wagner, and therefore Russia, are watching closely.

Back in 2017, Sudan’s leader at the time, President Omar al-Bashir, signed a series of agreements with Russia. In exchange for lucrative deals on gold mining and allowing Russia to set up a naval base at Port Sudan, the Sudanese would receive weapons and military training.

According to classified U.S. intelligence documents leaked on Discord, Wagner is the group providing that equipment and training to Sudan’s security forces, including advising government leaders. The U.S. Treasury said in 2020 the Russian companies Sudan gave the gold mining contracts to are shell companies for Wagner.

Starting in 2021, the Wagner group reportedly became more closely aligned with Sudan’s paramilitary group the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is also called Hemedti.

Hamedti and the RSF are the group fighting the Sudan Armed Forces and the country’s current ruler, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

According to exclusive reporting by CNN, the Wagner Group is supplying the RSF with weapons by way of Libya, where Wagner operates freely. It’s thought the RSF will grant more favorable gold mining deals to Wagner, and by extension, Russia.

The RSF is publicly denying it received any aid or weapons from Libya or Russia, and said it’s the Sudan Armed Forces, not the RSF, that were aligned with the private military company.

Wagner’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on Telegram there is no way he or Wagner are involved in the Sudanese conflict, denouncing any questions on the subject as attempts at provocation. Of course, this is the same Prigozhin who denied his involvement with Wagner for years, before finally admitting he was in fact the private military company’s leader.

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THE RUSSIAN PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY, THE WAGNER GROUP, HAS CLOSE TIES WITH SUDANESE SECURITY FORCES. WHILE THERE IS NO EVIDENCE WAGNER FIGHTERS ARE TAKING PART IN SUDAN’S CURRENT ARMED CONFLICT, THERE ARE CERTAINLY INDICATIONS WAGNER, AND THEREFORE RUSSIA, ARE WATCHING CLOSELY.
BACK IN 2017, SUDAN’S LEADER AT THE TIME, PRESIDENT OMAR AL-BASHIR, SIGNED A SERIES OF AGREEMENTS WITH RUSSIA. IN EXCHANGE FOR LUCRATIVE DEALS ON GOLD MINING AND ALLOWING RUSSIA TO SET UP A NAVAL BASE AT PORT SUDAN, THE SUDANESE WOULD RECEIVE WEAPONS AND MILITARY TRAINING.
ACCORDING TO CLASSIFIED U.S. INTELLIGENCE DOCUMENTS LEAKED ON DISCORD, WAGNER IS THE GROUP PROVIDING THAT EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING TO SUDAN’S SECURITY FORCES, INCLUDING ADVISING GOVERNMENT LEADERS. THE U.S. TREASURY SAID IN 2020 THE RUSSIAN COMPANIES SUDAN GAVE THE GOLD MINING CONTRACTS TO ARE SHELL COMPANIES FOR WAGNER.
STARTING IN 2021, THE WAGNER GROUP REPORTEDLY BECAME MORE CLOSELY ALIGNED WITH SUDAN’S PARAMILITARY GROUP THE RAPID SUPPORT FORCES, OR RSF, LED BY MOHAMED HAMDAN DAGALO, ALSO CALLED HEMEDTI.
HAMEDTI AND THE RSF ARE THE GROUP FIGHTING SUDAN’S ARMED FORCES AND THE COUNTRY’S CURRENT RULER, GENERAL ABDEL FATTAH AL-BURHAN.
ACCORDING TO EXCLUSIVE REPORTING BY CNN, THE WAGNER GROUP IS SUPPLYING THE RSF WITH WEAPONS BY WAY OF LIBYA, WHERE WAGNER OPERATES FREELY. IT’S THOUGHT THE RSF WILL GRANT MORE FAVORABLE GOLD MINING DEALS TO WAGNER, AND BY EXTENSION, RUSSIA.
THE RSF IS PUBLICLY DENYING IT RECEIVED ANY AID OR WEAPONS FROM LIBYA OR RUSSIA, AND SAID IT’S SUDAN’S ARMED FORCES, NOT THE RSF, THAT WERE ALIGNED WITH THE PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY.
WAGNER’S CHIEF, YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, SAID ON TELEGRAM THERE IS NO WAY HE OR WAGNER ARE INVOLVED IN THE SUDANESE CONFLICT, DENOUNCING ANY QUESTIONS ON THE SUBJECT AS ATTEMPTS AT PROVOCATION.
OF COURSE, THIS IS THE SAME PRIGOZHIN WHO DENIED HIS INVOLVEMENT WITH WAGNER FOR YEARS, BEFORE FINALLY ADMITTING HE WAS IN FACT THE PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY’S LEADER.
YOU CAN FIND MORE UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACT REPORTING ABOUT PRIGOZHIN, THE WAGNER GROUP AND THE SITUATION IN SUDAN AT STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS DOT COM.