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TOPIC: central african republic

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Prigozhin's Profit Model: How Wagner Cashes In On The Non-Stop Business Of War

The Wagner mercenaries, who came to the world's attention for their involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and more recently in the coup attempt, have been operating in Africa and elsewhere for years with a profitable formula to cash in on ongoing conflict.


The next move remains unclear for Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group fighters, who drove an armored column to within a few hours of Moscow, took over a key Russian city and shot down Russian military aircraft during a recent coup attempt. The uncertainties have only heightened with the announcement Thursday by Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, that Prigozhin — previously exiled to Belarus — has now returned to Russia.

But whatever the future holds, the guns-for-hire outfit has plenty to keep it busy, further afield in Africa, where Wagner mercenaries have been involved in conflicts for years, selling their signature brutality to dictators and corporations looking to hold onto power and exploit contested resources.

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Back in February 2022, just before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, about 30 protesters had gathered outside a foreign company's headquarters in Bambari, a city on the Ouaka River in the Central African Republic (CAR). The protesters, part of the Christian militia Anti-Balaka Touadéra, were demanding the payment of overdue salaries, owed to them by the Wagner mercenary group.

According to Alain Nzilo, editor of the Central African media outlet Corbeau News, the militia had been formed to support President Faustin-Archange Touadéra. It's one of at least 16 armed groups operating in CAR, a republic where a simmering civil war has been going on for years.

The militiamen, known in the country as the "Black Russians," demanded payment for their regular work for the Russian corporation, including the killing of 15 civilians in December 2021 in the municipality of Boyo, and the decapitation of the former mayor of Bambari, Didier Wangay, along with his family in the nearby town of Gallougou.

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One Young Woman's Fight For Surgery Access For 143 Million

MUNICH "To be above it all" has become Magdalena Gründl's purpose in life. By this, she doesn't mean to sound egotistical. The-25 year-old research assistant working at Harvard wants to understand the bigger picture. She hopes to make the world a better place while managing her life as a young academic at an Ivy League university, which is why treating individuals patients was never enough for the medical student.

Saving millions of lives

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African Blood Diamonds For Sale On Facebook And WhatsApp

They don't hide in the abyss of the Dark Web. From Bangui, Beirut, Bordeaux or elsewhere, they use social media to promote their products and services. They are blood diamond community managers from the Central African Republic, traffickers of gems that cannot be legally exported and that are for sale on Facebook and Whatsapp.

One of them, Sader, says he lives in Beirut. He drives a large 4x4 and loves dollars, cigars and Hezbollah propaganda videos. On his Facebook page, he posts pictures of gold bars on a scale showing 10 kilograms, and a multitude of diamonds spread out on trays.

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Syrian War Crimes, Imelda's Jewels, Bucking Zuck


France and Turkey have denounced the bombing of five hospitals and two schools in Syria, labeling them as war crimes, the BBC reports. At least 50 people were killed by yesterday's strikes in the Aleppo and Idlib provinces, the UN has said. Different warring parties are blaming one another. Turkey is blaming Russia, while Doctors Without Borders, which ran one of the bombed hospitals, accuses "either the Syrian government or Russia." Meanwhile, Syrian ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad claims the U.S. was behind the strikes. While Moscow has yet to respond to the allegations, the bombings could seriously hinder an agreed ceasefire set to begin this week. In aTIMEinterview published yesterday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia had no plans to cease bombing rebel positions until Moscow's allies in Damascus could achieve peace on favorable terms.

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Natacha Tatu

In Bangui, A Grizzled Expat Feeds Hungry Kids With Algae

The protein-rich algae spirulina is abundant and affordable in the Central African Republic, making it a nutritional alternative to help feed kids in the developing world.

BANGUI — Freddy maneuvers his 4x4 with a steady hand, skillfully slaloming between bumps and potholes. Normally, at this time of day, he'd be in his restaurant, the Relais de Chasse (hunting lodge), a popular eatery he runs with an iron grip here in the capital of the Central African Republic. Instead, the aging French expat is on the road to a cooperative hidden in the middle of luxuriant tropical vegetation, where the miracle product he's been talking to us about for the past several days is made.

The product is called spirulina, a freshwater microalgae that has almost unrivaled nutritional properties — proteins, vitamins, beta-carotene, trace elements, it's all there — and can be used therefore as a dietary supplement. It is well-known among naturopaths, who say it can boost sick people's immunity, improve athletic performance, even help students concentrate better. Most importantly, spirulina can get a child suffering from dietary deficiencies on his or her feet in just a matter of weeks.

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Extra! French Soldiers Accused Of Rape In Central African Republic

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Le Parisien, April 30, 2015

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Cyril Bensimon

How Diamond Smuggling Drives Central African Religious War

Muslim Seleka and Christian anti-Balaka militiamen have squared off for the Central African Republic's so-called blood diamonds. Some call the wartorn nation a 'gemocracy'.

BANGUI — Not a single stone. Not a single carat.

Since May 23, 2013, and the suspension of the Kimberley Process — the certification scheme for the origin of rough diamonds — the Central African Republic (CAR) has officially exported none of the many diamonds that lie in its rivers. It's a massive loss of income for this bankrupted state. In 2012, even though most of the stones were already fraudulently exported, almost 372,000 carats were transported out of the country legally for a value equal to around 45 million euros.

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Christian Putsch

*Happy* Witness: Slain Photographer Camille Lepage Remembered

French photojournalist Camille Lepage was killed at the age of 26 in the Central African Republic. Despite her youth, her passing leaves a huge hole in crisis reporting. Memories from a German friend and colleague.

CAPE TOWN — In the evening she always sat at the same slightly wobbly table in front of Hotel Levy’s in Bangui, hunched over her laptop, her camera within easy reach. We, her colleagues, sat at the same table talking about our day in the Central African Republic. Jokes made the rounds, taking a bit of the edge off the pain we’d experienced. But Camille Lepage, usually never at a loss for words, said nothing as she worked with her day's batch of photographs.

She never sent her work out before she had checked the latest photos down to the final details, and captioned each one of them. Her work held her firmly in its grip. Photo by photo, she tried to make this incomprehensible crisis, the conflict between Muslims and Christians, a little more graspable. Few could claim to have done as much first-hand reporting about what has been happening there.

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Cyril Bensimon

In Central African Republic, Muslims Blame France

BANGUI — The motorbike stops abruptly. “If the French don’t want to help us, al-Qaeda will,” the teenager shouts before driving away. All around him, this road of the Begoua neighborhood in north Bangui — the Central African Republic’s capital — is covered in bundles full of the belongings of hundreds of people waiting to leave for Chad. Most of the men of the Fula community are armed with machetes, bows and arrows.

These days, France is not the most beloved country in this neighborhood. At the Nur al-Imam mosque, the bodies of three men and two women are rolled up in mats. “The French soldiers killed them. There were six of them, on foot. They threw grenades and shot with their rifles,” says Fadil Mahamat. Another man holds up the cartridge clip of a FAMAS, a French military rifle, bullet casings and a grenade pin as evidence.

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Cyril Bensimon

Airport Shelter As Chaos Spreads In Central African Republic

BANGUI – Bibiane had a dreadful night. As torrents of rain came beating down on the capital of the Central African Republic, this 28-year-old mother, her two children, her parents and her seven brothers and sisters tried in vain to gather under a single canvas sheet, pocked with holes.

Still, compared to the 35,000 to 40,000 people who took refuge in Bangui's airport, Bibiane and her family might almost be considered privileged.

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UN Calls For "Restoration Of Order" After Central African Republic Coup

RFI, FRANCE 24 (France), AL JAZEERA (Qatar), AAP ( Australia), MAIL&GUARDIAN (South Africa)


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UN Evacuates Staff From Central African Republic As Situation Deteriorates

FRANCE 24(France), BBC NEWS (UK), AL JAZEERA (Qatar)


BANGUI - The United Nations has evacuated its non-essential staff from the Central African Republic, while the U.S. urged its nationals to leave as rebels closed in on the capital, reports France 24.

The United Nations ordered more than 200 non-essential staff and families of other workers to leave.

"The temporary relocation is a precautionary measure to reduce our presence in the event the security situation further deteriorates in Bangui," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

The rebels' "contradictory messages and their continued military offensive seem to indicate that they might be intent on taking Bangui," he added.

The U.S. has also urged its citizens to leave the country. Washington expressed "deep concern" and warned all Americans to leave the country "until the security situation improved" writes France 24.

France called for tighter security to protect the country’s embassy in the country’s capital after demonstrators targeted the building Wednesday, calling for France to intervene in the conflict and push back the rebels.

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