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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.

The demonstrators threw stones and tore down the French flag, reports BBC News. The former colonial power has around 200 soldiers based in Central Africa.

On Sunday, rebels in the north of the country seized at least ten towns, reports Al Jazeera. The move was perpetrated by the coalition of rebel groups "SELEKA".

Bangui in the Central African Republic Source: Googlemaps

The coalition is made up of what's left of three rebel groups. They claim President François Bozize has not honored peace accords signed between 2007 and 2011, which offered financial support and other help for insurgents who laid down their arms.

It is unclear how far they have advanced towards Bangui, although some sources say they are only 75 kilometers away from the Central African capital.

Bozize, who rose to power after a coup in 2003, has repeatedly relied on foreign intervention to fend off rebellions.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner Group 2.0: Why Russia's Mercenary System Is Here To Stay

Many had predicted that the death last month of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin meant the demise of the mercenary outfit. Yet signs in recent days say the private military outfit is active again in Ukraine, a reminder of the Kremlin's interest in continuing a private fighting formula that has worked all around the world.

Photograph of a Wagner soldier in the city of Artyomovsk, holding a rifle.

Ukraine, Donetsk Region - March 24, 2023: A Wagner Group soldier guards an area in the city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut).

Cameron Manley


“Let’s not forget that there is no Wagner Group anymore,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declared. “Such an organization, in our eyes, does not exist.”

The August 25 statement from came less than two days after the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the infamous Russian mercenary outfit, as questions swirled about Wagner's fate after its crucial role in the war in Ukraine and other Russian military missions around the world.

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How could an independent military outfit survive after its charismatic founder's death? It seemed highly unlikely that President Vladimir Putin would allow the survival of a group after had launched a short-lived coup attempt in late June that most outside observers believe led to Prigozhin's private airplane being shot down by Russian forces on August 23.

"Wagner is over,” said the Kremlin critic and Russian political commentator Maksim Katz. “The group can’t keep going. There’s the possibility that they could continue in parts or with Defense Ministry contracts, but the group only worked with an unofficial agreement between Putin and Prigozhin.”

Yet barely a month later, and there are already multiple signs that the Wagner phoenix is rising from the ashes.

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