Central African Republic is the latest African country to have its natural resources stripped by a European country.
The continent of Africa has always represented the good and the bad of wealth and natural resources.
The continent has enough natural minerals like gold and diamonds for many of the countries to be among the wealthiest in the world.
However, because of European colonialism, imperialism and exploitation, people from other countries and continents have often reaped the financial rewards, while the countrymen often live in abject poverty.
Russia, who came in to protect Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera from civil war, are the latest to strip an African country of its wealth to fatten their own coffers.
President Touadera said, “I asked everyone for help…was I supposed to refuse the help from those who wanted to help us?”
Gabe Joselow of NBC News reported, “President Faustin-Archange Touadera says he called in the Russians because he was stuck.
“It was 2016, soon after his election, and rebels had overrun swaths of the resource-rich country, which is among the world’s poorest nations. Former colonial power France announced it would withdraw its soldiers, the backbone of a United Nations force aimed at quelling the country’s civil war.
“And Touadera’s army and militia didn’t have enough weapons to defeat fighters threatening the capital, Bangui, because the Central African Republic was under a U.N. arms embargo put in place after a previous rebel takeover.
“So the former mathematics professor turned to Moscow.”
Russia did receive the O.K. from the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council to send military trainers to help the Central African Republic government and military.
However, Russia sent the treacherous Wagner group to patrol the country.
Touadera added, “I couldn’t sit idly by. I asked all my friends, including the United States, including France. I needed to protect the population. I needed to protect the institutions of the republic.”
As a result, the Central African Republic president took help from the Wagner group, which has come with strings attached.
Central African Republic getting into bed with the Wagner group has some comparing it to a relationship where the mafia protects a citizen or business.
However, when it is time for the individual or business to repay the Mafia for that protection, the cost is extremely excessive.
Furthermore, to get out of bed with a group like the Mafia often involves much violence and chaos.
To reciprocate, the Wagner group has received direct access to Central African Republic’s natural resources.
Sorcha MacLeod, who serves on the U.N. working group on mercenaries, said, “We received information in Central African Republic that the Wagner group was being paid in mining concessions.”
Reportedly, Russia has used the money made from taking natural resources from Central African Republic to avoid sanctions placed on them after they invaded Ukraine, unprovoked.
United States President Joe Biden and other world leaders implemented sanctions as punishment for Russian President Vladimir Putin attempting to take over its neighboring country.
Leaders like Biden believed that isolating Russia from the world’s economy would cripple its domestic economy.
However, stealing natural resources from Central African Republic and maintaining friendships with countries like China, who buy Russian oil and gas, has prevented the totalitarian country from truly suffering financially during Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine.
Although the Wagner group sent tens of thousands of its mercenaries to the war in Ukraine, it has not resulted in an exodus from Central African Republic.
However, many say they have seen a “doubling-down of Wagner’s presence” in Central African Republic.
Moreover, the Wagner group has even entered more countries, MacLeod explained.
NBC News’ Joselow added, “The mercenary group is operating in a volatile environment. The Central African Republic has suffered from a series of coups and failed governments since gaining independence from France in 1960. The last coup in 2013, which saw Christian and Muslim militias pitted against each other, was organized by Seleka, a coalition of rebel groups…
“Wherever Wagner has gone, accusations of widespread and unchecked human rights abuses have followed, including executions, rapes and torture.”
NBC News reported that it was looking into Wagner’s role in taking over the Ndassima gold mine in the Central African Republic.
Reportedly, there are plans to turn the site into a large operation, which could possibly earn the Wagner group hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.
Russians were instructed to remove the rebels from the area.
However, many criticize the Wagner group of targeting their violence towards innocent civilians.
An unnamed woman, 25, said her husband worked at a mine.
However, Russian mercenaries ordered him out in the fall of 2021.
She said, “When they came, they presented documents saying that it was the government of our country that gave them permission and that this territory now belongs to them. They didn’t say with their own mouths that they were Russians, but we knew they were Russians.”
When the unnamed woman’s husband refused to leave the area and his job, she said the Russians murdered him.
She added, “They came for our wealth. They’ve already started killing our husbands because of our own country’s wealth.”
Joselow also reported, “NBC could not independently verify the specific account, and traveling to the areas around the mines can be dangerous. In 2018, three Russian journalists were killed in the Central African Republic while investigating Wagner, the team’s editor at Investigation Control Centre was quoted by saying. (The news group, backed by leading anti-Putin activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky, closed down after the journalists’ deaths).”