Wagner boss in Niger? Prigozhin releases first video after failed coup

As part of the peace pact, the Wagner boss and his mercenaries were moved to Belarus

NEW DELHI | Updated: 22 August, 2023 6:50 pm IST
Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin released a video from Africa earlier this week.

NEW DELHI: The boss of Russia’s private militia Wagner PMC has released his first video appearance since his short-lived rebellion in June this year, suggesting that he could be in Africa.

The video came in the backdrop of the military coup in Niger – which ousted the pro-West government of Mohamed Bazoum.

In a video posted on Telegram, Yevgeny Prigozhin can be seen standing in a desert area wearing camouflage with a rifle in his hands, surrounded by armed men and a pickup truck. Posts in the pro-Wagner channels suggest that the video was shot in Africa – possibly in Niger.

He said that the Wagner group is carrying out reconnaissance and search activities, aiming to make Russia better than all other countries and enhance freedom in Africa. Prigozhin confirms that Wagner is actively recruiting members and will accomplish the tasks at hand.

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“We are working! Temperature plus 50. Everything we like. (PMC Wagner) makes Russia even greater on all continents. And Africa even more free. Nightmare of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other gangsters,” he said in the video.

Prigozhin further said: “We hire real heroes and continue to fulfil the tasks that were set and which we promised that we would manage. Justice and happiness for the African peoples.”

The New Indian could not independently geo-locate the video.

Prigozhin has also been engaged in recruiting fighters for operations in Africa and encouraging Russian investors to support the Central African Republic through the Russian House, a cultural centre in the capital. The Central African Republic has been one of the regions where Wagner’s mercenaries have been active.

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Prigozhin, popularly referred to as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chef, gained global attention in mid-June after he launched a mutiny against the defence minister, accusing him of bombing a Wagner forward post and depriving his troops of weaponry.

During the rebellion, the Wagner boss captured a military commander centres controlling operations on the frontline against Ukraine and marched on to Moscow. While his troops were on way to the Russia capital, the Kremlin announced a peace plan, brokered by the Belarus president, under which his mercenaries were granted amnesty and given a choice to either join the regular Army or go to Belarus.

President Putin, who called him ‘traitor’ during the rebellion, later dropped all charges against him.

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