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Russia Forms African Army as a Replacement for Wagner Group Mercenaries


Russia is embarking on a new initiative to strengthen its influence in Africa by forming an African Army a military force intended to replace Wagner group’s mercenaries on the continent.

The move aims to enhance Russia’s military footprint by establishing Defense Ministry-controlled bases across Africa, reflecting Moscow’s desire to regain Cold War-era influence amid diminishing Western power.

The creation of an African Army also allows the Kremlin to consolidate control over Wagner’s business network in Africa, including potentially lucrative mining ventures, following the death of Wagner’s founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The Africa Corps/Army, despite its controversial name reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s expeditionary force, plans to recruit new members and former Wagner fighters by mid-year.


The group intends to deploy to at least five Russia-friendly countries: Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, the Central African Republic, and Niger. Wagner, though technically disbanded after Prigozhin’s demise, remains operational.

However, challenges loom as the group seeks 20,000 soldiers, and Russia is concurrently attempting to recruit an additional 250,000 troops for the conflict in Ukraine.

Transitioning to an official military role eliminates the plausible deniability the Kremlin previously maintained regarding Wagner’s operations, particularly in response to UN accusations of war crimes in Africa.

The initial deployment in Burkina Faso involved around 100 Russian troops tasked with providing security for Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who seized power in a 2022 military coup.

While this marks a modest beginning, the African Army envisions grander plans, including establishing a regional headquarters in the Central African Republic (CAR), where Wagner has been involved in a brutal campaign on behalf of the president.

The CAR base’s location is currently undisclosed, but plans are underway, reflecting the intensification of security cooperation with Russia since Prigozhin’s death.

The African Army initiative represents a significant geopolitical and diplomatic shift, especially with the withdrawal of French troops from Mali and Burkina Faso.

It signals Russia’s opportunistic approach to exploit power vacuums and advance its interests in the region, albeit with potential repercussions and challenges ahead.

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