A recent report suggests that Burkina Faso could be the next destination for the private company Wagner. US intelligence sources indicate that the African country is approaching Wagner for support. While negotiations are ongoing, it appears that they are nearing completion, and various reports confirm that Wagner personnel are already on the ground in Burkina Faso, with negotiations reaching a “critical point.”
Negotiations progress for Wagner’s deployment
A report from the French outlet RFI confirms this information, citing Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who claimed that Burkina Faso had reached an agreement with the Russian mercenary company. Akufo-Addo stated that Wagner was already deployed on the country’s northern border and had been assigned a mine in southern Burkina Faso as payment for their services.
Analyst Samuel Ramani highlights that Burkina Faso recently granted an exploration permit to the Russian company Nordgold for gold extraction in Yimiougou, which could be related to the mentioned mine.
Additionally, the visit of Nordgold’s CEO Georgy Smirnov to Ouagadougou to negotiate with Ibrahim Traoré’s council regarding their gold exports and the future of their deposits in Taparko, Bissa, and Bouly suggests a deeper collaboration between Russia and Burkina Faso.
The context of Wagner’s deployment in Burkina Faso.
The attack on the Djibo camp in October, which resulted in the death of over 10 Burkinabe soldiers, seems to have been a catalyst for Burkina Faso to turn to Wagner. According to RFI, the council leader had sought support from Mali’s air force before resorting to the Russian mercenaries of Wagner.
Akufo-Addo’s comments about Wagner’s deployment came during a visit by Burkina Faso’s transitional Prime Minister, Apollinaire Joachim Kyelem de Tambela, to Moscow with the aim of strengthening relations between the two countries.
Concerns about Wagner’s deployment.
Some experts express concern about Wagner’s deployment in Burkina Faso. Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, Executive Director of the Center for the Fight against Extremism in West Africa, warns that Wagner mercenaries do not have a reputation for leaving lasting peace in the areas where they operate, which can pose a challenge for building sustainable structures against threats.
Russia strengthens its presence in Burkina Faso.
Several reports point to an increase in Russia’s activity in Burkina Faso in recent years. The Russian mining company Nordgold acquired the Bissa gold mine in Burkina Faso in 2020, and the African country has also expressed interest in acquiring Russian combat aircraft.
It is important to note that Wagner is a Russian private security company believed to have close ties to the Kremlin. It is known for its involvement in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, where its activities have been the subject of numerous controversies.
The potential deployment of Wagner in Burkina Faso raises concerns about the impact on the country’s stability and security. While negotiations are underway, experts question the long-term consequences of Wagner’s presence in the region. The context of the Burkinabe prime minister’s visit to Russia and the increased Russian activity in Burkina Faso raise questions about Russia’s intentions and interests in the region.