Russian Mercenary Troop: Prigozhin's Heirs: The Wagner Group is now called the Afrika Korps

The Russian mercenary force Wagner Group has reorganized itself after the death of its then boss Yevgeny Prigozhin: As NTV reports, the force now reports directly to the Russian Ministry of Defense under the name Afrika Korps.

Russian Mercenary Troop: Prigozhin's Heirs: The Wagner Group is now called the Afrika Korps

The Russian mercenary force Wagner Group has reorganized itself after the death of its then boss Yevgeny Prigozhin: As NTV reports, the force now reports directly to the Russian Ministry of Defense under the name Afrika Korps.

The new group was introduced on November 23, 2023 under the Russian name "Afrikanski Korpus" in a Telegram channel of the same name. In addition to fighting terrorism, the purpose of the founding was to "build infrastructure and solve humanitarian problems as well as epidemiological investigations in certain areas". It is said that the former Wagner mercenaries will sign new contracts with the new Afrika Korps. Recruitment calls are already underway, some via old Wagner channels.

This means that the Wagner group is stepping out of the shadow of a private army, said the American Wagner expert John Lechner to NTV. According to Lechner, the innovations have the disadvantage for Russia that the Kremlin will now be directly linked to possible human rights violations by the troops. So far, Moscow has denied any responsibility for this, citing its private status.

Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-bek Yevkurov toured several African countries with a delegation at the end of 2023. He concluded pacts with some of them, such as the Sahel states of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, which are run by military governments. All three withdrew from the West African economic (and defense) alliance Ecowas earlier this year. The Russian focus is obviously shifting away from the mining areas in the Central African Republic and towards the Sahel region.

Despite all the changes, the former Wagner Group apparently also relies on continuity: According to a report in the "Wall Street Journal", Jan Marsalek, ex-head of the insolvent German scandal group Wirecard, is said to be in charge of setting up a global financial structure for the Afrika Korps. Marsalek is said to have previously had connections to Prigozhin's Wagner group.

The future of the Wagner group is initially unclear after its boss Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a plane crash in August 2023, which many suspected was an assassination attempt by the Kremlin. Prigozhin fell out of favor with the Russian leadership after an aborted coup attempt in June 2023. He had previously harshly criticized Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in particular. According to British intelligence estimates, there are still around 1,000 fighters from the Russian Wagner private army in Belarus. They were almost certainly training Belarusian soldiers and security forces there. The British Ministry of Defense announced this on Sunday, as reported by the German Press Agency.

Sources:  NTV, DPA

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