UN Envoy Accuses Russian Mercenaries Of Human Rights Abuses In C.

The UN envoy to the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), as well as diplomats from the United States and France, has accused the national security forces and their Russian paramilitary allies of wide-ranging human rights abuses.

Russia helps President Faustin Archange Touadera combat rebel groups in the resource-rich country's ongoing civil war, including fielding Russian mercenaries and security details for government figures.

Moscow says it has only sent unarmed "instructors" to train the C.A.R. Defense Ministry.

Envoy Mankeur Ndiaye told the UN Security Council that human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law were "attributable to the Central African armed forces, bilateral forces, and other security personnel," referring to the hundreds of Russian paramilitaries deployed in the country.

A UN report in March expressed concern about Russian paramilitaries participating in human rights abuses alongside C.A.R. government forces, and in some cases UN peacekeepers. The alleged abuses include mass summary executions, forced displacement of the civilian population, and indiscriminate targeting of civilian facilities.

Numerous witnesses and NGOs say the instructors are in fact paramilitaries from the Vagner Group, a Russian military contractor with ties to the government, who are actively participating alongside Rwandan special forces and UN peacekeepers in the fight against rebels.

Russia has significantly increased its presence and influence in the poor but resource-rich African country, where Russian national Valery Zakharov serves as national-security adviser to President Touadera.

The C.A.R. government has granted gold- and diamond-mining permits to Russian companies suspected of having links to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the man believed to be the head of the Vagner Group.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard Mills also addressed Russia's role at the UN Security Council.

"We are troubled as well by continued reports of Central African armed forces and Russian instructors committing violations of international humanitarian law," he said. "They are operating [as a] direct extension of Russia's Ministry of Defense."

France's ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, also raised concerns.

"Some will attempt to deny the presence of the Vagner company. Therefore, who are these men involved in the fighting...and to whom do they answer for their actions?" he asked.

Last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Russia of what he called a "seizure of power" in the Central African Republic in order to exploit natural resources.

"In the Central African Republic, there is a form of a seizure of power, and in particular of military power, by Russian mercenaries," he told BFM TV. "We are fighting this and it has led us to take measures to withdraw a certain number of our military personnel."

The French military earlier this month suspended financial aid and military cooperation with the Central African Republic, a former colony.

It accused the government of being "complicit" in an anti-French disinformation campaign backed by Russia.

With reporting by AFP

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Belarus Shuts Down More NGOs Amid Continued Crackdown.

Belarus Shuts Down More NGOs Amid Continued Crackdown.

Belarus has forced the closure of 15 more nongovernmental organizations as strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka's crackdown against pro-democracy activists, the independent media, and civil rights groups continues to intensify.

Radio Free Europe

Trans-Siberian Railroad Blocked After Bridge Collapse.

Trans-Siberian Railroad Blocked After Bridge Collapse.

Floods caused by heavy rains in Siberia have led to the collapse of a bridge, severing the Trans-Siberian Railway, the world's longest rail line that spans Russia, from Moscow to the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

Radio Free Europe

Jailed Journalist Safronov Decries Russia's 'Spy-Making' System.

Jailed Journalist Safronov Decries Russia's 'Spy-Making' System.

Jailed former Russian journalist Ivan Safronov, who is charged with high treason, has slammed state authorities, including the judiciary, for their treatment of suspects and methods used in investigating espionage amid a wave of cases aimed at muz...

Radio Free Europe

Gutfeld: Our government created artificial danger

Gutfeld: Our government created artificial danger

'Gutfeld!' panel discusses the double standard in prosecuting criminals based on their political affiliation #Gutfeld #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-e...

Police fire tear gas & water cannon anti-vax protesters in Greece.

Police fire tear gas & water cannon anti-vax protesters in Greece.

Protesters and police clashed outside Athens parliament on Wednesday during a rally against coronavirus vaccinations. Demonstrators and officers could be seen exchanging blows before police sent volleys of tear gas into the crowd of about 1,500 pe...

Deadly flooding paralyzes Henan province in China - DW News.

Deadly flooding paralyzes Henan province in China - DW News.

At least 33 people have been killed in the severe flooding in central China's province of Henan, and more than 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. With more rain on the way, there are fears that the situation may get worse. Subscr...

Pollution Concerns In Florida Grow Over Return Of Big Cruise Ships.

Pollution Concerns In Florida Grow Over Return Of Big Cruise Ships.

Water around the Florida coast has been cleaner during the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of minimal pollution. NBC News' Josh Lederman takes an in-depth look to see what the cause might be. » Subscribe to MSNBC: MSNBC delivers breaking news, in-de...

Cuban Catholics feel 'betrayed' by the Pope: Rachel Campos-Duffy.

Cuban Catholics feel 'betrayed' by the Pope: Rachel Campos-Duffy.

'Fox & Friends Weekend' co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy says the Pope's response to the consequences of communism is 'weak and next to nothing.' Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a...

This Morning’s Top Headlines – July 22 - Morning News NOW.

This Morning’s Top Headlines – July 22 - Morning News NOW.

A Covid-19 "swat team" is deployed in Las Vegas to battle the rapidly spreading Delta variant, first lady Jill Biden arrives in Tokyo for the long-delayed 2020 Olympics, and an Arkansas judge blocks the state's ban on gender-affirming care for tra...