On August 19, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied allegations made in a news report about human rights abuses and looting by mercenary troops from the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company, in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The Bloomberg News story cited witness who said soldiers in one March incident killed at least a dozen miners in eastern CAR. The witnesses said they saw Russian-speaking soldiers. The attackers "killed randomly and looted, taking everything including property, money and gold," one man told Bloomberg.
Zakharova claimed that Russia’s involvement in CAR is part of a broader international effort to strengthen the country’s law enforcement agencies “to maintain security, law and order.”
“Such articles are purely unfounded and involve unscrupulous methods, such as the fabrication of facts. The goal clearly is to tarnish Russia’s image,” Zakharova said.
That is false. The reports are far from unfounded; multiple news organizations and human rights groups have reported on claims of human rights abuses by Wagner troops and accusations that Wagner forces are looting precious metals, mainly gold.
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