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The United States has sanctioned two firms in the Central African Republic (CAR) that it claims are linked to the Russian Wagner Group, as part of an effort to counter Russia’s destabilizing activities in Africa. The US Treasury Department accused Mining Industries and Logistique Economique Etrangere of enabling Wagner security operations and illicit mining endeavors. Mining Industries was sanctioned for leasing aircraft from another sanctioned Emirati firm that Wagner used to transport personnel and equipment across Africa. Logistique Economique Etrangere was sanctioned for receiving shipments of heavy materials from another CAR-based company, likely intended for Wagner-linked illicit mining activities.

Treasury official Brian Nelson stated that the Russia-backed Wagner Group and its network of businesses have exploited the people and natural resources of the Central African Republic to advance the group’s agenda. The United States is committed to using its sanctions authorities to disrupt those supporting Russia’s destabilizing activities in Africa. The Biden administration formally labelled the Wagner Group a transnational criminal organization in 2023, unveiling a wave of sanctions against the mercenary force. Human Rights Watch previously accused Wagner mercenaries of committing human rights abuses in CAR between 2019 and 2021.

The Wagner Group was previously controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin until his death in a plane crash last August. The US sanctions imposed on Mining Industries and Logistique Economique Etrangere freeze the targeted entities’ assets in the country and prohibit any US citizens or entities from doing business with them. The sanctions are part of a broader effort by the US government to counter Russia’s activities in Africa and protect the interests of the Central African Republic. These actions reflect the ongoing geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia, and the impact of these tensions on countries in Africa.

The US government has been actively targeting entities linked to the Wagner Group in an effort to disrupt its operations and prevent further destabilization in Africa. By imposing sanctions on firms like Mining Industries and Logistique Economique Etrangere, the US aims to undermine the financial networks that support the Wagner Group’s activities in the region. These sanctions are part of a coordinated international effort to address the threat posed by Russian-backed mercenaries and their illicit activities in African countries like the Central African Republic.

The US Treasury Department’s statement highlights the importance of countering Russia’s influence in Africa, particularly through its support for groups like the Wagner Group. By targeting firms that enable Wagner’s operations, the US government is sending a clear message that it will not tolerate efforts to exploit the resources and people of African nations for nefarious purposes. The sanctions imposed on Mining Industries and Logistique Economique Etrangere are just one aspect of a broader strategy to address the broader geopolitical challenges posed by Russia’s activities in Africa and protect the interests of countries like the Central African Republic.

In conclusion, the US sanctions on firms linked to the Wagner Group in the Central African Republic demonstrate the ongoing efforts by the United States to counter Russia’s destabilizing activities in Africa. The sanctions target companies that facilitate Wagner’s operations and illicit activities, underscoring the US commitment to disrupting the financial networks that support the mercenary force. These actions are part of a broader strategy to address the threat posed by Russian-backed groups in Africa and protect the interests of countries like the Central African Republic. As geopolitical tensions continue to play out on the African continent, the US government remains committed to using its sanctions authorities to counter Russian influence and promote stability in the region.

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