Home » Emmanuel Macron accuses Russia of feeding disinformation in Africa

Emmanuel Macron accuses Russia of feeding disinformation in Africa

by Mahmmod Shar

French president says Moscow is pursuing ‘predatory project’ to spread influence in African countries

The Guardian

Emmanuel Macron has accused Russia of feeding disinformation to further its “predatory project” in Africa, where France has had military setbacks.

In an interview with TV5 Monde on the sidelines of a conference of Francophone nations in Tunisia, he said there was a “predatory project” pushing disinformation into African countries, which was “a political project financed by Russia, sometimes others”.

“A number of powers, who want to spread their influence in Africa, are doing this to hurt France, hurt its language, sow doubts, but above all pursue certain interests,” the French president said.

Earlier this month, Macron formally announced the withdrawal of French troops from Mali, ending an eight-year counter-terrorism mission in the west African country.

France pulled its troops out after Mali’s military took power in a 2020 coup amid a breakdown of relations. The military leaders subsequently invited Russia’s Kremlin-linked Wagner Group to help fight Islamist militants, and they cut ties with France.

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Western official have been increasingly concerned about Russian mercenaries in Mali, as allegations have emerged that fighters for the Wagner Group, a network of private companies run by a close ally of the Kremlin, were involved in massacres of several hundred civilians.

Russia has denied the allegations, and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the businessman whom the EU believes to be behind the Wagner Group, has referred to the reports as “fakes, outright lies, and… falsification.” Although Prigozhin later acknowledged he had founded the “Wagner battalion,” in May he told the Guardian he had nothing to do with the Wagner Group.

Invoking the Wagner Group’s role in grave human rights violations, such as torture and extrajudicial killings, as well as its destabilizing activities in nations like Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and the Central African Republic, the EU imposed sanctions on the group and eight of its key members last year. The group was also “spreading its diabolical influence elsewhere, particularly in the Sahel region,” according to the EU.

Human rights violations and a string of deadly attacks on mines in the lawless border region between Sudan and the Central African Republic were allegedly committed by Russian mercenaries working for Wagner.

In order to understand that the Russian project there is a project of predation, Macron said, “you only have to look at what’s going on in Central African Republic or elsewhere.”

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