(Reuters) – The Russian private military Wagner Group denied it was operating in Sudan and said it had nothing to do with battles rocking the giant impoverished African state.
Western diplomats in Khartoum said in March 2022 that Wagner was involved in illicit gold mining in Sudan, among other activities. Sudan denied this was the case.
“Due to the large number of inquiries from various foreign media about Sudan, most of which are provocative, we consider it necessary to inform everyone that Wagner staff have not been in Sudan for more than two years,” the group wrote on Telegram.
Wagner had not had contacts for a long time with either Sudan’s military ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, or paramilitary chief General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, whose forces are at the heart of the current conflict, it said.
Companies associated with Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin have no financial interests in Sudan, it added, saying the conflict was a purely internal Sudanese affair.
Wagner mercenaries, which have in the past been deployed against insurgents in Mali and the Central African Republic, are currently spearheading attempts to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.