EU adds sanctions on Wagner for Africa rights abuses
February 27, 2023 12:18 PM
The EU on Saturday announced additional sanctions against Russia's Wagner mercenary organisation for "human rights abuses" in the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and Ukraine.
A total of 11 individuals and seven entities tied to the paramilitary group were added to the bloc's list for asset freezes and a travel ban.
The Wagner Group itself -- which is fighting in Russia's war in Ukraine -- was already sanctioned by the European Union in 2021.
The latest additional sanctions were decided "in view of the international dimension and gravity of the group's activities, as well as its destabilising impact on the countries where it is active", said a statement from the European Council.
"The Wagner Group's activities are a threat for the people in the countries where they operate and the European Union," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
The European Council said eight of the individuals and the seven entities listed came under the EU's Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime for Wagner's activities in the Central African Republic and Sudan.
One Wagner individual came under an EU sanctions regime applied specifically to Mali.
The other two Wagner individuals were listed under the EU's sanctions regime punishing Russia for its war in Ukraine, which was also updated on Saturday.
These two were Wagner commanders said to be linked to Russia's capture of the town of Soledar in Ukraine in January.
- Wagner in Africa -
In Mali, the EU sanctioned the head of Wagner's forces there. The statement said Wagner's fighters in Mali "have been involved in acts of violence and multiple human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings".
Mali is ruled by a junta that last year forced France to remove troops deployed there a decade ago on an anti-jihadist mission.
Others listed by the EU in the Central African Republic were high-profile Wagner members, including "the security advisor" to that country's President Faustin Archange Touadera.
Wagner has been involved in the Central African Republic at Touadera's invitation to quell a rebellion, and their presence also forced French troops there to leave last year.
Gold and diamond companies linked to Wagner in the Central African Republic and in Sudan were hit by the EU sanctions.
A Central African radio station, Lengo Sengo, was also listed "for engaging in online influence operations on behalf of Russia and the Wagner Group with the goal of manipulating public opinion".