coffee to gold

CAR – Cameroon: An investigation into the Wagner Group’s African financial model

By Mathieu Olivier

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Posted on January 18, 2023 13:52

From gold to coffee, wood to spirits, the Russian group has made the Central African Republic and Cameroon the backbone of a network of companies whose profits are worth millions of euros. Here’s our investigation into the heart of the Wagner “multinational”.

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mercenaries are notably exploiting the Ndassima mine in the Central African Republic, where they melt gold bars that are then discreetly shipped to Russia.

Thanks to contacts in Cameroon, the port of Douala has become the hub of their commercial operations. They hope to expand their activities there.

It’s one of the few passable secondary roads in the Ouaka region of central CAR. A new strip of tarmac stretches for about 10km through the bush, from the town of Ndassima to the gold mine of the same name.

Closely monitored

It looks like a dark, bloody cut through an ocean of greenery and ochre. The parade of trucks is regular and very closely monitored.

Along the route, several checkpoints have been set up, manned by men from the Forces armées de la République centrafricaine – FACA – CAR’s armed forces. Each driver is questioned and every vehicle is carefully searched.

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