CNN is reporting that Russian mercenaries have been torturing and killing of civilians in Central African Republic (CAR).
CNN says the U.N. estimates there are around 2,300 Russian mercenaries, in some 30 bases, now operating in CAR, with the consent and backing of the CAR Government which is fighting a internal war with a militia group called Seleka.
Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, issued the following statement on the situation:
“I urge the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) to not partner with Russian mercenaries to solve internal conflict, and I call for an immediate investigation into Russian mercenaries torturing and killing innocent civilians in the country. This is another example of how a country uses a developing African nation for its own economic gain. CAR is a mineral-rich country that has faced interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, and the Russians are taking advantage of their plight for economic gain.
“I also condemn the partnership between the Government of CAR and Russian mercenaries and the attacks on UN Peacekeepers in CAR, which clearly are human rights abuses and the violation of international humanitarian law. There have been reports by the United Nations, media outlets, and international NGOs, that Russian military instructors have led military offensives in CAR. The reports claim that Russian mercenaries have threatened and confronted U.N. peacekeepers, committed extensive sexual violence against women, and burned homes leaving people displaced. Although Russia used propaganda for its own economic gains, and its mercenaries are torturing and killing innocent civilians, the international community must do a better job and assist the people of CAR in peacefully resolving their long internal conflict.
“I recommend that the Government of CAR seek a peaceful resolution to its internal conflict through dialogue mediated by the international community without the interference of Russian mercenaries; and support MINUSCA in protecting innocent civilians.”