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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Wagner has quietly picked sides in Sudan, US says

Founder of the Wagner private mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in Moscow earlier this month.

By Eric Schmitt and Edward Wong

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the notorious private military company Wagner, has offered weapons to the paramilitaries fighting for control of Sudan, according to U.S. officials.

Prigozhin, who is waging a brutal military campaign on behalf of Russia in Ukraine, said this week that he wanted peace and offered to help mediate between the rival generals fighting for power. But U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, said Prigozhin is actually intent on fueling the fighting between the two military factions in Sudan: the Sudanese army, overseen by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitaries, led by Lt. Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

Wagner — which previously sent Sudan armored vehicles and training in return for lucrative gold mining concessions — has offered powerful weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, to Dagalo’s paramilitaries, U.S. officials said.

As of Friday, Dagalo had not decided whether to accept the weapons, which would come from Wagner stocks in the Central African Republic, the officials said.

Since 2019, Wagner has expanded its activities in Sudan, mining for gold, exploring for uranium and supplying mercenaries to the restive region of Darfur. After the two generals seized power in 2021, Wagner intensified its partnership with Dagalo, who visited Moscow in the early days of the Ukraine war and has received military equipment from the mercenary group.

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