Breaking Investigative Report by CNN with The Sentry:
June 14, 2021 (New York, Washington DC, and undisclosed locations in Central Africa) – Over several months, The Sentry has worked closely with CNN on a confidential investigation, obtaining testimony and documents implicating the Wagner Group, a shadowy Kremlin-linked defense and security firm, in an array of mass atrocities against civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The investigative report airing today on CNN, along with an article to be published on CNN.com, details evidence of mass killings, extrajudicial executions, torture, pillage, kidnapping for ransom, the burning of villages, and mass rapes. The investigation further reveals how the Wagner Group’s private army of foreign mercenaries, in alliance with government armed forces loyal to CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, are unleashing this violence to control and exploit for private gain areas rich in gold, diamonds, and valuable minerals.
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “In the Central African Republic, transnational criminal networks have captured state institutions and taken entire communities hostage. This is a looting and killing machine, serving the interests of the Central African president and his foreign allies, in particular the Kremlin-linked private army known as the Wagner Group, as they plunder the country’s gold, diamonds, and other mineral wealth. This lucrative new model for plunder represents a rapidly spreading threat, delivering death and devastation and undermining peace and security not only in Central Africa but in other hotspots around the world. Urgent actions by the international community, including hard-hitting financial measures by governments and international financial institutions, should aim to stop the hemorrhaging in CAR and elsewhere.”
Nathalia Dukhan, Senior Investigator at The Sentry, said: “We are witnessing and have collected evidence of unprecedented human suffering in the Central African Republic, where civilians are right now being hunted like animals. Since December, Central African military forces and foreign mercenaries recruited by the Wagner Group have been engaged in an orchestrated series of brutal and greed-fueled military operations. Seeking to eliminate rebel factions they consider hostile to Russian interests in areas rich with natural resources, these private paramilitary forces have been involved in large-scale and systematic acts of torture, forced disappearance, extrajudiciary executions and mass killings, pillaging, kidnapping for ransom, and mass rapes. By joining forces, international and regional actors can speak out and take action together to aid a population being decimated by this war over the spoils of corrupt power.”
The Wagner Group and related entities and individuals are currently subject to sanctions designations by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
URGENT POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS:
In conjunction with the investigative report, The Sentry has released a series of recommendations to governments and financial institutions around the world to help halt the ongoing atrocities, human rights violations, devastation, and grave human suffering at the hands of the Wagner Group and the Touadéra regime’s armed forces.
WATCH THE REPORT: https://thesentry.org/
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About The Sentry
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.