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Ghana Accuses Burkina of Inviting Russian Wagner Mercenaries

Several countries accuse Mali’s ruling junta of using the services of Wagner, which is reputedly close to the Moscow regime

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has accused his country’s neighbour Burkina Faso of inviting in mercenaries from Russian firm Wagner, calling the deployment “particularly distressing”.

“Burkina Faso has now entered into an arrangement to go along with Mali in employing the Wagner forces there,” Akufo-Addo said Wednesday in remarks that Burkina Faso had not responded to by Thursday.

“I believe a (mineral) mine in southern Burkina has been allocated to them as a form of payment for their services,” he said during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“To have them operating on our northern border is particularly distressing for us in Ghana.”

Burkina government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo told AFP that “we have no reaction”.

“I’ll leave him to take responsibility for what he said,” Ouedraogo said.

In several French-speaking African countries, Moscow has been actively courting public opinion on social media and enjoys growing popular support as France, the former colonial power, is increasingly reviled.

Several countries accuse Mali’s ruling junta of using the services of Wagner, which is reputedly close to the Moscow regime, which Bamako denies.

Rekindling ties with Russia has also been on the agenda in Burkina Faso since a coup on September 30.

That coup, the second in eight months, brought Captain Ibrahim Traore to power as the country struggles to cope with recurrent jihadist attacks that have haunted the country since 2015.

On Monday, Burkina Faso’s Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyelem de Tembela met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow to discuss “the priority issues of strengthening relations,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Asked about the trip, the Burkinabe government spokesman declined to comment.

Burkinabe Prime Minister Kyelem de Tembela said previously that he did not rule out reviewing his country’s relations with Russia.

“We will try, as much as possible, to diversify our relations with partners until we find the right formula for Burkina Faso’s interests,” he said.

“But there will be no question of letting us be dominated by any partner.”

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