Burkina Faso demands clarification over Ghanaian leader’s Wagner comments

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has said that Wagner's mercenaries were deployed in neighbouring Burkina Faso in exchange for a mine.Ghana's…

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has said that Wagner’s mercenaries were deployed in neighbouring Burkina Faso in exchange for a mine.Ghana’s ambassador to Burkina Faso Boniface Gambila Adagbila was summoned to an “urgent audience” this Friday morning at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following Akufo-Addo’s assertion that Burkina Faso has made a deal with the Russian private security group Wagner, the Burkina News Agency (AIB) reported.


It added that Ouagadougou has also recalled its diplomat in Accra, General Pingrenoma Zagre for “consultation.”


On Tuesday 14 December, on the sidelines of the US-Africa summit, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, expressed concern about the presence of forces of the Russian private security group Wagner in the south of Burkina Faso, on the border with his country.


“Today Russian mercenaries are on our northern border. Burkina Faso has now made an arrangement with Mali for the Wagner forces in Mali to intervene in Burkina,” Akufo-Addo said.


The possibility of using Wagner to help Burkina Faso, which has been plagued by jihadist attacks for seven years, has been the subject of debate for several months and has drawn warnings from Western partners.


The French foreign ministry said on Thursday that the Burkinabe government was fully aware of the risks of working with mercenaries from the Russian group Wagner after the Ghanaian president’s comments.


“As far as Wagner is concerned, our message is well known, Wagner has distinguished itself in Africa by a policy of predation, a policy of plunder, which undermines the sovereignty of states… The Wagner militia has particularly distinguished itself in Mozambique, the Central African Republic and Mali; this is obviously known to the Burkinabe authorities,” said French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre.


On her return from a trip to the Sahel, US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland had said at the end of October that the Burkinabe president, Ibrahim Traoré, had no intention of calling on the Russian paramilitary group Wagner.


So far, there is no official information about an agreement between the group and Burkina Faso, even though Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyelem recently visited Russia.