Russian Military Base May Appear in Central African Republic

In January, a senior official stated that CAR had set aside land in Berengo, 80km west of Bangui, for a potential Russian military base.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 06:05 AM, April 20, 2024
  • 820
Russian Military Base May Appear in Central African Republic
CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera in Russia in October 2020 @Russia MoD

The Central African Republic (CAR) is considering deploying a Russian military base in the eastern region to enhance border security in that area.

In an interview with RTVI, President Faustin-Archange Touadera expressed interest in potentially establishing a Russian military base in the eastern region of his country to bolster border security. He highlighted the vast and challenging nature of the eastern region, which is plagued by the presence of various armed groups.

"I believe that the eastern region can serve this purpose, given its enormity, distance, and the presence of numerous hostile forces. This could help protect our borders, support our forces, and ensure security in those areas. I believe that as we continue to develop our cooperation with the Russian Federation, we will assess this situation," he said.

The president noted that CAR has previously hosted foreign military bases, including French bases that were voluntarily vacated and a U.S. base in Obo that was unilaterally withdrawn by the Americans.

In January, Fidel Ngouandika, an advisor to the president of an African nation, disclosed to the African Initiative news agency that the government had allocated land in Berengo, 80km west of Bangui, for a potential Russian military base.

Ngouandika stated that Berengo's infrastructure could accommodate up to 10,000 servicemen for training purposes. He emphasized, "The Russian military presence in CAR is intended for training our soldiers. We are fully committed to Russia and believe their support is crucial."

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russia is expanding its influence in Africa through the Africa Corps, controlled by the Russian Ministry of Defense, with operations likely to expand in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and CAR.

Reuters reported that Russia initially sent Wagner Group security contractors to CAR in 2018, followed by 1,500 troops to support the country's army, including some serving in President Faustin-Archange Touadera's security detail. The Wagner Group has also been linked to mining activities in CAR and other African countries.

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