Russian troops in West Africa, a major concern for UK
According to a minister speaking to the BBC, Russia’s presence in West Africa is “neither constructive nor helpful,” and Britain is worried about the Russian mercenaries operating there.
During his visit to the area, UK Development Minister Andrew Mitchell reaffirmed his country’s commitment to assisting West African coastal nations stop the movement of militants from the Sahel and maintain general security.
He has, however, also voiced concern over how “very difficult” it has been to communicate security-related issues with the Burkina Faso government.
In order to evaluate Ghana’s capacity to fend off the jihadists, Mr. Mitchell has been visiting a military base in the northern part of the country.
It comes after Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group have been operating near the country’s northern border with Burkina Faso.
He described Wagner’s presence as “distressing” during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week.
He alleged that the military junta in Burkina Faso had hired Wagner mercenaries to help fight extremists and awarded them a mining concession as a form of payment. Burkina Faso has not commented on the claim.
In recent weeks, hundreds of people fleeing militants attacks in Burkina Faso have crossed the border into northern Ghana.