🇷🇺 Russia in Africa: Inside a military training centre in CAR | Talk to Al Jazeera In The Field

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🇷🇺 Russia in Africa: Inside a military training centre in CAR | Talk to Al Jazeera In The Field 4.5

Russia is back in the Central African Republic(CAR).

In a military training base located on former palace grounds southwest of the capital Bangui, hundreds of Russian fighters, described as army reservists, are training Central African government soldiers in preparation for deployment along the country's border.

The CAR government hopes to regain control of the country, which is torn by sectarian violence and the operations of 14 rebel groups. CAR, formerly colonised by France, is rich in strategically important minerals, diamonds, and gold.

Russia has sought influence in CAR before when the Soviet Union developed ties during the reign of former President Jean-Bedel Bokassa before he was overthrown in 1979.

In 2017, CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting, asking for help. It was a meeting that stunned many on the Security Council, especially France, who had advised the the presidents of CAR for years.

Valery Zakharov, a former Russian intelligence official, stepped in as adviser to CAR's president.

Zakharov gave Al Jazeera access to the military base, where three Russian journalists were killed investigating the potential involvement of the Russian private security company, the Wagner Group.

He denies accusations that Russia will exploit resources or cause instability, and told Al Jazeera that Russia hopes to end conflict in the country.

"My job is to deal with national security, I help restore the army, police and all sorts of questions regarding national security," he said.

"The Russians came here to bring peace. To arm government troops is one of the tasks so in the future these soldiers can occupy the borders and peace can be brought here in the end, and police take care of internal security."

While Russia did help broker a peace deal that was signed by the 14 armed groups in February 2019, some are still concerned that Russia is playing a geopolitical chess game in Africa, which involves China and the United States who have already established bases in places like Djibouti.

Just a 10-minute car drive away from the presidential palace is the mainly Muslim PK5 neighbourhood, which is effectively dominated by Seleka fighter Nimery Matar Djamous aka 'General Force', who is accused of war crimes including torture, rape, and extortion, and has evaded arrest by the United Nations security forces.

He views the arrival of the Russians with deep suspicion.

"I trust the president of the Central African Republic, it's us who elected the president, in a difficult moment ... He worked well, but there's ... the politics that exceed him," he said.

"The Russians are not here to help, they want our gold, diamonds and minerals. They are here to exploit and replace the French. What they want is obtain France's position here."

There are other concerns of interference. Gunshots were fired after Karim Meckassoua, then-president of the CAR National Assembly, was dismissed of his position in a vote of no confidence. He believes Russia orchestrated the move.

"Because I was bothering them, putting up obstacles. They are ignoring our constitution. Only the national assembly can be in charge of the country's wealth, in other words no licence to mines or financial contract or timber exploitation can be delivered without the consent of the national assembly. Who is trying to brush our laws aside? The Russians," Meckassoua said.

Najat Rochdi from the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, said that peacekeepers welcome involvement from all member states, but says that they must abide by some rules.

"The presence of the Russian, you know, this country needs the support of everybody, really, of everybody in terms of member states. Every single member state is more than welcome to support the country, while it comes also with some obligations. And the obligation is to be part of the international community and of the partners and to play the game by the name."

#AlJazeeraEnglish #RussianArmy #CentralAfrica

💬 Comments on the video

"So secret military camp" -the Russians giving him a tour inside the camp

Author — Leo Geekiyanage


How dare Russia government accept an invitation from a foreign government to succeed where others have failed!

Author — Steve Arthur


Why the propaganda anti-russia.we know that France and all the west countries are stealing resources and killing the people in Africa.

Author — Yaya


creating instability how so ?when 14 different armed groups are fighting the government forces and each-other is that a stable situation? that is a chaotic situation (good for foreign actors to take advantage and steal the resources of the country). the President asked help to train his military forces to be strong enough to enforce law and order they ( EU)refused so he asked Russia and they agreed to help. now they accuse Russia of creating instability?

Author — Victor Martinez


You are mad what is the problem with Russian coming to Africa how many military base US and France

Author — me myself


Journalist: ''So is Russia back in Africa?"
The Russian Interviewee who is currently sitting on a chair in Central Africa: "Am I a joke to you?"

Author — Oliver Queen


but if the US make such things thats okay but DEAARRRR if russia make some buissnes OMG WW3

Author — coREDevil


In Syria Russia turn losing war in to victory. This shows that Russian aid and expertise works. So, now everybody wants their knowledge.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan USA aid local regime so good that its fall the same second US soldiers go out of the country.

Author — Jernej Blatnik


I always get nauseated from seeing Bolton. I despise him, Pompeo and The others.

Author — Tino Tino


Russia please militarize whole north africa. Never I hear russians being racist just honest and I admire that. Please kick EU out of Africa!

Author — Akaboy4life


French is the most notorious country. It shows their very cultural, sympathetic, romantic but Most of the civil war in Africa happening because of French. French indirectly make Africa poor.

Author — Md harun


17:17 When someone says "African Warlord" he's exactly what i imagine

Author — 2prize


Russia and china are making the globalist afraid 😂😂😂😂

Author — Ryan lex


I haven't seen a single thing in this video that makes me think that Russia's tactics are any worse or different than America's.

Author — Wayne


if the Russian can do a better job than the French, UN and the U.S.; hey, why not. Let the Russians take over.

Author — Hi There


I repeat, no country, no country enters another country just to bring peace alone.

Author — T30-AFFAL0


He is trying hard to demonize Russia but i dnt think he could find anything evil done by Russia here. Go Russia go. You are the hope of this world!!

Author — Danny Sema


Look who’s talking about rule of law and what’s best for African people

Author — The Phenomenon


Thank God Russia and Syria defeated the coalition of evil

Author — si sla


Does Anyone know what King Leopold II did to Congo ? Anyone remember how Europeans colonized and looted Africa ? If you read a bit of history you'd know how the West ravaged, raped and decimated African resources for centuries.
Perhaps it's time for a change.
Viva Africa. ✌️

Author — Xin Xao