Wagner founder throws support behind new Burkina Faso leader
Evgueni Viktorovitch Prigojine, founder of Russian private security company Wagner, has blessed last Friday military coup in Burkina Faso, and said that the new leader Captain Ibrahim Traoré is a true son of the West African country.
“I salute and support Captain Ibrahim Traoré,” Prigojine said.
Traore, 34, took over power last Friday and removed lieutenant-colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba who also came to power in January this year after removing elected leader Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
“Until last January, the people of Burkina Faso were under the yoke of colonialists who pillaged the people,” Prigojine said. The 61-year-old Russian oligarch, known close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, also indicted that Traore and his colleagues did what was necessary for the welfare of the nation.
Since Friday, demonstrators carrying Burkinabe and Russian flags have been touring the major cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso in support of the new authorities in power in Burkina Faso.
Some demonstrators also attacked France’s missions as they blamed Paris for the worst security situation in the country that has been grappling with terrorism for years.
The coup came few days after Damiba met in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov in view of bolstering cooperation between the two countries.
Wagner, currently present in Mali, Syria, Libya, Central African Republic and Ukraine is blamed by NATO of killing civilians and committing war crimes.