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Will a Rebranded Wagner Group (as Africa Corps) Establish Operations in Niger?

C/O Futures PMC/Mercenary Research Note Series

Lisa J. Campbell

11 March 2024

In July 2023, a coup in Niger returned the country to indefinite authoritarian military rule. The pro-Russia, anti-west coup, which followed a decade of steady progress under democratically elected civilian governments, presents a regional threat to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in the Sahel. Trendlines had shown substantial improvements in Niger over the last decade while under democratic rule, in areas of the economy, security, corruption, and human development.[1] That period followed 35 years of military rule and four coups between 1974 and 2010, which brought stagnation, negative growth rates, contracted per capita income, and political instability. Considering documented trendlines, the 2023 coup was unjustifiable. The success of the coup is due in part to at least three complex information warfare campaigns that took place as early as 2020 in Niger, some or all of which were sponsored by Russia and likely orchestrated by its pseudo-private military company (pseudo-PMC), the Wagner Group.[2] It is likely that multiple successful disinformation campaigns led to the series of coups from 2020-2023 in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger resulting in a region-wide geopolitical shift away from the West, and in favor of Russia. Russia and the Wagner Group already have a well-established operational presence in Mali. Africa Corps, said to be a re-branded Wagner Group, is in the process of deploying to Burkina Faso.[3] With a new defense alliance having formed between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, a Wagner Group/Africa Corps presence in Niger seems likely to occur in the near term.

Wagner Group in Niger CO Futures Campbell
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