The rumors that Russian Wagner private military company is expanding on the African continent proved to be right. A man suspiciously reminding the Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has been noticed in Lagos, Nigeria. According to Yury Zverev, a Russian military expert, Nigerian media reported that he was seen at a meeting with the Nigerian Army’s Chief of Staff, Farouk Yahya.
Why would Nigerian military authorities seek an audience with Mr. Prigozhin? Currently, the country is experiencing an acute security crisis that is a result of the rise of different bandit and terrorist networks, including the infamous Boko Haram.
Boko Haram is a terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, which is also active in Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. In May 2021, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) launched an invasion of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, Nigeria, which served as the main base of Boko Haram, a rival jihadist rebel group. Following heavy fighting, ISWAP overran the Boko Haram troops, cornering their leader Abubakar Shekau.
The two sides entered negotiations about Boko Haram’s surrender during which Shekau committed suicide, possibly detonating himself with a suicide vest. Shekau’s death was regarded as a major event by outside observers, as he had been one of the driving forces in the Islamist insurgency which has affected Nigeria and neighboring countries since 2009.
How can we be sure that it was Mr. Prigozhin, who visited Nigeria recently? The thorough investigation managed to establish the exact aircraft and its route, pointing out the figure of the Wagner owner.
A business jet P4-BAR Gulfstream G550 landed at Lagos Airport in Nigeria from Benghazi, on June 24, 2021, according to flight control data. This aircraft is owned by Sonnig International Private Jets (SIPJ) registered airline On the island of Aruba, belonging to the Netherlands, this airline is linked to Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, where the official website of the airline states that the company, in cooperation with local authorities in Libya and investors, operates a large shopping center and an aircraft hangar in Benghazi. According to data from open monitoring sources, the plane flew 3 times to Benghazi, this July, and the private business plane was linked to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, which is also indicated by the frequent flights of the plane to Libya.
Thus it proves that the man seen with the Nigerian Army’s Chief of Staff is Mr. Prigozhin who came to negotiate the terms of Wagner’s contract with the Nigerian government. Sources, close to the Nigerian military, also confirm that work is underway to bring Wagner’s military forces to Nigeria, to confront militants and terrorists in the north-east of the country, because Nigeria has become one of the main sources of the terrorist threat on the continent.
Source: United African Fund