A Russian citizen close to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group has been wounded in an assassination attempt in the Central African Republic, according to Prigozhin and Russian officials.
Dmitry Syty, who runs “Russia House” in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui, received a package that exploded in his hand, according to the press service of Prigozhin’s holding company Concord.
Prigozhin said Syty’s last words before he lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital were:
“I saw a note: ‘This is from all the French, the Russians will leave Africa.'”
Wagner’s presence in the Central African Republic, where he has trained and fought with local armed forces, has been disputed. The CNN investigation has linked Wagner and related entities to the lucrative diamond trade in Central Africa and to multiple human rights abuses in the country, where the military has been battling many rebel factions.
A CNN team met Syty in 2019 when he was involved in mediating between the CAR government and rebel groups. He was also the founder of a diamond company linked to Prigozhin’s business empire.
Prigozhin accused France of being behind the attack on Syty.
“On February 1, 2022, the “Russian House” was inaugurated in the Central African Republic oppressed by the French for centuries, ravaging the population and plundering the wealth of the Central African Republic. Dmitry Syty, patriot of Russia and the Central African Republic,” he said .
“On November 11, Dmitry Syty received a package from Togo containing a picture of his son living in France. Inside was a note saying that if “the Russian does not leave the continent, next time he will Receiving the head of his son opened the door for the French. ”
Prigozhin said: “He received another package today. Despite all instructions to observe security measures, Dmitry Syty, on a whim, thought his son’s head was in the package and opened it. There was an explosion.”
CNN could not confirm Prigozhin’s allegations.
“I have submitted an application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation to initiate the procedure of declaring France a State Sponsor of Terrorism and to conduct a thorough investigation into the methods of terrorism of France and its Western allies – the United States and other countries .”
A Russian group in the Central African Republic linked to Bangui’s Russia House said Syty’s “condition is serious and doctors are fighting for his life”.
“The attempted assassination against the Russian presidential palace in the Central African Republic is an inhuman and terrorist act that needs to be strongly condemned,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted as saying by Russia’s official news agency TASS.
He said: “Russia will make every effort to find the organizer of the assassination attempt at the head of the Russian House in the Central African Republic. The Russian Federation will not show fear of terrorists and will not close the Russian House in the Central African Republic .” The Republic. “
The Russian foreign ministry said it “strongly condemns the[s] This criminal act was clearly intended to impede the activities of Russia House in Bangui and, more broadly, to impair the successful development of friendly relations between our two countries. ”
“We hope that, based on the operational investigations of the competent authorities of the Central African Republic, those responsible for organizing and carrying out this atrocity will be identified and punished,” the foreign ministry added.
Uliana Pavlova contributed to this article.