Washington “very concerned” by the presence of the Wagner group in Sudan

A presence that worries Washington. The head of the American diplomacy Antony Blinken worried Monday about the presence of the Russian group of mercenaries Wagner in Sudan, where fierce fighting has opposed the army to paramilitaries for ten days, killing hundreds.

“We have very serious concerns about the involvement of Prigojine’s group – the Wagner group – in Sudan,” Blinken said at a joint press conference with his Kenyan counterpart Alfred Mutua, who criticized the role played by some Middle Eastern countries.

“Now is not the time to take sides”

“We have been concerned for some time about the role played by some of our friends in the Middle East, as well as Russia and others, who support one side or the other,” said the Kenyan affairs minister. foreign.

“Now is not the time to take sides with one side or the other,” he said, asking “external forces to leave Sudan alone”. Mutua did not name any particular country. For his part, Mr. Blinken noted that the Wagner group, which is also active in Mali or the Central African Republic, brings “where it is present its share of additional deaths and destruction”.

News reports citing officials said Wagner Group supplied weapons to General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) who opposes General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, the de facto ruler of Sudan.

Washington rules out any operation

The Kenyan minister again expressed the hope that his country could mediate in this conflict, its president William Ruto being ready to go to Sudan as soon as conditions permit. Faced with the deterioration of security conditions, the United States evacuated their diplomatic personnel from Sudan overnight from Saturday to Sunday – less than a hundred people – and suspended the operations of their embassy in Khartoum.

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But Washington has for the moment ruled out any operation aimed at bringing out the American nationals still present in Sudan, preferring to help them on a case-by-case basis. The US secretary of state was unable to put a figure on the number of US citizens, many of whom have dual Sudanese nationality, but said “a few dozen” had told authorities they wanted to leave the country. .

“We are working closely with our allies and partners to do what we can to help them find a way out if that is what they decide,” Blinken said, while pointing out the difficulties. He thus indicated that a convoy had been the subject of “theft and looting”, without details.

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