Africa Defense Forum
ADF is a professional military magazine published quarterly by U.S. Africa Command to provide an international forum for African security professionals. ADF covers topics such as counter terrorism strategies, security and defense operations, transnational crime, and all other issues affecting peace, stability, and good governance on the African continent.

Sudan Claims it Stopped a CAR Coup Attempt, but Truth is Unclear


Sudan closed its border with the Central African Republic (CAR) in early January, claiming the action was necessary to head off a coup attempt against the CAR’s leadership. However, some observers are denying the report and saying Sudan’s actions may have been meant to benefit Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries.

Sudanese Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, declared last month that the border closing had stopped an armed group from entering the CAR from Sudanese territory.

Dagalo didn’t specify which group had been stopped, only saying that they had been wearing uniforms of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which he controls. Dagalo is also the deputy leader of the military junta controlling Sudan and a rival of the junta leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Dagalo’s actions followed the January 1 announcement by the CAR rebel group, the Siriri Coalition, that it intended to march on the CAR capital.

The Siriri Coalition is a group of mostly Sudanese and Chadian mercenaries opposed to CAR’s President Faustin Archange Touadera and the Wagner Group. The coalition is affiliated with the brother of former CAR government minister and current rebel spokesman Abakar Sabone, according to Human Angle Media.

Shortly after Siriri’s announcement, Dagalo asked the Sudanese government to break up the group. In late January, Sudanese authorities began investigating and arresting armed groups that had set up camp along Sudan’s western border.

Rebels inside CAR say they have no forces inside Sudan. Rather, they say, the RSF actions along the border have been part of a plan with mercenaries from the Wagner Group to launch an assault against them.

Wagner is deeply involved in mining for gold and diamonds along the border. The money raised by smuggling gold and diamonds out of Sudan and the CAR is funneled into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

“In Bangui, Wagner troops protect the government, particularly the presidency, while their modus operandi in the provinces indicates that they are primarily interested in securing gold and diamond zones,” Pauline Bax, Africa program deputy director at the International Crisis Group, told the Middle East Eye.

Wagner fighters have been accused of numerous human rights violations in the CAR. In March 2022, Wagner fighters killed hundreds of artisanal miners in Andaha, a gold mining area near the border with Sudan. The dead included miners from the CAR, Sudan, and Chad, among other places.

Bax said many of the clashes between Wagner fighters and rebels have been about the mines. “They [Wagner] control several important mining areas, and regularly engage in fighting in mining areas that are under control of [Coalition of Patriots for Change] CPC rebels,” she said.

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