On 25 January, Russia’s MoD-led Africa Corps announced through telegram the arrival of over a hundred servicemen to Burkina Faso. Since Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death in August 2023, the Wagner PMC has fallen out of favour, leading to a slow disbandment. As such, the Africa Corps seeks to replace their role. Since the expulsion of French troops across the Sahel in 2023, Russia has increased their bilateral and military ties with nations in the region. Originally, Wagner paved the way for joint Counter Terrorism efforts but convoluted itself in atrocities across the Sahel. However, forming in November 2023, the Africa Corps is aiming to replace Wagner as Russia’s boots on the ground in the region.
Key Judgement 1: The Africa Corps is likely to recruit from Wagner mercenaries for its Africa operations over the next 12 months.
Key Judgement 2: Russia will likely seek to court Sahelian nations who have Western influence over the next 12 months.
Key Judgement 3: It is unlikely that the Africa Corps will be an effective replacement for Wagner in the next 6 months.