Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin has appeared in his first video message since his failed insurrection in Russia.
Afrireporters cannot authoritatively confirm where the video posted online was recorded but Prigozhin’s comments and certain posts in pro-Wagner channels suggested it was shot in Africa.
Wagner soldiers are incorporated in countries such Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) among others where he has business interests.
Rights groups and the UN have accused the Wagner forces of committing war crimes in Africa and beyond.
Prigozhin is pictured standing in a region wearing camouflage and holding a gun. More armed men and a pickup truck can be seen in the distance.
“The temperature is +50 – everything as we like. The Wagner PMC makes Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa – more free. Justice and happiness – for the African people, we’re making life a nightmare for ISIS and Al-Qaeda and other bandits,” Prigozhin says in a video.
The head of the mercenary also said he’s recruiting people and the group “will fulfil the tasks that were set”.
Prigozhin has been off the radar since his short-lived rebellion against the Kremlin in June.
A rich war-preneur with questionable records, Prigozhin is known as “Putin’s chef” because he provided catering for the Kremlin.
Apart from having an active presence in Ukraine, he is thought to have played key roles helping Russia to annex Crimea In 2014.
Prigozhin said in June that Wagner forces have increased in number from 5,000 to 25,000 since the start of the Ukraine war to 25,000 fighters.