The government of Burkina Faso has summoned Ghana’s Ambassador to answer allegations by Ghana of Russian mercenary operations.
Boniface Gambilla was summoned by the Burkinabe government of over recent allegations made by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the US, according to the Burkinabe News Agency.
President Akufo-Addo, in a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the US on Wednesday, raised concerns about the presence of Russian mercenaries on Ghana’s border with Burkina Faso.
“Today, Russian mercenaries are on our northern border. Burkina Faso has now entered into an arrangement to go along with Mali in employing the Wagner forces there
“I believe the mines in southern Burkina have been allocated to them as a form of payment for their services. Prime Minister of Burkina Faso in the last 10 days has been in Moscow,” Akufo-Addo said, adding that it was a concern and distressing development for Ghana.
The Wagner group is a mercenary outfit run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Burkinabe ambassador to Ghana has also been recalled over the matter. The summons is to seek further clarifications on President Akufo-Addo’s claims.
Burkinabe authorities have not commented on whether or not they are working with the Wagner, which was hired in neighbouring Mali to help fight Islamist militants.
The prospect of Wagner expanding its presence in Africa has troubled Western powers such as France and the United States, who say the group exploits mineral resources and commits human rights abuses in countries where it operates.
Burkina Faso is facing an Islamist insurgency by some of the same groups that are present in Mali, and like its neighbour is ruled by a military junta that came to power on promises to improve security.
Mali’s decision to employ Wagner forces last year alienated it from regional and Western allies and was one of the reasons why French counter-terrorism forces pulled out.
Wagner forces have also fought in Libya, Central African Republic and Mozambique.