The Wagner Group failed in restoring order and security in several African states. While being cheaper than its American counterparts, Wagner’s forces are poorly equipped and their training remains basic. This could be regarded as a window of opportunity for the US and its European allies. Indeed, such failures can make inroads for well-equipped American Private Military Companies (PMCs) and lay the groundwork for cooperation with European armed forces.
Two cases highlight the inefficiency of the Wagner Group and the risk it presents with regards to human rights:
In Mozambique, the government selected Wagner as a partner instead of American PMCs. The reasons for this choice are that Russian forces offered a cheaper price, that Russia forgave part of Mozambique’s debt and that Russia came to be a partner in natural gas exploitation.
However, unlike its American competitors, the Wagner Group’s mercenaries are not trained in the field of understanding the human environment and are weak in cooperating with local forces. As a result, the involvement of Wagner ended up as failures.
The Wagner mercenaries lost ground against the Islamic State in northern provinces and sustained several casualties – the Mozambican troops lost way more soldiers.
The Central African Republic’s (CAR) government was ill-advised to grant access to Wagner to its territory and natural resources. After 4 years operating in this country, the Russian mercenaries were unable to make any substantial gains. Instead of fulfilling promises of quick victories against the rebells, their engagement only led to failures.
Worse : Wagner allegedly helped the rebels. The Russian mercenaries wanted to increase their gains beyond the access to mines offered by the CAR’s government and went on to exploit the locals and their resources by collaborating with the rebels.
These examples are blatant proofs of the risks of working with the Wagner Group. There are reasons why the company is so cheap. They are unprofessional and ill-equipped. They avoid international oversight and do not shy away from stealing additional natural resources by cooperating with the enemies of their clients. In the end, a deal with a cheap contractor such as Wagner might prove to be an utter failure, not only in humanitarian and military terms but also when looking at the costs for the local economy.