Opportunity – A situation or occasion which makes it possible to do something that you want. This definition perfectly sums up the efforts of the North Korean regime who will never look to miss an opportunity. Moral dilemmas are non existent when money is available and North Korea is happy to make money, even if it is at the expense of innocent lives!
Wagner – Beginnings & Expansion into Africa
The Wagner Group (Группа Вагнера) is a Russian paramilitary organization co-founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin & Dmitry Utkin. Before the failed wagner rebellion in June, Prigozhin was a Russian oligarch who controled a network of heavily influential companies including the Internet Research Agency & Concord Management and Consulting. Wagner appears to have substantial ties to the Russian state, operating in support of Russian interests and have been described as ‘a private army of Putin’
Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed he initially founded the Wagner Group to support Russian backed separatist forces in the Donbas region, Ukraine in 2014. By late 2015 Wagner were also involved in Syrian civil war and their efforts to expand their activities and influence have only continued with Wagner believed to still be active in many African counties including:
• Central African Republic
Media reports suggest that Wagner are also heavily active in Sudan, a country currently being torn apart by two rival Sudanese generals fighting for control. Wagners previous interest in Sudan involved lucrative gold mining concessions as well as providing training and equipment to the security forces.
Recent reports by the Wall Street Journal claim that the Wagner group has offered heavy weapons to the leader of Sudan’s Rapid Support Force (RSF), Lt Gen. Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo and a recent CNN investigation also details flight movements indicating the potential weapons drop to RSF by Wagner.
Wagner fighters have been accused of numerous human rights breaches including torture, rape, mass execution and child abduction. Their actions have seen them sanctioned by several countries and organizations including the EU & US.
Where do North Korea get involved?
As mentioned earlier the North Korean regime likes oppurtuunity and in this case it’s the opportunity to make money. And where there is war there is always opportunity. Pyongyang Papers has been investigating DPRKs sanction breaking activity on the African continent for a number of years and has a growing network of sources that are willing to supply us information.
North Korean activity in Africa is just as shady as Wagner and over the years the DPRK have found the continent of Africa a rich source of revenue. The type of activity in Africa is wide ranging & sanctioned. For example, our previous articles have highlighted North Korean medical workers across Africa & DPRK involvement in construction projects. Over the decades the DPRK regime has also offered more sinister services to African leaders.
A recent video emerged online depicting the RSF capturing weapons in Sudan that are believed to have originated from North Korea. Pyongyang Papers has also been informed that operating throughout Africa, Wagner is supplying DPRK sourced anti-aircraft missiles and mortars to rebel cells. With Wagner supplying the RSF with North Korean weapons and North Korean weapons being used by the Sudanese Armed Forces, this effectively means that North Korea has managed to arm both sides of the conflict. Proof if needed that the North Korean regime positions money generation for its ballistic weapons program above everything else. Even if the cost is hundreds or thousands of lives.
North Korean weapons currently in Africa?
North Korea has provided military assistance to many African countries over a long period of time. The assistance offered has ranged from training & advisors to pilots, specials forces and of course …. Weapons!
A recent example involves the Haegumgang Trading Corporation & Nigeria, who were planning to purchase $3.5 million worth of military equipment from North Korea in June 2021. This prompted an investigation from the UN Panel of Experts.
As recently as the end of March, Burkina Faso’s Foreign Ministry announced that it plans to resume diplomatic relations with North Korea and “focus on military equipment, mining, healthcare, agriculture and research”.
Wagner and North Korea
It has been widely reported that Wagner has purchased North Korean weapons for use in the Ukraine conflict. But with the ongoing conflict in Sudan and unstable alliances across several African countries, less visible in the public domain, the opportunity for the DPRK regime to make money and Wagner & Russia to further its interests in the region are just too good to ignore.
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