As per The Daily Beast, soldiers from the notorious Russian Wagner Group have reportedly raped moms who were recovering from childbirth in a maternity facility in the Central African Republic (CAR). On April 10, about three Wagner soldiers “stormed the maternity unit and began sexually assaulting women on admittance,” according to multiple anonymous officers posted at CAR’s military headquarters who spoke to The Daily Beast. The maternity center was at the Henri Izamo army compound in Bangui, the capital.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a longtime friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, owns the Wagner group. The mercenaries have been active in a number of nations, notably Syria, and are currently active in Ukraine. An eyewitness informed HumAngle, a media outlet centered on West and Central Africa, that the three Wagner soldiers stormed the ward with weapons and whiskey in their possession. The mercenaries then started “indecently caressing” two new mothers and indicated for sex. They also raped a nurse who had tried to stop them from harassing the new mothers.
This incident in the CAR isn’t an isolated one as Wagner Group soldiers have been previously accused of rape and abuse in the nation. In October 2021, UN specialists produced a report voicing alarm that Wagner soldiers had assaulted or threatened civilians, such as peacekeepers, reporters, relief volunteers, and minority communities. The specialists urged the administration of the Central African Republic to cut all ties with the organization. They also claimed that sexual violence was perpetrated against women, men, and young girls in various regions of the nation, however, the exact number is unknown as the majority of victims are afraid to disclose their attacks.
According to an official who spoke to The Daily Beast, prosecuting mercenaries for violence or malfeasance is tough. “The military cannot act boldly in disciplining a Russian commander who has committed a crime. Only the president has the authority to determine how to deal with Russians,” The Daily Beast was informed by a high-level CAR military officer. Human Rights Watch recently issued a report alleging that the Russian Wagner soldiers had killed, harassed, and assaulted people in the Central African Republic since 2019, and calling for an investigation by perhaps the Special Criminal Court or the International Criminal Court (ICC).