EBAM, Cameroon – This was the most ‘barbaric’ violence Naz Ali said he had seen since Central African Republic The Central African Republic welcomed Russian mercenaries from The notorious Wagner Groupwhich some called Vladimir Putin’s private armyAbout four years ago.
While having a conversation with a friend under a mango tree about 50 meters from his house, with a good view of his compound from where they were standing in the village of Beziri in western Central African Republic, the 32-year-old said he saw from afar about a dozen Russian paramilitary forcesHe, who appeared out of nowhere, took the wives of two of his neighbors out of the compound, stabbed them in the stomach and then disemboweled the two women.
“The women were screaming and begging for mercy,” Ali, who now lives as a refugee in Cameroon, told The Daily Beast. White soldiers [as many in CAR refer to Wagner mercenaries as] did not listen. They killed the women and removed the stomach and intestines.”
The accident occurred, according to Ali and another witness, on December 6 last year. They said that at least six other women in Beziri were killed in the same way throughout the village.
“As I was leaving the village, I saw the body of a pregnant woman,” Malik Tate, 29, a construction worker who fled Bizerte for Cameroon after the accident, told The Daily Beast. “They injured her, removed her baby and her intestines and left them on top of her body.”
Following the violence in Beziri, thousands of people, according to Ali and Tete, fled the village to Bucaranga, about 27 kilometers southeast of Beziri. Many others, including witnesses, sought refuge in refugee settlements in the eastern part of Cameroon.
“We were afraid that these white soldiers would come back and kill us all, so we had to leave the village,” said Ali, who fled to Ngaoundéré town in the central Adamawa region of Cameroon. “If we didn’t run away, we might be dead by now.”
It was said that the women massacred by the Russians last December were not only in Beziri. In the nearby community of Létélé, locals told The Daily Beast that they found the eviscerated bodies of four dead women in different locations on the day Russian mercenaries stormed the village in search of rebels from the Return, Recovery and Rehabilitation (3R) group.
“I saw with my own eyes when a white soldier stabbed a woman with a knife in the stomach,” Bisafi, a 30-year-old farmer who now lives in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, told The Daily Beast. They said she was punished because she married a man who works with a rebel group.
The Russians “clearly wanted to torture the women to death,” said Sylvester, who – like other witnesses based in the Central African Republic – The Daily Beast chose to give his first name to protect him, given the way the victims were allegedly killed. of possible retribution.
Those who recognized some of the alleged victims in both Bèzèrè and Létélé said they were women living in areas in the two villages where the 3R faction, one of the most powerful armed groups in the Central African Republic – which presents itself as a self-defense militia – has rebelled. She was active.
“that they [Russian mercenaries] Believe all the men in the areas where the 3R Rebels are part of the rebel group. “Every time they meet people from these areas, they accuse them of supporting the rebels and even physically attacking them.”
Some of the victims, according to Suleiman, who was in contact with their families as well as people who witnessed the killings, are the wives of young men accused of being “too friendly” with 3R fighters.
The 3R group is made up of Muslim cattle herders, and was originally formed in 2015 to protect the Boehle minority in northwestern Central African Republic, where conflicts with farmers are common. In December 2020, the group joined the Alliance of Patriots for Change (CPC), a coalition of armed groups in the Central African Republic that launched an offensive ahead of the country’s presidential elections to stop President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s re-election and overthrow his government. revolutionaries Continuous targeting of Central African Republic forces and the allied Russian paramilitaries who, in response, launched a counterattack against the militants. But, a number of locals have claimed, the Russians may now be waging war on civilians living in the same communities as these rebels.
“It’s sad that they [Russian mercenaries] “Now we are targeting our women,” Jibril, a Beziri-born artisanal miner based in the southwest city of Berberati, told The Daily Beast. I know two people whose wives were brutally murdered in December by these people [Russian] Soldiers. “
Neither the CAR government nor Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close friend of President Vladimir Putin who is said to run the Wagner Group, did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on the alleged women’s disembowelment in Beziers and Letelli. Emails sent to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Communications and Information of the Central African Republic and to Concord Management, a company largely owned by Prigozhin, went unanswered.
“I have no words to describe what this is [Russian] Soldiers did.“
A local official in Ouham Prefecture, which covers Beziri and Letili, told The Daily Beast that the county government was aware of the alleged incidents in the two regions and reported them to the authorities in Bangui.
“no one [in Bangui] “He has even condemned what has been done to women in the respective communities,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. “This is very unfortunate.”
There have been reports of Russian-linked forces targeting women in the Central African Republic before now. in May, The Daily Beast reported How Wagner mercenaries stormed a hospital in the capital Bangui the previous month and attacked mothers recovering from childbirth, as well as the medical staff caring for them, on multiple occasions. one of the victims, According to an independent local media Speaking to an eyewitness, she was sexually assaulted for hours by mercenaries.
Sources who spoke to The Daily Beast about the alleged incidents said they were appalled that the victims might not even be connected to those who are being punished for their crimes.
“Watching helpless women beg for their lives and seeing them slaughtered like animals is the worst thing a man can do for his fellow human beings,” Ali said. I have no words to describe what this is [Russian] The soldiers did it.”