While Burkina Faso denied having any relationship with the Russian “Wagner” group, after reports that the West African country contracted with the Russian special group as an alternative to the French forces, it has recently become clear that Russian companies operating in Burkina Faso have tightened their grip on gold mines.
The Russian Nord Gold company is the largest foreign investor in Burkina Faso’s gold mines, as it exploits three mines. Last December, the authorities granted it a new license to exploit a fourth mine, with a validity period of four years, according to reports published in local newspapers.
The denial of the relationship with “Wagner” came from Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Olivia Ruamba, during a meeting with Thomas Olekny, the Czech Republic’s special envoy to the Sahel region.
The Czech diplomat visited the African country, “carrying a message of friendship and support for Burkina Faso in its struggle against terrorism.” At the same time, Olekny expressed his country’s concerns about a possible cooperation between Ouagadougou and the Russian “Wagner” group, which was mentioned in many reports during the past months, especially in light of the growing rapprochement between Burkina Faso and Russia since the September 30, 2022 coup that carried Captain Ibrahim. Traore to power.
But Minister Ruamba confirmed categorically that there were no contacts with the Wagner Group, according to a telegram issued by the Burkina Faso Foreign Ministry.