In response to allegations made by a rebel group, the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has denied the existence of militants from the Russian mercenary Wagner Group in the nation.
The M23 rebel organization, which has recently conquered large portions of the country’s eastern region, has proven difficult for the army to subdue.
According to reports, the administration invited Russian mercenaries to the province of North Kivu to assist in dealing with the rebel organization.
“It is true, Wagner Group is here. We have evidence that we will show in due time,” M23 spokesperson Willy Ngoma told the BBC on Wednesday.
He further stated that last week, on the Tongo and Nyamilima fronts in the Rutshuru region, they had engaged in combat with a joint squad of the Congolese army and mercenaries.
Major General Sylvain Ekenge, the army’s spokesman, has refuted the allegations. He informed the BBC that “The Wagner group is not operating in DR Congo.”
Russian mercenaries are present in the Central African Republic, which borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo and where, in 2021, they assisted in suppressing insurgents.
Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, declared to a gathering in London in October of last year that he would not hire Russian mercenaries to quell rebel activity there.
“I know it’s fashionable now, but no, we don’t need to use mercenaries,” he was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
Thousands of people have been evicted from their houses as a result of the violence in eastern DR Congo.