The presence of Russian private military contractor Wagner Group in Sudan was denied by the foreign ministry on Tuesday.
The ministry’s response was in response to a statement by Western diplomats and after one of Sudan’s military leaders paid a high-profile visit to Russia on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Representatives of the United States, United Kingdom and Norway wrote in a piece published in a Sudanese newspaper on Monday that the mercenary group with ties to Moscow “spreads disinformation on social media and engages in illicit activities connected to gold mining.”
Sudan’s foreign ministry accused the diplomats of trying to interfere in Sudanese affairs and of dragging the country “arbitrarily” into the Ukraine conflict.
“They alleged that the Russian Wagner security company was present in Sudan and carrying out training, mining, and other illegal activities… which the government of Sudan denies completely,” the statement said.
Wagner Group has been tied by U.S. authorities to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who denies links to the company.
The Wagner Group is engaged in military trainings and activities, as well as in protection of gold mines, in Angola, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
In 2020, the United States sanctioned M Invest and its subsidiary Meroe Gold which it said were controlled by Prigozhin and operating in Sudan.
U.S. Treasury alleged that M Invest was a cover for Wagner forces in the country, helped develop plans to suppress protesters including through social media disinformation, and was awarded gold concessions.