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Pentagon — The U.S. has now confirmed reports that Russian mercenaries known as the Wagner Group have deployed in Mali and are supported by the Russian military.

“Wagner (Group) is in Mali. They are there, we think, numbering several hundred now,” General Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, told VOA in an exclusive interview Thursday via Skype from his headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

“Russian air force airplanes are delivering them. The world can see this happening, so it’s a great concern to us,” he added.

Townsend, who took over U.S. Africa Command in 2019, also said that China is the “most active” of America’s global competitors in Africa and is “intent on building a military air base and/or naval facility in Equatorial Guinea.”PHJ

Read the original article on VOA.