Bangui – A Russian representative in the Central African Republic who was badly wounded after opening a parcel bomb is in a ‘stable and serious’ condition, the Russian embassy in the country said.
Moscow had said on Friday that one of its representatives in the African nation was injured by an exploding parcel, an attack which a prominent pro-Kremlin figure claimed France was behind.
On Saturday, the Russian embassy in the country said his condition “remains stable and serious”.
In a Facebook post the embassy said he was “the victim of a terrorist attack” and that “specialists were continuing to fight for his life”.
Central Africa has been battling civil war since 2013 and is at the heart of Russia’s bid for strategic influence in Africa.
The last French troops deployed in CAR left on Thursday following a chill in relations caused by closer ties between Bangui and Moscow and the deployment of Russian forces, which some countries say includes Wagner mercenaries.
Russia’s TASS news agency said Dmitry Sytyi, the head of the Russia House cultural centre, received an “anonymous parcel” on Friday which exploded on being opened.
France rejected the claim by the boss of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, that Paris was involved.
“I have already requested the Russian foreign ministry to initiate the procedure to declare France a state sponsor of terrorism,” Prigozhin was quoted as saying in a statement released by his company, Concord.
France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told AFP on Friday that the information is “false and is a good example of Russian propaganda”.
France has dispatched up to 1 600 troops to help stabilise CAR after a coup in 2013 unleashed a civil war along sectarian lines.
In 2018, Moscow sent instructors to the country, and in 2020 followed this with hundreds of paramilitaries to help President Faustin Archange Touadera defeat rebels advancing on the capital.
France, the United Nations and others say they are mercenaries from the Kremlin-backed Wagner group, who have been linked with atrocities and looting of resources.