Burkina Faso disputes paying the Wagner group in Russia using mine rights.
The president of Ghana said that Burkina Faso had employed Wagner mercenaries from Russia to assist in fighting armed groups.
The president of Ghana claimed that Burkina Faso's northern neighbor had paid Russian mercenaries by granting them access to a mine, but the country's minister of mines has refuted this claim.
Following a meeting with civil society organizations worried about the claims, Minister of Mines Simon Pierre Boussim stated to reporters on Tuesday, "We have not awarded any permit to a Russian enterprise in southern Burkina."
When he claimed last week that Burkina Faso had hired mercenaries from Russia's Wagner organization to aid it in combating armed non-state actors, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo sparked outrage.
During a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Akufo-Addo stated, "I believe a mine in southern Burkina has been allotted to them as a sort of recompense for their services."
The government of Burkina Faso has not formally confirmed or refuted the claim that it has reached a deal with Wagner, but it did call the ambassador of Ghana to a meeting on Friday to clarify the president's comments.
“We made a list of all the exploitation or research permits for large industrial mines in the south, so they can see clearly that there is no hidden site,” Boussim said.
According to Boussim, the Burkinabe government recently granted Russian corporation Nordgold a new exploration permit for a gold mine in Yimiougou, in the centre-north area. However, the company has been operating in Burkina Faso for more than ten years.
Mali, a neighbor of Burkina Faso, engaged Wagner last year to aid in its war against armed groups in the Sahel. Western nations like France and the United States are concerned about the group's potential expansion into Africa because they claim it violates human rights and exploits natural resources in the nations where it operates.
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