Ghana’s president alleged that Burkina Faso had hired Russia’s Wagner mercenaries to help fight armed groups.

Burkina Faso’s mines minister has denied an allegation by the president of Ghana that its northern neighbour had paid Russian mercenaries by giving them the rights to a mine.

“We have not granted any permit to a Russian company in southern Burkina,” Minister of Mines Simon Pierre Boussim told reporters on Tuesday

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo caused controversy by stating last week that Burkina Faso had hired mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group to help it fight armed non-state actors.

“I believe a mine in southern Burkina has been allocated to them as a form of payment for their services,” Akufo-Addo said

Burkina Faso’s government has not formally confirmed or denied the allegation that it has made an agreement with Wagner

but it summoned the Ghanaian ambassador for a meeting on Friday to explain the president’s remarks. Burkina Faso’s neighbour Mali hired Wagner last year to help it fight armed groups in the Sahel.