Several hundred “experienced” members of Wagner have arrived in the Central African Republic to “guarantee security” ahead of a referendum scheduled to be held in the country on July 30, a group linked to the Russian private military company said on Sunday.

“Another aircraft has arrived in Bangui with trainers who will work in the Central African Republic. The predicted changing of the guard continues. Several hundred experienced professionals from the Wagner company are joining the team working in the Central African Republic,” the Association of International Security Officers (Communauté des officiers pour la sécurité internationale, COSI) said via Telegram.

“Russian trainers will continue to help members of the Central African Republic’s armed forces and security forces guarantee security in the run-up to the referendum on the revision of the Constitution scheduled for July 30,” the text added.

Along with this announcement, COSI uploaded a photo showing about thirty men, with their faces covered and in work uniforms, lined up on what appears to be an airport landing strip.

According to US authorities, COSI is nothing more than Wagner’s front company in the Central African Republic. It is run by Alexander Ivanov, a Russian citizen who has been under US sanctions since January.

In its announcement yesterday, COSI assured that Russian mercenaries have been training the security forces of the Central African Republic for “more than five years”, which has allowed the “general security level to be strengthened” in the country.

In early July, foreign sources reported that an unspecified number of Wagner mercenaries were leaving the Central African Republic, which authorities denied.

The status of the Russian private military company and the continuation of its operations is uncertain after its aborted mutiny in Russia (June 23-24).

However, its interventions abroad, in Syria and in African countries (Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali) have so far not been called into question, at least publicly. After the mutiny ended, Bangui assured that Wagner’s activities would “continue”.