Russian linked with ‘Putin’s chef’ injured in Africa attack

Dec 15, 2022, 5:39 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2022, 9:23 am

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian representative in Central African Republic, who is associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the notorious millionaire owner of the Wagner Group military contractor, was severely injured Friday when a package exploded in his hands, Prigozhin and Russian officials said.

Prigozhin, who has been dubbed “Putin’s chef” for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in a statement on his messaging app channel that Dmitry Sytyi who headed the “Russian House” in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, was in grave condition after the attack.

Prigozhin charged that before losing consciousness Sytyi said the explosive package contained a note saying “This is for you from all the French. The Russians will get out of Africa.”

Prigozhin’s Wagner Group has played an active part in the fighting in Ukraine and also has deployed to several African countries in what the West saw as part of Moscow’s efforts to expand its clout in the continent.

Prigozhin, who has been on the U.S. and EU sanctions list for years for his Kremlin links, accused France of staging the attack and said that he asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to declare the country a “sponsor of terrorism.” He didn’t offer any evidence to back his claim.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov denounced the attack on Sytyi as “an inhuman terrorist act” and vowed Russian authorities will take every effort to track down its organizers and perpetrators.

He said Moscow will take additional security measures but won’t close the Russian House in Bangui, adding that “we mustn’t show any fear of terrorists.”

“There have been attacks by terrorists and I’m afraid more will come, and we need to be ready for that,” Bogdanov said in remarks carried by the state news agency Tass. “But it doesn’t mean that we should pack and run away.”

Yevgeny Primakov, the head of a Russian state agency overseeing cultural and humanitarian ties with foreign countries, said that Sytyi was badly wounded and doctors were fighting for his life.

The Wagner Group has deployed personnel to many African countries, including Central African Republic, in what Western officials have described as an attempt by Moscow to boost its political influence and win control of the continent’s natural resources. Wagner personnel have been accused of widespread human rights abuses.

In Central African Republic, Wagner fighters have guarded the country’s gold and diamond mines and helped keep President Faustin-Archange Touadera in power. A report released earlier this year by the U.N.’s independent expert on the human rights situation in Central African Republic cited a number of attacks it said were reportedly carried out on the orders of the country’s armed forces and their Wagner Group allies.

Bangui residents said they’re worried the attack will add another dimension of chaos to their lives.

“We regret that this country is turning into a theatre of western attacks,” said Gaetan Betokomi, a government official. “They opened Pandora’s box and now this will be a method of settling scores in the country and it is very sad,” he said.

Sytyi, who has been reportedly linked to Prigozhin, has worked in Central African Republic for several years. Prigozhin hailed him as a “Russian patriot.”

Prigozhin claimed that last month Sytyi got a letter with a picture of his son, who lives in France, saying that next time he will get his son’s head “if the Russians don’t get out of the African continent and open the doors to the French.” He said Sytyi carelessly opened the package on Friday because he thought that the gruesome threat had been fulfilled.

“If Dmitry Sytyi stays alive, he will continue the fight and see how those who made an attempt on his life perish in the flames of history,” said Prigozhin who has cast Wagner operations in Africa as a fight against the purported Western “colonialism.”

“If he dies, he will remain a symbol of that struggle. Not a single Russian wil ever step back from the African continent until all the colonizers pull back to their countries’ borders,” Prigozhin added.


Associated Press reporter Jean Fernand Koena contributed from Bangui.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - An American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony at t...
Associated Press

China plays down Blinken’s canceled visit over balloon

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China played down the cancellation of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after a large Chinese balloon suspected of conducting surveillance on U.S. military sites roiled diplomatic relations, saying that neither side had formally announced any such plan. “In actuality, the U.S. and China have never announced any […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ohio train derailment causes causes fire, home evacuations

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A train derailed in an Ohio town near the Pennsylvania border and caused a large fire followed by orders for area residents to evacuate their homes Friday night, reports said. A post on the East Palestine, Ohio, city Facebook page around 11 p.m. said an evacuation order had been issued […]
1 day ago
Pope Francis delivers his speech as he meets with priests, deacons, consecrated people and seminari...
Associated Press

Pope encourages South Sudanese, will raise plight of women

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Pope Francis sought Saturday to console the long-suffering people of South Sudan as he opened his first full day in a country beset by conflict, poverty and humanitarian crises, encouraging priests and nuns to serve their flocks by joining in their tears. After arriving in the world’s newest country on […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Indian police nab over 2,000 men for illegal child marriages

GUWAHATI, India (AP) — Indian police have arrested more than 2,000 men in a crackdown on illegal child marriages involving girls under the age of 18 in a northeastern state, officials said Saturday. Those arrested this week included more than 50 Hindu priests and Muslim clerics for allegedly performing marriages for underage girls in Assam, […]
1 day ago
FILE - The Starbucks logo is seen on a storefront, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston Starbucks repor...
Associated Press

Starbucks misses sales, revenue estimates as China falters

Starbucks reported lower-than-expected sales in its fiscal first quarter, with COVID store shutdowns in China overshadowing stronger results elsewhere.
1 day ago
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi speaks during a news conference of the Association of Sou...
Associated Press

ASEAN vows to conclude pact with China on disputed territory

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Southeast Asian foreign ministers vowed to finalize negotiations with China over a proposed pact aimed at preventing conflicts in the disputed South China Sea in their annual retreat on Saturday in Indonesia’s capital. In the final session of their two-day meeting, the ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Russian linked with ‘Putin’s chef’ injured in Africa attack