Former General Calls for EU Military in North Africa to Defeat Russian Mercenaries

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A former Italian General has called on the European Union to act militarily in Northern Africa, blaming the Russian mercenary PMC Wagner Group for the current wave of illegal immigrants.

General Carlo Jean, former commander of the Italian unit of the NATO Mobile Force and Alpine Brigade “Cadore”, is the latest Italian official to blame Private Military Company Wagner — Russian mercenaries, in other words — for the surge of illegals that have arrived in Italy so far this year.

“The Wagner brigade is involved in all the strangest activities in Africa, from facilitating mining to bribes in the sale of Russian weapons, in the illegal trade in valuable timber, and then in the most profitable illegal activities, from drug trafficking to human trafficking. It is certainly involved in the trafficking of migrants, probably through local officials,” Jean told the newspaper Il Giornale.

According to General Jean, local governments in African countries have become too weak in the face of ethnic and tribal groups making cash from illegal migration, preventing European nations from making effective deals with governments to halt illegal migration.

General Jean added that the solution to the problem is military force saying, “something that is against the values of which we are very proud. That is, force would be needed, a massive intervention, to field a colonial-type army in Africa to stabilize regimes and regions.”

“The big problem is that Europe is not a state, it has neither military nor political capacity to do something that can only be achieved with rather harsh methods, with occupation and strengthening of the governments of North Africa and the Sahel. We should operate like Wagner,” he said and added that if Europe does not act military then it should resign itself to becoming a “mestizo continent.”

The statements from General Jean come just weeks after Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani blamed PMC Wagner for the rise in illegal migration, which has close to tripled since last year.

“We have indications that they are very active and in contact with gangs of traffickers and militiamen interested in the smuggling of migrants,” Tajani said of the Russian private military group.

Tajani was joined in his view by Defence Minister Guido Crosetto, who PMC Wagner allegedly has a $15 million bounty on, according to Italian media reports.

I think it is now safe to say that the exponential increase in the migratory phenomenon departing from African shores is also, to a not insignificant extent, part of a clear strategy of hybrid warfare that the Wagner division is implementing, using its considerable weight in some African countries,” Crosetto said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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