A Russian official linked to Vladimir Putin’s private army opened a letter bomb thinking it could contain “his son’s head,” according to notorious Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The alleged assassination attempt on Dmitry Syty, the head of the Russian House cultural center in Bangui, Central African Republic, took place on Friday morning, according to Russian state news outlet TASS. A Russian told the outlet that when Sytyv “received an anonymous parcel Friday and opened it, an explosion occurred,” adding that the “injuries are serious. The head of the Russian House has been hospitalized.”
Hours after news of the letter bomb broke, Prigozhin took to Telegram to blame France for the assassination attempt without providing any evidence. The mercenary group boss alleged that last month, Syty had received a threat against his son, who lives in France, promising to deliver his decapitated head to him “if the Russians don’t get out of the African continent and leave the doors wide open to the French,” according to a translation from RFE/RL.
“Despite all safety instructions, Dmitry Syty, being highly concerned and thinking that his son’s head may be in the parcel, opened it. The explosion occurred,” Prigozhin wrote, alleging that Sytyv was currently “fighting for his life” in a hospital. “If he dies, he will remain a symbol of that struggle. Not a single Russian will ever step back from the African continent until all the colonizers pull back to their countries.”
In March, The Daily Beast exclusively revealed that Wagner Group had enlisted dozens of former rebel militants from the country to fight in Ukraine, only to abandon them on the battlefield. Wagner has reportedly gone so far as to enlist convicted criminals in the Central African Republic to fight for Russia in Ukraine.
The Daily Beast has reported on several atrocities allegedly committed by Wagner Group mercenaries who have been training with armed forces in the Central African Republic over the past four years, including accusations of rape, murder, and torture of civilians.
The Russian foreign ministry has labeled the incident “an inhuman terror attack with an attempt to murder an innocent person,” vowing to “find the instigators and the executors” of the alleged assassination attempt.
“The international terrorism knows no boundaries; it can happen anywhere and at any time. Of course, we must be very vigilant,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Friday. “It would be nice to consolidate international capabilities and efforts to combat terror attacks more efficiently.”