Adulterated Alcohol Kills Russian Mercenaries In Central African Republic

Some FACA soldiers said they avoid drinking with the Russians because of the high alcoholic contents of the substances they take as alcohol.

Four Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Security Group operating in the Central African Republic have died while six others have been hospitalised after drinking beer mixed with ‘harmful chemicals’ containing a very high percentage of alcohol.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 26, in the sub-prefecture of Koui situated to the west of the town of Bocaranga in the Ouham-Pende prefecture in the northwest of the country.

According to local security and hospital sources that requested anonymity, Russian mercenaries fighting alongside the Central African Republic national army, FACA, regularly consume beer and spirits some of which have excessive alcohol percentages.

Sources disclosed that they have been having problems with the supply of their regular alcoholic drinks for about a week now which prompted them to mix some chemicals such as Dakin, Betadine, and Mercurochrome, used for disinfecting lawns, with their beer before drinking. 

They even mix these chemicals in their wine and it is reported the mixtures have the same alcoholic effect as their regular vodka, said a local source. 

After consuming these mixtures in the evening of Jan. 26, 10 of the Russians had cardiac malaise and four of them died a few hours later, while the other six were transported by helicopter to the hospital for medical attention.

Another security source in Bambari recalled that the same scenario took place about six months ago in Bokolobo, the village of self-proclaimed rebel ‘general’ Ali Darassa, situated 60km from Bambari where three Russian mercenaries died after consuming Betadine mixed with beer.

Some FACA soldiers said they avoid drinking with the Russians because of the high alcoholic contents of the substances they take as alcohol.

“They eat good food but consume more adulterated alcohol,”said one FACA soldier.

A Central African Republic doctor in the hospital in which the six Russian mercenaries were admitted said adulterated alcohol is a toxic mixture which is also poisonous and has a devastating effect on the human body.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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