Soon after reports of the package bomb emerged, pictures were posted on a Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel of a small crowd of Central African boys and young men outside the Russian House in Bangui, waving small Russian flags, and carrying signs that read, in French, “Get Well Soon Dmitri.”
Mr. Audinet said that Mr. Sytyi had initially moved to the Central African Republic to work as a translator for Valeriy Zakharov, a former Russian intelligence official and top adviser to President Faustin-Archange Touadéra of the Central African Republic.
The European Union imposed sanctions on Mr. Zakharov last year, accusing him of being responsible for human rights abuses in the African country, including extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings.
After Mr. Zakharov left the Central African Republic last year, Mr. Audinet said, Mr. Sytyi took charge of all the nonmilitary activities of the Wagner Group in the African country, including misinformation operations and economic and mining activities.
Mr. Sytyi is 33, according to his résumé, which was obtained by the Dossier Center, a London-based investigative organization, and which describes him as a former resident of France fluent in English, Spanish and French. According to the Dossier Center, Mr. Sytyi used to be an employee of the Internet Research Agency, a troll factory funded by Mr. Prigozhin.
Wagner operatives have also been present in Libya, Mali, Mozambique and Sudan, among other African countries.
This week, at the U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, accused the new military leaders of Burkina Faso, who seized power in a coup in October, of having signed a deal with the Wagner group.
Ruth Maclean and Elian Peltier reported from Dakar, Senegal, and Anatoly Kurmanaev from Berlin.