On 21 May 2019, a team of three CNN journalists and a supporting crew of five landed in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
Their aim was to report on the seemingly impenetrable interplay between private and public Russian interests in the country.
Russia had begun shipping military trainers to the republic under a UN-approved Russian assistance mandate in early 2018. However, it soon became apparent that 1,500 trainers sent to the CAR were not members of the Russian military but employees of an opaque Russian private military contractor linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, Sewa Security Services. A short time later, in April 2018, a Russian company affiliated with Prigozhin received gold and diamond mining concessions in the mineral-rich country.