Human Rights Watch says it has compelling evidence that Russian mercenaries fighting in the Central African Republic have summarily executed, tortured and beaten civilians since 2019.
Witnesses told the New York-based rights group about a range of abuses.
These included an incident in July last year when Russian-speaking forces thought to be from the Wagner Group beat and then shot dead at least 12 unarmed men at a road block near the town of Bossangoa.
They put most of the bodies in a shallow hole next to the road.
It has also documented allegations of arbitrary detentions, torture and summary killings of men randomly arrested in the central town of Alindao in June last year.
UN experts have also accused Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group of committing systematic and grave human rights violations.
The government in the Central African Republic has denied hiring the mercenaries to fight rebels.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week reiterated Moscow’s official position that Wagner has nothing to do with the Russian state.