×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russian Diplomat Hospitalized in CAR After Opening Letter Bomb

Dmitry Sitiy Dmitry Syty / instagram

The head of a Russian cultural center in the Central African Republic (CAR) was hospitalized on Friday after an explosive device sent to him in the mail detonated.

Dmitry Sitiy, who runs the Bangui branch of Russian House, a state-funded cultural center that promotes Russian culture around the world, collected a parcel addressed to him from a DHL office earlier on Friday, according to a source in the Russian Embassy cited by news agency RIA Novosti.

The parcel — which had no return address on it — later detonated when Sitiy opened it at his home. Sitiy was hospitalized, although the severity of his injuries remains unclear.

Local law enforcement agencies described the incident as a terrorist act and confirmed that Sitiy had reported receiving death threats prior to the attack. 

“Earlier, he received the first package, and when he opened it, there were threats in it,” CAR police head Bienvenue Zokoue was quoted as saying by RIA.

“He contacted me so that I could help him identify the person who sent it,” Bienvenue added. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the parcel bombing was an attempt to "harm" ties between Moscow and Bangui.

"We strongly condemn this criminal action, which is clearly intended to hinder the activities of the Russian House in Bangui and, more broadly, to harm the successful development of friendly relations between our two countries," the ministry said.

While the CAR authorities are yet to name a potential suspect, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which maintains a significant presence in the war-torn country, immediately alleged that the French government was behind the attack. 

Prigozhin said that an earlier package Sitiy received had contained a photo of the diplomat’s son with a note warning the next package would contain his son's head “unless the Russians leave the African continent and open the doors for the French.”

According to Prigozhin, Sitiy said he had seen a note in the exploding parcel saying “this is to you from all the French, Russians will get out of Africa," prior to losing consciousness.

Following the incident, Prigozhin urged Russian officials to declare France a "sponsor of terrorism," a designation recently given to Moscow by the European Parliament for its targetting of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

"I have already asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to initiate the procedure to declare France a state sponsor of terrorism," Prigozhin was quoted as saying in a statement released by his company Concord.

 AFP contributed reporting 

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more