Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin has made his first video message since his failed insurrection in Russia, implying he is in Africa.
The BBC has not been able to confirm the location of the footage.
The video, which was shared on Telegram accounts associated with the Wagner mercenary organization, shows Prigozhin dressed in military gear and proclaiming that the group is making Africa “freer.”
Wagner is thought to have thousands of fighters throughout the continent, where the company has significant economic interests.
Prigozhin’s forces are stationed in countries such as Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR), where human rights organizations and the UN accuse them of war crimes.
In the video, Prigozhin says Wagner is exploring for minerals as well as fighting Islamist militants and other criminals.
“We are working. The temperature is +50 – everything as we like. Wagner PMC conducts reconnaissance and search actions, makes Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa even more free,” Prigozhin can be heard saying.
“Justice and happiness – for the African people, we’re making life a nightmare for ISIS (Islamic State) and Al-Qaeda and other bandits.”
He says Wagner is recruiting and the group will “continue fulfilling the tasks that were set – we made promises we would succeed”.