BY: TYLER DURDEN
The Russian government has said one of its diplomats stationed in Africa was hospitalized Friday after opening a letter bomb, which detonated upon opening.
"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 Moscow Times writes, citing state sources.
"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," authorities detailed.
Police in the Central African Republic, or CAR, called it a terrorist act, describing further that the diplomat had previously received death threats.
"Earlier, he received the first package, and when he opened it, there were threats in it," CAR police chief Bienvenue Zokoue said. "He contacted me so that I could help him identify the person who sent it."
Russia's foreign ministry subsequently described that the mail bomb was a deliberate attempt by nefarious entities to "harm" ties between Moscow and the CAR government.
"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.
It's unclear if the mail bomb attack is related to the ongoing Ukraine war, but the last month has witnessed a string of mysterious parcel bomb incidents at European as well as Ukrainian consulates and embassies across Europe. The US Embassy in Madrid at one point even had a mail bomb sent to it, which was intercepted by security services before it arrived on the grounds in a December 1st incident.
One aspect to tensions over Russia's presence in central Africa is the activities of Wagner Mercenaries. French officials in the same region have complained of the threat and shady activities of the Putin-linked Russian security firm, so it's possible the mail bomb attack on the diplomat may be related to these ongoing tensions, and also could be related to the Ukraine conflict.
Some reports are saying Sitiy is in serious condition, and CAR authorities along with the Russian Embassy are conducting a full investigation.