Moscow/London — The team of Russian journalists who flew into the Central African Republic last month were on a mission to investigate Moscow’s growing role in one of the world’s poorest nations. Days after arriving, the three men were murdered by unknown assailants. Their local driver told Central African Republic authorities that they were killed at a roadside checkpoint by turban-wearing men speaking Arabic or a similar language. While the killings are still being investigated, the case highlights Russia’s increasing presence in the Central African Republic, a country that has become a staging point for Moscow’s latest geopolitical ambition — a push into Africa. An influential backer of communism across Africa for decades, after the collapse of the Soviet Union Moscow ceded influence to western rivals. More recently, China has made huge inroads, investing $220bn in 2014 alone. Now Russia’s move into the Central African Republic — and in several other African nations — suggests a ...

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