Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

SOUTH SUDAN: Demining for development as rebels re-mine

ROKON, 2 November 2011 (IRIN)

In the South Sudanese town of Rokon, sniffer dogs practise finding explosives as an enormous demining machine churns up the soil in a nearby suspected minefield.

A former Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) soldier is helping NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in the search for mines in what was a SAF garrison town during the 22-year civil war with the southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In 2005, a peace accord paved the way for the creation in July 2011 of an independent South Sudan.

“These mines were mainly laid in 1991, in 1994 and 1999 by the SAF and the SPLA on both sides of the river and in belts around roads and bridges,” said Moses Bidhali, who manages NPA’s mine clearance activities in Rokon.

The Mine Action Programme has found four anti-tank mines, eight anti-personnel mines and 15 unexploded pieces of ordnance (UXOs) from tanks, bombs and guns over the past six weeks, with local knowledge of SAF mine belts massively speeding up the arduous process of checking 229,000 sqm.

“The threat in South Sudan is not the [number] of land mines, it’s the lack of information about where they are,” said Terje Eldoen, the NGO’s national mine action programme manager.

According to the UN’s Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database, in 2010, 52 people were injured and 22 killed in 19 reported landmine accidents throughout South Sudan. In the first 10 months of 2011, 75 people were injured and 33 killed in 28 landmine accidents

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Demining, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, Sudan, United Nations | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Other Side of Piracy – a Somalia Report Analysis

Should Shipping Companies Lower Surcharges to Reflect Lower Threat?

By Robert Young Pelton, Publisher, SomaliaReport.com at gCaptain.com

This week’s hijacking of the chemical tanker MV Liquid Velvet by Somali pirates should have brought something to the maritime industry’s attention that they have wanted to ignore: large ships just aren’t being hijacked in the frequency they once were.

We can give full credit to the maritime industry and security firms since the navy now estimates that 90% of pirate attacks are deterred by private security on board ships. Many other attacks never occurred because of the speed of the ship, weather, the implementation of best management practices, or unknown factors that encouraged pirates to look elsewhere for victims. The effect of international naval patrols, identifying pirate activity before they leave land, general attrition by more aggressive navies, legal acts, and protests by local communities have all led to the erosion of piracy off Somalia.

Erik Rabjerg Nielsen, director and head of operations and deployment for Maersk Line, announced in May 2011 that increased surcharges to cover increased security costs. Maersk Line expects its piracy-related costs to double in 2011 to $200 million to cover insurance premiums, hardship allowances and the rerouting of vessels away from high-risk zones in the region, according to Morten Engelstoft, its chief operating officer. “In 2010, one hijacking attempt was registered every six days, and in 2011 there’s been a large increase in the activity,” Nieslon said. “The problem has never been larger than right now.”

According to estimates by the London-based International Chamber of Shipping, piracy cost shipping companies as much as $12 billion in 2010.

Please read the entire post at gCaptain here

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Press Conference by Working Group on Mercenaries

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York  November 1, 2011

Faiza Patel, Chair of the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, told correspondents today about the Working Group’s visits to Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Iraq.

During a press conference at Headquarters, Ms. Patel explained that the Working Group, which consists of five independent experts, covered the activities of mercenaries, as well as those of private military and security companies. Yesterday, she had presented the Working Group’s report to the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural). She said the Working Group had visited Equatorial Guinea and South Africa in 2010 and Iraq in 2011. (See Press Release GA/SHC/4023.)

Equatorial Guinea had been the site of a coup by mercenaries in 2004, many of whom had come from South Africa, she said, which had led to prosecutions in Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Government of Equatorial Guinea had also alleged an attempted coup in 2009. The Working Group had been unable to verify those claims, but found that that there were credible reports that those arrested had been tortured and were denied fundamental due process rights in their trials. Four convicted persons were summarily executed one day after the Working Group left.

Please read the entire press release here

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Mercenaries, United Nations | , , , | Leave a comment

Report Details Problems for Afghan Security Force Plan

The New York Times  November 2, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai’s plan to disband private security companies that protect billions of dollars worth of aid projects and replace them with government forces is fraught with problems and unlikely to meet the president’s March deadline to complete the transition, according to a six-month assessment of the program.

The assessment, conducted by NATO and the Afghan Interior Ministry, outlines dozens of issues that have slowed the development of the new security force and raises questions about the government’s capacity to carry out and sustain the program and others as international aid and military support dwindle in coming years.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, comes as international development companies are becoming increasingly worried about the security of their workers, many of whom are Afghans.

Mr. Karzai has said that replacing the private companies with his country’s forces is an important step toward Afghan sovereignty. Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has also made it a central issue, according to a Western official.

“It’s become a top priority because if it doesn’t work, everything grinds to a halt,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in keeping with diplomatic protocol. “If it isn’t sorted out, everyone will pull out because they don’t want some fly-by-night security protecting them.”

NATO, the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development are setting up a task force that could grow to more than 170 people to advise and help train the guard force, according to a senior American official and a senior NATO official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Pentagon will also be asking Congress to appropriate $35 million to $40 million in new and reallocated money to pay for the task force, a senior NATO official said

Please read the entire article here

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment