Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Afghan police recruits to be rescreened; U.S. suspends training

The Afghan village militia will be vetted for insurgent ties, officials say. Training of 1,000 new recruits is on hold after the latest ‘insider’ attack.

The LA Times  September 2, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — American special operations forces have suspended the training of new recruits to an Afghan village militia until the entire 16,000-member force can be rescreened for possible links to the insurgency, U.S. officials said Sunday.

The move is the latest repercussion from a series of “insider” shootings carried out by members of the Afghan police and army against Western troops. Forty-five NATO service members have been killed in such attacks this year, and the U.S. toll in August alone was 12 dead.

The re-vetting drive, first reported by the Washington Post, mainly affects a village militia known as the Afghan Local Police, or ALP, which is being trained by American special operations troops. U.S. special forces also mentor Afghan special forces and commando units, which underwent a rescreening last month, according to U.S. officials.

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September 3, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Safety and Security Issues | , , | Leave a comment

Three journalists held since 2001 die in Eiraeiro Eritrea prison camp

Reporters Without Borders  August 30, 2012

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Eritrean abuses

In 2001, 15 members of the ruling party – including high-level ministers – signed an open letter to Isaias calling for political reform. Shortly after, 11 of the 15 (known as G-15) were arrested and detained without charge along with 10 journalists. Nearly 11 years later, little is known about the prisoners’ condition or whereabouts save for some unconfirmed accounts from those who have managed to flee the country.

After several weeks of investigating reports from sources in Eritrea and from prison guards who fled the country, Reporters Without Borders has been able to confirm that three more journalists – Dawit Habtemichael, Mattewos Habteab and Wedi Itay – have died in the northeastern prison camp of Eiraeiro. All three had been held since late 2001.

Another journalist arrested in February 2009, whose identity has not been established with certainty, has also reportedly died in detention – in his case, in Abi Abeito military prison near the capital, Asmara.

The only good news is that Tesfalidet “Topo” Mebrahtu, a well-known sports journalist who worked for state-owned radio Dimtsi Hafash and state-owned Eri-TV, was “released on bond” (he is still under surveillance, with relatives acting as guarantors) in early 2012 after being held for 10 months.

“While all eyes are turned on Syria, another, less visible, tragedy is being played out in Eritrea, a country forgotten by the international community although it is the world’s leading media freedom violator and Africa’s biggest prison for journalists ” Reporters Without Borders said.

“In Eritrea, journalists have been thrown in prison just for daring to express their opinions. Some have been held for more than 10 years and are disappearing one by one. Located in the northeast of the country, Eiraeiro is not a prison, it is a death camp.”

Reporters Without Borders first revealed details about conditions at Eiraeiro in January 2008 (http://en.rsf.org/eritrea-new-revel…), after meeting a former camp guard. Further details were provided in 2010, on the basis of statements made by another former guard, Eyob Bahta, shortly after he fled to Ethiopia. What follows is based on new eyewitness accounts from this death camp.

I – Three more of the journalists held since 2001 die in detention

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September 3, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Journalists | , , , , , , | Leave a comment