Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

The Ronco Riff

October 25, 2012

Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow

Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S

Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Follow the Money, Friendly Fire, G4S, Government Contractor, Iraq, Landmines, Lawsuits, Mine Clearance, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Sudan, Taxes, United Nations, United Nations Board of Inquiry, Vetting Employees, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

EOD Technology merges with Sterling International

Defense firm links with Va.-based Sterling

An East Tennessee defense contractor has joined forces with a Virginia firm.

Knoxville Biz  October 25, 2012

EOD Technology announced Wednesday that it has merged with Reston, Va.-based Sterling International to form Sterling Global Operations.

The new company will be based in Lenoir City, and EODT CEO Matt Kaye will serve as president and CEO of the new venture.

Kaye said Wednesday that the combined companies form “the world’s preeminent conventional munitions disposal organization.”

Asked about the benefits of the deal for EODT, Kaye said: “It really diversifies our customer base. It strengthens our footprint around the world and provides us greater breadth and depth of resources.”

EODT got its start in 1987 as a company specializing in explosive ordnance disposal, and for years specialized in cleaning up contamination at former U.S. military sites. During the George W. Bush administration, EODT branched out into security operations and eventually became a major player in that market.

The company has also received some unwelcome scrutiny in connection with that work, however. In 2010, a U.S. Senate committee criticized EODT for its hiring practices in Afghanistan, and the following year it was revealed that the U.S. State Department had fired the company from a contract to guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

EODT was raided by federal agents in 2010, although no charges have been filed in connection with the raid.

According to a news release, EODT’s employee stock ownership plan acquired Sterling International. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The release said Sterling manages a $175 million weapons removal and abatement program for the State Department, and Kaye said that in comparison to EODT, the Virginia firm is more involved in the work of nonproliferation.

“While the activities that (EODT does) are nonproliferation, they’re much more in a mass-quantity stockpile reduction,” he said. “Sterling is on the forefront of … assisting countries with treaty compliance (and) establishing mine action centers.”

Kaye said Sterling has approximately 150 employees, and the new company will have about 3,500 employees.

After a round of layoffs earlier this year, EODT said it had 250 American employees and 3,000 foreign nationals.

Kaye said Sterling International’s program manager for conventional weapons destruction will remain in that position with the new company.

Sterling’s website does not identify the company’s top executives, and Kaye declined to identify the founder or CEO of the company. “He’s asked not to be named,” Kaye said, adding that the individual would stay on as an executive adviser.

The release said the combined companies will continue to serve existing customers, but will also expand into markets including energy exploration and development, and judicial and criminal justice support.

The new company will have annual revenues of $150 million.

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, EODT, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Government Contractor, Humanitarian Assistance, Landmines, Mine Clearance, State Department | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boy, 6, dies after triggering landmine in Bosnia

Huffington Post  August 10. 2012

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Authorities say a 6-year-old boy died when he triggered a landmine while collecting wood with his father in the forests of central Bosnia. The father was wounded in the blast.

Aldina Ahmic, spokeswoman for the police in central Bosnia, says the area the two were exploring Friday is a marked minefield some 50 kilometers north of Sarajevo.

Ahmic says the boy died instantly. His father, 37, is being treated at a Sarajevo hospital for serious shrapnel wounds.

Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war turned it into one of the world’s most mine-infested countries. Clearing the explosive devices is costly and complicated.

According to Bosnia’s Mine Action Center, 1,674 people have been killed or injured by mines since the war ended.

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August 10, 2012 Posted by | Balkans, Civilian Casualties, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, UXO | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildfires set off explosions in Bosnia minefield

As firefighters tried to contain two wildfires near an ammunition factory in southern Bosnia on Thursday, one of the blazes began setting off explosions in a minefield left over from the country’s war in the 1990s, officials said.

Associated Press at the Seattle Times  August 9, 2012

KONJIC, Bosnia-Herzegovina —

As firefighters tried to contain two wildfires near an ammunition factory in southern Bosnia on Thursday, one of the blazes began setting off explosions in a minefield left over from the country’s war in the 1990s, officials said.

No one was injured, but the risks of entering the minefield and heavy winds were making it difficult for the firefighters and several military helicopters assisting them to battle the two blazes in the populated area.

Both fires were threatening the Igman ammunition factory on the outskirts of Konjic village from opposite sides, with one of them burning in the heavily mined forest.

“We are doing our best but with the heat and the wind the fires are spreading fast and there is not much we can do about it. It’s all in the minefields,” said Fadil Tatar, commander of Konjic civil protection.

Tatar, who is in charge of coordinating the rescue services and firefighters, said several explosions could be heard Thursday morning as the fire set off some of the mines.

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August 10, 2012 Posted by | Balkans, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, UXO | , , , , | Leave a comment

Job Op-Head of Operations – Explosive Ordnance Disposal & Humanitarian Mine Action

See at Reliefweb  July 12, 2012
Closing date: 09 Aug 2012

DanChurchAid (DCA) is seeking a visionary, dynamic Head of Operations for its Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) programmes around the globe. DCA is offering a job that will make a difference and improve the lives of people living at risk from Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and assist in the reconstruction of societies after conflict.

DCA has operational HMA programmes in Angola, Burma/Myanmar, DR Congo, Laos, Lebanon, Libya and Sudan, implementing the entire range of HMA activities.

The Head of Operations (HO) will be responsible for the coordination and supervision of all operational mine action aspects of the DCA HMA programmes. The HO will be comfortable in dealing with all external actors in strategic global HMA at all levels from UN agencies to local partner organisations. The challenging role extends to strategic advice, strategic planning, operational supervision, recruitment, training, impact measurement and ownership and operation of DCA’s HMA quality assurance mechanism.

How to apply:

Submit your application Please upload your letter of motivation, your CV and latest relevant diploma to www.noedhjaelp.dk/job or http://www.danchurchaid.org/get-involved/jobs/jobs-in-denmark no later than Thursday 9 August 2012. The interviews with the shortlisted candidates will be scheduled for Monday 20 August 2012. Initial interviews may take place by Skype, and relevant candidate(s) may be invited for a further interview in Copenhagen later in August.

For further information about this position please contact Head of Mine Action, Mr. Richard MacCormac at +45 2969 9138 or acting Head of Operations, Mr. M.J. Fred Pavey at +45 2969 9125. DCA promotes equal opportunity in terms of gender, race/ethnicity and belief and encourages all qualified and interested candidates to apply.

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Humanitarian Assistance, Landmines, Mine Clearance, NGO's, United Nations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cambodia’s Most Dangerous Job?

Working in the fields isn’t typically considered a dangerous job. But with plantations still littered with unexploded ordnance, some Cambodians are looking for companies to step up.

The Diplomat May 30, 2012

Frustration grips Von Tha’s face as she fumbles with a hand that no longer works. Ron Run says that seeing his wife’s physical and mental struggle has, for him, been one of the hardest parts of the family’s ordeal. Two months since the explosion at a cassava plantation in Kratie, and the group of five are still feeling its effects. It’s a case that underscores the danger for workers at contaminated sites.

In Cambodia, companies and landowners can choose whether or not to clear areas used for commercial purposes such as agriculture, mining or ecotourism. With improved access to previously difficult to reach areas comes increased economic interest in utilising the land. Accidents on land used for enterprise illustrate the importance of ensuring known-risk areas are cleared of explosive remnants of war (ERW) before workers can enter the site and start tilling the soil.

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June 4, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Cambodia, Civilian Contractors, Demining, ERW, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, Safety and Security Issues, UXO | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somalia bans antipersonnel landmines

at Danish Demining Group May 29, 2012

The Trans Federal Government in Somalia has decided to join the Mine Ban Treaty of the United Nations. The mine action unit within the Danish Refugee Council recognizes and supports the development.

Somalia is one of the regions in Africa most contaminated by mines. As the last African country to officially ban use of landmines, Somalia has now agreed to destroy all stockpiles no later than 1 October 2016 and to clear all contaminated land no later than 1 October 2022.

In addition to this, Somalia is obliged to provide assistance to the thousands of mine victims. Somalia has never produced mines, but it is assessed that around 200 communities are contaminated by mines.

At least 159 casualties of landmines and explosive remnants of war in Somalia (excluding Somaliland) where recorded in 2010, including 19 children killed and 86 children injured. The true casualty figure is likely to be much higher.

“Joining the international Mine Ban Treaty happens despite ongoing conflict and shows that Somalia now recognizes the humanitarian impact of landmines,” says Klaus Ljørring Pedersen, DDG Regional Director for Horn of Africa & Yemen

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June 4, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Demining, ERW, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, Somalia | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jordan- Israeli demining operations to take place near Balqa on Today

MENAFN – Jordan Times  May 24, 2012

The Jordan Armed Forces on Wednesday said Israeli troops will work on removing anti-tank mines in the land opposite Al Rabei area in Deir Alla in Balqa Governorate on Thursday.

The mine clearance will be carried out from 8:00am to 7:00pm, according to a source from the JAF, who noted that Jordan has requested that Israelis abide by the amounts of explosives previously agreed on during demining operations.

May 24, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Demining, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IRAQ: Mine-free 2018 target will be missed

IRIN  May 22, 2012

BAGHDAD – Iraq is drawing detailed maps of areas contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), but is unlikely to clear these areas by a 2018 deadline, says a government official.

“Lack of detailed maps for landmines was one of the major problems and it delayed our mine-clearance efforts because the previous regime planted them randomly,” Deputy Environment Minister Kamal Hussein Latif told IRIN.

“We have teamed up with the ministries of interior and defence since 2011 to start our own survey which will help to identify the exact contaminated areas,” he said.

Despite this, Latif added, the country will not meet the 2018 deadline to clear all landmines and UXO. Iraq set itself the target in 2008 when it joined the Ottawa Convention, under which it committed not to use, produce, acquire or export landmines.

The first province to be mine-mapped is Thi Qar, 400km south of Baghdad, where 98sqkm are confirmed as hazardous. Teams will continue work this year in the most contaminated southern provinces of Basra, Maysan, Muthana and Wasit.

“These areas represent almost 80 percent of the contaminated areas nationwide,” the deputy minister said. “The maps, which we plan to have ready by the end of the year, will help us draw up the best plans and the budget, and identify the number of teams needed and the time required to clear each area.”

Many of Iraq’s landmines date back to the 1960s when fighting began between the Baghdad government and pro-independence Kurdish rebels in the north. The 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war, the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 US-led invasion added to the problems.

The largest contaminated area stretches for hundreds of kilometres along the border with Iran. Large quantities of UXO also remain scattered throughout cities and towns. Today, Iraq is one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world with landmines and UXO covering 1,730sqkm, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Around 1.6 million Iraqis in 1,600 communities, or one in every 20 Iraqis, are affected.

Up to 90 percent of contaminated land is agricultural, with many landmines also found around major oil fields.

Please see the original and read the entire article here

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Iraq, Landmines, Mine Clearance, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vehicle hits mine in Niger, killing 7

Official: Vehicle hits mine in Niger, killing 7
May 22, 2012 15:15 GMT

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Regional authorities say a vehicle carrying West African migrants toward Libya struck an anti-tank mine in Niger, killing seven people.

Gov. Garba Makibou of Agadez in northern Niger says five people were injured in the accident that happened over the weekend when the vehicle veered off the road to avoid a routine check about 17 kilometers (10 miles) from Dao Timi, the last Niger military post before the Libyan border. He says the injured were evacuated to Agadez for treatment.

Makibou also announced that a weapons cache containing 53 missiles was discovered by people in the same region. He didn’t give further details.

Since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi arms have been circulating in Niger near its northern border with Libya.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Landmines, Mine Clearance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Screaming Eagle’ Soldiers Oversee Demining

All Africa May 15, 2012

United States Africa Command

Kisangani — Years after the Great War of Africa ended, remnants of war are still scattered throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the aftermath of one of the deadliest conflicts worldwide since World War II.

In an effort to help the DRC reduce the number of land mines and unexploded ordnance, four soldiers from the 184th Ordnance Battalion (EOD), out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky provided a train-the-trainer course with 11 Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) deminers to improve their explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) skills.

This engagement, which is part of the Humanitarian Mine Action program, took place April 6 through 27, 2012 at Camp Base in Kisangani, the capitol of the Orientale Province in the DRC.

The main objective of this exercise was to improve the FARDC deminers’ EOD skill sets to a point where they can set up a sustainable program in the DRC and to improve relations between the DRC and the United States, said Captain Charles A. Schnake, the exercise officer in charge.

“The HMA mission gives EOD technicians a chance to share lessons-learned with our allies and to sustain amiable relations. It’s also an opportunity for U.S. soldiers to experience a once in a lifetime mission to work in new environments. It was important to me because it gave me the chance to make a lasting impact in the sustainability of life-saving skill sets with our partners overseas,” Schnake, a Honolulu, Hawaii native said.

The first three days of the engagement focused on assessing the level of proficiency for the FARDC deminers. After their progress was evaluated, the Congolese soldiers were taught ordnance identification, explosives safety and theory, metal detector operations and demolitions.

Staff Sergeant Robert L. Hayslett, the head instructor and noncommissioned officer in charge of the mission, said he enjoyed seeing the DRC military eager to learn, broaden their skill set and accomplish the mission.

“The United States has the resources and the personnel with the experience available to teach these critical skills to these soldiers, it’s nice to see the U.S. has a vested interest in the area. My favorite part was the interaction with the foreign students, getting to interact with a foreign military.

This event is an opportunity that not a lot of soldiers have, and we can now take these partnering experiences back and use them abroad,” Hayslett, a Newville, Pa. native said.

During the 21-day program of instruction, both sides were able to take away important lessons from the experience.

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May 16, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

United Nations board of inquiry finds Ronco Consulting failed to find mines

Careful who you follow….

Fartham vs Ronco Consulting

A United Nations Mine Action Employee has filed a lawsuit against Ronco Consulting Corporation for negligence after stepping on a landmine resulting in an immediate below the knee amputation in an area previously cleared by and certified clear of landmines by Ronco Consulting.

The United Nations board of inquiry found that Ronco failed to find the mine that injured Mr Fartham as well as three other mines.

The complaint states that Ronco Consulting, acting through it’s agents and/or employee’s, breached it’s professional duty of care to Fantham and did not exercise the reasonable care and skill expected of professional mine clearance companies.

Fartham vs Ronco Consulting

May 10, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Government Contractor, Landmines, Lawsuits, Mine Clearance, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations, Vetting Employees | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN, Norwegian Peoples Aid and Mechem South African Demining Workers abducted/arrested in South Sudan

Sudan arrests foreigners in disputed border region  April 29, 2012

John Sorbo, mine clearing expert working for the Norwegian People's Aid organization, one of the three foreigners arrested in the disputed Heglig border area, exits a plane in Khartoum. (REUTERS)

Sudan said it had arrested a Briton, a Norwegian and a South African on Saturday, accusing them of illegally entering a disputed oil-producing border area to spy for its enemy South Sudan.

South Sudanese officials denied the allegations and said the men were working with the United Nations and aid groups clearing mines and had got lost in the remote territory close to the boundary between the two countries.

Sudanese army spokesman al-Sawarmi Khaled said the three were arrested in Heglig – the scene of recent fighting between Sudan and South Sudan – travelling with a South Sudanese soldier in vehicles carrying military equipment.

“It is now confirmed without any doubt that South Sudan used the help of foreigners in their attack on Heglig. These foreigners were doing military work such as spying out the areas … They had military equipment … They have a military background,” Sawarmi said.

The group had been flown to Khartoum, he added.

A Reuters witness saw four men arriving on a civilian plane at Khartoum’s military airport.

One of the men, a Westerner, was wearing a t-shirt marked with the slogan “Norwegian People’s Aid. Mine Action South Africa”. Reporters were not allowed to talk to the men who were swiftly driven away in an unmarked white van.

Agency France Presse Canada  April 29, 2012

KHARTOUM – A South African demining company on Sunday said two of its workers were abducted by the Sudanese military while on a UN landmine clearance contract in South Sudan.

Ashley Williams, CEO of state-owned Mechem, said its employees, a South African and a local South Sudanese, were abducted with a British UN employee and a Norwegian.

Williams rejected suggestions by the Sudanese army spokesman that the men were working in support of South Sudan in its “aggression” against the north.

“It’s humanitarian work so the story of them being military advisers and this type of thing is completely and utterly nonsense and not true,” said Williams.

“We are doing humanitarian landmine clearance on a UN contract and our members have full UN immunity. The abduction took place well within South Sudan territory,” he told AFP, saying the group were travelling south between two UN bases.

“Then they grabbed them and drove back to Heglig with them where they then said they’ve arrested them in this disputed area while they weren’t there at all.”

A team remained in the area, which the United Nations would bring out with protection over fears of similar action, Williams said.

Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad on Saturday said the group were captured within Sudan’s borders in the tense Heglig oil area.

“This confirms what we said before, that South Sudan in its aggression against Heglig was supported by foreign experts,” he told reporters after the four were flown to the capital Khartoum.

“We captured them inside Sudan’s borders, in the Heglig area, and they were collecting war debris for investigation,” Saad said.

He added that all four had military backgrounds, and were accompanied by military equipment and a military vehicle. He did not elaborate.

In the most serious fighting since the South’s independence, Juba’s troops occupied Sudan’s main oil region of Heglig for 10 days, a move which coincided with Sudanese air strikes against the South.

Sudan declared on April 20 that its troops had forced the Southern soldiers out of Heglig, but the South said it withdrew of its own accord.

Jan Ledang, country director for the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) mission in South Sudan, identified one of the captives as its employee John Sorbo.

“It’s impossible that they were in Heglig – they were in Pariang” about a 90-minute drive from Heglig in the South’s Unity state, Ledang said.

They were doing follow-up demining work in the area, he added.

The four were on a de-mining mission “and one of them was from the UN”, said Josephine Guerrero, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan

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April 29, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Arrested, Contractors Held, Contractors Kidnapped, Demining, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Legal Jurisdictions, Mine Clearance, Safety and Security Issues, Sudan, United Nations | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Finds Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka

Boston Globe AP  April 26, 2012

NEW DELHI—A report from a U.N. mine removal expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that the weapons were used in that country’s long civil war.

The revelation is likely to increase calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the bloody final months of fighting in the quarter-century civil war that ended in May 2009. The government has repeatedly denied reports it used cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.

Cluster munitions are packed with small “bomblets” that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians. Those that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after fighting ends.

They are banned under an international treaty adopted by more than 60 nations that took effect in August 2010, after the Sri Lankan war. The nations that haven’t adopted the treaty include Sri Lanka, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the U.S., which says the bombs are a valid weapon of war when used properly.

The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster bomblets were discovered in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of northern Sri Lanka, where a boy was killed last month and his sister injured as they tried to pry apart an explosive device they had found to sell for scrap metal.

The email was written by Allan Poston, the technical adviser for the U.N. Development Program’s mine action group in Sri Lanka.

“After reviewing additional photographs from the investigation teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area where the children were collecting scrap metal and in the house where the accident occurred. This is the first time that there has been confirmed unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka,” the email said.

During the final weeks of the war, tens of thousands of civilians and Tamil Tiger rebel fighters were trapped in a tiny section of Puthukudiyiruppu as attacking government forces closed in on them.

Lakshman Hulugalla, a Sri Lankan government spokesman on security matters, said the military had not used cluster munitions in the war.

“We are denying that information,” he said.

The U.N. did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment

Please read the entire story here

 

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, United Nations, UXO | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

S. Lebanon deminers discover bodies of 5 Syrian army soldiers

The Daily Star April 18, 2012

BEIRUT: The corpses of five Syrian army soldiers buried during the 1982 Israeli invasion of south Lebanon have been discovered by a demining team, security sources told The Daily Star.

Members of the demining team MAX, whose work involves clearing areas of cluster bombs, discovered the bodies in a plot of land near the Jezzine-Kfar Houneh main road in south Lebanon.

The bodies, security sources said, were buried in 1982, during the second invasion of south Lebanon by the Jewish state.

The soldiers are believed to have split off from their contingent, which at the time had been stationed in the area, as a result of Israeli aerial raids.

The relevant authorities have been notified of the discovery.

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Demining, Explosive Remnants of War, Lebanon, Mine Clearance, Syria | , , , , , , | Leave a comment