Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

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

Guard in Olympics explosives arrest

Third arrest over explosives ‘found in car’ belonging to security guard

The Daily Mail April 2, 2011

A third person has been arrested at London’s Olympic Stadium site on suspicion of supplying explosives.

The 61-year-old man is being questioned by police after officers from the Olympic Site Support Unit stopped and searched a woman in a car park off Pudding Mill Lane on Tuesday.


UK Press Association March 30, 2011

A female security guard has been arrested near London’s Olympic Stadium site on suspicion of possessing explosives and drugs.

The 40-year-old dog handler was held after her vehicle was searched, but police said the incident was not thought to be terror-related.

Scotland Yard said police recovered a very small amount of a substance, which was being forensically examined.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “On March 29, acting on information received, police stopped and searched a woman in a car park off Pudding Mill Lane. Her vehicle was searched and a 40-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of possession of an explosive substance and Class A drugs. She is in custody at an east London police station.  Please see the entire article here

A spokesman for security firm G4S, which earlier this month signed a deal to be the official security firm for the Games, said: “Our canine services team is licensed to hold small samples of explosives for training purposes and are required to undertake rigorous training and follow strict operational processes. G4S take breach of operational processes very seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries in relation to this incident.”

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, G4S | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security contractor from Nevada locked up in UAE for 7 weeks

Former Nevada Soldier Arrested Overseas

LAS VEGAS The family of a former Nevada soldier being held the past six weeks in an Abu Dhabi jail is fighting for the veteran’s release.
While waiting to board a flight home on Sept. 29, Nicholas Moody, 23, was arrested in the Middle Eastern country for what the nation’s officials said were accessories to firearms.
His family said those accessories were not ammunition or anything that could build a firearm.
His mother, Lorina Moody, said she reached out to the U.S. Embassy, but was told they couldn’t be of much assistance.
When she reached out to her congressman, Rep. Dean Heller, she said “I was told politely, but firmly, that the limitations of their office are such that they could request a health and welfare check for my son.”
Nicholas Moody was working as a private contractor in Iraq, providing security for the U.S. government, his family said.
Moody is permitted a 10 minute phone call every two weeks, his mother said. “When I have spoken to my son, it’s clear to me he is holding up very well,” Lorina Moody said.
“He’s very level headed and an outstanding person and is handling himself well in the conditions he’s in.”
She said the company he used to work for is also not helping.
Nicholas Moody’s aunt, Bobbi McLaughlin of Laughlin, Nev., said the family is turning to the public for the young man’s release. LINK: Help Bring Nick Moody Home

“We just need a letter to a congressman,” McLaughlin said. “It’s simple stuff but if enough people do it, you might.”

(CNN) — A security contractor from Nevada has been locked up for seven weeks in the United Arab Emirates, his mother said Thursday, as his family seeks answers about what landed him in prison and how long he’ll remain there.

Having served in Iraq and then Afghanistan as part of the California and then Nevada National Guards, Nicholas Moody, 23, was working for a private security contractor when he stopped over in Abu Dhabi, his mother Lorina Moody told CNN. He was arrested on September 29, during an 18-hour layover while heading back from Iraq, for carrying firearms accessories — parts that could accompany a gun, though no firearm itself — which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, his mother said.

“Our son is the type of individual who would not have willingly broken the law,” said Moody, of Susanville, California. “Now, we’re caught in a situation where we don’t [know] where to turn to. We don’t really have any way of knowing what’s going to happen to him.”

The U.S. State Department confirmed that Nicholas Moody has been detained, saying that U.S. consular officers visited him on September 30, October 6 and November 10.

“During those visits, he conveyed he was being treated fairly,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the case.”

Nicholas’ family, meanwhile, is hoping for action. Lorina Moody said she’s talked to her son briefly two weeks, the last time on November 11. Only recently did the family find an English-speaking lawyer, and he has only been able to talk to Nicholas twice.

While she has been assured Nicholas is doing well, Lorina Moody said she’s still coming to grips to how he landed in jail.

After graduating from Susanville’s Lassen High School in 2005, Nicholas enrolled in the California National Guard and, for a time, served in Iraq, according to his mother. He later moved to Reno, intending to attend the University of Nevada campus there, and also joined the Nevada National Guard.

Nicholas became an inactive Guardsman when he took his latest job in Iraq with the security company, which Lorina Moody declined to name. According to CNN affiliate WTVN, he was carrying a front grip and cleaning kit for a gun and other items he needed as an armed guard when he was caught.

“It seems so ironic that a man who, after serving our country in two combat zones … is the one who got pulled aside,” Lorina Moody said.

While ceding that the parts he was carrying might constitute a crime in the UAE, she said she did not feel what Nicholas has gone through so far — including limited contact with his family, lawyer and the U.S. government, as well as little understanding of the possible sentence — exceeds what he deserves.

Lorina Moody said she initially kept the matter private, so as not to “inflame the situation.” But, heeding the advice of her son’s lawyer in the Persian Gulf country, she’s taken the cause public in recent days — reaching to out the media and setting up a Facebook page.

Nicholas’ next court date is November 29, though his mother said she’s not sure what could happen to him — whether he’ll be sentenced to time served, be compelled to spend months or years more in prison or have to pay a fine.

Until then, she’s talking and hoping for the best. She describes her contact with U.S. officials so far as “courteous,” but “minimal.” And she hopes getting Nicholas’ story out there will help his cause.

“I understand” the limits on what officials can do, she said. “But I am this man’s mother, and that is not enough.”

Please read the original story here

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment