Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Corruption investigation of disaster-recovery firm takes aim at former FBI supervisor

The Times Picayune  Nola.com  April 17, 2012

Robert Isakson was once the fair-haired boy of the FBI in New Orleans. Thirty years later, the public corruption squad he once ran is investigating him.

Sources close to the investigation say the FBI is looking at payments and gratuities former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle, his driver, and companies affiliated with the two allegedly received from Isakson’s Mobile, Ala.-based disaster-recovery firm, DRC Inc. Shortly after that, DRC got two contracts from Hingle’s office worth about $3 million.

It’s a staggering revelation because Isakson has carefully cultivated an image as a justice-seeking government contractor, blowing the whistle on the most brazen war profiteer in post-Saddam Iraq and refusing to pay bribes in Honduras to help that country recover from Hurricane Mitch. His former colleagues looked up to him and thought of him as a straight arrow.

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April 18, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Government Contractor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

DRC: Landmines hurting farmers’ livelihoods

IRIN March 26,2012

KABALO, 26 March 2012 (IRIN) – Landmines planted about a decade ago in parts of Kabalo territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) southeastern Katanga Province are adversely affecting farming livelihoods, and an important World Food Programme (WFP) project.

“In our area, there are villages where we get much harvest but the road leading to those villages [has] landmines,” a food trader from Kabalo said.

Lorries often get blown up by the landmines, Birindwa Murhula, a leader of one of the local food traders’ associations, told IRIN.

Kabalo, formerly the breadbasket of mineral-rich Katanga Province, was affected by DRC’s 1998-2003 civil wars. The Mpaye area, for example, served as a demarcation zone separating belligerents when Zimbabwean-backed DRC army troops clashed with the rebel Rassemblement Congolais Pour la Democratie, which was backed by the Rwandan Army.

Mpaye is still affected by landmines, making the transportation of food from local villages to trading centres and beyond a challenge.

In the past, the NGO Danish Church Aid (DCA) helped to demine Kabalo but stopped work in the first half of 2012 due to a lack of funding

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March 26, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, Safety and Security Issues, UXO | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scores dead in Congo munitions depot blasts

At least 100 people killed in explosions in the Republic of Congo capital of Brazzaville, say officials and witnesses

Aj Jazeera March 4, 2012

At least 100 people have died in a series of explosions triggered by fire at a munitions depot in the Republic of Congo capital of Brazzaville, officials and witnesses said.

There are reports that the death toll in Sunday’s incident could be twice that amount.

An official from the Republic of Congo presidency quoted by the Reuters news agency said as many as 200 people were killed.

“We count at least 150 dead in the military hospitals and around 1,500 injured, some of them seriously,” said a European diplomat when contacted by telephone from Paris.

At least three strong explosions rocked the city on Sunday, sending up a plume of smoke that could be seen miles away across the Congo River in neighbouring Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The blasts, which began around 8am local time, all occurred within an hour of one another, witnesses said.

It was not clear how the fire at the munitions depot started.

Charles Zacharie Boawo, the defence minister, appeared on national television on Sunday to urge calm in Brazzaville.

“The explosions that you have heard don’t mean there is a war or a coup d’etat,” he said.

“Nor does it mean there was a mutiny. It is an incident caused by a fire at the munitions depot … At this very moment our experts are there trying to extinguish this fire so this situation does not recur.”

Witnesses said the explosions came from the north of the city and that the impact of the blasts threw open doors of houses in the city centre.

The explosions triggered panic in Kinshasa, but DRC state television urged residents to remain calm.

Lambert Mende, a spokesman for the DRC government, said he had spoken to officials in Brazzaville, who told him there was an accident at a munitions depot near the city’s Hilton Hotel

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March 4, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

D.R. CONGO: Graduation day for two new MAG-FARDC demining teams

Sixteen members of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Armed Forces will carry out important clearance work to make the DRC a safer country after being trained by MAG.

ALERTNET  July 12, 2011

The FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) personnel make up two Manual Clearance Teams, formed with the support of the UK Department for International Development under MAG’s new “Linking Mine Action and Development” project in DRC.

Having completed the basic deminers course in accordance with International Mine Action Standards, the teams will now apply their theoretical and practical knowledge to contribute to the national humanitarian demining clearance operations. This will be done under supervision from the MAG Technical Field Managers who conducted their month-long training.

One team will deploy to Dimbelenge territory in Kasai Occidental province, to conduct technical survey and clearance work of high-priority Suspected Hazardous Areas, while the other will deploy to Bas Congo province, carrying out the equally high-priority clearance of the Lindu minefield

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July 12, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Demining, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South African Jaco Dorfling, Pacific Architects and Engineers, dies in DRC UN Plane Crash

Jaco Dorfling, 42, a former auditor in the SA Air Force, worked as a logistics manager for a US company, Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), which was subcontracted to the UN.

Dorfling was to spend time with his parents and children in Pretoria over the Easter weekend.

Speaking from his Sinoville home on Tuesday night, Dorfling’s father, Kallie, who last spoke to his son on Friday, battled to fight back tears.

“We were looking forward to Jaco coming home. We last saw him in January, so by the time he was coming home now, his visit would have been long overdue,” Dorfling snr said.

“His sons were extremely excited about seeing their dad. Like us, they thought he was the best thing in the world.” .

Dorfling said his son made friends easily and this summed him up best.

“Wherever he went he would make friends.

“That is just how he was. He could be in the most horrible place on Earth and he would come out of there with the best friends in the world.

“He loved his job and lived for the adventures that it took him on. His job made him truly happy and he loved the fact that he was helping to make a difference in people’s lives.”

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, United Nations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mechem Medic Petrus “Parra” van Vuuren dies in DRC UN Plane Crash

Petrus “Parra” van Vuuren, 40, a fireman from Polokwane, was working in the DRC as a medic for the South African demining company, Mechem. His brother, Andries, said that the family had learnt only on Tuesday that his “boeta” was heading home.

“We knew he was coming back, but he told us that he was coming at the end of the month. Every time we asked him for a date he would mumble something and then change the subject,” he said.

“He lived for his job and the challenges which came with it … It was his kind of life – being a firefighter-paramedic was in his blood.”

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Demining, United Nations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Plane Crash in DRC, 32 Killed

IOL News March 5, 2011

Three South African men were among the 32 UN officials and peacekeepers killed when a plane crashed on landing in heavy rain in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa.

Only one person survived the crash in Kinshasa on Monday, UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said at the world body’s headquarters.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation confirmed that the sole survivor was not South African and that the three who died in the air crash were in the employ of the UN, but were not soldiers.

Of the 33 passengers, 20 were UN employees.

“The accident was caused by the rain,” she said. “The plane broke up completely. A part of the cockpit rolled along the ground for 800m.” The Fokker 100 aircraft burst into flames on crashing but firefighters managed to put out the fire quickly, aided by the heavy rains, she said.

Congo Crash Two Bangladeshi Army Die

Dhaka, Apr 5 (bdnews24.com) — Two Bangladeshi army men have been killed in a UN plane crash at the main airport of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in its capital.

The deceased were identified as Maj K M Ziaul Haque and corporal (clerk) Mohammad Yunus Mia.

`UNITED NATIONS, April 4 (Xinhua) –– The UN Security Council on Monday conveyed its “deepest condolences” to the UN and non-UN staff killed in a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which left 32 people dead.

Osorio, the Colombian UN ambassador who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for April, made the statement to reporters here after closed consultations among 15 Council members.

“On behalf of the members of the Security Council, I would like to express our profound sorrow for the accident that occurred today in Kinchasa when a UN airplane missed the air-strip and crashed resulting in the deaths of 32 persons including both UN and non UN staff,” he said.

Kinshasa, Congo, April 4, 2011 /WNCNews/ – UN plane which carried the staff of the United Nations (UN), on Monday (4/4), crashed in Congo and broke into two.

Initially, according to a spokesman for UN peacekeeping, Nick Birnback, the death toll reached 10 people and could also increase.

However, a few minutes ago, airport officials of Congo made sure, the death toll reached 26 people. The cause of the UN plane crash was still unknown.

The UN mission in Congo, which is commonly abbreviated MONUSCO, involves more than 19,000 peacekeeping personnel. The mission is aimed at protecting civilians from violence, including all forms of sexual violence

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April 4, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DRC: Moved onto a Minefield

KISANGANI, 4 April 2011 (IRIN) More than 1,000 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been ordered to move to a suspected minefield because the authorities want to build shops and restaurants on the site of their old homes.

However, Kisangani mayor Augustin Osumaka Lofanga told IRIN; “The landmine argument doesn’t stand up.

“If there is a risk, it is only 10 percent. Nobody has died yet,” he said, adding that demining of the area had already been conducted by Handicap International Belgium and “if not properly done, it is their responsibility.

“This is a simple demolition of shacks and makeshift homes. Investors should take advantage of the land to build inns, hotels and flats.”

On 4 March the mayor told the 1,350 villagers of Tsamaka they had 30 days to move about 100m towards the suspected minefield, and on 18 March, with police in attendance, the local authorities started destroying their shacks – against the advice of the UN Mine Action Centre (UNMAC), and despite the fact that Mechem Demining was to have begun mine-clearance operations there on 1 April.

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Demining, United Nations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DR Congo: UN envoy promises increased civilian protection in northwest

22 April 2010 – The top United Nations envoy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has pledged to strengthen its military presence in the northwestern province of Equateur to help the Government provide better protection for civilians following a deadly raid by rebels earlier this month on the regional capital.

Alan Doss, Special Representative of the Secretary General for DRC and head of MONUC, the UN peacekeeping force there, made the pledge when he visited Equateur’s provincial capital, Mbandaka, yesterday to show solidarity with the local people, provincial officials and UN staff in the city. He offered condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the attack, which took place on 4-5 April.

A UN peacekeeper, two contractors and reportedly several other people died in the attack, which mainly targeted the airport at Mbandaka.

Mr. Doss held several meetings with officials of the provincial administration, including the Governor of Equateur and the regional commander of DRC’s national army. He also met representatives of the international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the UN country team in the area.

He condemned the use of all forms of violence and urged insurgents to lay down their arms and respect the law and democratic institutions. Mr. Doss pointed out that Equateur is one of DRC’s poorest provinces and said residents of the province needed development not war.

Mr. Doss urged both civilian and military authorities in Mbandaka to work to restore trust between the public and soldiers and the police, stressing the importance of respecting human rights.

Recent clashes in Equateur have pitted ethnic Enyele militiamen against their Munzaya rivals. The violence has caused the displacement of tens of thousands of people.  Original here

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Africa, United Nations | , , , | Leave a comment