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

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

Ronco Consulting named in Contractor Lawsuit for EEOC violations

Ronco Consulting was named in the Defense Base Act Class Action Lawsuit against Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and some Overseas Civilian Contractor Companies.

The EEOC granted a former Ronco Consulting Employee and American Injured War Zone Contractor the Right to Sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act after investigating the complaint.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Even those who were disabled due to the negligence of the company in question.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Government Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Taxes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Mine kills Croatian EOD contractor near Osijek, Croatia

Vecernji list  January 11, 2012

49 year-old EOD specialist from Croatian mine clearance company Mungos was killed today while performing his duties in Darđanska forest near Osijek, Croatia’s 4th largest city.

An estimated 1500 landmines remain in the forests by Drava river, and mine clearance specialists arrived in December 2011 to start clearing them out. Due to forested terrain, remote controlled demining vehicles couldn’t be used. EOD personnel commented that the mines were lain without a particular plan, making it more difficult to locate particular fields.

754.5 square kilometers of Croatia are still covered with mines, down from over 4500 square kilometers immediately after the war.

A total of 1.5-2 million land mines, were deployed by Serb forces during the Homeland War. A total of 8% of Croatian territory was mined at the end of the war. Some 1500 people suffered injuries from mine blasts and around 440 were killed by 2011.

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, 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

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April 18, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Demining, Landmines, Lebanon, Mine Clearance, Syria | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SRI LANKA: Mine clearance could take 10 years or more

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

COLOMBO, 6 February 2012 (IRIN) – Landmine clearance in Sri Lanka’s conflict-affected north could take more than a decade, experts say.

“It is expected to take [in] excess of 10 years to fully mitigate all remaining contamination in Sri Lanka,” the Mine Action Project of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka told IRIN, citing a lack of resources coupled with the difficult nature of the work.

Approximately 126 sqkm of land remains to be cleared in the island’s north at the end of 2011, according to data from the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC).

Set up in July 2010, NMAC is the government’s lead agency in de-mining work in the country.

As of 31 December 2011, the largest remaining area was in Mannar District (33.8 sqkm), followed by Mullaitivu (27.7 sqkm), Kilinochchi (23 sqkm), Vavuniya (15 sqkm) and Jaffna (5 sqkm) in the north.

Smaller areas are in borderline districts of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, along with some parts of the east.

Barrier to return

More than 6,700 conflict-displaced, mainly from Mullaitivu District, continue to live at Menik Farm outside the town of Vavuniya, where more than 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) once lived following the end of the war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which had been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), since 1 January 2009, more than 554 sqkm have been cleared of mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) in the north and east of the country.

The humanitarian demining unit of the Sri Lanka Army, international organizations – Danish Demining Group (DDG), HALO Trust, Horizon, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Sarvatra, and Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD)] – and two national organizations – Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH) and the Milinda Moragoda Institute for Peoples’ Empowerment (MMIPE)] – are engaged in demining work.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) carries out mine risk awareness programmes in the north and east.

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February 6, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Humanitarian Assistance, Landmines, Mine Clearance, Sri Lanka, United Nations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 de-miner killed 2 injured in Kapisa missile attack

Khaama Press November 23, 2011

According to governmental authorities in northern Afghanistan, at least three de-miners of a mine clearance organization were killed and injured in militants attack in north-eastern Kapisa province.

The officials further added, the incident took place after militants targeted the deminers in Kohaband district of north-eastern Kapisa province late Tuesday night.

Afghan security officials in Kapisa province confirming the incident said, at least one de-miner of a mine clearance organization was killed and two others were injured after they were targeted by militants in the area around 11:oo pm local time on Tuesday night.

The source further added, militants used missiles to target the de-miners office from the south-eastern region of Kohband district.

In the meantime, Kohband police chief Mohammad Anwar confirming the report said, at least one de-miner working Halo Trust demining company was killed and no one else was injured

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November 23, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, NGO's | , , , , , , | 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

Please read the entire story here

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

27 Afghan mine sweepers freed, four dead

Online International News Network  July 12.2011

KABUL: Twenty-seven Afghan mine sweepers kidnapped by gunmen in western Afghanistan have been freed but four others were killed, an official said on Monday.’Last night, all 27 of our mine clearers were freed by the kidnappers,’ Daud Farahi, manager of the Demining Agency for Afghanistan, told the German Press Agency dpa.’We were in negotiation with the kidnappers through tribal leaders, as result of the tribal talks they were released.’

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Demining | , , , , | Leave a comment

Demining on fast-track in Kilinochchi

Chamikara WEERASINGHE Daily News Sri Lanka  June 11, 2011

Sri Lankan Army and UN-sponsored de-mining teams have cleared 60 per cent of mine-containing land in Kilinochchi. The National Steering Committee on Mine Action (NSCMA) yesterday said LTTE had laid over 1.4 million landmines in the Kilinochchi district.

“They are being removed, de-mining is on a fast track,” NSCMA sources said. Nearly 90 per cent of an estimated quarter million displaced were resettled, sources said and added that Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu remain to be cleared of landmines.

Meanwhile, the government on Thursday and Friday resettled 4,000 displaced families in Jaffna. The 4,000 families or 18,000 men, women and children were resettled in the 9,000 square meter High Security Zone (HSZ) with the security clearance being given by the Ministry of Defence. Resettlement Ministry Secretary B M U D Basnayaka said they will resettle the rest of the IDPs no sooner the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu lands are cleared of landmines. IDPs at Manik Farm will be resettled soon in their places of origin.

Basnayaka said they will be able to end the the process of resettlement before the end of December.

Asked about the facilities given to IDPs and the resettled, he said there is more than enough food, water and sanitary facilities at their welfare camps with the number of IDPs being reduced to less than ten per cent.

He said Economic Development Ministry is looking after the resettled. The Ministry is looking after their livelihood maintenance.

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June 17, 2011 Posted by | Demining, Landmines, Mine Clearance, United Nations | , , , | Leave a comment