Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

German hostage killed during Nigeria military raid

Associated Press at Palm Beach Post  May, 2012

KANO, Nigeria — Kidnappers stabbed a captive German engineer to death Thursday as soldiers unaware of the hostage’s presence raided a home in northern Nigeria, officials said, five months after his abduction by proclaimed al-Qaida-linked terrorists.

The killing of Edgar Fritz Raupach came as authorities acknowledged the kidnapping of an Italian working for a construction company, part of an increasing number of abductions targeting expatriates working in Nigeria’s north and central regions.

Soldiers launched a raid Thursday morning in Kano, the northern city where gunmen abducted Raupach on Jan. 26 following a major terrorist attack there that killed at least 185 people. The mission targeted a home that soldiers suspected held “an ongoing meeting of senior commanders of the terrorist element,” military spokesman Lt. Iweah Ikedichi said in a statement.

“On sighting the security forces, the terrorist element opened fire and threw (explosives),” the statement read. “The security forces responded immediately, resulting in a gun battle that lasted for about 30 minutes

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May 31, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractors Kidnapped | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigeria: U.S. Embassy Alert – Security Beefed Up in Abuja

Emergency Message for US Citizens by US Embassy in Abuja

All Africa  April 18, 2012

Following the emergency message issued by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria over alleged planned attacks by the Boko Haram, security agencies have beefed up security in certain parts of Abuja.

The statement which was posted on the embassy’s website said the attacks are to be carried out in Abuja and especially hotels frequented by foreigners.

The embassy advised citizens of the United States resident or visiting Abuja to exercise additional caution and said the Nigerian government is already aware of the threat and is taking additional steps to forestall them.

Particularly it advised its citizens to maintain alertness in and around Abuja, near Nigerian government facilities, diplomatic missions, large gathering places, hotels, markets and malls, and places of worship.

Daily Trust observed that increased security measures are being been put in place in certain parts of the Capital territory.

Apart from the police road blocks and check points along major roads into the federal capital territory, security agents can be seen standing guard at public buildings and major hotels were foreigners frequent in the city.

At the four-towered NNPC head office in Abuja, the road directly in front of the building complex has been blocked and cars are thoroughly checked before being admitted within the building.

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April 19, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The expats: ‘No bills, no everyday dramas’ – until the unthinkable happens

The Independent March 10, 2012

Western workers are the civilian mercenaries of Africa. They are easy to spot in the continent’s airports. Generally white and casually dressed, they travel in groups of three or four. They often seem to speak with Scottish accents and have little or no hand luggage, except possibly an iPad. And they are such seasoned travellers that they are generally the last to leave the bar when the flight is called.

“You do it for the money and only for a few years,” said a Scottish welder I met recently at Luanda airport in Angola. All he knew of the country was the international airport and a hotel nearby where he had stayed while waiting for his helicopter transfer to the rig.

He works a 30/30 schedule: non-stop, 12 hours a day for 30 days, followed by a month off for £40,000 per year. That is the favoured work rhythm of employed oil workers who are a long way from home. Others work short stints for different companies as freelance contractors.

The untrained, entry-level staff, with no qualifications can expect to earn about £100 a day, but skilled staff can expect much more: senior construction project managers can pocket as much as £150,000 a year for their work, often much more than they could earn at home. In Nigeria, a project manager can take home £65,000 for helping to build hotels, according to one careers website yesterday.

The welder, a single man, said the best and worst aspect of his work was the monotony: jobs are narrowly defined for safety reasons but there also few surprises: “No bills to pay, no everyday dramas to deal with. They are waiting for me back home,” he said. He was travelling back to Britain with a pipe fitter, a mechanic and a scaffolder, all working the same shift pattern.

Sites housing hundreds of expat specialists have everything: internet, swimming pool, gym and satellite television. Accommodation is five-star and is kept functioning by an army of housekeepers, plumbers and galley hands.

The downside is that the work takes place in remote and often dangerous regions where they risk being kidnapped or worse, as this week’s events showed.

The companies involved are expected to provide security for their workers, but as message boards suggested yesterday, some areas of Africa, particularly Nigeria, remain highly dangerous for expat workers.

“I spent three months in Somalia two years ago and if u [sic] think Iraq is dangerous Somalia is much worse… The Niger Delta isn’t much better. Having worked a lot in Africa I would advise u [sic] to think very carefully about going there at all,” said one blogger.

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March 9, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Italian, British hostages killed in rescue raid in Nigeria

By msnbc.com staff and news services  March 8, 2012

Chris McManus

An Italian and a British hostage kidnapped in May in Nigeria were killed on Thursday by their captors during a joint raid by British and Nigerian forces trying to free them, Italy’s government said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to inform him of the “tragic conclusion” of the operation, a statement said.

The joint forces intervened to free Italian Franco Lamolinara and Briton Christopher McManus, fearing that their lives were under threat, the statement said.

Cameron said it appeared McManus and Lamolinara had been “murdered by their captors before they could be rescued,” the BBC reported.

A witness told Reuters that security forces had tried to force their way into a compound in Sokoto, northwest Nigeria.

“The security agencies tried to break into the house but there was resistance. The people inside the house were shooting at them and they returned fire. They exchanged fire for some time,” said Mahmoud Abubakar, who lives on the same street.

“I saw a military truck come out of the compound with two bodies on it. I didn’t see their color, because they were covered with leaves,” he added

The captors were a faction of militant Islamist sect Boko Haram, a senior official at Nigeria’s State Security Service said.

“The hostage-takers shot the hostages before they even entered the compound. All the terrorists have been killed as well,” he said. “We arrested some suspects a few days before who led us to them.”

British special forces were involved in the rescue, UK media reports said.

McManus’ family said they were devastated by the news.

“We knew Chris was in an extremely dangerous situation,” the family said in a statement published on The Telegraph. “However we knew that everything that could be done was being done. Our thoughts are also of course with the loved ones of Chris’ colleague, Franco Lamolinara, who are also coming to terms with this truly sad news.”

McManus and Lamolinara were working as engineers for a large construction company called Stabilini Visinoni Limited when they were kidnapped on May 12, 2011 in in Birnin Kebbi city, The Telegraph reported

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March 9, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bomb at U.N. building in NIgeria kills 18

 

ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 26 (UPI)A suicide car bomb collapsed an interior wall at the U.N. building in Abuja, Nigeria, Friday, killing at least 18 people and injuring others, officials said.

U.N. officials said the number of dead was likely to rise considerably, The New York Times reported.

Witnesses reported seeing Red Cross officials taking bodies from the building to the National Hospital after the 11 a.m. blast, CNN reported.

Rescue officials were at the building helping to extract people from the rubble, witnesses said.

The National Hospital in Abuja treated “many casualties, lots of them seriously injured,” a hospital official told CNN.

Please read the entire report at UPI

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phillipine Gov’t retains OFW ban in 6 countries

MANILA, PhilippinesThe government is retaining the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Nigeria, and Somalia, mainly because of the unstable and volatile security situation in these countries, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) groups in Afghanistan and Iraq earlier appealed to the government to lift the labor deployment ban.

But an interagency committee which periodically reviews the policy recommended against the lifting of the ban because of the unstable security situation in these war-torn countries.

According to DFA spokesman J. Eduardo Malaya, adequate terms of employment and the overall safety and security of OFWs cannot be assured in these countries, as required by the Migrant Workers Act, or Republic Act 8042.

The law mandates that the government adhere to strict guidelines in allowing the deployment of OFWs to other countries. It also imposes heavy penalties on government officials who allow the deployment of migrant workers without the guarantees required by law.

The committee, led by the DFA, also includes the Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

The DFA has yet to comment on reports that foreign civilian contractors in Afghanistan have started terminating Filipino workers in line with a September 17 order issued by the US Central Command (Centcom). Please read the entire story here

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halliburton reportedly agrees to pay Nigeria $250 million to drop bribery charges against Cheney, firm

At Raw Story

The massive industrial conglomerate Halliburton has reportedly offered to pay $250 million to settle charges against its former chief executive, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, in a multi-million dollar bribery case.

Nigeria filed charges against Cheney last week in an investigation of alleged bribery estimated at $180 million. Prosecutors named both Halliburton and KBR in the charges, as well as three European oil and engineering companies — Technip SA, EniSpa, and Saipem Construction. Eleven Halliburton officials were arrested last month and freed on bail Nov. 29.

The charges allege that engineering contractor KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, was among companies that paid bribes to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to the same bribes in a US court in 2009, and agreed to pay a $382 million fine. The Nigerian charges appear to stem from the US case — though, in that trial, Cheney was never directly charged.

The $250 million figure would include a direct $130 million fine by the company and an agreement to repatriate another $120 million from Switzerland.  Read the entire article here

December 15, 2010 Posted by | Africa, Halliburton, KBR, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , | Leave a comment

The £1 billion hostage trade

How kidnapping became a global industry. Esme McAvoy and David Randall investigate.

Last week, the British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed when US forces stormed the camp of the group holding her to ransom. In September, eight tourists died during a botched hostage rescue in Manila.

In August, three Russian airmen were kidnapped in Darfur. In July, four journalists were seized in Mexico. In June, a Russian businessman’s grand-daughter was taken hostage. In May, it was Chinese technicians in Nigeria; in April, eight Red Cross workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo; in March, a British film-maker in Pakistan; in February, four Pakistani employees of a US aid agency; and in January, a US contractor in Iraq.

A ship seized off Somalia was redeemed for $7m, (£4.4m) a ransom of $550,000 was paid for a German banker’s wife, and, with $300,000 for an oil worker here and $10,000 for a shopkeeper’s son there, and with governments and insurers making their secret cash drops, it all adds up. If you are a hostage-taker, 2010 is turning out to be a very profitable year.

From Mexico City to Mogadishu, from Mosul to Manila, the numbers of aid workers, Western staff, tourists and locals taken hostage is rising. In Mexico, more than 7,000 were held in 2008 alone, in Nigeria at least 1,000 were taken last year, and in Somalia, foreigners are being kidnapped at a rate of 106 a month. All told, at least 12,000 people are now taken hostage each year, and this weekend more than 2,000 – at least 400 of whom are foreigners – are enduring yet another day in a makeshift “prison”, not knowing, from hour to hour, if they will be freed or whether, once their trade-in value is no longer worth the trouble of their keep, they will be dispensed with. And these numbers do not include the many thousands of children who are abducted as part of marital disputes, or the thousands of women victims of bride kidnapping.

The ransom profits are enormous – and growing. Police in Nigeria estimate that ransoms paid there between 2006 and 2008 exceeded $100m. Al-Qa’ida in West Africa alone makes millions taking hostages. What was once an activity undertaken mainly by insurgents and guerrillas keen to make a political point, or acquire a human bargaining chip, is becoming increasingly commercialised. These days, most hostages are taken for ransom, with sums as high as $1.6m paid for their safe return.

And so has grown up a whole industry to counteract the criminals: firms offering kidnap and ransom insurance, highly paid negotiators, lawyers, and security personnel. Today, after an investigation prompted by Anthony Grey, the Reuters journalist who was held hostage in China for 27 months in the 1960s, we reveal the extraordinary extent of one of the 21st century’s least welcome success stories – the hostage industry, worth at least £1bn a year.

Please read the entire story here

October 16, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Pakistan, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment