Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Eritrea: Regime And Its Relationship With Outside World

“Today Eritrea is becoming more like a private company that belongs to President Isaias Afewerki rather than a country with 5 million inhabitants. Even worse, President Isaias doesn’t seem is interested in promoting peace, stability and democracy in the country mainly to protect his grip on power for many years to come. Therefore, there is little hope for better Eritrean foreign relationships with the world and its neighbours without a radical change in direction by the regime.”

Institute for Security Studies at allAfrica.com

Addis Ababa — Tensions between the Eritrean government and Britain escalated in recent months as a result of the continued detention of four British citizens since December 2010 until their release on 12 June 2011.

 According to reports, the accused Britons were arrested after a gun battle with Eritrean coastal forces on the pirate-infested waters of the Red-Sea. Two of the four detainees, who tried to escape, were captured off the Eritrean coast and left without food and water for a day on a small island, before being taken back to the mainland to be imprisoned. It was also reported that all the prisoners were former Royal marines and worked for Protection Vessels International (PVI), a company that provides security services to vessels on the sea from piracy.

In a statement the Eritrean Ministry of Information claimed that the detainees admitted to having committed a crime. The Eritrean government also said the detainees regretted trying to escape from the port of Massawa, where there was an apparent dispute with local businessmen about payment for fuel and supplies. In addition, the statement declared that the detainees bore accountability for acts of invasion, organizing terrorism and espionage”.

In response to the Eritrean regime’s defiance to release its nationals, the British government, on 6 June 2011, restricted the Eritrean embassy in London from providing any other services to the large Eritrean community in the country, other than consular services and the issuing of visas. Prior to this restriction, the British government had given two directives to the embassy in retaliation for the imprisonment of British citizens. First, Eritrean diplomats and visiting officials were to be restricted to the London area only; and second, the UK government banned the collection of taxes from the Eritrean community in the UK by the Eritrean regime. As one of one of the detainees is an Australian citizen, the Australian government imposed similar restrictions on Eritrean diplomats based in Australia.

 These detainees were not the only foreigners in the prisons of Asmara. There are several others from many parts of the world. The Swedish-Eritrean journalist and writer, Dawit Isaak, has been held in an Eritrean prison since 2001 without trial and is considered a traitor by the Eritrean government, even though the Swedish government and other notable organizations have tried very hard to get him released.

Please read the entire analysis here

June 30, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Eritrea, Journalists, Politics, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

British men detained in Eritrea are released

“We are pleased that the four British nationals have now been able to leave Eritrea and can be reunited with family and friends. We are very grateful to the Government of the State of Qatar for helping facilitate their return.”

The Independent   June 12, 2011

Four British men that were detained in Eritrea and held without consular access for more than six months, have been released and are on their way back to London, The Independent can exclusively reveal.

Sources close to the situation say that the men were released this morning, and families have been notified.

The men, two of whom are former Royal Marines, disappeared on Christmas Eve hours after their ship was intercepted by the Eritrean navy, following an unscheduled stop at a port in Massawa. They were sent back to the mainland and put in jail.

Please read the entire article here

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eritrea accuses Britons of espionage, terrorism

Britain has in the past called for “punishment” of Asmara for its suspected support of Islamist insurgents in Somalia. The United Nations imposed sanctions on Eritrea in late 2009.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Eritrea has accused four British nationals it detained late last year of espionage, terrorism and using one of its islands as a depot for arms.The four, who work for a British maritime security firm, were arrested by Eritrean authorities on December 24 over a payment dispute.

A Foreign Ministry report obtained by Reuters on Thursday said further investigation found them to be in possession of “countless amounts” of arms.

The accused work for the UK-based Protection Vessels International (PVI) which says they were en route to provide security for ships in a region where piracy is rife.

It said the four were forced to make an unscheduled stop in Eritrea due to “rough weather” and acknowledged its staff had “mishandled the situation.”

The incident has worsened already frosty relations between Eritrea and Britain, whom Asmara accuses of siding with arch-foe Ethiopia along with the United States. The Red Sea state is at loggerheads with its southern neighbour over a border dispute.  Please read the entire story here

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security firm offers apology in bid to free Britons held in Eritrea

A security firm whose bungled mission in the Horn of Africa led to four British men being captured in Eritrea, and held without consular access for more than six months, has issued an unreserved apology in an attempt to hasten their release.

The Independent Africa

The men, two of whom are former Royal Marines, disappeared on Christmas Eve hours after their ship was intercepted by the Eritrean navy after an unscheduled stop at a port in Massawa. They were sent back to the mainland and put in jail. All were contractors working for the Hatfield-based security firm Protection Vessels International (PVI).

Yesterday the company said it “deeply regretted” the situation, issuing “an unreserved apology for any wrongdoing”. Eritrean television showed footage of the four men being paraded as well as shots of arms and equipment including rifles, handguns, GPS devices, bullet-proof vests, and satellite phones seized from the vessel.

Please read the entire article here

June 8, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment