Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Private firm Saracen flouts UN embargo in Somalia

Pretoria News  February 26, 2012

Eight months after SA-linked private military company Saracen International was fingered in a UN Security Council as the “most egregious threat” to peace and security in the failed state of Somalia, Saracen continues to run and train a private army in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Saracen, one of a cluster of shadowy private military contractors born from the ashes of the SA/British mercenary outfit Executive Outcomes, after nearly 18 months of military activity in the region, has yet to secure permission to operate as a security provider in a region so volatile Somalia has not had a functioning central government for upwards of 20 years.

Tlali Tlali, the spokesman for the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, confirmed that neither the SA arm of the Saracen operation, nor any of the individuals associated with the Somali adventure had applied for accreditation as legitimate security contractors.

UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) co-ordinator Matthew Bryden confirmed the company had failed to seek or secure authorisation from the international authority to operate as a private military contractor in Somalia after being fingered in the Monitoring Group’s June 2011 report.

We understand that the UN is in possession of compelling evidence that Saracen has continued with military training and deployment in defiance of the UN’s general arms embargo. The continuing violations of UN Resolutions 1973 and 1976 are expected to be addressed in detail in the SEMG’s forthcoming annual report at midyear.

Saracen’s operation in Somalia is headed by Executive Outcomes stalwart and – until the mercenary outfit was disbanded – holding company director, Lafras Luitingh. Luitingh is also a director of Australian African Global Investments (AAGI) the company primarily involved in logistical supply and procurement for the operation

Please see the original and read more here

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somalia’s Puntland suspends security contractors

Associated Press March 17, 2011

MOGADISHU, Somalia –  Somalia’s northern region of Puntland has suspended a controversial deal with a private security firm contracted to train an anti-piracy force, two government officials said Thursday.

Saracen International was hired to train 1,050 men in Puntland to battle the pirates that menace shipping off Somalia’s coast.

An Associated Press investigation previously found that the project was linked to Erik Prince, who founded the private security firm Blackwater, and also had a secret mission to go after an Islamist rebel linked to insurgents in southern Somalia.

Two officials in the Puntland government said the deal had been suspended following international pressure. Both asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

One official said most of Saracen’s primarily South African staff have left the country but he expected them to return. The second official said that training has been suspended and that 200 recruits who had graduated from the training program were not paid in February.  Please read the entire story here

March 17, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blackwater Founder Said to Back Mercenaries

Mark Mazetti and Eric Schmidt at The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Erik Prince, the founder of the international security giant Blackwater Worldwide, is backing an effort by a controversial South African mercenary firm to insert itself into Somalia’s bloody civil war by protecting government leaders, training Somali troops, and battling pirates and Islamic militants there, according to American and Western officials

The disclosure comes as Mr. Prince sells off his interest in the company he built into a behemoth with billions of dollars in American government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, work that mired him in lawsuits and investigations amid reports of reckless behavior by his operatives, including causing the deaths of civilians in Iraq. His efforts to wade into the chaos of Somalia appear to be Mr. Prince’s latest endeavor to remain at the center of a campaign against Islamic radicalism in some of the world’s most war-ravaged corners. Mr. Prince moved to the United Arab Emirates late last year.

With its barely functional government and a fierce hostility to foreign armies since the hasty American withdrawal from Mogadishu in the early 1990s, Somalia is a country where Western militaries have long feared to tread. The Somali government has been cornered in a small patch of Mogadishu by the Shabab, a Somali militant group with ties to Al Qaeda.

This, along with the growing menace of piracy off Somalia’s shores, has created an opportunity for private security companies like the South African firm Saracen International to fill the security vacuum created by years of civil war. It is another illustration of how private security firms are playing a bigger role in wars around the world, with some governments seeing them as a way to supplement overtaxed armies, while others complain that they are unaccountable.

Mr. Prince’s precise role remains unclear. Some Western officials said that it was possible Mr. Prince was using his international contacts to help broker a deal between Saracen executives and officials from the United Arab Emirates, which have been financing Saracen in Somalia because Emirates business operations have been threatened by Somali pirates. Please read the entire article here

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Military Contractors | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Private firm trains Somalis to scuttle pirates

Muslim nation financing effort

By Eli Lake at The Washington Times

Somalia’s transitional government is using private security firms and Arab governments to train and fund a paramilitary force to battle pirates in the region that have threatened international shipping.

A lawyer representing Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) said on Tuesday that a security contractor, Saracen International, is being paid by a Muslim government to train an anti-piracy force in Bosaso, a town in the northern Somali province of Puntland on the horn of Africa. The TFG is also looking into training another, similar force in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.

“The goal of the TFG and the donor is to strengthen the mechanism in order to bring some law and order into Somalia,” Pierre Prosper, the lawyer, told The Washington Times. “Many of the trainers have experience and were contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Mr. Prosper said the agreement between Saracen and the TFG/Puntland government is for security training. “The donor is paying for the services of Saracen. The only contract I am aware of is between Saracen and the Somali government to provide the services,” he said.

Mr. Prosper, who was President George W. Bush’s ambassador at large on war-crimes issues between 2001 and 2005, would not disclose the identity of the donor. Please read the entire article here

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contracts Awarded, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment