Namibia’s Dogs of War
Namibian weekly newspaper Confidente this morning reported that at least 20,000 former members of the now defunct South African Defense Force [SADF - Converted to South African National Defense Force - SANDF - at independence] some of whom are Namibian citizens, were working for private military contracting companies active in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali. The paper’s editor Max Hamata, said reporters at the paper had interviewed two mercenaries who are working for military contracting firms across Africa and further afield.
Here is the story from Confidente:
SOME retired Namibian born South African Defence Force (SADF) and Koevoet members are allegedly serving as mercenaries to protect American Government interests in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan at irresistible wages ranging from U$7000 (about N$56 000) and U$10 000 (about N$89 000), Intelligence sources and a retired Namibian SADF soldier have said.
The retired SADF soldier, Jason Amorin, who currently lives in Pretoria, South Africa, where he has started his own security firm told Confidente in an interview this week that Namibian born former SADF and Koevoet members were allegedly hired by American based security firms such as Blue Sky Group International and Safenet Security Services (OSSI) to allegedly protect the American Government’s interests in those war-ravaged countries.
He told Confidente he has started his private security firm by employing 37 people who are mainly Namibians to do combat security, VIP protection, cash-in-transit and guarding houses in South Africa.
He has worked in Iraq before he started his own security firm, but said that a lot of Namibians were serving in military operations in Sudan, DRC and Afghanistan military, while others, mainly Oshiwambo and Rukavango speaking security operators were protecting mines in Angola and Zambia for wages exceeding US$10 000 ( about N$89 000).
“I know of a group of Namibians who have been hired recently to do de-mining work in Sudan,” he said.
Meanwhile, a local intelligence source also confirmed to Confidente that some Namibia’s were also hired by Blackwater Security Consulting.
The American security companies could not be contacted at the time of going to press as their contact details were not known to Confidente.
However, an official at the U.S. Embassy in Namibia said the U.S. Government contracts with a variety of private companies for different types of services. The official had no information on whether Namibians were working for any American security companies in Afghanistan, Sudan or Iraq.
Another source with links to security and intelligence services, who used to be associated with the former Apartheid South African security and intelligence apparatus in former South West Africa (now Namibia), claimed that an American company called Blackwater Security Consulting with apparent American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) links was involved in the recruitment of mercenaries, which might include Namibians, to fight the so-called American wars aimed at achieving the US national security, economic, national and political interests in foreign countries.
Security firms, military support firms and private military corporations are providing contract security, intelligence, aviation, logistics, language, training and military services to the Department of Defense and other government agencies in the United States and overseas in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.
According to Wikipedia, Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) was formed in 2001, and is based in Moyock, North Carolina, USA. The company is one of the private security firms employed during the Iraq War to guard (American) officials and installations, train Iraq’s new army and police, and provide other support for Coalition Forces. Before 2001, tier-one contracts, or former members of elite, Special Forces units, were hired from a small pool of applicants.
However, after the 9/11 attacks in America, Coffer Black, the former head of counter terrorism at the CIA requested that the USA federal government hires more contractors to operate overseas. Eventually, the CIA realized that large number of civilian contractors would be needed overseas to accomplish its broad goals, and turned to Blackwater Security Consulting to do that assignment.
A document, titled “From market for force to market for peace: private military and security companies in peacekeeping operations” by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, South Africa says that in July 1977, in Libreville, Gabon, the then Organization of African Union (OAU), now the African Union (AU), adopted the Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa, which came in force in 1985. Through this Convention, the OAU/ AU forbade the use of unorthodox forces in conflict management.
The document further adds that during the 1960s and 1970s, the UN General Assembly and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) learnt the presence of mercenaries in Africa as a threat to national self-determination and national liberation. International law covering this issue was subsequently embodied in the OAU Convention on the Elimination of Mercenaries in Africa (drafted in 1977, binding as of 1985), the Geneva Convention (Article 47 Protocol 1 of 1977) and the UN International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing, and Training of Mercenaries (drafted in 1989, binding as of 2001).