Privatising War, by 'The Executives'

Article excerpt

A security company with links to Britain and the former apartheid regime in South Africa is emerging as one of the most powerful economic and military forces in sub-Saharan Africa. Executive Outcomes is at the leading edge of a post Cold War trend - the privatisation of war.

It is a limited company registered in Britain and South Africa, with operations across the African continent. It is known to operate in Angola, Sierra Leone and Uganda. There are also indications that it is seeking clients in Latin America and Asia.

Detractors see it as a private army securing concessions for private capital. The Director-General of the South African Foreign Affairs Department, Rusty Evans, calls it a "dangerous criminal and destructive force in Africa". Others see it as the only solution to peace in areas of anarchy and bloodshed. Father Andrew Mondeh, a Catholic priest in Koidu, Sierra Leone, says: "The South Africans have saved Koidu . . . Now we can live again." Whether Executive Outcomes is a peacemaker or a corporate Cecil Rhodes, it has turned Africa's instability to profit. It recruits from some of the most combat-experienced soldiers in the world, including former members of the apartheid regime's notorious 32 Battalion and Koevet and former British officers. Its security services range from mechanised infantry and armour to naval and air force training. A brochure says it can provide "the most professional training packages currently available to armed forces, covering aspects related to land, air and sea warfare". …