UN slams SA’s ‘private army’

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iol nws sept 1 ss UN Torture 2012 report 001 SUPPLIED PUNISHMENT SARACEN STYLE: A trainee tied and beaten at Saracen's base camp on October 16, 2010. Picture: United Nations Eritrea and Somalia Monitoring Group.

Johannesburg - A UN report has slammed an SA security company for mustering a “private army” in defiance of international agreements, “brazen, large-scale and protracted violation of the Somalia sanctions regime”, and allegedly torturing local recruits.

The report, authored by the UN’s Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG) and completed in July, accuses the SA government of failing to fulfil its international obligations which include clamping down on mercenary activities.

The company, Sterling Corporate Services, has strong links to the now defunct SA mercenary outfit Executive Outcomes.

Operating, according to the report, as the “private army” of President Abdirahman Mohamud Faroole, of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, the SA-led operation was set up with the assistance of Erik Prince, former boss of the notorious US contractor Blackwater, as well as former US Central Intelligence Agency personnel.

Initially contracted to a shell company, Saracen International Lebanon, the Puntland business was later transferred – after Saracen was described in an earlier SEMG report as the “most egregious threat” to peace and stability in the region – to an entity styled as Sterling Corporate Services (SCS). - Saturday Star

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