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Monday, January 24, 2011

Somalia leery of security firm because of link to Blackwater

Monday, January 24, 2011

The minister of information for the transitional Somali government said Sunday that Somalia is likely to end its relationship with Saracen International, a private security company in which South African mercenaries and the founder of Blackwater Worldwide are said to be involved.

Saracen has offered to train government troops, and battle pirates and Islamist insurgents in Somalia, which has been steeped in civil war for 20 years. But after the recent disclosure of an African Union report that said Erik Prince, Blackwater's founder, provided seed money for the Saracen contract and was "at the top of the management chain," many of Somalia's biggest financial supporters, including the United States, have questioned the wisdom of the deal. Somali officials have cooled to the idea.

"At this point, our collective thinking is that this is not a good thing," said Minister of Information Abdulkareem Jama.

"We don't want to have anything to do with Blackwater," he said, mentioning accusations that Blackwater employees had killed civilians in Iraq. "We need help, but we don't want mercenaries."

Other Somali officials were said to be debating how to handle Saracen.

Source: Star Tribune


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