Wednesday, July 21, 2004

South Africa: security company to protect Mugabe?

A South African security firm, International Intelligence Risk Management, is recruiting personnel for work in an "undisclosed foreign country". The company's spokesperson, Derek Davids ...
"We are involved in an international security contract with a state, and the services we are contracted to deliver to our client includes bodyguard duties, setting up investigative and intelligence units and ensuring the security of the state in which our client is based."

Davids said the state in question was not one with active military conflict.

"I want to make it absolutely clear we have secured a huge contract, in a country where there are already 11 other security firms operating, but that we are not working in a conflict area, such as (the Democratic Republic of) Congo," he said.

"We are already involved in specific work such as bodyguard duties for the South African representatives of our client." (source)
The story says the work is in a neighbouring country ... a neighbouring country with no active military conflict ...

What's your guess?!

Last Friday, News 24 carried a story that seems to have the answer ...
One man said the 500 "security guards" were to be deployed in Zimbabwe to protect Mugabe against his "second in command". He did not want to name the person to whom he was he referring.

"There are rumours doing the rounds that he plans to put Mugabe under house arrest and we have to go to protect him (Mugabe)," said the man.

The man's information corresponded with that from other sources.

Documents uncovered by Die Burger [Afrikaans newspaper] earlier this week indicated that the organiser and head of International Intelligence Risk Management was in contact with the Zimbabwean government.

The documents stated that the company was aware in December last year already of plans for coup attempts in Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe.

The company apparently told the South African government about this.

The documents explained that 70 men had been arrested in Zimbabwe and a further 15 in Equatorial Guinea, based on this information. The authenticity of these documents could not be verified. (source)
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In 1998, South Africa passed the Foreign Military Assistance Act which makes it illegal for any South African to take part in any mercenary activity.

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If somebody out there knows Afrikaans, could you please go through Die Burger and see if there's any more detail available on this story. I've been waiting for more stories to appear in English ... and nothing!

UPDATE: Way South says there's no point translating the articles in Die Burger. LOL! It's that shoddy a paper.

UPDATE: It's not Zimbabwe ... but Angola. Click here.