Somalis, Saracens and their Secret Donor
What do six Russians, two South Africans, the Ugandan President’s brother, a private security firm, a former CIA officer, and a senior ex-US diplomat all have in common? Somalia and its semi-autonomous regions of course! The British registered private security firm Saracen International is currently training over 1000 militia men in Somalia’s Puntland region as was reported in an exclusive by the Associated Press. The firm is now also in negotiations with Somalia’s TFG [Transitional Federal Government] to train a second unit of 1000 strong militia.
The project is apparently funded by an unknown donor country and employs the services of Pierre Prosper, the ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues under the previous US administration and Michael Shanklin, who was the CIA’s deputy chief of station in the Somali capital 20 years ago.
The East African reported a link between Saracen and General Akandwanaho, nick named Salim Saleh, who is not only President Museveni’s brother but also a senior government advisor. This detail is of particular interest since Uganda heads AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia]. The African Union was also reportedly unaware of Saracen’s activities which could have serious security implications.
This is a promotional video available on YouTube showcasing some of Saracen’s products:
In a further development, a plane was seized at Hargeisa airport by the Somaliland authorities after apparently landing without authorisation. It was reportedly carrying military supplies en route to Puntland. Somaliland’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Gabose, told reporters the cargo plane was in violation of the international arms embargo on Somalia which was imposed in 1992 by the UNSC [United Nations Security Council].
Initially all eight crew members, six Russians and two South Africans were being investigated. The South African nationals were reportedly going to be charged with falsely posing as journalists. In a surprising twist, authorities in Somaliland have released the South African nationals. Deputy Attorney General of Somaliland Adan Hero-dhiiq held a press conference in Hargeisa in which he said there was no evidence against the two South Africans. He added the two were journalists working for an American television station. However, the Deputy Attorney General said the six Russian nationals will face prosecution.
Somalia though associated with conflict and humanitarian catastrophes over the last two decades has in fact vast resources of yet unexploited natural energy reserves including uranium. This makes the strategic Horn of Africa of economic as well as geopolitical value to competing interests, nations and corporations. Meanwhile plight of the 1.5 million internally displaced Somali refugees continues in the backdrop to the lucrative and secretive worlds of private security and conflicts.