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Mercenary Employment on the rise in Africa

Mister Nizz


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It just makes it harder to play AK-47 Republic, Dang it...

There's SO MANY people out working as mercenaries that South Africa has to actually legislate?

S.Africa passes controversial mercenaries bill Tuesday August 29, 06:18 PM

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa passed an anti-mercenaries law on Tuesday that could bar thousands of its nationals from working for security companies in global hotspots such as Iraq and in other national armies.

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota told lawmakers before the bill was passed by an overwhelming majority that one of the intentions of the measure was to stop local mercenaries "subverting democracy" across Africa.
The government wants to stop civilians and former soldiers -- many trained in the apartheid army -- from fighting or offering security services after South Africans were found to be involved in a number of attempted coups and conflicts in Africa.

"Mercenaries are the scourge of poor areas of the world, especially Africa," Lekota said.

"Killers for hire, they rent out their skills to the highest bidder regardless of the political agenda," he said.

But critics say the bill is too wide-ranging and could affect civilians involved in legitimate security work and in other military services, including the British army.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has estimated at least 4,000 South Africans are employed in conflict areas around the world, but the actual number may be closer to 20,000.

The bill requires citizens working as security personnel to seek permission from the government and allows certain conflict countries to be declared regulated zones.

The law, which must still be approved by parliament's second house and President Thabo Mbeki, has been widely criticised for infringing on South Africans' rights to freedom of employment.

The British High Commissioner to South Africa appealed for changes to provisions that would impact on about 800 former South African soldiers working in British forces.


Lekota said the last two decades had seen the emergence of a global trade in hired guns.

"A number of human rights abuses have been committed by some firms and in many instances their operations have led to a rise in internal tensions and sometimes even military coups in certain states," he said.

About 2,000 South Africans, many trained as soldiers in the apartheid-era military force, are believed to be working in the security sector in Iraq. Several have been killed there.

Lekota said the government was also concerned South Africans could end up fighting for foreign armies in conflicts that contravened international law or Pretoria's foreign policy.

Former South African soldiers were linked to a foiled coup plot in the oil-rich west African state of Equatorial Guinea and in the past were hired as private soldiers in conflict-ridden Sierra Leone