The good mercenary life in Africa

Who said being a private security thug wasn’t profitable in the age of capitalism on crack (via South African paper The New Age)?:

Thirty-five Special Forces-trained South Africans were responsible for this week’s audacious operation that spirited Muammar Gaddafi’s wife and three children from Libya to safety in Algeria.

The “battle hardened Iraq veterans”, who were apparently paid $15000 (R105000) each, were recruited three weeks ago, after being interviewed at a Sandton hotel.

Details of the operation were revealed to The New Age this week by a source close to the group, who said he was invited to take part but declined.

And while Libya’s Transitional National Council was this week seeking the return of Gaddafi’s family from Algeria, the group of mercenaries is believed to be on standby to conduct further similar operations.

“We’d like those persons to come back,” rebels’ spokesperson Mahmud Shammam said of the Gaddafi family after Algiers on Monday announced that Gaddafi’s wife, Safiya, two sons, a daughter and their children, had crossed the border into that country.

The New Age has learnt reliably that interviews for the extraction operation were conducted on August 17 at the Balalaika hotel in Sandton by Sarah Penhold, who operates from Kenya.

The New Age has seen copies of an email sent to a former SA Special Forces operative, inviting him for an interview.

Penhold describes herself on the internet as an executive protection and security specialist proficient in a wide range of firearm handling and safety techniques.

Her LinkedIn profile reads: “Trained in advanced and tactical high-speed driving. Medically trained to first aid level 2 and 3, with a focus on trauma injuries.”

She describes herself as an “excellent communicator, with good interpersonal skills” who is “able to work as part of a team or as an individual”.

She describes herself as being a “resourceful operator, with well-honed planning and communication skills, who is adaptable and able to work well under pressure and to tight deadlines”.

The mercenary group left South Africa two days after the interviews, flying from OR Tambo airport to Dubai.

From there they flew to Tunisia, which shares borders with Algeria and Libya, where they were issued with firearms. They then travelled by road into Libya.

According to a source close to the men involved, some members of the group last week phoned home, saying that they were holed up in a Tunisian hotel.

“They described their situation as very complicated,” according to the source, who asked not to be named as he feared retribution from the South African authorities.

Although the men may not have not breached any international laws, they can expect problems with the South African authorities on their return home, according to Prof André Thomashausen, professor of international law and director of the Institute of Foreign and Comparative Law at the University of South Africa.

“The draconic Foreign Military Assistance Act leaves no loophole for South Africans to sell their military skills abroad,” Thomashausen said. “It gives the government enormous powers to pursue and prosecute.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common