UN and US blocked formation of Puntland Coast Guard force

Halkaan ka akhri

The United States and UN admitted that they have persuaded Puntland authorities to withdraw the deal with Saracen International, a south African-owned mercenary Company.

The Saracen was to back formation and training of a thousand man coast guard force for the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

The transitional federal government of Somalia also had a deal with the same firm but later suspended the deal after the government recognized in January that the company is involved by undercover agents.

Saracen firstly trained nearly 100 soldiers for Puntland in the commercial city of Bosasso. They were trained by foreign mercenaries hired by shipping companies, sources confirmed.

The UN feared that the mercenary trained force would violate the arms embargo against Somalia, and that a more effective combat force in Somalia might fall under the control of a warlord seeking to become the new dictator of Somalia.

Officials from the United Nations said the UN worried about such contract could simply cause illegal arms will go into the war ravaged country, which is under UN arms embargo since the civil war broke in 1992.

Actually, the training contract in Puntland is only “suspended”, as local officials want the mercenary trained coast guard force, as it appears to be the only way to control the thousands of gunmen working for pirate gangs and warlords.

Previously, Puntland unnamed official told RBC Radio the deal was only suspended after close consultation with the UN but now also from the United States.

Saracen International was hired to train 1,050 men in Puntland to battle the pirates that menace shipping off Somalia’s coast. Also it was to train security personnel for TFG in Mogadishu.

A mystery donor, believed to be the United Arab Emirates, had already spent millions of dollars on the Saracen deal through a web of companies with false addresses.

The international media also revealed that the project was linked to Erik Prince, who founded the private security firm Blackwater, and also had a secret mission to go after an Islamist rebel linked to insurgents in southern Somalia.

Source:     RBC + AP


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