Somalia Seeks Mercenaries To Fight Pirates
June 20, 2008: For the second time in three years, the Somali government (a ramshackle collection of clans and warlords that represent about half the population) is negotiating for a private security company to patrol its coasts and suppress the piracy that is now rampant out there.
Three years ago, similar negotiations with U.S. firm Top Cat Marine, to clean out the pirates along the coast, came to nothing. Turned out that Top Cat had a buccaneering background itself, including shady deals, bankruptcy, former South African mercenaries and other interesting touches. But the company had, on occasion, delivered. But not in Somalia. The current candidate Secopex, is from France and has been in business for five years and has informal links to the French government. Many of Secopex's employees are former French military. If France is willing to pay the $100 million Secopex says it will cost to impose order along the Somali coast, the job could probably be done. It would not be pretty, as it would involve raiding the coastal towns where the pirates are based. There would be fighting, and dead civilians. If the French are willing to put up the money, and take the PR heat, the pirates will be gone. Foreign countries have already been contributing similar sums of money to the Transitional National Government (TNG), and have seen it largely disappear into the pockets of a few senior officials. The anti-piracy deal would have the cash go direct from foreign government to anti-piracy contractor.