Posts Tagged hostages

Mali: As France Goes To War Against The Islamists, What Will Be The PMSC Contribution?

I see three areas of focus coming out of this new conflict, that PMSC’s will be crucial for. The first is security services for private interest throughout the Sahel. In the articles below, I have listed all the actions of companies in Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, and Mali, and it is one of reaction to the events in Mali. The Islamists are targeting western interest as a way of hitting back at France and the west, and the hostage crisis in Algeria is a prime example.

The services I see as crucial would be an increase in PSD services, kidnap and ransom services, static security reviews and manpower increases at facilities, and evacuation services.

The second area of focus for PMSC’s would be logistics, and especially as the conflict drags on and the ECOWAS force comes into play. Whatever force they come up with, it is being drawn from the poorest nations in the area, and this army will have nothing in the way of equipment or support. So I could see the typical players for logistics stepping up for this conflict. The AMISOM mission is a good example of what I am talking about and I believe the main players there are Dyncorp, PAE, and Bancroft Global Development.

Perhaps because this is France’s deal, there might be more emphasis on using French PMSC’s? On the other hand, if the US is footing the bill for training up this ECOWAS force, then it will be their choice for who will support the mission. There will be plenty to choose from and we will see how this pans out?

The final area of focus will be training. I really think the model here will be something like what is going on with AMISOM for Somalia. The forces of ECOWAS will have very little to no experience fighting in deserts or fighting an insurgency. You need a robust training program that will meet then needs of such a mission. Not only that, but you must also account for the education levels of those forces being sent in the first place. So training will be vital to the success of France and the west in Mali, and this will be a long term effort much like how AMISOM has turned out.

I could even see some contracts coming up that are focused on training the new government of Mali. Training, mentoring, and support for both the government and the military, will all be possible contracts in the future for companies.

Overall though, I don’t give Mali much hope unless it figures out it leadership and government. Hopefully the new government will come together and stay focused, but these things tend to be really messy if we look at past experiences. Yet again, I point to Somalia as the model of how messy this could be. Mali must have a leader or leaders that the people (and soldiers) can support and even fight for. The west can expend millions of dollars on training this military to expel the jihadists from the north, but Mali must have a solid government or ‘foundation’ to build from in order to keep the jihadists and military in check, now and well into the future. -Matt

 

Edit: 01/20/2013- I wanted to add two more articles that detailed the efforts of energy firms throughout the region. Either companies are boosting security, or they are evacuating folks just to be safe.
The Energy Giants at Most Risk in Northern Africa

Foreign Firms in Algeria Boost Security

Security experts said Algerian authorities may now need to rethink the way security is handled, allowing more foreign involvement in the process.In other high-risk resource-rich countries, such as Iraq, foreign companies commonly employ private Western security companies that are staffed by armed expatriates. Algeria, in contrast, keeps the majority of armed security personnel local, said one security consultant.Typically in Algeria, an oil company hires a foreign contractor to advise on security or to head a team, but the majority of the personnel carrying arms are limited to Algerians, the person said. Some of that security is provided by companies set up by retired Algerian generals, the person said.The system could result in lower-quality security, he said. “Even before the French were in Mali, Algeria hasn’t been the safest place to operate in for a long time,” the security consultant said.

Algeria crisis triggers Libya, Egypt oil security review
Jan 18 2013
* Libya says boost oilfield protection in south
* Italy’s ENI biggest operator across the border
* Some firms in Egypt say reviewing security
* Staff evacuation, tighter security to raise costs,
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Ron Bousso
Libya rushed to beef up security at its oil fields and energy firms were considering similar measures in Egypt as Islamist militants threatened to attack new installations in north Africa.
More than 20 foreigners were still being held hostage or missing inside Algeria’s In Amenas gas plant on Friday after Algerian forces stormed the desert complex near the Libyan border to free hundreds of captives taken by Islamist militants.
Hundreds of workers were evacuated from a number of Algerian production sites on the border with Libya to safer places in the country’s centre and industry experts said that could ultimately lead to lower oil and gas production from the OPEC member state.

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Iraq: The Remains of Security Contractor Handed Over to British Authorities

   For the sake of the families, I am glad that the remains have been found and closure can happen.  Rest in peace. As for Peter Moore, if he is still alive, I hope to god that negotiators can get his release.  The chances are slim that he is alive, but you never know. -Matt

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UK says it has been given remains in Iraq

By DAVID STRINGER

LONDON — The remains of one of five British hostages have been handed over to British authorities in Baghdad, Iraqi officials said Wednesday. The British government said it had received remains but had yet to determine their identity.

In July, British authorities said that it feared that two security workers — Alan McMenemy and Alec MacLachlan — had been killed by their captors.

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Iraq: Bodies of Two British Hostages Identified

   Rest in peace to these men.  And what really kills me about this news, is that it will be snuffed out by all the other crap going on.  These contractors had been in captivity for awhile, and this is a sobering ending to a bad deal.  If any of the readers have any more to add, feel free to post in the comments section.  I also posted a small deal through the FJ Facebook page. -Matt

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Bodies of 2 British hostages identified

Sunday, June 21, 2009

LONDON — Two bodies handed over to British authorities in Iraq have been identified as bodyguards kidnapped in Baghdad two years ago, the government said Sunday.

The Foreign Office said the two bodies were “highly likely” those of Jason Creswell, from Glasgow, Scotland, and Jason Swindlehurst, from Skelmersdale in northwest England.

The two men worked for Canadian security firm GardaWorld and were abducted in May 2007 along with information technology consultant Peter Moore and two other bodyguards, identified only as Alan and Alec.

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News: South African Bodyguards Save Mumbai Hostages

SA ‘heroes’ save Mumbai hostages

November 28, 2008

BBC

A team of South African bodyguards have been explaining how they led 120 hostages to safety from a hotel seized by gunmen in the Indian city, Mumbai.

The guards, armed only with knives and meat cleavers, helped other hotel guests to safety down a fire escape.

They carried a traumatised old woman in a chair down 25 flights of stairs.

“Everybody was calm and no-one became hysterical,” said Bob Nicholls, director of the security company in Mumbai for a cricket tournament.

Mr Nicholls said he and his employees were eating in the restaurant and were planning to get an early night when they heard shooting in another part of the five-star Taj Mahal hotel.

The seven bodyguards were in Mumbai providing protection for cricketers playing in the Indian Premier League tournament.

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News: Mumbai Shootings, Grenade Attacks Kill at Least 78, Western Hostages Taken

    The hostages taken part was something I just found out through other news.  This is ongoing, and the story is evolving. It sounds a lot like last summer’s attack, and they are saying this Indian Mujahadeen.  The attacks are focused on Westerners. Some reports are even saying 40 are dead, and there are several attacks going on simultaneously. -Head Jundi

Edit:  At least 78 dead according to Indian media, Decan Mujahadeen are claiming responsibility.  

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Mumbai Shootings, Grenade Attacks Kill at Least 16 (Update1)

By Stephen Foxwell and Sumit Sharma

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) — Grenade and gun attacks erupted today across Mumbai, India’s financial capital, killing 16 and injuring at least 25, television broadcasts said. Shots were reported near luxury hotels and one of the city’s main rail stations.

Police ringed the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Trident and Oberoi hotels and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in the south of the city, NDTV reported. Two terrorists were said to be inside the Trident Hotel, in the financial district of Nariman Point, Times TV said.

“Some terrorist incidents are happening, some grenades were lobbed,” A.N. Roy, director general of police for Maharashtra state, said in a telephone interview. “Give us some time to get a clearer picture.”

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News: Beheadings, Kidnappings, and Hostage Rescue in Afghanistan

     When I think about hostages and kidnapping, I always go back to Iraq in 2006 when those guys from Crescent Security were snatched at a checkpoint by some thugs, and later murdered.  If the Taliban are really serious about these kinds of activities, I would not put it past them to pose as Police to pull off successful kidnappings like in Iraq.  It is all about the money, and this stuff is big business.    

     This guy that was rescued recently was damn lucky. I am happy for him and his family, and I am really happy for the SF team that was able to successfully pull this off.  These types of operations are no small feat, and my hats off to the planners of this thing.  

    The other trend is beheadings.  The Taliban have done this before in the past, and this is nothing new.  What is alarming is them actually beheading ‘groups’ of folk at one time, like what happened on the bus take down in the story below.  What’s next, Taliban beheading videos on youtube?  Who knows, but it looks like the Taliban and others are thinking in terms of kidnappings and beheadings as viable options in their war. It looks like they are taking the page right out of the Iraq playbook for this kind of thing. -Head Jundi 

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US commandos rescue American hostage near Kabul

By JASON STRAZIUSO 

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Special Forces soldiers freed a kidnapped American working for the Army Corps of Engineers during a nighttime mission last week — a rare hostage rescue in a country where ransom abductions have become increasingly common.

The American, who had been working on U.S. government-funded infrastructure projects, was abducted in mid-August and had been held just 30 miles west of Kabul with no public notice of his abduction. The dangerous mission to free the U.S. contractor killed several insurgents, U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

Taliban militants have kidnapped several international aid workers and journalists in recent years and have been paid large ransoms or negotiated the release of imprisoned Taliban fighters in exchange.

But increasingly aggressive crime syndicates are also raking in big money by kidnapping wealthy Afghans and foreigners and demanding ransoms.

“This guy didn’t have any money at all. It was like a personal life mission for him to help others,” said Bruce J. Huffman, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan. “We all felt sick about it, because he was never going to be able to pay a ransom. He’s over here helping people and they’re trying to make a buck off him.”

Hostage rescues are rarely attempted and difficult to pull off successfully. Not only could the hostage be killed by his abductors during the rescue, but U.S. forces could also accidentally shoot the hostage.

U.S. Special Forces were able to locate the kidnapper’s hideaway in the Nirkh district of Wardak province, though U.S. military officials who spoke to AP about the rescue would not say how. Three U.S. officials offered some details on the rescue on condition they weren’t identified because they weren’t authorized to release the information.

But the three declined to give specific information, saying they didn’t want to compromise tactics used in the rescue or further endanger Army Corps of Engineer personnel, who work on projects like road building and hydroelectric projects in Afghanistan’s increasingly dangerous provinces.

Story Here

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Taliban kills 31 Afghans in ambush on a bus – beheading six of them

By Daily Mail Reporter

20th October 2008

Six bus passengers were beheaded on Sunday in a Taliban ambush that left 31 Afghans dead.

The vehicle was travelling in convoy with another bus on the main road through a part of Kandahar province, an area under Taliban control.

Militants fired on the first bus, killing a child on board, but failed to stop it.

An Afghan policeman guards a highway in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after Taliban militants killed 31 passengers in a bus ambush.

Massacre: An Afghan policeman guards a highway in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after Taliban militants killed 31 passengers in a bus ambush.

They stopped the second bus and took 50 civilians hostage. General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, of the Afghan defence ministry, said around 30 were killed, six by beheading.

A Taliban spokesman said its fighters carried out the attack, but insisted only 27 people were killed and all were Afghan army soldiers.

He said everyone on the bus had their papers checked and any civilians were set free.

But General Azimi dismissed the claim saying: ‘Our soldiers travel by military convoy, not in civilian buses. And we have military air transportation.’

Taliban attacks have become increasingly lethal this year, as the militia has gained power and surged through the south and east of Afghanistan.

More than 5,100 people have died in violence in the country this year, mostly militants.

 

Find this story here 

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