No to German mercenaries in Somalia

2 June 2010

No to German mercenaries in Somalia

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen must put pressure on his German counterpart to tackle the question of German mercenaries in Somalia. So says SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang, who sees such western interference as aggravating the civil war in the country. Irrgang has put a written parliamentary question to the minister asking for his comments.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991. For almost two decades a number of warring parties have been involved in civil armed conflict. The so-called 'transitional government', supported by the West and by a weak peacekeeping force provided by the African Union, has almost no power. Recently it was revealed that more than a hundred mercenaries from a German corporation, the Asgaard German Security Group, will shortly arrive in Somalia with the clear intention of becoming involved in the conflict there. The firm has signed a five year contract with the Somalian warlord Galadid Abdinur Ahmad Darman. In Irrgang's view this involvement threatens to bring about a further deterioration in the humanitarian situation.

Ewout Irrgang “The UN's World Food Programme estimates that as a result of years of civil war at least half of the Somalian population is dependent on food aid" says Irrgang. "More than 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes and since 2007 at least 18,000 Somalians have died from acts of violence. Involving German mercenaries is no solution and can only fan the flames of the civil war. For that reason I'm asking the Foreign Minister to urge his German counterpart to do something about this kind of firm and the mercenaries who work for such corporations. It's rather strange that the German government's official position is support for the 'transitional government', yet at the same time they are allowing German mercenaries to fight for one of the groups which is in armed conflict with this same government."

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