UK firm 'hired ex child soldiers' as mercenaries in Iraq

A UK firm recruited ex child soldiers from Sierra Leone for $16 a day as they were cheaper to hire than European soldiers

UK firm 'hired ex child soldiers' as mercenaries in Iraq

World Bulletin / News Desk

A former senior director at a British firm says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers.

James Ellery, who was a director of Aegis Defence Services between 2005 and 2015, said that contractors had a “duty” to recruit from countries such as Sierra Leone, “where there’s high unemployment and a decent workforce”, in order to reduce costs for the US presence in Iraq.

“You probably would have a better force if you recruited entirely from the Midlands of England,” Ellery, a former brigadier in the British army, told the Guardian. “But it can’t be afforded. So you go from the Midlands of England to Nepalese etc etc, Asians, and then at some point you say I’m afraid all we can afford now is Africans.” He said the company had not asked recruits if they were former child soldiers.

Aegis Defence Services, which is chaired by Sir Nicholas Soames, a Tory MP and Winston Churchill’s grandson, had a series of contracts running into the hundreds of millions of dollars to provide guards to protect US military bases in Iraq from 2004 onwards. From 2011 the company widened its recruitment to take in African countries - paid just $16 (£11) a day - having previously employed people from the UK, the US and Nepal.

A documentary, The Child Soldier’s New Job, to be broadcast on Monday in Denmark alleges that the estimated 2,500 Sierra Leonean personnel who were recruited by Aegis and other private security companies to work in Iraq included former child soldiers.

 “When war gets outsourced, then the companies tries to find the cheapest soldiers globally. Turns out that that is former child soldiers from Sierra Leone. I think it is important that we in the west are aware of the consequences of the privatisation of war,” the film’s maker, Mads Ellesøe, said.

source: The Guardian

 

Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2016, 09:14
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