October 4, 2007

Government slams 'security training' in Iraq

Government has come out strongly against plans by a Namibian branch of a South African labour-hire company and a similar outfit in the United States of America to send Namibian war veterans to Iraq for 'security training'. "Government has learnt through local media reports that Africa Personnel Services (APS) and an American company, SOC-SMG, reached an agreement in Windhoek this week, which will allow APS to recruit Namibians with military, police or security experience to serve as security guards in war-torn countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan where America has a presence," Information Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said. "Although the reports claim that Namibians will only be allowed to depart for training in Iraq with the 'blessing' of the Namibian Government, the Government did not receive any formal request in this regard," the Minister said in a statement. "Had Government been formally approached, it would have found it difficult to consent to such a request."
A local daily reported that APS and the US company Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group (SOC-SMG) had reached such an agreement. According to Article 4 (8b) of the Namibian Constitution, Government can cancel the citizenship of Namibians should they engage in mercenary activities. A law could be promulgated to invoke the loss of Namibian citizenship if "persons have served or volunteered to serve in the armed or security forces of any other country without the written permission of the Namibian Government," the Constitution states. Similarly, the Defence Act of 2002 clearly states that no citizen may serve or apply to serve in the military force or the reserve or any auxiliary force of any country other than Namibia, without the written permission of the Defence Minister. On its Internet site, SOC-SMG advertises itself as a "global leader in full-service security management." (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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