Thursday, March 12, 2015
Too late for mercenaries in Africa
Rich mining companies had thought they could save the Katanga region’s copper and other minerals from democratically elected black governments or black dictators.
The idea that they could do more than assassinations of the late Angolan leader Jonas Savimbi, or shoot down the plane of U.N. leader Dag Hammarskjold, was great for tabloids.
Read the histories of Bob Denard or Mike Hoare.
Reporters on the ground knew it was what South Africans would call kak.
The South African Defense Force was fearsome, and fought Russians and Cubans to a standstill in Angola.
But “the boys on order” as they were called in from the late 1970s to 1990, are pretty long in the tooth to be considered capable of putting down Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Despite South African laws banning mercenaries from fighting in other countries, a desperate Lagos brought in some. The first death was a 59-year-old white man.
Odd that the New York Times left out the racial angle when it wrote about the intervention, only hinting at it.
A senior Western diplomat confirmed that the South Africans were playing ‘a major operational role,’ particularly at night. Equipped with night-vision goggles, the mercenaries ‘are whacking them in the evening hours,’” the diplomat said, the Times reported.
A 59-year-old veteran of the Koevoet special unit that fought in Angola was the first to die. He was identified as Leon Lotz, and he was white.
In fact, Lotz died as a result of friendly fire. Some call it WAWA. West Africa Wins Again.
Former colonial governments have had plenty of success sending troops into Africa, but they were soldiers from their regular armies.
No Nigerian government has had much success getting the country of 170 million under control, even with all its oil. How a few hundred or even a few thousand mercs could do it is difficult to imagine.