Tag Archives: Africa civil war

This Land is their Land: money, minerals and the dead elephants

satellite image of Afirca 1994. image from wikipedia

GOVERNMENT DEFENCE ANTI-CORRUPTION INDEX, by Transparency International [Excerpts below]

• In Ethiopia, a sizable conglomerate, the Federal Metal and Engineering Corporation (METEC), grew out of the defence industry complex. METEC is now the biggest, richest, and most influential enterprise in the country and has started to acquire private property and hotels. METEC is overseen by a board headed by Defence Minister Siraj Fergessa, but METEC’s financial and budgetary links with the military aren’t clear, and there is no evidence that annual reports have ever been made available to the public.
• In Sudan 160 registered companies are linked, owned, or controlled by the military, security, and police services …
• The Eritrean military state puts the entire population to work. Military conscripts are a source of cheap labour and even the Eritrean diaspora is coerced into contributing 2% of their income to the Eritrean Defence Forces. Eritrean defence and security institutions have beneficial ownership of many key businesses in Eritrea – in agriculture, forestry, fishing, animal husbandry, mining and minerals, industry and manufacturing, energy, services, tourism, banking and finance, and there is no transparency regarding the details of their operations and finances… • In Ghana, the armed forces started operating their own bank in 2013. No audits or
nannual reports appear to be publicly available…
In 29 of the countries surveyed, defence institutions have controlling or financial interest in businesses associated with the country’s natural resource exploitation that face little to
no scrutiny.
• In Rwanda,…  Tin and tantalum smuggled into Rwanda are allegedly aundered through the country’s domestic tagging system and exported as ‘clean’ Rwandan material. The government has denied its involvement, but evidence suggests it is complicit.
In Equatorial Guinea, there are reports that government officials, including defence and security officials, have diverted revenues obtained from the country’s natural resources, including land and hydrocarbon, into private accounts through offshore shell corporations. Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the president’s son and Vice-President for Defence and National Security, has been accused of stealing $300 million (US) of the country’s oil and gas wealth through corruption and money laundering.
• In Cameroon, there is also evidence of military involvement in the illegal exploitation of the water and forest sectors including the sale of small titles to companies on an industrial scale, and through allowing the Chinese to engage in illegal commercial fishing….
• In Algeria, there are significant links between the military and oil and gas industry; with billions of oil dollars at the heart of the permanent clashes between the different clans in the “pouvoir” – the opaque military and political collective which controls the country….
In many cases, military personnel engage in illicit commercial operations for their private
gain….• In Cameroon, military personnel have been involved in money laundering through the operation of casinos and illegal gaming houses, and there is evidence that the Cameroonian armed forces have been used to provide security for private oil companies.
• There are reports of Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) and other security officials being involved in the highly lucrative trade of elephant tusks. Reports have also emerged of entire military convoys escorting illegal poachers. If caught, rather than face prosecution, military officers are transferred to new positions.

United States Military Presence in Africa

western accord 14, image Africom

In partnership with Senegal and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), U.S. Army Africa conducted U.S. Africa Command’s Exercise Western Accord 14 to enhance ECOWAS’ ability to provide mission command capability to support regional peace operations.

Training focused on developing the ability to plan, deploy, employ, sustain, and redeploy a rapid deployment force in response to a regional crisis. Western Accord 14 is a key element in a broader series of military-to-military activities to demonstrate the strong partnership between the U.S and western regional African partners, and all of the participating militaries, US Army Africa said.

In an ongoing partnership, the U.S. along with 16 other countries participated in Exercise Western Accord (WA 14) in Dakar, Senegal from June 16-27.  “For the past few decades, America has partnered with African militaries in medical capacity-building events and various training engagements across a number of key skill sets,” said Col. Robert Dixon, strategy and plans director, USARAF. “During part one of the exercise, ECOWAS and partnering nations received academics that took them through the UN standards for mission analysis and focused on collective tasks, functional, and staff procedures in support of Command and Control of a peacekeeping operation based on real world events. During the command post exercise (the second part of the exercise), they prepared and executed their plan to move forces into a contested area, defeat the threat, and restore basic services and the rule of law while setting the stage for national reconciliation.”

The ‘Accord’ series is important not only to the U.S. Army, but to the AFRICOM leadership as well, noted Dixon.  “We do the exercise for the AFRICOM commander,” he said. “Primarily what we’re doing is training a joint force, familiarizing ourselves with the African environment, and working in Africa with our African partners. Working with countries participating in UN or African Union peacekeeping operations in countries like Somalia, Malawi, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Central African Republic helps with shaping exercises to replicate real-world environments that better prepares countries for the type of environment they will go into,” Dixon said.  For the first time in the exercise’s history, Dixon said Western Accord 14 has included non-government organizations, the civilian and police components along with the military component replicating peacekeeping operations in Africa to strengthen the relationship between the authorities and enhance regional security in West Africa.

16 countries train, familiarize, partner during Western Accord 2014, Press Release US Army Africa, July 3, 2014