Anti-Piracy: Australian African Global Investments

Saracen and Sterling Corporate Services train and equip the largest militia group in Somalia -- essentially a private army for the president of Puntland.   In the semi-autonomous Puntland region, they built a force of more than 1,000 men equipped with planes, helicopters and more than 80 vehicles. Funding of around $50 million came from Abu Dhabi. Somali tribal leaders, and the South Africans training the force, claim it is an anti-piracy coast guard.      

 Mr Lafras Luitingh registered the company - Australian African Global Investments - in 2006. It has branches in South Africa, Uganda and other African countries and is involved in logistics, transport and chartering planes and ships. The Australian company was registered by Taurus Financial Services [Gordon Hatch] in Sydney. "
 The men behind Saracen and Sterling are mostly former South African mercenaries and prominent among them is Mr Luitingh.

[January 20, 2011]Saracen International is training a anti-piracy army in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland — and being financed by an anonymous Middle Eastern country.

Several people with knowledge of Saracen’s operations confirmed that the country is the United Arab Emirates.
Saracen International is a private security company based in South Africa, with corporate offshoots in Uganda and other countries. The company was formed with the remnants of Executive Outcomes, a private mercenary firm composed largely of former South African special operations troops that operated throughout Africa in the 1990s.

The company makes little public about its operations and personnel, but it appears to be run by Lafras Luitingh, a former officer in South Africa’s Civil Cooperation Bureau, an apartheid-era internal security force notorious for killings of opponents of the government.According to a report by the African Union, an organization of African states, Erik Prince, the founder of international security giant Blackwater Worldwide, provided initial funding for a project by Saracen International to win contracts with Somalia’s embattled government. Mr. Prince moved to the United Arab Emirates late last year.
The Somalia coastline is 3,025 km. This includes the the total length of the boundary between the land area (including islands) and the sea. Somalia’s coast is equivalent to the distance from the tip of Maine to Jacksonville, Fla.

In response to requests for an interview with Prince, his spokesman e-mailed a brief statement that the Blackwater founder is interested in "helping Somalia overcome the scourge of piracy" and has advised antipiracy efforts. Spokesman Mark Corallo said Prince has "no financial role" in the project and declined to answer any questions about Prince's involvement.

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