Rwandan and Nigerian troops finally arrived in Darfur last week. Actually as far as I can ascertain there are actually no more than 65 Rwandans and 50 Nigerians at present so we are still waiting for a further 3,000 plus to be deployed at some point. They are there to monitor “a shaky ceasefire in the Sudan’s western region”. So they are not there to protect the hungry destitute refugees in the makeshift camps. The other 300 Nigerians who have been there for a while are protecting the observers. So it seems everyone gets protection except the refugees.
Two months ago an American official of the US State Dept flew to AU headquarters to discuss terms for handing out contracts to US companies in Darfur. Two American companies, DynCorp Corporation and Pacific Architechs & Engineers (PAE) have been awarded contracts worth $20.6 million to provide logistical support (housing, office equipment, transport and communications) to the AU troops.
The two companies are already recruiting new staff to send to the region. A “resourceful retired military officer who has a through understanding of logistics” is being sought for $85,000 a year as well as security chief to lead “40-60 personnel daily” at a salary of $53,750 a year.
Both DynCorp and PAE have mixed record for carrying out similar tasks in the past. For example, The State Dept only last week had to rebuke Dyncorp ” for its employees “aggressive behaviour” doing guard duty for Afghan leader Hamid Karzai and despite PAE’s record of allegedly overcharging the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”.
The contracts are also similiar to the ones handed to Hallburton in Iraq and Afganistan
the only difference with the Pentagon contracts is that this is a smaller contract,” Mueller told CorpWatch. The contract has been used to buy $67 million worth of services from both companies in Burundi, Sudan and Liberia in the past year and is capped at $100 million for each company. “These are cost-plus contracts so the companies get reimbursed for all expenses and can charge a profit that ranges between 5 and 8 percent.”
Another problem with the hiring of private companies such as these two is lack of transparency about the contracts themselves and about who the employees are, their training, qualifications, and past histories.
Dyncorp is already working in Sudan provinding logistics in the negoiations between north and south civil war. In addition they are involved in other contracts worldwide and do not have a particularly good record.
PAE which also offers support for oil drilling projects around the world, has been involved in several African peacekeeping missions such as the air and sealift of personnel and supplies, equipment maintenance, and the provision of food fuel and water for the United Nations in Sierra Leone in 2003 and in the Congo in 2001.