Berlin, May 29, 2010 – The public prosecutor in the German city of
Muenster has opened an investigation into reports that a German security
firm is sending mercenaries to a Somali warlord amid concerns the deal
violates UN sanctions.
A German public prosecutor on Wednesday began an investigation into
reports that a German security firm has been contracted to provide a
Somali warlord with more than 100 German ex-soldiers.
Wolfgang Schweer of the Muenster public prosecutor's office said he was
looking into the deal reportedly agreed between Asgaard German Security
Group and Somali opposition politician Galadid Abdinur Ahmad Darman.
"We are checking whether the offence of recruiting for a foreign army
has been committed here," Schweer said.
Ahmad Darman, who is based in the United States, claims he is the
legitimate president of Somalia. In an interview with German public
broadcaster NDR, he said the soldiers "would be ordered to fight if
necessary. They will fight alongside our units."
Asgaard said in a press release "the contract includes wide-ranging
tasks and areas of competence: from strategic planning to security to
implementation of all measures that are necessary to restore peace and
Asgaard's managing director, Thomas Kaltegaertner, has declined to
comment on the Muenster prosecutor's investigation, according to German
German lawmakers have also come down hard on the deal, criticizing it as
a potential violation of United Nations sanctions against the
conflict-stricken East African country.
Rainer Arnold, defense spokesperson for the opposition Social Democrats
described the Asgaard deployment as "not acceptable," adding that
"legislation should be created to limit such things."
Greens parliamentarian Omid Nouripour said Tuesday his party would
investigate the deployment. Nouripour also criticized the German
government for not implementing tougher laws to prevent ex-soldiers from
serving as mercenaries in foreign wars.
The German Foreign Ministry acknowledged that it knew nothing about the
contract or the activities of Asgaard. The Defense Ministry also
confirmed that it has never entered into any contractual agreement with
the company.Security experts warn that a Somali warlord backed by highly
trained Western soldiers could shift the fragile political balance in
the country and spark a bloodbath.
"If a German company now trains and supports a Somali warring faction
then it is surely against the interests of the German government,"
Annette Weber from the German Institute for International and Security
Affairs told NDR.
Editor: Rob Turner
Source: Deutsche Welle, Wednesday, May 26, 2010