The notorious South African mercenary outfit “Executive Outcomes” has apparently been reincarnated with a new name and a new mission: aiding Khartoum in its war efforts in the southern oil fields. According to a recent report from the widely respected and highly authoritative “Africa Confidential,” a number of former members of Executive Outcomes have been reconstituted as a South Africa-based entity known as “NFD.” The company is completing a contract with Libya, involving the use of helicopters and infra-red technology; Libya reportedly recommended NFD to the Khartoum regime. South African mercenaries will thus be put in deadly service of oil companies like Talisman Energy (Canada), Lundin Petroleum (Sweden), Petronas (Malaysia), OMV (Austria), China National Petroleum Corp., and Russian’s Tartarstan/Tatneft. In short, the internationalizing of the carnage in the oil fields of southern Sudan is accelerating with South African help.
Eric Reeves [January 7, 2002]
Northampton, MA 01063
The report from Africa Confidential (attached below) about the mercenary presence of South Africa’s “NFD” in Sudan’s oil regions is deeply disturbing. Speaking of NFD, a former director of Executive Outcomes has told Africa Confidential that “a military contract between ex-South African Defence Force soldiers and the Sudanese army was widely known in ‘military circles’ in South Africa and involved training Sudanese special forces officers in counter-insurgency operations to guard the oil fields.”
Africa Confidential also reports that the directors of the new company “include Duncan Rykaart (ex-colonel in the South African Defence
Force’s Five Recce Brigade), Frederik Christoffel Grove (ex-deputy commander of South Africa’s paratroopers) and Nick van den Berg, described as a sleeping partner.” Africa Confidential notes of these NFD directors that “all worked at senior level in Executive Outcomes; NFD has bought Executive Outcome’s former premises at 13 Gouws Avenue, Raslouw, north of Johannesburg.”
Also significant is Africa Confidential’s report that some of the equipment used in the Libyan contract with NFD was obtained from Kentron, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Denel defense company.
This report must force South Africa to decide whether there is any meaning to its Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act. Nominally, all South African security companies working overseas must register and meet the terms of the Act. But NFD claims they’re not involved in Sudan’s oil wars. The South African government should aggressively investigate this matter; and it should prosecute vigorously under the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act if NFD is indeed found to have contracted with the vicious Khartoum regime in its prosecution of scorched-earth warfare in the southern oil regions.
Southern Sudan is now suffering massively at the hands of many international oil companies. To its credit, South Africa wisely warned off parastatal oil company Soecor from its prospective investment in Sudan’s oil development projects. Thus it would be an especially savage irony if South Africa, which suffered so terribly under apartheid, should end up participating directly in Sudan’s own vicious form of racial destruction. For allowing South African mercenaries to help secure these killing fields is clear complicity in Khartoum’s racially animated war on the African peoples of southern Sudan.
[From Africa Confidential, 23rd November 2001]
“Guns for hire again”
A born-again Executive Outcomes operation is at the centre of allegations of a military contract between ex-South African Defence Force soldiers and the Sudanese army. A former director of EO told Africa Confidential that the contract was widely known in ‘military circles’ in South Africa and involved training Sudanese special forces officers in counter-insurgency operations to guard the oil fields. He described the firm involved as ‘the rump’ of EO. ‘Those of us in the company who made enough money are out of it, those who didn’t are still in the game,’ he added. EO was formally wound up in December 1998.
We hear South African security has established a link between a local
company known as NFD and the Sudan contract. Military sources say this was signed this March after six months of negotiation with the Khartoum government. It’s modeled on similar work undertaken for Libyan state security in late 1999, which recommended the South African company to Khartoum. The Libyan project involved using helicopters with infra-red cameras on ‘search and destroy’ operations. Some equipment used in the contract was obtained from Kentron, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Denel defence company. Other elements in the contract included training in infiltrating rebel bases and intelligence gathering. Some 20 former SA soldiers are involved.
NFD’s directors include Duncan Rykaart (ex- colonel in the SA Defence Force’s Five Recce Brigade), Frederik Christoffel Grove (ex-deputy commander of SA’s paratroopers) and Nick van den Berg, described as a sleeping partner. All worked at senior level in EO; NFD has bought EO’s former premises at 13 Gouws Avenue, Raslouw, north of Johannesburg.
NFD Operations Manager Rykaart denies any knowledge of the Sudan contract, though SA military sources pinpoint him as taking the lead role in the negotiations with Khartoum. ‘Someone has been masquerading, misusing our company name to get work,’ Rykaart told Africa Confidential. ‘This happened a lot with Executive Outcomes in the old days’. Rykaart insists his company has no foreign security contracts currently, although the NFD website boasts a client base in Egypt, Congo-Brazzaville, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Angola and Bulgaria.
All South African security companies working overseas have to register and meet the terms of the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, which was passed after controversy about EO’s Angolan contracts. Another EO ex-Director claimed the Act’s provisions were so broad that most operators couldn’t be prosecuted.
Revelations that a South African company is training Sudanese soldiers will embarrass Pretoria’s Department of Foreign Affairs. When SA’s Soecor wanted to bid for contracts in Sudan’s oil sector, they were stopped by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zuma, who feared compromising Pretoria’s role in any peace negotiations between the Sudanese regime and its opponents.