S.Africans are among Guinea mercenaries - sources

Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:32pm GMT

* South Africans amongst military contractors in Guinea

* Men training militia, overseeing arms deliveries -sources

By David Lewis

DAKAR, Nov 20 (Reuters) - South Africans are amongst a group of mercenaries working for Guinea's military junta, according to security sources and copies of emails seen by Reuters on Friday.

The bulk of them have been sent to the West African nation by Dubai-based businessmen, the sources said. As well as military training, their job is to ensure the arrival of arms acquired by the junta from Ukraine in defiance of an arms embargo.

Guinea's military regime is facing international sanctions and demands that it hand over power to civilian rule after a Sept. 28 crackdown on opposition protesters in which witnesses said more than 150 people were killed and women were raped.

South Africa announced this week it was checking reports that its nationals have been hired to train a force for Guinea's junta, and there have been separate reports that Israelis and Ukrainians are involved in helping the government.

"They couldn't get enough people to do the job, so that is why there is a mix of people doing the job," said Henri Boshoff, a military analyst who served in the South African army, citing information in intelligence circles.   Continued...

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