Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | June 2, 2011

U.A.E. hired Colombian mercenaries trained outside Bogotá

The New York Times reported dozens of Colombians are part of an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country. That includes defending oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and putting down internal revolts in case the Emirates face unrest like those seen across the Arab world so far this year. The troops are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion. There is a sense the program has some support in Washington.

The foreign mercenary battalion was the brainchild of Erik Prince, a 41-year-old former member of the Navy Seals and the founder of Blackwater Worldwide. Muslim soldiers, Mr. Prince warned, could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims.

The recruits will be paid about $150 a day. American contractors from Afghanistan, Iraq and other danger spots have been lured with packages that topped out at more than $200,000 a year. And top managers of the project will receive nearly $300,000 in annual compensation, The New York Times reported.

Colombian columnist Daniel Coronell assures in his column for Semana magazine that the mercenaries contracted to work in the U.A.E. were trained by American citizens in a military base in Facatativá, Colombia, less than an hour from Bogotá. Coronell used photographs, taken in April 2010, as his sources.

Look at the photos here and here and and here.

In the past, Colombian mercenaries were hired to fight in Baghdad.

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