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Vol 39 No 21

Published 23rd October 1998


Sierra Leone

Militias and market forces

Undaunted by Western political opposition and Africa's rebel militias, the private armies are expanding their portfolios

Private military companies are stronger than ever in Africa, six months after the political row over the relations between Sandline and British officials (AC Vol 39 No 11). Yet the controversy over these unregulated companies with official access continues to simmer in Britain. Several members of parliament believe that the independent inquiry, set up after the row over the Sandline security company’s role in reinstating President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, left too many questions unanswered. Some are particularly concerned that Sir Thomas Legg’s 160-page report in July overlooked what they consider the key role of Britain’s civil and military intelligence agencies in the Sandline affair. On 3 November, Sandline director Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer is due before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee to answer questions about his company’s operations in Sierra Leone. Soon afterwards, Sir David Spedding, chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), is to give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee.

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