Savimbi's former allies now march to Luanda's drum: Pretoria-based company recruits veterans of Namibia war to bolster Angolan army in its struggle with Unita

ELITE counter-insurgency troops formerly serving with the South African security forces in Namibia are being recruited to help the Angolan army in its war against Jonas Savimbi's Unita rebel movement.

A security company based in Pretoria has been signing up former members of the notorious Koevoet unit and of 32 Battalion, a force made up largely of Angolans commanded by South Africans and foreign mercenaries and which once fought alongside Unita. 'A lot of Angolans were in Koevoet, and they are good because they speak the language and have family back in Angola,' said Eden Barlow, head of the security company, Executive Outcomes. The men would be used to train Angolan soldiers.

The Namibian government, led by the South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo), which used to fight the South African-commanded Koevoet during its independence war, has been worried that recruitment of mercenaries for the Angolan conflict could involve Namibia in the war.

This month Namibian police detained and deported a man who claimed to be working for Executive Outcomes, after he was found recruiting ex-Koevoet members in the north Namibian town of Oshakati. Mr Barlow denied anyone working for his company had been detained and suggested that other recruiters had been using his company's name when they got into trouble with the authorities.

Large numbers of foreign soldiers, purportedly employed by 'security companies', have been turning up in the Angolan capital, Luanda, since the country returned to full-scale civil war in October 1992 following Mr Savimbi's refusal to accept defeat in a general election the previous month.

The companies range from the established Defence Systems Ltd based in Jersey, whose employees guard United Nations installations and the British embassy in Luanda, to rather shady firms that claim to have links with senior officials of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

Earlier this month Luanda said it had expelled 18 employees of a security company called Ango-Segu Ltd and run by a former colonel in the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. Next day gunmen raided the company's warehouses. The government said the company had hundreds of illegal weapons. Western military sources in Luanda said Ango-Segu Ltd was suspected of passing sensitive military intelligence to Unita.

The South African Defence Force showed recently its displeasure at the recruitment drive by temporarily grounding a plane owned by a Swiss-based company as it was about to leave Lanseria airport, outside Pretoria, for Luanda with 18 ex-SADF troops. Last month a plane landed at Lanseria with one dead and one wounded soldier on board, apparently from shrapnel. Two other men fled before they could be questioned.

Suggested Topics
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

KS1 & KS2 Teacher

£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: We are looking for infants and...

Secondary Trained Teachers for the watford area

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Qualified secondary teachers - ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?