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Old 05-12-2015, 20:19   #1
Sdiver
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S.A. Mercenaries Bring Boko Haram’s Reign Of Terror To An End

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Ageing White South African Mercenaries Bring Boko Haram’s Reign Of Terror To An End

With their roots in South Africa apartheid-era security forces, they do not fit the standard image of an army of liberation. But after just three months on the ground, a squad of grizzled, ageing white mercenaries have helped to end Boko Haram's six-long year reign of terror in northern Nigeria.

Run by Colonel Eeben Barlow, a former commander in the South African Defence Force, the group of bush warfare experts were recruited in top secrecy in January to train an elite strike group within Nigeria's disorganised, demoralised army.

Some of the guns-for-hire cut their teeth in South Africa's border wars 30 years ago. But their formidable fighting skills – backed by their own helicopter pilots flying combat missions – have proved decisive in helping the military turn around its campaign against Boko Haram in its north-eastern strongholds.

The Islamists have now fled many of the towns they once controlled, leading to the freeing of hundreds of girls and women last week who were used by Boko Haram as slaves and bush wives.

The role of Col Barlow's firm in turning around one of the most vicious African insurgencies of modern times has been kept largely quiet by Nigeria's outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan, who lost elections six weeks ago to ex-general Muhammadu Buhari.

But last week, Col Barlow discussed his company's role in a seminar at the Royal Danish Defence College, and in a separate interview with a Sofrep.com, a special forces website, he described in detail the "aggressive" strike force that was created to push Boko Haram onto the back foot.

“The campaign gathered good momentum and wrested much of the initiative from the enemy,” said Col Barlow, 62. “It was not uncommon for the strike force to be met by thousands of cheering locals once the enemy had been driven from an area.”

http://afkinsider.com/96020/ageing-w...ria-to-an-end/
Continued here ...

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He added: “Yes, many of us are no longer 20-year-olds. But with our age has come a knowledge of conflicts and wars in Africa that our younger generation employees have yet to learn, and a steady hand when things get rough.”

During apartheid, Col Barlow served with the South African Defence Force, a mainly white military unit that defended the regime against insurrection and fought border wars in neighbouring Angola and what is now Namibia.

In 1989, as apartheid was beginning to crumble, he co-founded Executive Outcomes, a private military company made up of many ex-members of South Africa's security forces. One of the first modern "private armies", in 1995 it successfully helped the government of Sierra Leone defend itself against the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front, notorious for chopping off the arms of their enemies.

Another co-founder of Executive Outcomes, which dissolved in 2000, was Simon Mann, the Old Etonian later jailed in Equatorial Guinea over his attempts to plot a coup there.

Col Barlow's new company is known as STTEP, which stands for Specialized Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection. It is thought to have sent around 100 men to Nigeria, including black troopers who previously served in elite South African units. Others even fought as communist guerrillas against the South African Defence Force.

It is not known how much the Nigerian military has paid for STTEP's services. But the fact that the Nigerian government felt it necessary to bring them in raises questions about the level of help that it was receiving from the British and US militaries, who offered mentoring packages in the wake of Boko Haram's kidnapping last year of more than 200 schoolgirls from the north-eastern town of Chibok.

Describing Boko Haram as "a bunch of armed thugs who have used religion as the glue to hold their followers", Col Barlow said the initial plan was for his men to train up a team to help free the schoolgirls. However, as Boko Haram continued to run amok across northern Nigeria, massacring hundreds at a time in village raids, the plan turned to schooling Nigeria's largely traditional army in “unconventional mobile warfare”.

Key to this was a tactic known as "relentless pursuit", which involved mimicking Boko Haram's hit-and-run tactics with non-stop assaults. Once the insurgents were on the run and their likely route established, members of the strike force would be helicoptered into land ahead of them to cut off their likely escape routes, gradually exhausting them.

The South Africans even used bush trackers to work out where their enemies were going, an old-fashioned art that proved vital in Boko Haram's forest hideouts. "Good trackers can tell the age of a track as well as indicate if the enemy is carrying heavy loads, the types of weapons he has, if the enemy is moving hurriedly, what he is eating, and so forth,” said Col Barlow.

While the Nigerian government has insisted the South Africans' role was mainly as "technical advisers", Col Barlow suggested his men had been involved in direct combat. His air power unit was “given ‘kill blocks’ to the front and flanks of the strike force and could conduct missions in those areas,” he said. His forces also helped with intelligence gathering, troop transportation and evacuation of casualties.

Mr Jonathan's decision to hire STTEP came just ahead of March's elections, when his government's failure to either tackle Boko Haram or free the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls was a major issue. He has promised that when Mr Buhari takes over at the end of this month, Boko Haram will be a spent force, although it is not yet clear whether the Buhari government will renew STTEP's contract.

Col Barlow warned that while the Nigerians had done well within three months that he had been contracted to mentor them, "the enemy was able to flee the battlefield with some of their forces intact, and will no doubt regroup and continue their acts of terror."

The involvement of STTEP in Nigeria will inevitably reignite the debate over whether private military companies should be used in conflicts. Human rights groups question whether they are publicly accountable, and in South Africa especially, their background in the apartheid-era makes some uneasy.

However, Col Barlow, whose firm has a code of conduct for behaving "in a legal, moral, and ethical manner" said that private companies were often better than UN or Western trainers of African armies. The latter were often hamstrung by political baggage and a failure to understand how either African armies or their enemies worked, he said. The advisers that Britain and America have sent to Nigeria are also not permitted to take part in operations on the ground, partly because of the Nigerian's army's poor human rights record.

Noting that even the US military appeared to regard his firm with distrust, Col Barlow added: “Some like to refer to us as ‘racists’ or ‘apartheid soldiers’ with little knowledge of our organisation. We are primarily white, black, and brown Africans who reside on this continent and are accepted as such by African governments."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...oko-Haram.html

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Old 05-12-2015, 20:23   #2
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Yeah, but we had a pouting first lady and #bring our girls back
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Old 05-12-2015, 20:49   #3
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Yeah, but we had a pouting first lady and #bring our girls back
Oh yeah? It worked!
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Old 05-12-2015, 22:20   #4
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The Extended Box High-Speed Tracking system developed by Koevoet in Namibia has been instrumental in relentlessly chasing down Boko and destroying them.The trackers are almost superhuman. I have worked with them and they can detect the passage of humans hours old by smell alone. They say humans smell of dust, rather than the body odor one would expect. These guys can run on tracks for hours on end and make up for hours the enemy walked at night, often running down six day old tracks in ten days. Granted, the fine sand of the Namibian bush is perfect for tracking.

Last edited by Guymullins; 05-13-2015 at 13:46.
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Old 05-16-2015, 17:22   #5
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Koevoet made a lot of time up by leap frogging elements ahead in the anticipated line of travel. When successful, they could skip 1km of tracking. Also the article's description of use of air power seems reminiscent of RLI Fireforce operations.

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Old 05-17-2015, 13:46   #6
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Tracking is an under appreciated art in modern warfare. Great article.
Yeah, just like guns replaced arrows, satellites and drones make better "trackers"....
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Old 05-18-2015, 11:55   #7
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I get the feeling Eeben is quite content to have his trackers rather than being reliant upon technology that is controlled by someone else.

He says that more and more African states are starting to see it that way too.
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Old 06-04-2015, 18:36   #8
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Originally Posted by Guymullins View Post
The Extended Box High-Speed Tracking system developed by Koevoet in Namibia has been instrumental in relentlessly chasing down Boko and destroying them.The trackers are almost superhuman. I have worked with them and they can detect the passage of humans hours old by smell alone. They say humans smell of dust, rather than the body odor one would expect. These guys can run on tracks for hours on end and make up for hours the enemy walked at night, often running down six day old tracks in ten days. Granted, the fine sand of the Namibian bush is perfect for tracking.
Just finished another David Scott Donelan tracking course heard his stories of his days in the Selous Scouts and later SAS and how tracking skills were key to tracking down and killing the communist terrorists sponsored groups crossing into Rhodesia. He says he knows all these guys from his days and said he even taught some of them. Love it damn in a few years when I retire maybe I will contact STTEP and work for them if they would have me, they fight war the way it should be fought.

Just curious if you knew or had worked with any of these guys since you guys are from the same area?

Last edited by WarriorDiplomat; 06-04-2015 at 18:39.
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Old 06-04-2015, 18:45   #9
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Just finished another David Scott Donelan tracking course heard his stories of his days in the Selous Scouts and later SAS and how tracking skills were key to tracking down and killing the communist terrorists sponsored groups crossing into Rhodesia. He says he knows all these guys from his days and said he even taught some of them. Love it damn in a few years when I retire maybe I will contact STTEP and work for them if they would have me, they fight war the way it should be fought.

Just curious if you knew or had worked with any of these guys since you guys are from the same area?
Is DSD still here at Huachuca?

Pat
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Old 06-04-2015, 23:05   #10
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Originally Posted by WarriorDiplomat View Post
Just finished another David Scott Donelan tracking course heard his stories of his days in the Selous Scouts and later SAS and how tracking skills were key to tracking down and killing the communist terrorists sponsored groups crossing into Rhodesia. He says he knows all these guys from his days and said he even taught some of them. Love it damn in a few years when I retire maybe I will contact STTEP and work for them if they would have me, they fight war the way it should be fought.

Just curious if you knew or had worked with any of these guys since you guys are from the same area?
I don't know David Scott Donelan but I do know two of the chaps who were with STTEP in Nigeria. On an ex-Pathfinder from my unit and another an ex-Recce.
The physical conditioning before and during the operations was immense. The Pathfinder, a regular marathon runner said it was the most brutal physical training he had ever encountered by far. The climate didn't help matters either, but when it came to operations and chasing Boko down, the STTEp fellows had the edge.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:45   #11
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Is DSD still here at Huachuca?

Pat
He is still in AZ (Tombstone?) I think but runs the school out of Nevada.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:47   #12
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Where is he teaching these days? I heard the company he started and him parted ways.
He still does MTT training but I think his current school is in Nevada.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:50   #13
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I don't know David Scott Donelan but I do know two of the chaps who were with STTEP in Nigeria. On an ex-Pathfinder from my unit and another an ex-Recce.
The physical conditioning before and during the operations was immense. The Pathfinder, a regular marathon runner said it was the most brutal physical training he had ever encountered by far. The climate didn't help matters either, but when it came to operations and chasing Boko down, the STTEp fellows had the edge.
That is awesome, I saw your picture of the jump into Angola and I know he was there in the 70's not sure when but he was still a Selous Scout at the time.
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Old 06-06-2015, 00:16   #14
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He is still in AZ (Tombstone?) I think but runs the school out of Nevada.
Tombstone is my neighborhood. I need to track him down. I'd love to take one of his courses.

Pat
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Old 10-26-2015, 00:37   #15
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No Victory, just a pause for regrouping.

In response to the original post, there is no doubt that the operation was marginally successful, but ISIS Affiliated Boko Haram has NOT been defeated, nor stopped from terrorist activities in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.

I have SA coworkers buddies who took leave from our oil support operations to fly in that operation. The Nigerian Government and our company was not thrilled, and the pilots who participated have been involuntarily separated from employment. This is a shame because the guys were good...on a 160th level.

Boko Haram has easily regrouped and is now threatening further South in Nigeria than ever before. Recent suicide bombings and shootings have reached as far as Lagos, and Port Harcourt is currently alert to the potential of attacks there as well.

The fact that BH is reaching out from the northern Maidaguri and Borno areas, and advancing to the South is a clear indication that the situation is likely to deteriorate, long before the Nigerians can get their act together to effectively battle them to a victory. Fortunately, the new president of Nigeria, former Army General Buhari, is a hard-core anti corruption leader; has sworn to fight and defeat BH, and has the loyalty of the Army...despite the fact that he is a Muslim.

Just this week, we received an updated alert status warning of the potential of BH attacks on oil interests, and areas where we operate. Just wish they'd let us 'carry' here!

Edit: Added today...26 OCT 15. Plan to attack Lagos in the South thwarted...for now.
http://news.yahoo.com/45-custody-ove...175635962.html

Cheers,
Frank
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Last edited by SittingElf; 10-26-2015 at 10:14.
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