Friday, May 15, 2015

Roland Rides One Last Time Against Boko Haram

According to the London Telegraph, aging apartheid-era mercenaries are waging one final campaign, this one against Boko Haram. And they're not doing it to #bringbackourgirls. They're doing it to make a little money before they're too old to ply their trade.

As an interest bonus in this story, the Obama administration behaves here, as everywhere, in a sinister fashion. 

From the Telegraph article:
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.
A World Net Daily story sourced the Telegraph article as well as a couple of interviews mentioned by the Telegraph. Where the Telegraph only suggests that the U.S. and Britain failed to materially assist when they'd promised to do so, WND reminds us that a political firm connected to Obama ran incoming Nigerian president Muhammad Buhari's campaign against outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan's people suggest that Buhari was ushered in, and assistance denied Jonathan's fight against Boko Haram, because of laws that were "untoward, unacceptable, homophobic, whatever".

You can read more about that at the WND story, if you wish, but what you're likely most interested in is a bunch of old African men, "white, brown, black", going on a final patrol through the bush, and doing it with all their former skill.
“The campaign gathered good momentum and wrested much of the initiative from the enemy,” Barlow, 62, told a seminar last week at the Royal Danish Defense College. “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.” 
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.” 
It is believed Barlow brought 100 fighters into Nigeria, including black troops who have served in elite South African units and some who once fought against him as communist guerrillas.Initially Barlow planned only to train a team in Nigeria to free the kidnapped schoolgirls, but ongoing massacres by Boko Haram changed the mission to one of training Nigeria’s army in “unconventional mobile warfare.” 
Barlow introduced “relentless pursuit,” a tactic that mimicked Boko Haram’s hit-and-run strikes. Employing jungle trackers to determine the likely escape routes of the terrorists, Barlow helicoptered his strike force to intercept the enemy and cut them off, eventually exhausting them. 
“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 Barlow said.
Why are these old men fighting one last jungle campaign? They want the money.
“Very often it’s a money issue – they haven’t done well and they need to make some,” Jakkie Cilliers, executive director of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, told the London Guardian last month. “It’s not ideological, and it’s not the gung-ho image one has from the film ‘Blood Diamond.’ This is the only skill these guys have. Most of them are in their late 50s or early 60s and trying to make a late bit of income before they’re past it. In five years’ time it won’t be an issue.” 
Cilliers described the feedback he heard on a recent Afrikaans radio program during which three or four mercenaries phoned in. “They said things like: ‘I’m trying to help my kids. My lifestyle is quite crappy. I’m trying to put the grandkids through school.’”
If you're familiar with a good Afrikaner accent, then you can surely enjoy imagining Cilliers saying "crappy".

So Roland is riding one last time, and he's saving women and children while he's at it.

How 'bout that.

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