The Colombian army will investigate allegations that Colombian mercenaries working as military contractors in the United Arab Emirates were trained in Colombian military training camps with weapons seized from Colombian illegal armed groups.
The accusation comes from Univision news executive Daniel Coronell who wrote in his Sunday column in Semana magazine that elements in the Colombian Armed Forces provided the preparation for these mercenaries now working in the middle east for the company run by former Blackwater director Erik Prince.
In a report on this mercenary force, The New York Times said that Colombians were part of the private army. According to Coronell, the majority of the mercenaries were recruited in Colombia. Together with his column, the Colombian journalist showed photos of alleged American recruiters of Prince’s company and members of the military on a central Colombian army base, apparently training recruits.
According to newspaper El Espectador, the American company was not licensed to use the military camp’s facilities and was recruiting men and women with no knowledge of combat.
It is the third time in the last decade that one of Prince’s companies is accused of illegal activities in Colombia; In 2006, Semana reported that the same Blackwater had sent Colombian mercenaries to Iraq where they were not paid as promised and were unable to return home and in 2010, a leaked U.S. State report showed Blackwater had violated arms trafficking regulations when training members of the Colombian army in 2005.