Executive Outcomes

From Academic Kids

Executive Outcomes (EO) was a private military company (more commonly known as mercenaries) founded by Eeben Barlow in 1989 and ceasing to exist in 1999. Most of EO's employees were former South African Defense Force soldiers with special operations training. The US Army item listed as the first external reference below says "This network engages in what could be termed a post-Cold war form of 'predatory capitalism' by specializing in the extraction of mineral and oil resources from troubled and failed-states".

SourceWatch ( claims that Northbridge Services (, a private military company managed by American and French citizens, is in some sense the continuation or reincarnation of Executive Outcomes. However, it appears that none of the people connected with the management of EO have ever worked for Northbridge, and that Northbridge may have merely attempted to acquire EO's former domain name for marketing purposes. [1] (

EO had its most attention-getting contracts in Angola, Sierra Leone, and Papua New Guinea. In Sierra Leone, the National Provisional Ruling Council government, headed by military leader Captain Valentine Strasser, hired EO to fight the Revolutionary United Front rebels, who were financed by their hold on the Kono district's rich diamond deposits. EO forces summarily beat back RUF fighters to their Kono strongholds.

Despite broadly-held suspicions that the company was making a play to amass mineral wealth in sub-Saharan Africa, the company stated that its only interest was to provide stability and security for legitimate governments besieged by rebel forces. Nevertheless, the United Nations, taking the position that the use of private paramilitary forces interferes with the people's right of self-determination, pressured Sierra Leone to terminate its contract with Executive Outcomes. One condition of the 1997 peace agreement between President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and RUF leader Foday Sankoh included the early removal of EO forces and all foreign troops.

Ironically, EO was later contacted by the Secretary-General of the UN during the early days of the Rwandan genocide for a possible intervention by the company. EO's services were never used, despite its estimate that it could have saved 200,000 lives from massacre by deploying only 1,500 security personnel at a cost of US$100 million.

Reportedly, EO was paid US$20 million a year during its 1995 to 1997 stint in Sierra Leone, and routed the RUF forces with a force of less than 300 mercenaries, allowing elections to take place. By contrast, the UN peacekeeping force sent to Sierra Leone after the Revolutionary United Front retook the capital of Freetown consisted of 18,000 soldiers at its height and cost upwards of a billion dollars yearly, while arguably failing to defuse the bloody war for another 3 years. In terms of effectiveness, the UN peacekeeping force allowed the RUF to retake the capital twice while committing atrocities in its wake, and also stood helpless while a military coup led by Colonel Johnny Paul Koroma deposed the democratically elected Kabbah.

There is some considerable evidence, including the report by the Papua New Guinea Commission of Enquiry, that Executive Outcomes owns or had owners in common with Sandline International, a now-defunct London-based private military company. The line between Sandline, Executive Outcomes, and associated companies was sometimes blurred by a complex web of interoperation, ownership, multinational holdings, and what may be deliberate obfuscation.

Executive Outcomes ceased trading on January 1, 1999, as South Africa passed an anti-mercenary law, though apparently its Pretoria, South Africa office remained open for some time. Key personnel appear to have included Luther Eeben Barlow, Simon Mann, Michael Grunberg, and Anthony Leslie Rowland Buckingham. Simon Mann was sentenced to 7 years in the maximum security Chikurubi Prison outside Harare, Zimbabwe in September 2004 for attempting to order and export military arms from that country. It is suspected that these arms were intended to be used in a coup in Equatorial Guinea.

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