Comment by Sandline International
In an article published in Johannesburg's Saturday Star on 23 September, Doug Brooks, working at the South African Institute of International Affairs, talked about the viability of privatising peacekeeping operations in Africa. Sandline subsequently gave an interview to Ananova (the Internet news agency) commenting on Mr Brooks observations. The text of their 26 September report is reproduced below and can also be accessed on Ananova's site.

African peacekeeping 'could be privatised'

Sandline, one of Britain's controversial private military companies, believes the UN is closer than ever to hiring security firms to take over its African peacekeeping operations.

Michael Grunberg, the company's commercial advisor, says he agrees with new research which says all the continent's conflicts could be ended for just 500 million.

And he told Ananova that UN officials no longer see private military companies (PMCs) as "rough and ready" mercenaries.

Mr Grunberg claims politicians are beginning to accept that the ex-soldiers employed by PMCs work within the rules.

He said: "You are talking about people who have served in First World armies. They are some of the most experienced around."

His comments come after research at the South African Institute of International Affairs found the UN's member armies won't take the risks needed to end African conflicts, such as the one in Sierra Leone.

Mr Grunberg admitted politicians need to be sure that private armies are under control, but added: "The UN could deploy independent monitors alongside these companies to ensure the correct rules of engagement are being observed.

"I have seen a change in perception within the UN - it has now started to create a distinction between gun-toting mercenaries and private military companies."

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