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US Firms in Iraq Contract Colombian Mercenaries
Bogotá, Dec 13 (Prensa Latina) The US is sponsoring the use of Colombian mercenaries in Iraq to avoid national casualties in the protection of oil pipelines and other security tasks.
An investigation published by El Tiempo online reveals this weekend that the Halliburton oil transnational is using its Latin American branch to contract mercenaries in Iraq. This way, former Colombian police and army members are taken on to protect oil and gas pipelines and private staff in Iraq, as well as reinforce the US troops´ tasks.
The publication assures a former Colombian military -on behalf of the US firm- called 25 recently retired officers and non-commissioned officers from the Colombian Armed Forces to a meeting last December 2 to offer them job in Iraq, due to their fighting experience.
In return for their services, they would be taken on for a year, extendable to six months, with a monthly 7.500 dollar salary. They would also enjoy paid vacations every three months in any European country, with a life insurance of 60,000 dollars, the daily reads.
However, one of the clauses warns they will have to repay up to the last dollar if they decide to leave before the mission -mainly in Baghdad, Mosul, Falluja, and Basra- is finished.
Halliburton´s spokespersons denied the contracts, however, it is estimated that the mercenrary army in Iraq, including military men from Chile, Spain, South Africa, Ireland, and now Colombia, tops 10,000 troops.