A French-born mercenary with a criminal record and possible ties to several African coups and at least one murder is the latest agent of the U.S. government’s out-sourced war in Somalia, according to The New York Times‘ ace Africa reporter Jeffrey Gettleman and others.
Richard Rouget, alias “Colonel Sanders,” works for Bancroft Global Development, a Washington, D.C.-based “private security company” that maintains an approximately 40-man team of self-described “mentors” in Mogadishu, Somalia’s embattled capital city.
Rouget and the other mentors — a mix of former French, Scandinavian and South African soldiers — help train the 9,000-strong, U.S.-funded Ugandan and Burundian peacekeeping force that doubles as the heavy army of the Somali Transitional Federal Government in its long war with the al-Shabab Islamic terror group.
Al-Shabab, the latest in a long chain of Somali insurgent groups, has allied itself with al-Qaida and last year pulled off a bloody twin bombing in Uganda. Al-Shabab actively recruits disaffected Somali-American teenagers to sneak into Somalia to fight. In 2008, one of these young recruits became the first known American-born suicide bomber when he blew himself up outside a Somali government building.