Namibia deports two Americans for recruiting for Iraq

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WINDHOEK, Oct 13 (Reuters) Namibia has ordered two Americans to leave the country for trying to recruit Namibians to work as security guards in Iraq and Afghanistan, the information minister said.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the Namibian Security Council also ordered their company, Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group (SOC-SMG), to shut down on the grounds that its operations violated Namibian laws.

The decision came amid an outcry over the role of security contractors in Iraq following the killing of 17 Iraqis in a shooting involving US security firm Blackwater last month.

Nandi-Ndaitwah told a news conference Paul Grimes and Fredric Piry, two US nationals heading the company, had been declared ''prohibited immigrants'' on Friday and given 24 hours to leave.

Under Namibian law, he said, Namibians were not allowed to be involved in the military or security forces of other countries without the written permission of the government.

The US Embassy in Namibia and the security company were not immediately available for comment and it was not clear whether the two men had left the country in southwestern Africa.

''The involvement of USA in Iraq has never been sanctioned or supported through any international agreement and cannot thus be supported by Namibia,'' said Nandi-Ndaitwa.

Earlier this week, Grimes and Piry told local media they had obtained Namibian government approval to recruit Namibians to work as non-combatants in Iraq, and said their company had been officially registered.

Grimes, the company's executive director, said Namibians were not being hired to fight as soldiers in Iraq but to serve as security guards at bases, guarding dining facilities, gyms and hospitals.

REUTERS GL BST1837

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