Namibia expulsions matter for employer--US embassy

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WINDHOEK, Oct 18 (Reuters) Namibia's expulsion of two Americans for recruiting security guards to work in Iraq is a matter between their employer and the Namibian government, a US embassy official said today.

The government last week declared US nationals Paul Grimes and Fredric Piry ''prohibited immigrants'' and gave them 24 hours to leave. Their company, Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group (SOC-SMG), was ordered to stop operating in the country.

''It is a matter between the Namibian government and the company,'' Ray Castillo, a spokesman for the US embassy in the Namibian capital Windhoek, told Reuters. It was not known whether the two men had left Namibia.

They were accused of violating a law barring anyone in the country from involvement in the military or security forces of other countries without the written permission of the government.

The two Americans told local media last week they had the government's approval to recruit Namibians to work as non-combatants in Iraq and said their company was officially registered.

The controversy arose in the wake of 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.


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