By Watchdog reporter
Recently we published an article titled “New Al Jazeera documentary: Uganda on spot over hiring out former child soldiers as mercenaries in Iraq, Afghanistan”
We revealed to you that former child soldiers from Sierra Leone and Uganda are being used as cheap labour for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not far from that, we have exclusively learnt that there are over 750 Ugandans working in Afghanistan as security guards under maximum torture and while being underpaid.
A trusted source revealed to Watchdog that most of security guards from Uganda were recruited for free by a known security agency Saracen after being contracted by a company known as Reed.
According to the source, they were promised and signed contracts that they will be paid $800 per month but on reaching to Afghanistan they were dismayed after being forcefully ordered to sign another contract which rendered them $450 monthly almost half of the agreed payment.
“For sure it is like our fellow Ugandans are selling us in these war torn countries, they sweet talk you that you will get a good pay but after reaching this side they pay you half of what you agreed in the contract,”
Worst still, the ruthless employers don’t allow these security guards to own mobile phones and in case you fall victim they extremely torture you and on top of that they work they overworked (14 hours a day).
“We have no freedom of speech, most of us are tortured and we work 14 hours a day,”
He called upon the Uganda government particularly President Yoweri Museveni to push for their rescue since they are being treated as modern slaves in the foreign country.
In 2010, the US congress appointed a commission to investigate outsourcing to private military companies like Reed.
The commission’s chairperson, Michael Thibault, explained the “lowest-price-technically-acceptable rush to the bottom” they discovered, where Peruvian and Columbia guards being paid between 1000-12000 dollars were soon replaced by Ugandan guards at about $800 dollars a month, and then later by Sierra Leoneans, at about $250 dollars a month.
“The original goal was not to bring soldiers or ex-soldiers from the poorest countries on earth,” says Robert Y. Pelton, author of Licensed to Kill. “But the US bidding system requires that you pick the lowest bidder, so it became the status quo in Iraq to have multiple layers of foreigners, as long as you were in the army and you meet certain criteria, and sometimes you don’t have to be in the army to meet these criteria.”
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