"Colonizers or Saviours? ─ The Story of the Private Military Company Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone, from the Perspective of The Guardian and The Observer."
Noordende, M.M. van 't
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The concept of mercenaries with an apartheid past being hired by the same governments they had aimed to overthrow must seem outrageous to some. But this was exactly the nature of Executive Outcomes; the first of the Private Military Companies (PMC’s). It was the first to take advantage of a security vacuum that came into existence during the 1990’s, and it would prove to be a template for all Private Military Companies to follow. Naturally, because of its apartheid past Executive Outcomes was a controversial phenomenon and some have contributed its dissolution to the negative attention it received from the press. This controversy will be analysed with news articles from two newspapers, The Guardian and The Observer, as well as secondary literature. This thesis has found that both newspapers are often wary or unsupportive of Executive Outcomes, but also show irresolution because the firm often proved to be remarkably successful. This reflects academic debate but has also contributed to the company’s ability to profit from the situation.