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By James Brabazon

James Brabazon, a struggle reporter and filmmaker, was once already a veteran of many clash zones by way of his early thirties. So while he used to be provided an unique chance to document from Liberia, stuck up in a vicious civil conflict, it proved too tempting to show down. He had to take a bodyguard, a person with robust wisdom of the zone and, extra importantly, an individual with a gun slung over his shoulder. James employed Nick du Toit, a former South African soldier and mercenary commander, to steer him into the bloody global of Liberia’s rebels. in the course of their time jointly, James and Nick slowly shaped an not likely friendship, cast in the course of sizzling days lower than unrelenting gunfire. Narrowly surviving the harrowing adventure, James back to the quieter, saner confines of his lifestyles in London. yet just a couple of months later he stumbled on himself again with Nick in a fly-blown bar in West Africa plotting one other, even more harmful journey—this time to the center of Equatorial Guinea. Nick’s challenge: to overthrow the govt of this tiny kingdom fabulously wealthy in oil.

My buddy the Mercenary is an exploration of the mercenary fantasy and a bankruptcy within the tale of recent Africa. it's a brutally sincere and undeniably human account of a trip into the center of what it takes to be a chum, a survivor and a journalist within the morally corrosive crucible of war.

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Like an animal, he eats scraps of foodstuff from the ground, the place he should also sleep and defecate. there's no sunlight: he's stored in pitch darkness, and overwhelmed day-by-day. after which the septicaemia units in. Pus oozes from his open wounds – maintaining the cockroaches that banquet on his sores. by the point he's dragged outdoors his eyes have sealed close. the warriors immerse his head in freezing water after which rip the scabs from his eyes. this is often how Nick starts off his 34-year sentence in Black seashore criminal, Africa’s such a lot infamous detention center. He was once arrested on eight March 2004 in addition to fifteen different males as he attempted to overthrow the govt. of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny West African nation fabulously wealthy in oil. yet there's only one individual lacking from the scene. What Nick doesn’t see whilst he opens his eyes that day is me. Had all long gone based on plan, i may were mendacity subsequent to him: i used to be speculated to movie the coup. half ONE 1 SHAKE fingers WITH THE satan Treading quick at the halo of my midday shadow, I skirted the sting of the pool. i peeked at my watch. It used to be noon on eleven April 2002. i used to be precisely on time. At a desk within the luxurious inn in Johannesburg white males sat ready. One, muscular with a ponytail, concealed in the back of a couple of black sun shades; the opposite, older and with a neat side-parting, stroked the tip of his moustache, scrutinising the terrace and my arrival. I threw out my palm in a untimely greeting, they usually rose in unison to come it with a gruff ‘Howzit? ’ I’d met the ponytail in Sierra Leone the 12 months prior to. A 37-year-old South African former paratrooper and one-time mercenary, Cobus Claassens had fought within the West African nation throughout the mid-nineties with an army corporation referred to as government results, a personal South African-run military which were employed by means of the Sierra Leonean president to defeat rebels who threatened to overrun the capital, Freetown. With the hugely informed squaddies of EO at the floor, the rebels have been fast and comprehensively destroyed. Cobus stayed on after his agreement wound up, carving out a residing from the freelance defense contracts that hovered like flies round the carcass of the country’s diamond undefined. He was once again in South Africa for a brief vacation – an opportunity to determine kinfolk and chase a few company contacts. I’d met up with him a number of days previous while an opportunity dialog had planted an idea for a filming journey in West Africa. It was once as preposterous because it was once compelling: i might get entry to a conflict in Liberia that no different journalist had filmed, and few even knew was once taking place. to take action i might want his support, and his guy. I stepped less than the coloration of the umbrella and observed them basically. Cobus spoke first. ‘This is Nick du Toit. Nick – this can be James. ’ His Afrikaner accessory bent itself awkwardly round English vowels. Nick, a simple, forgettable-looking guy in his forties, reached over the desk, and shook my hand. there has been anything awkward approximately him, as though his palms and ears have been too mammoth for his physique, like ready to develop into his pores and skin.

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