By Thomas C. Baron Colombian fighters hired by the UAE are refusing to fight in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition, claiming their contracts were to cover work in the UAE only.
The Gulf nation has been recruiting fighters from Latin America since 2010 to carry out domestic missions – including guarding pipelines and other important infrastructure projects and riot control – but have been offered increased pay to fight in Yemen as the conflict there drags on.
According to a former Blackwater employee who left the Colombian army in 1990 and has worked in Afghanistan, the UAE, Qatar, and Djibouti, these fighters “were not recruited for combat missions. It was for security and protection missions. So they are not considered mercenaries.”