My Friend The Mercenary: A Memoir

By James Brabazon

James Brabazon, a battle reporter and filmmaker, used to be already a veteran of many clash zones by means of his early thirties. So while he used to be provided an unique chance to record from Liberia, stuck up in a vicious civil struggle, it proved too tempting to show down. He had to take a bodyguard, somebody 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 lead him into the bloody international of Liberia’s rebels. in the course of their time jointly, James and Nick slowly shaped an not likely friendship, solid in the course of hot days less than unrelenting gunfire. Narrowly surviving the harrowing adventure, James lower back to the quieter, saner confines of his existence in London. yet just a couple of months later he discovered himself again with Nick in a fly-blown bar in West Africa plotting one other, even more risky 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 good friend the Mercenary is an exploration of the mercenary delusion and a bankruptcy within the tale of contemporary Africa. it's a brutally sincere and undeniably human account of a trip into the center of what it takes to be a pal, a survivor and a journalist within the morally corrosive crucible of war.

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By surprise, Yossi didn’t glance so comedian. I checked out Cobus, whose eyes have been flashing me a grin. ‘I’ve obtained a super idea,’ I stated. Yossi hadn’t taken his eyes off me, or my digital camera. ‘How approximately I don’t take your photograph? ’ Yossi and Cobus laughed. ‘Yossi and i've a few enterprise to type out,’ Cobus defined. ‘James, why don’t you, er, make your self much more at domestic? I’ll be again later. ’ The monitor door banged to and the motorcycle coughed. i used to be by myself. i may both take the Israeli’s chance at face price, and depart – or settle for Cobus’s generosity and utilize my ultimate few days earlier than my flight domestic. I fidgeted, and comprehensive the rum. Over the subsequent six days, Cobus confirmed me his Freetown. It was once a urban haunted by way of the lately departed conflict, yet a urban, still, the place you'll nonetheless take pleasure in your self. We went to a on line casino, and gambled away the final of my box funds; we drove out to an ape sanctuary, the place I took the main ecocnomic unmarried photo of my profession – a portrait of a special albino chimpanzee referred to as Pinky. alongside the best way i used to be brought to the rogues’ gallery of mercenaries, infantrymen and businessmen that Cobus referred to as neighbors. Yossi became out to be a sniper, who had commanded an elite undercover squad within the Israeli Defence strength. throughout the Lebanon battle within the ‘80s, his unit had fired fifteen pictures, and killed fourteen enemy commanders. Settling in Freetown as a businessman in 1990, Yossi begun his personal defense corporation. presently prior to I left, he got here and requested me a favour. virtually shy, he questioned if, probably, i'd take a few pictures of his kids. As I snapped away, I observed him on the fringe of the body, scrutinising my lens. different characters popped up at condo events and in beach-side bars. I met Neall Ellis, Nellis as each person known as him, at the seashore with Cobus. A mythical helicopter gunship pilot, Nellis had flown for the South African Air strength sooner than becoming a member of EO. Already a legend within the air strength, he had speedy turn into an area hero in Freetown after nearly single-handedly maintaining off a clean insurgent boost at the capital in 2000 whilst Sierra Leone have been deserted to its destiny, and lots of the specialist infantrymen have been gone. He had flown dozens of sorties in his Russian HIND gunship till, eventually, the British controlled to safe the town. Cobus and Nellis have been attention-grabbing to me. I were cited to revere the black liberation routine that South Africa attempted to get rid of within the ‘70s and ‘80s; yet they instructed the opposite facet in their warfare, the politically wrong bills that have been by no means taught in class. I felt like a clergyman within the corporation of whores. Their banter was once infectious, their honesty disarming and the beer flowed into the evening. Their tales of braveness and friendship have been all too effortless to get over excited with. At evening, feeling much less priestly, Cobus and that i filled his Mercedes choked with lovely women, taking them from one bar to a different as curfew approached. Then, again at his condo, ensconced on his couch with an it appears unending offer of rum and Coke, we said his dual obsessions of diamonds and heritage.

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