US concerned by Somali private military

December 3, 2010 02:57

WASHINGTON — The United States raised concerns Thursday about a private military force aimed at combatting piracy in northern Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the US has been aware of the operation, but is not involved in any way. He said the US has unanswered questions about the backing and purpose of the project, which has begun training an armed force of up to 1,050 men in Puntland.

"We are aware that Puntland authorities have contracted with a private security company to assist them with counter-piracy in the region," Crowley told reporters. "We were not consulted about this program. We are not funding it. We are concerned about the lack of transparency regarding its funding, objectives and scope."

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