By Sonia Feng, for the Sydney Morning Herald
BREAKING: There are unconfirmed reports that a private military company (PMC) has attacked UN peacekeeping forces (comprised mainly of Pakistani and Indian troops) in Venezuela. There is confirmation that a chemical or biological weapon was used, however it is unknown whether it was by the PMC or another non-state actor in the vicinity.
It has been confirmed that casualties number at 9 women, 7 men and a total of 18 others injured. Many are reported to be suffering from severe burns.
It is rumoured that this PMC was hired by a joint Japanese-Australian mining company. This is not surprising news given that both Japan and Australia hold national PMC headquarters. Although if the rumours prove to be true, this will be the first of accounts holding a joint Japanese-Australian mining company liable.
Although there are a number of national and international laws that regulate the use of private armies, existing legislation does not cover the current status of private security contractors. International efforts to control the use of PMCs have failed to effectively deal with many of the issues related to their use.
Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations has strongly condemned this unprovoked act of aggression as “reprehensibly unfounded”.