Very unexpected ways, the Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed earlier this week to a major innovation within a very fast, secure key sites of uranium mining in the French company Areva in Niger, Imouraren, and 80 kilometers away in Arlit, where five of the current French hostages in the Sahel had been captured by the leader of the radical Islamist katiba Abou Zeid in September 2010.
Until now, the French special forces were not directly involved in the security of private interests. Marines do not belong to marine commando units integrated Special Operations Command nevertheless participate in the security of ships - including tuna - sailing in pirate-infested areas in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea.
Risk factors increased
The decision to grant protection special forces Areva was taken following the failed attempt to rescue the hostage Denis Allex the DGSE in Somalia, but also after taking hostages in Algeria In Anemas . The French authorities are convinced that these two events in addition to launching the operation in Mali Serval have significantly increased risk factors on French installations, including industrial and mining in the region.
Uranium mining in Niger is absolutely strategic for Areva, as well as for the supply of French nuclear power plants for the sale of this valuable material to foreign clients. Aggravating factor, according to the French Government and business: it must increase its staff significantly to operate a new mine, which will increase its workforce from 25 people to over 300.
The victory of SWORD
Several months ago that the main French private security, employing mostly former soldiers, eyeing the lucrative contract Areva was preparing to pass. It was, according to our information, replacing the company currently responsible for the protection contract, SWORD, led by Jacques Hogard. The tender was passed by the general direction of the group, without the direction of the protection of General Jean-Michel Chéreau. According to our sources, Areva estimated that SWORD was no longer the case since the removal of its employees Arlit. All businesses in place waiting for the opening of the envelopes of the tender, in which companies Amarante, Eris, Geos, Opos, Risk & Co, Scutum Security First, among others, had responded. The market was to provide for 4 million euros per year, sixteen French expatriates security personnel, designed to regulate local teams. But Jacques Hogard, the boss of SWORD, made other arguments ...
Confirmation of Defense
According to him, the security would depend on site Areva's security company SWORD, reinforced by military Niger and French special forces. This is the solution that the government of François Fillon had declined and that of Jean-Marc Ayrault just accept. French special forces not occur free, and Areva will be presented with a bill, probably quite salty. Contacted January 23, WPPI has not called The Point. But will undoubtedly his contract renewed. Areva told us "not to answer questions about its safety." A source at the Ministry of Defence has confirmed sending special forces in Niger to secure sites Areva. , but has refused any further details.