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Africa

Head of French private security firm shot dead

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2011-05-13

The head of the French private security firm Secopex died on Thursday after being shot at a checkpoint outside the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Secopex has been operating in Libya, but the events that led to the man's death remain unclear.

The 48-year-old Frenchman shot dead on Thursday after an incident at a police checkpoint in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in Libya, was a former paratrooper and head of a private security business, industry sources said Friday.

Pierre Marziali had been the head of Secopex, a contract security firm offering “strategic and operational support” to companies in conflict zones, since 2003.

Contacted by FRANCE 24, the company declined to make any comments about the incident or the victim, though has since confirmed to AFP its presence in Benghazi.

On Thursday, the French Foreign Ministry confirmed that a French national died and that four others were arrested in the incident.

"During a police checkpoint in Benghazi last night, five French nationals were arrested. One of them was shot and died during the night at the Benghazi hospital," said ministry spokesman Bernard Valero in a statement.

Valero did not specify whether the man had been wounded by a police officer or another person.

In Benghazi, FRANCE 24 correspondent Nathan King said he had reliable sources that another man may have also died in the incident.

Background on Secopex



The five men were on their way to Benghazi from Soluch. “We don’t know why they were there, but what we do know about this town, Soluch, is that it’s not really safe. There are reports of pro-Gaddafi elements in that town,” King said.

According to King, Secopex has been operating in Libya for a while, providing private protection for certain people.

Under French law companies are entitled to provide military trainers and advisors, but not mercenaries to fight in foreign conflicts.
 

Date created : 2011-05-12

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