Blackwater rescues 3 in Kenya

Washington Times:

Three young women have returned home to Michigan after being rescued from an orphanage in a remote village of strife-torn Kenya by Blackwater Worldwide.

Blackwater is under fire from Congress over a September shooting in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, but the private security firm is receiving nothing but praise from the father of two of the rescued women.

Dean VanderMey, executive director of Set Free Ministries International, a nondenominational Christian ministry in Grand Rapids, Mich., that operates throughout Africa, said daughters Brittanie, 21, and Aubrie, 19, and their friend Jamie Cook, 20, owe their lives to Blackwater's "dedicated professionals."

The women were rescued Sunday from an orphanage at which they were working in a remote area of Kenya after countrywide election results were bitterly disputed, sparking mob violence that killed nearly 500 people.

They arrived home safely in Grand Rapids on Monday after Blackwater operatives picked them up at an airstrip near the orphanage in the village of Kimilili. They were flown to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, aboard a 10-passenger single-engine plane located by Blackwater officials before catching a commercial flight home.

"There were only two guards at the orphanage, and they had only spears and machetes. The girls were sleeping with knives and Mace," Mr. VanderMey told The Washington Times. "They didn't know if the mobs were going to come to their village or not."

After being unable to arrange for a charter airplane or helicopter to pick up the women despite a "frantic search," he said he turned to his parents for help — and they reached Blackwater founder and owner Erik Prince through Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, Michigan Republican.

It was within an hour, he said, that Mr. Prince, a Michigan native, called to offer his firm's services.

"I knew the girls were in incredible danger, and I was calling anyone and everyone I could trying to get help but without success," Mr. VanderMey said. "Then Erik Prince called, asked about the situation and said he was going to do what he could to get my girls out of harm's way.

"It wasn't the image that most people have of Blackwater," he said. "But I can assure you these are dedicated men, professionals who know how to help people in times like this.' "


Meanwhile the NY Times continued its assault on Blackwater in a story about the use of CS gas in Iraq. You have to get pretty deep into the story to discover that the CS gas cannister was mistaken for a smoke grenade. Before you get to that, you have to wade through the typical NY Times "expert" spin on how out of control Blackwater is.

BTW, the only charge for the Kenya rescue was for the charter of the plane.


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