Diamondworks in Angola

Ottawa’s Carleton University has produced a new report on the role of Canadian company Diamondworks in the Angolan Civil War in the 1990s.

In 1997, when accusations of  aggressive military undertakings were at
their peak, DiamondWorks issued a prospectus which stated clearly that the
activity of directors – such as Tony Buckingham and Michael Grunberg – who
had business ties to mercenary organizations did not represent
DiamondWorks in these relationships.

Instead, these relationships and the security companies involved were “distinct
from [DiamondWorks] and [DiamondWorks] does not have any connection with these other companies either on a corporate or operational basis”.

It is true that the personal and business relationships between high ranking DiamondWorks and EO officials constitute evidence of militarized commerce which is purely circumstantial.

Nevertheless, the ties are significant because they were good reason for UNITA
rebels to suspect DiamondWorks was in some way responsible for their
displacement from the northeastern diamond fields.

While no authoritative conclusions could be drawn regarding the connection between DiamondWorks and the use of private security organizations for aggressive military action, the perceived connection between the two was arguably sufficient to provoke violence.

Media reports noted speculation that the Yetwene attack was specifically aimed at the mine because UNITA suspected a connection between DiamondWorks and Executive Outcomes. The attack was a warning not to involve private security firms.






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