Four Insane Private Armies From Around the World

CAP01 SOMALIA 0906 11 560x282There are thousands of militias across the globe, and almost all of them would like to think of themselves as armies. But there are only a handful who have actually evolved beyond the raping, pillaging, AK-47 wielding militias into raping, pillaging, AK-47 wielding armies. Now, before anyone gets up in arms about the exact definition of an “army”, that is, before anyone gets out their copy of the latest Convention, UN declaration, or their big book on International Laws (you know, the one lawyers use), we would like to make it clear that we’re going by the age-old definition that an army is “a totally bad ass group with a shitload of guys, a shitload of organization and a shitload of bad ass weaponry. In essence: they are a shitload of bad ass.” With that said, here are the most insane Private Armies From Around the World:

Somali “Marines”:

These guys are living every child’s dream, only instead of walking around saying “Arhh!” a lot, sporting a wooden leg and gold teeth, the Somali Marines walk around with RPGs, rifles and have absolutely stunning white teeth. God, absolutely beautiful teeth, seriously, how do they do that? Oh, and yes, they’re pirates.

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Some Somali Pirates and/or the Somali Brady Bunch.

And yet, they’re also their own personal army. Unlike rival pirate clans who simply go out there and shoot at enough stuff until people give them money, the Somali Marines are organised into different ranks, complete with Admirals, technology experts, and even a head of financial operations, because, well, with the amount they make, someone needs to tell them how to spend it.

So how dangerous are these guys? We’re not going to lie to you: if you ever end up seeing the Somali Marines, you’re probably seeing them as your captors, because capturing hostages is totally their thing. But with that in mind, don’t be too quick to assume you’ll be spending you’re time listening to your captors tell you how sick America makes them feel while you patiently wait for American Marines (the real fucking Marines! Hoo-ah!) to burst through the door and blow shit up. Seriously, don’t. The Somali Marines aren’t like that.

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Pictured: The real friggin' marines.

Unlike other militant groups around the world, the Somali Marines are considered to be fairly humane. In some cases they’ve even been known to hire caterers to provide Western style food for their captives. I mean, sure they’ve got hostages, but they don’t want to be dicks about it.

Xe Services:

Xe, formerly known as Blackwater (oh yes, that company…), is as close as a company can get to being an American Mercenary company without breaking any laws. Oh, OK, maybe they broke some laws and maybe that’s why they have been banned from Iraq and maybe all that bad press is the reason behind the company name change. Of course, where other journalists have failed, the Gunaxin team were not thrown off by this trickery.

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"Here we go, Blackwater -- Oh what? It's Xe now? Man, confusing."

Founded in 1990s by Eric Prince, ‘a millionaire who took the whole evil corporations stereotype one step further by giving his employees guns’, Xe Services has successfully sidestepped the whole mercenaries being illegal issue by creating a Private Military Company. Instead of supplying soldiers, they supply “contractors”, and just like other contractors, they also overcharge for a crummy job you could have had your own guys fix, but you’ve just been so busy with stuff, you know?

So what do these guys actually do? Well, most of the time they’re seen escorting VIPs, which, in Iraq and Afghanistan, is pretty risky business in itself. On top of that, they’ve also been involved in central roles in raids against Iraqi insurgents, C.I.A programs to locate and assassinate Al-Qaeda leaders and guarding and transporting terrorist suspects. Essentially, they’re the C.I.A’s bitch.

United Wa State Army:

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) is one of the several well-armed, well-funded armies who like to call the Golden Triangle home. The Golden Triangle being one of the World’s main opium producing areas, located in parts of Burma, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. So yes, these are real life (more bad ass) equivalent to the Flaming Dragon gang from Tropic Thunder.

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Pictured: A man holding a human skull.

As you can probably tell from the picture above, any encounter with these guys isn’t going to end in a hilarious fight scene nor will it result in Ben Stiller “acting”. With approximately 20,000 of these guys in Burma, they’ve actually managed to negotiate a cease fire between themselves and the Burmese government that’s been in place since the 1990s. Just so we’re clear on how big a deal this is, Burma is practically run by the military who seem to have no trouble oppressing the shit out of most of the population, and even they need to make compromises with the UWSA.

Like any ol’ backyard, ragtag militia that has evolved into a sophisticated, highly structured army that also happens to be controlling a very lucrative drug trade, chances are they’re not going to be removed easily. The region they’re in has practically been an autonomous state within Burma for the past 20 years.


What point is there in hiring a security company like Xe when you can simply hire your own soldiers and, you know, cut out the middle man? Gazprom gets us, which is why they’re cutting down on security costs and passing the savings onto you! Now, for all those who haven’t been keeping up with Eastern Europe’s gas politics (as if you haven’t), Gazprom is a Russian gas company that also happens to be one of the largest, most powerful gas companies in the world. Now they have their own soldiers with fewer legal restrictions than other security firms in Russia.


This isn’t the first time this Gazprom has shown its strength. On January 1, 2009, in what could only be the worst New Years surprise ever, Gazprom decided to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine over a pricing disagreement. To make matters worse, all the other countries that received their gas through the Ukrainian line were also cut off from the supply. Now, we know Gas companies tend to be heavy handed when it comes to people not paying their bills, but when you refuse to pay your gas bill, chances are they won’t cut out the gas for your entire street.

So how bad are these guys? Well, considering they only carry hand guns and shotguns, they’re only moderately bad ass when you compare them to the likes of the United Wa State Army. But do we think they’re only a few baby-steps away from becoming a typical 80s Hollywood evil corporation? Do we think they’ll eventually create a Robocop? Yes. Yes, we do.


One day...