Ex-soldiers offered mercenaries $10,000 a week to join a private army that would fight in Yemen's civil war, prosecutors says

Fighter from Saudi-backed forces in Yemen
A fighter with forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed government holds a position against Huthi rebels in Yemen's northeastern province of Marib, on April 6, 2021. STR/AFP via Getty Images
  • Two former German soldiers planned a mercenary force to fight in Yemen's ongoing disastrous civil war, prosecutors say.

  • The men wanted to recruit up to 150 men and offered $10,000 a week to join their private army.

  • The ex-soldiers reportedly reached out to Saudi government agencies to ask for funding, per the BBC.

Two former German soldiers worked to set up a mercenary force, in which recruits would be paid $10,000 a week for their services, to fight in Yemen's ongoing civil war, according to prosecutors.

Arend-Adolf G and Achim A face terrorism charges in Germany for allegedly planning to recruit up to 150 men, consisting of former police officers and soldiers, and offering their services to Saudi Arabia's government, the BBC reported.

They planned to pay each recruit a wage of about €40,000 ($46,400) a month for their services, prosecutors said.

The former soldiers are accused of asking Saudi government agencies to finance illegal missions in Yemen. The prosecutors said their outreach attempts were unsuccessful, per the BBC.

Yemen has been devastated by a civil war since 2014 between Saudi-backed pro-government forces and Houthi insurgents.

According to UNICEF, more than 10,000 children have been killed or injured in war-torn Yemen. The UN says that the fighting has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with over two-thirds of the population in need of aid.

Yemen Houthi rebels
A gathering to donate to the Houtis fighters battling the government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, on February 04, 2021 in Sana'a, Yemen. Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

The Germans were accused of setting up the paramilitary unit at the start of 2021, and, according to the BBC, they actively tried to recruit at least seven people.

The mercenary force would have worked to capture areas held by armed Houthi rebels in Yemen, Deutsche Welle reported. The suspects also had plans for the unit to take part in other conflicts, the broadcaster said.

The "ringleaders" were aware that the mercenaries would have to kill people, including civilians, according to prosecutors.

Germany's Military Counter-Intelligence Service received a tip citing the plans, according to German newspaper Spiegel.

One of the men was arrested in Munich and the other in Germany's south-western Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district, the BBC reported.

They are due to appear in court on Wednesday.

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