Two teams of 24 and 19 mercenaries made up mostly of former members of the South African Defence Force and South African Police Services helped the family of Gaddafi escape to Algeria but failed to extract the former ruler from Sirte.
The mercenaries were contracted on August 17 by a British company operating out of Kenya. They were paid $15 000 each. It appears that the recruitment was done in such a way that neither team had knowledge of each other’s objective.
They boarded private flights directly to Dubai from South Africa and then onward to Tunisia which shares borders with Algeria and Libya.
The first team of 24 successfully extracted Gaddafi’s wife, Safiya, his daughter, Aisha, and his sons, Hannibal and Mohammed and their immediate families. The second team, however, was not so lucky. They were part of Gaddafi’s convoy that were intercepted by NATO air strikes on their way to Niger and eventually cornered by the so called “rebel fighters”.
Whilst some of the mercenaries were killed in the attack, the remaining mercenaries are currently thought to be protecting Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam. The South Africans are also thought to be safeguarding Gadaffi's gold and diamonds.