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By: Al J Venter(Author)
After the Rhodesian War, Darrell Watt, hero soldier of the Rhodesian SAS and central character in A Handful of Hard Men, became the personal bodyguard to Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Under his protection Hariri survived, and thanks to Watt, was persuaded to buy Mushi, the enormous game conservancy on the banks of the great Kafue River with its elephant herds, many lions and some of the biggest crocodiles on the African continent. After Watt's departure, Hariri was assassinated. Today poachers have made such severe inroads into the Zambian elephant population that Darrell is left with the last big herd of about 500 elephant which he zealously guards with his 40 game guards armed with AK-47s. In the past decade he has been fighting an anti-poacher war. He has arrested and handed over to the police 600+ poachers and recovered about 400 illegal firearms. The tentacles of poaching stretch all the way back to China, as demonstrated by the recent discovery of an attempted smuggling of illegal ivory in the Chinese diplomatic bag out of Dar es Salaam. Now ill, and still holding out on his own, it is time to tell his story.
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British national Al Venter has written more than a dozen books on recent military history including War Dog: Fighting Other People's Wars on mercenaries as well as Gunship Ace (which covers the exploits of Neall Ellis, the world's most famous mercenary aviator). He spent much of his professional career reporting on wars for Jane's Information Group as well as for various news and photo agencies. These assignments ranged from visiting Beirut several times to cover the Lebanese civil war from the Christian side to a spate of African conflicts that included Biafra, South Africa's border wars, the Rhodesia insurgency, the Congo, Tanzania's invasion of Idi Amin's Uganda, Executive Outcomes mercenary operations in Angola and Sierra Leone and others. He was operational in El Salvador's guerrilla struggle and later, in the Balkans. At the behest of the CIA, he made a one-hour TV documentary on the Soviet offensive in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s. Venter has written three books on nuclear proliferation, including Iran's Nuclear Option and How South Africa Built Six Atom Bombs. He originally qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers at the Baltic Exchange in London.
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