Hoare was old, bold soldier
You get old soldiers, so the saying goes, and you get bold soldiers … but you don’t get old, bold soldiers. When he passed away peacefully in his bed this week – something neither he nor many who knew him expected would happen – “Mad Mike” Hoare proved that saying wrong.
His passing reminds us of another era, aeons ago, when Africa was in post-colonial turmoil and would-be leaders were paying foreign – and mainly white – mercenaries to keep them in power, or to seize power.
Hoare’s exploits in the then Congo in the 1960s – supporting Moise Tshombe against communist rebels – have become the stuff of military legend … but also a chill reminder of how millions have died.
He and a band of mercenaries botched an attempt to overthrow the government of the Seychelles in 1981, fleeing the island in an Air India jet they hijacked at the airport.
Mercenaries still exist, although they are now known as employees of private military companies, and many are highly trained specialists – a far cry from the rag tag lot following Hoare.
Today, these soldiers do the dirty work governments don’t want to do.
It’s still a dangerous life, but it can be a lucrative one.