The continent of Africa in the 1990s was a cauldron of warlords, failed states, and genocide. From the Rwandan genocide in the east to the decades-long civil war in Angola in the west, to the changes in post-apartheid government of South Africa, people were dying, dictators oppressed their own people, and the continent cried out for solutions.

The world’s first reaction was to send in the blue helmets of the United Nations, which normally brought a trail of bureaucracy, illicit trade, and impotency. Opportunists of all sorts, from arms manufacturers to dealers in blood diamonds, sought to profit off the immoral killing and plundering of the common villager. Instability reigned supreme.

Those soldiers and militaries from the U.N. fared poorly in their attempts to intervene and advise in these conflict zones, much less to “keep the peace.” Those soldiers from the nation of South Africa who had come through 20-plus years of fighting in familiar terrain and climate conditions, and against familiar hostile combatants, knew that to bring certain conflicts under control required African soldiers.

Enter Executive Outcomes. EO has come to represent nearly everything both good and bad about private military companies. Yet the true story is known by very few. Many journalists still mistakenly believe and print that it still exists. Other charlatans with no association with the PMC have used the name to start businesses or claimed to have worked in the conflicts associated with EO, attempting to gain employment or company contracts.