Sandline International

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Group.png Sandline International  
(PMCFacebook WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Dogs of War.jpg
FounderTim Spicer
Extinction16 April 2004
HeadquartersLondon, England
Type• commercial
• military

Sandline International was a private military contractor based in London, established by Tim Spicer after he left the UK Army in 1994. It was involved in conflicts in Papua New Guinea in 1997 (having a contract with the government under the then Prime Minister Julius Chan) causing the Sandline affair, in 1998 in Sierra Leone (having a contract with ousted President Kabbah) and in Liberia in 2003 (in a rebel attempt to evict the then-president Charles Taylor near the end of the civil war).

Official narrative

Sandline International was managed by former British Army Lt Col Tim Spicer. It billed itself as a "Private Military Company" (PMC) and offered military training, "operational support" (equipment, weapons procurement and limited direct military activity), intelligence gathering, and public relations services to governments and corporations.


1997-99 Papua New Guinea

In 1999, the group tried to seize $US25 million from the Papua New Guinea government.[1]

1998-? Sierra Leone

Craig Murray, as Deputy High Commissioner of the British High Commission (West Africa Branch) facilitated the exposure of the group.


The commercially-controlled media often described Sandline as a mercenary company and the company expended considerable PR effort to promote the new more acceptable and official sounding description.

In August 1997, Sandline and Executive Outcomes were portrayed in an Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) article as Britain's "Dogs of War".[2]

An Unorthodox Soldier

Tim Spicer recounted his experiences with Sandline in the book An Unorthodox Soldier.


Sandline ceased all operations on 16 April 2004. On the company's website, this reason for closure is given:

"The general lack of governmental support for Private Military Companies willing to help end armed conflicts in places like Africa, in the absence of effective international intervention, is the reason for this decision. Without such support the ability of Sandline to make a positive difference in countries where there is widespread brutality and genocidal behaviour is materially diminished."


It is likely that many, if not most of Sandline's former personnel, are now part of Aegis Defence Services company.

Further reading