LONDON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- A British newspaper Sunday said the United States was conducting illegal mercenary operations to support the U.N.-backed interim government in Somalia.
The operations, in violation of a United Nations arms embargo, could destabilize the entire region, Britain's Observer reported Sunday.
U.S. firms -- including Select Armor of The Plains, Va., and ATS Worldwide Services of Altha, Fla. -- have planned undercover missions with CIA knowledge to support Somalia's weak government, the newspaper said citing confidential e-mails.
The undercover missions are intended to prop up Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf against radical Muslim militia that took control of Mogadishu in June.
Select Armor, ATS, the CIA and the State and Defense departments would not comment on the report.
Violence has plagued Somalia since warlords ousted former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.