BALKANALYSIS Macedonian Street Justice for Sketchy Iraq Subcontractor
Macedonian Street Justice for Sketchy Iraq Subcontractor
Posted on Sunday, October 31 @ 19:30:00 EST by CDeliso
The mysterious Sergio Tanguma, the headhunter of unknown provenance who
supplied Soufan Engineering's Iraq operation with Macedonian workers - three
of whom were subsequently kidnapped and killed - got "beaten very well" on
Friday night by Macedonians in the Kumanovo-area village of Agino Selo.
After being hospitalized and calling on the US Embassy to watch over him,
the wily Tanguma tried to flee the country for Istanbul at 3 PM on Sunday -
but was apprehended at Skopje's Petrovec Airport.
It is unclear what drew Tanguma to Agino Selo on Friday night. The village
was formerly a common hang-out for NATO soldiers and Brown & Root workers,
owing to its proximity to their encampments, and he would surely have had
contacts there. According to television reports on Sunday, Tanguma together
with his driver and bodyguard visited the village before midnight, argued
with some locals, and left. Two hours later, however, they returned, and
local villagers at the Night Club Carumba vented their feelings with a
baseball bat on Tanguma. He was taken to the hospital in Skopje, and
commissioned the US Embassy to stand watch over his bed, out of a stated
fear of the suddenly not-so-friendly Macedonians.
While the doctors urged Tanguma to stay in the hospital for another day, he
checked himself out and then tried to check himself out of the country. Not
so fast, Sergio, said the airport police, who remanded him in custody for
failing to report in to Kumanovo police over the beating. Ironically, the
police claimed that they were actually trying to help him; by taking his
testimony, they would have a better chance of finding who beat him.
However, Tanguma's attempted exodus only drew added suspicions to a man with
a decidedly murky legacy in Macedonia. Setting up a fly-by-night office with
the help of a local Kumanovo man, he attempted to siphon employees to
Soufan, but has been accused of failing to provide health insurance for
them. Also, he and the local partner have been accused of failing to get the
proper permits for opening an office.
The Kumanovo police on Sunday had found two suspects, a 31 year-old man, and
another 33 year-old, both from Agino Selo. Unsurprisingly, locals surveyed
in the village were not forthcoming about what went on Friday night.
Tanguma allegedly developed his Macedonia connections while working for
Brown & Root in Kumanovo. Some local media have speculated that he got into
hot water for illegally selling weapons to Kosovo. In any case, when Soufan
was scouring the earth for willing employees, Tanguma's Macedonian
connection came in handy. He was able to convince 38 Kumanovo locals to sign
on the dotted line and head to Iraq. The president of the U.A.E.-based
company did not respond to questions last week regarding the killed
However, the fun is not over yet, not by a long shot. On Monday, the 19
workers recently returned from Iraq are expected to file suit against
Tanguma for failing to pay them their complete salaries - but apparently not
for imperiling their lives in the swirling sands of Iraq.