About the Author
Al J Venter is a war correspondent, documentary filmmaker, and author of more than forty books who also served as an African and Middle East correspondent for Jane’s International Defence Review.
He has reported on a number of Africa’s bloodiest wars, starting with the Nigerian Civil War in 1965, where he spent time covering the conflict with colleague Frederick Forsyth, who was working in Biafra for the BBC at the time.
In the 1980’s, Al J Venter also reported in Uganda while under the reign of Idi Amin. The most notable consequence of this assignment was an hour-long documentary titled Africa’s Killing Fields, ultimately broadcast nationwide in the United States by Public Broadcasting Service.
In-between, he cumulatively spent several years reporting on events in the Middle East, fluctuating between Israel and a beleaguered Lebanon torn by factional Islamic/Christian violence. He was with the Israeli invasion force when they entered Beirut in 1982. From there he covered hostilities in Rhodesia, the Sudan, Angola, the South African Border War, the Congo as well as Portuguese Guinea, which resulted in a book on that colonial struggle published by the Munger Africana Library of the California Institute of Technology.
In 1985 he made a one-hour documentary that commemorated the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
He also spent time in Somalia with the US Army helicopter air wing in the early 1990s, three military assignments with the mercenary group Executive Outcomes (Angola and Sierra Leone) and a Joint-STAR mission with the United States Air Force over Kosovo.
More recently, Al Venter was active in Sierra Leone with South African mercenary pilot Neall Ellis flying combat in a Russian helicopter gunship (that leaked when it rained.) That experience formed the basis of the book on mercenaries published recently and titled War Dog: Fighting Other People’s Wars.
He has been twice wounded in combat, once by a Soviet anti-tank mine in Angola, an event that left him partially deaf.
Al Venter originally qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers at the Baltic Exchange in London.
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