“Crunchy” and “Eddy” aren’t your typical tour operators. When someone asked them if they could provide personal security detail services in a few of the countries they had already been deployed to while in the military, they jumped at the opportunity. But, what was supposed to be a simple security job turned into a “tour” when they started getting asked to bring clients to places that people don’t generally get to see in those areas. “It was the ‘aha’ moment for us,” said Eddy, “We thought ‘why don’t we make a business out of this?’ and a few weeks after we returned, we already had two more groups of people sign up.”
Both men spent 20 years in elite groups in the military, not your average “Grunt,” as they are called. They also spent more time overseas in combat areas than they did in their home countries. “Some of us actually enjoy the work we do. People don’t realize how important the missions are that we go on without their knowledge,” says Crunchy. Their unique training puts them in a position to keep people safe, and allows them to have a unique experience, while in a dangerous area.
“Yeah, there are some pretty terrible people in this world and many of the people who come on our tours want a piece of them in some way or another,” says Eddy. They state that they work with the local governments to allow for special “Tour Missions” for their clients. “We’ve racked up a number of friends over the years who have the authority to get us in and allow for some unique ‘assistance’ with their issues.” In other words, they didn’t stop being “Grunts” when they left the military.
Most of their clients prefer to go into regions of the Middle East or violent areas of Africa that are generally off limits to civilians, but a good number also like to go into Latin America and Asia as well. They have run 119 tours in the last 4 years so far. You might assume that they don’t take “political correctness” into account, but “you’d be wrong,” says Crunchy. “People don’t take kindly to shooting elephants and lions anymore, so we don’t allow that either. We bring people to get the ‘bigger trophies’. Who’s going to blink an eye over one less terrorist or cartel soldier?”
Surprised by that statement, we asked if they’ve actually eliminated terrorists or cartel soldiers on their tours. “It’s more common than not. Most of our clients want the opportunity to witness us in action or to even do it themselves,” says Eddy. While they admit that most of their clients are prior service military members themselves, a good portion of them are out there because they want to experience what it’s like to rescue someone from a terrible situation. Then there are a few that just want to do it for the sport. They mention how a few of their clients were seeking justice in some form for a family member that was abducted and killed while some millionaires and billionaires typically pay for their services on top of having their own security details present simply for the sport.
“They see headlines like ‘Missing British backpacker found dead in Guatemala’ and ‘Canadian found dead in Burkina Faso after kidnapping’, and they immediately want to retaliate,” says Eddy. He says he hates to see headlines like that, but they keep him focused and mission oriented. “When we go on a mission, it is generally to save someone from some evil - and we usually get there on time.” The tours obviously can’t be set for any particular dates due to this. Crunchy joked that they “have to wait for something bad to happen, or for some good intel to come in - but we make sure everyone is prepared well in advance.”
Honestly, if a military friend of mine hadn’t told me about them, this would still be foreign ground for us. We have never heard of tours like this before - not in any of the places that we have traveled or though any other traveler. We’ve heard of security for dangerous areas and we’ve heard of “big game” hunts, but never anything involving permitted hunting of actual people. “What you have to understand is that they aren’t people. They are extremists who solely want to kill you, rape your wife, turn your kids into their soldiers or sex slaves, and repeat forever. Those aren’t people,” says Eddy.
Well, we have no real interest in their tours, but some people apparently find them valuable, and they are willing to pay their $20,000 per week price tag for the experience. We did a little investigation and figured out that they fall into a unique “niche” where they are permitted to do mercenary-type work for local governments and military. A Nigerian official, who asked not to be identified, said “These men are saving lives. Over 1,800 people [are] kidnapped here every year, most [of them] women and children. Boko Haram and ISIS are raping them, [then they] strap bombs to them and convince them [to go] into our buildings to blow up.”
It is just terrible to think that is going on and that nobody is talking about it or trying to help. All we see are political headlines all over the place. “People forget what the real problems are because they’re too wrapped up in politics,” says Crunchy in dismay. That’s something we can agree with.
Three extremist groups operate in the Northeastern area of Nigeria, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, and Isis West Africa. They all attack heavily populated areas like churches, schools, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues, making this region one of the deadliest in sub-Saharan Africa for extremist violence.
At least 2,000 women and children have been taken since the beginning of 2014, many of them co-opted into battle or sexual slavery [Amnesty International]. On March 8, 2018, Boko Haram abducted another 110 schoolgirls from Dapchi, Nigeria. This has allowed Boko Haram to deploy suicide bombers at a greater rate per attack than any other extremist organisation [Global Extremism Monitor, 2017]. In 2017 alone, 240 individual suicide bombers had been used in Nigeria. More than 57 per cent of these were female.
In Honduras, nearly 200,000 citizens have been displaced due to violence, threats, and forced gang affiliation with MS-13 and Barrio 18. It is now known as the murder capital of the world. The department of Gracias a Dios in particular is plagued with crime and drug trafficking, and also lacks police or military presence. Strangely, Guatemala ranks third in the world for the highest number of homicides against women.
Crunchy & Eddy find it easy to operate in lawless areas, but say that as part of the agreement, clients are required to wear local police or military uniforms while they are participating in a mission. Eddy added, “Most people say that the adrenaline rush of the mission is worth the price alone, but we also bring them to a number of other sites that are unique and generally off limits to civilians and tourists.”
They also travel through the world's most dangerous country, with 82.84 homicides per 100,000 people, El Salvador. That country is also known for for the same gangs as in Honduras and Guatemala. Gang violence includes everything from extortion to arms and drug trafficking. The gangs - known locally as maras - own all three countries to the point where local governments and military are unable to retaliate without assistance from mercenaries like Crunchy & Eddy. Local officials in these countries all seem to appreciate and desire more assistance like what these guys offer.
“We aren’t out there causing the problems, but we enjoy trying to help fix them.” Crunchy & Eddy have been hiring more “Grunt Tour Agents” recently, and they claim that they are making the world a better place, although that may be up for debate. It is hard to dismiss their claims of having rescued nearly a hundred girls in Nigeria, saved dozens of kidnapped tourists in Latin America, rescued a handful of families in Syria, and freed over a dozen sex slaves in Asia. So far, they haven’t lost any of their clients in these dangerous areas.
Crunchy & Eddy’s Tours go to the Lake Chad Region of Nigeria, the Northeastern Sinai of Egypt, through the gang areas of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and even Upper Iraq with Syria. They have allowed us to reproduce some of the content from their website at the links below as Membership is required to access their site directly. You can see some of their tours using the links below.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to check out some of our other blog posts or leave comments or questions at the bottom of the post.
This article was specifically crafted as part of traditional “April Fools Day” celebrations and is not to be taken seriously in any way, shape, or form. In no way is Eat Wander Explore, or Newnentaiken Corp., or the owners and writers of this site, recommending or condoning any unlawful or unkind actions. If you are a prior service military member and you are suffering in any way - please consider contacting your local Veteran Affairs hospital or an alternative private program, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, for assistance. The Wounded Warrior Project offers the “Project Odyssey® Veteran Retreat” which uses nature and recreation to heal your spirit - with “[a]ctivities [that] include horseback riding, canoeing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, a high ropes course, fishing, skeet shooting, sled hockey, and skiing at retreats held in various locations across the country.” The cost is completely free for veterans in need.”
For anyone else who took offense, please contact Zaphod Beeblebrox at +1 (202) 456-7041 to file a complaint.
Armstrong, G. (2018, January 25). Fact Check: Are far-right groups the biggest US terror threat? Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.theweek.co.uk/91205/fact-check-are-far-right-groups-the-biggest-us-terror-threat
Bergen, P., & Sterman, D. (2018, November 26). The Real Terrorist Threat in America. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2018-10-30/real-terrorist-threat-america
Berman, N. (2018, May 08). The 25 Most Dangerous Countries in the World. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://moneyinc.com/25-dangerous-countries-world/
Dudley, D. (2018, December 05). The Deadliest Terrorist Groups In The World Today. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2018/12/05/deadliest-terrorist-groups-in-the-world/#f154d082b3e3
Esievoadje, A. (2018, July 31). Top 12 Destinations In North Eastern Nigeria • Connect Nigeria. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://connectnigeria.com/articles/2018/07/top-12-destinations-in-north-eastern-nigeria/
Foster, C. (2018, November 01). These are the world's 20 most dangerous countries, and photos showing what life is like there. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/what-life-is-like-in-some-of-the-worlds-most-dangerous-countries-2018-10?IR=T
H., P. (2017, August 16). 25 Most Dangerous Places On Earth. Retrieved from https://list25.com/25-most-dangerous-places-on-earth/5/
Intentional Homicide Victims | Statistics and Data. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://dataunodc.un.org/crime/intentional-homicide-victims
Islamist Extremism in 2017: The Ten Deadliest Countries. (2018, September 13). Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://institute.global/insight/co-existence/islamist-extremism-2017-ten-deadliest-countries
Global Extremism Monitor 2017
Kennedy, J. (2019, January 23). 15 Great Nature Spots In Nigeria. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://afktravel.com/57649/15-great-nature-spots-in-nigeria/2/
Kindzeka, M. E., & Kindzeka, M. E. (2016, May 24). Islamist extremists have effective hiding place in huge northeastern Nigerian woodlands. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/the-forest-concealing-boko-haram/3343895.html
Meltzer, M. (2015, March 03). 7 Countries Where You're Most Likely to Get Kidnapped. Retrieved from https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/the-7-countries-where-you-re-most-likely-to-get-kidnapped-for-ransom
Nigeria: Abducted women and girls forced to join Boko Haram attacks. (2015, April 14). Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/04/nigeria-abducted-women-and-girls-forced-to-join-boko-haram-attacks/
Olaniyan, Azeez. “Once Upon a Game Reserve: Sambisa and the Tragedy of a Forested Landscape.” Environment & Society Portal, Arcadia (Spring 2018), no. 2. Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. doi.org/10.5282/rcc/8176(link is external)
P. (2018, June 16). Most dangerous countries in the world 2018 – ranked. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.atlasandboots.com/most-dangerous-countries-in-the-world-ranked/
Perlberg, S. (2013, December 12). The 20 Countries Where People Get Kidnapped The Most. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/top-20-countries-by-kidnapping-2013-12?IR=T
Schmalbruch, S. (2017, December 17). The 20 most dangerous countries in the world. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/worlds-most-dangerous-countries-colombia-yemen-el-salvador-pakistan-nigeria-a7934416.html
10 most dangerous countries for tourists. (2017, September 24). Retrieved from http://www.ttoscandinavia.com/10-most-dangerous-countries-for-tourists/
The 11 Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in the World. (2017, April 15). Retrieved from https://brightside.me/wonder-places/the-ten-most-dangerous-places-in-the-world-that-you-probably-wont-want-to-visit-140405/
Top 10 Most Recorded Countries With Highest Kidnappings. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.topteny.com/top-10-most-recorded-countries-with-highest-kidnappings/
Top Ten Magazine by Scope Company