Somalia Medal The Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia
A Soldier's Journals
Monday, July 23, 2018  

Somalia '93




 

The Death of Aarone

21 March 93

It took us most of the day to get back to Beled Weyne.  Upon returning, we find that there is much more to the story of the death of the Somali who died in 2 Commando's custody a few days ago.  Apparently he was found outside the wire, thrown in and interrogated for a couple of hours before he died.  MCpl Matchee was in charge at the time and he is going to be charged with murder one or manslaughter.  An SIU (special investigations unit) team is flying over to investigate.

Matchee was taken into custody and held in one of the bunkers which was turned into an impromptu jail cell.  He took some wire from the phone and tried to hang himself with it.  They found him before he died, but he is now drifting in and out of a coma in Mogadishu.  He should live, but who knows what damage he has done.

The killing in town of the ICRC guard was apparently justified.  The Somalis were protesting the hiring of Mogadishu drivers for the food convoy we escorted.  An ICRC guard fired rounds into the crowd, probably thinking he was helping matters.  The rounds nearly hit a 2 commando patrol who returned fire, killing the guard.  It has been quite the week.

22 March 93

I left camp for village sweeps at eight this morning.  The first village we searched was Maxamend Xasan.  Immediately we started finding ordnance.  By the time we finished searching, we had found a 106 mm round, about 40 french anti-personnel mines, all armed, 800  81 mm mortar rounds, 145 TM-45 and 17 PRB-M3 anti-tank mines.  We reported this back to headquarters and sat down to wait for the engineers to arrive to destroy the weapons.

While we were waiting, a village elder showed us another cache of PRB-M3 and TM-46 mines.

After the engineers had checked for booby traps and gathered up all of the mines and rounds, we took them out into the hills to blow them.  They were all laid in a massive pile and packed with C4 plastic explosives.  Then from 500 meters away we watched the show.  When it went off there was a huge red and black fireball.  The blast wave spread out in a growing circle until it hit us and nearly knocked me off of the carrier.  The fireball rose and formed a mushroom cloud.  It was all very cool, just like a small nuclear blast.

It was too late to continue with our village sweeps, so we headed down just south of Halgen to set up our road block for the night.  Not long after we set up, an MRT vehicle came flying over the crest of the hill towing a 1 Commando vehicle.  He didn't even attempt to stop.  I guess he figured he could just go straight through roadblocks.  He ended up running over the dragon's teeth and spent the rest of the night repairing six flat tires.

We only stopped nine vehicles through the night, but found three pistols and two AK's.  I screwed up though.  No-one was looking when I found a small Berretta pistol.  I could have easily pocketed it.  I wasn't thinking though and turned it in, stupid.

23 March 93

We closed down the roadblock at six this morning and headed out on a route recce.  We spent the day travelling down tracks that should have been marked impassable.  At one point while crossing a wadi, we nearly rolled, then got stuck and blew the seal on two of our tires.  I cracked my head against the top of the carrier so hard, I gave myself a concussion and thought that I had cracked my skull.

At eleven we stopped to fire off the ammo from the captured weapons, then continued with our recce.  We swept the town of Nuur Fanax for weapons, then started heading back to Beled Weyne.  On the way, we came across an overturned bus with many injured.  We stopped to help, bandaging and splinting the wounded and preparing them for transport back to the hospital.  We could not transport them back in our vehicles, so we stopped another Somali bus to ask the driver for help.  He refused to help without payment, so we told him we would shoot him if he left the injured people.  He had a sudden change of heart.

We will take over garrison duty once again in the morning and I will be back in the canteen.

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