|18 February 93
In the morning we received new orders and also a
warning order for future
operations. Starting on the 20th, we will be helping the clans move their weapons into
containment areas. Ten, once this is done we will begin a house to house search clearing every
hut in Beled Weyne of weapons. Things will get interesting as most people will be
unwilling to give up their weapons.
Already over the past couple of days there have been a couple of
grenades thrown at us and constant sniper fire. In return our troops
have killed two people and injured several more.
We spent the afternoon on our original mission, recce'ing the tracks
and villages East of the highway. While filling out a report for the aid
agencies on a small village called Ali Gani, nicknamed vegetable patch on
our maps, a man approached us. His family was sick and needed our help.
Once our eyes adjusted to the dark of the hut, we found his wife and two young children
lying on mats in the dirt. The smell of vomit was overpowering. The medic checked them and
determined they had TB and dysentery. Apparently they hadn't been able to hold down food
or water for over two weeks.
I grabbed a case of water from our carrier and tried to get the older child, a girl of
about four, to drink. She immediately vomited it up. With our limited supplies and strict
orders against providing more than emergency medical aid, there was little more we could
The medic tried to get the father to take his family to the hospital in Beled Weyne,
but his few goats were more important to him than the lives of his family. In Somalia,
life is cheap and a Somali values his livestock and his gun more than his wife and
children. We all have trouble dealing with incidents like this. These people will die
because we are not allowed to take them to the hospital or give out medicine and the
Somalis are too apathetic to help either. All we do is fill out reports, smile and hand
out Canada pins. If they aren't even willing to help themselves or each other though, why
should we bother to do more?
On our patrols, we are often the first into small outlying villages and nomad camps.
Aid is often days to weeks behind us and we barely have enough supplies for ourselves. We
are incapable of helping everyone, so instead we help no-one.
On the way back out to the highway a mine went off on the track about a
kilometer in front of us. Luckily it was just the engineers clearing
the road. It makes me wonder if that mine has always been sitting
there in the middle of this track we have travelled countless times or if
it was recently planted.
Just as the sun began to set we put out early warning and set up a
roadblock on the highway to search for bandits and weapons. It was
busy until about 9:30 when the traffic died down. Hopefully we will
be able to catch up on the sleep lost last night.
19 February 93
We were up and away fairly early after a fairly
uneventful night. Back at camp we cleaned our weapons and gear and
were put on 'Sunday' routine. That didn't last long though. At
9:30 this morning we were put on 15 minute notice to move to support 1
commando on a sweep through Beled Weyne. The sweeps are starting
earlier than I expected. We probably won't head out until noon though.
Apparently Barbera McDougal has announced that the Canadians will be
pulled out in late April or early May. It seems that every few days
it changes. It will be nice when something finally firms up and we
have something to look forward to.
Floorboards for our tents arrived this morning and we managed to get
them in before we went out with 1 commando. The tent looks allot
better with the floors. It is both brighter and cleaner. It
will also be nice to be out of the dirt if only for awhile.
This afternoon we swept through the refugee settlement that has grown
up around callsign 8. Our weapons det acted as a cutoff while 1
commando and the rest of our platoon searched the huts. It was
uneventful, with no major incidents. We only found a couple of
rifles, pistols and belted ammunition.
Returning to camp this evening we found a shit load of fresh rations
awaiting so we cooked up a bit of a feast. Then returning to my tent
I found more mail waiting on my bed than I have received the whole time
I've been here. There was a letter from Nanny, three from Heather,
one from Jennifer and best of all, one from Kat. All of this made
for a great night, but it also makes me miss home badly. The routine
and boredom deadens the mind and eating military field rations day after
day is wreaking havoc on my system.
I will try and get to bed early tonight. I have a three hour
guard duty shift starting at midnight, then I have to work for the
quartermaster tomorrow at seven. Only a few people from the platoon
are going out tomorrow to supervise the movement of the weapon's caches
into containment areas. It is too bad I am staying back, I wanted to
get some pictures of the heavy weapons and try and get my hands on an