TALKING POINT BY
22th Jan. 2002
HAWK DOWN" MOVIE - A HOAX? - PART THREE
FLASH BACKS 1993/94
days later, the Pakistanis opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators,
killing at least 14 Aideed supporters and wounding many others.
US AC-130 flying gunship blitzed Aideed's cantonment and destroyed
a second ammunition dump and a mosque nearby. It was the fourth
air strikes by Black Hawks hitting back for the killing of
the 24 Pakistanis blamed on Aideed supporters. But most of
the air raids were blind exercises, without clearly defined
targets and have killed hundreds of innocent civilians and
wounded many more.
say the Pakistanis opened fire without warning when crowds
converged on streets around a south Mogadishu hotel. A UN
probe found "gunmen, other than the Pakistanis, fired on dispersing
civilians who protested against the Black Hawk attacks on
civilian populated areas earlier in the week.
Oakley accused Aideed's Somali National Alliance/United Somali
Congress (USC) of "obviously targeting peace keeping forces,
and using women and children as human shield".
arrest warrant issued with 25,000 dollars cash reward failed
to have any impact, but instead alienated more people against
the Americans and the United Nations.
is here, there and everywhere," boosted one of Aideed's supporters
when asked where his boss was holed up.
In what appeared to be his last press briefing in Somalia,
Admiral Howe said: "First of all, I would want him to come
forward peacefully. We of course, have an effort to find where
(retired) Howe who had a way of appearing to smile when insolent
journalists said something he found disagreeable, particularly
when asked why he turned the Somalia debacle as personal or
the latest civilian casualty figures. He repeated earlier
unconvincing allegation that another source, not the Pakistanis
fired on the crowd. He however, refused to name the other
streets in the north, controlled by Ali Mahdi, bewildered
crowds poured out to watch the smoke and gunfire. In the old
towns of Shangani and Hamar-weyne thousands of people watched
as scores of Black Hawk helicopters continued to attack targets
in the south with missiles and anti-tank rockets. In the traffic
circle at K-4 near Saxafi Hotel where the international journalists
stayed, machinegun fire blew off the heads of several people,
including a young child, whose body was carried away by wailing
women. Again, no casualty figures have been reported. Somalis
say 25 people were killed in that street alone. Again the
producers of the film "BLACK HAWK DOWN" conveniently
ignored these facts.
bright side to the mayhem was that food, clean water and medicine
were readily available for the first time since the civil
war erupted in 1991. However religious zealots hand-in-glove
with warehouse owners who sold food at prices beyond the reach
of most of the population, shouted in street corners saying
that the Americans were trying to convert the Somali people
into Christianity, but few people stopped to listen to their
discourse. Using megaphones they urged the people not to eat
the food freely provide by the Red Cross and CARE International.
Across the street several US Marines with cocked guns watched
the preachers under their eyelids.
began to appear in the humanitarian efforts when the head
of a European charity "Medicines sans Frontiers" (Doctors
without Borders) accused the United Nations of committing
"humanitarian crisis in Somalia." MSF President Rony Brauman
charged that the international body and the US turned the
Horn of Africa nation into a test bed for "creating a permanent
military intervention force," implying that the Americans
were testing their new "smart" bombs in Somalia.
a 30-page declaration Mr. Brauman said the priority of emergency
assistance had been overtaken by "the right of vengeance"
and with repeated and bloody raids against Somali civilians
in strikes to punish Mogadishu militia men for attacks on
Sam Nunn, the Chairman of Senate Armed Forces Committee said
that expanding the peace keeping mission in Somalia was a
mistake and it's time for Congress to narrow the US role there
so it has a definite ending point. Senator Robert Byrd of
Virginia, a member of President Clinton's Party called for
a rapid withdrawal before more Americans are killed. "I think
the capture of one person is not going to end this," Senator
October 1993 sixty-five UN soldiers have been killed in Somalia
since the UN operation (UNOSOM II) began. The Somali casualty
figures climbed to the 1,000 mark, mostly civilians. Four
journalists were killed after angry mobs attacked them at
the scene of a UN raid on one of Aideed's command post. At
least two other journalists were reported wounded during the
attack in which Reuters' photographers Dan Eldon, Hoss Maina,
televison soundman Anthony Macharia and Associated Press (AP)
Photographer Hansi Krauss died. A correspondent for Italian
State Television (RAI), Ilara Alpi returned safely to the
hotel that housed most foreign journalists after being reported
missing. Hardcore criminals who escaped from Mogadishu's Central
Prison later killed Miss Alpi during her second assignment
in Somalia. Her Somali bodyguards and driver were also killed.
Jila'o is a balding gray-haired in his late sixties. He was
Chief of Siyad Barre's National Security Service (NSS) Banadir
Region and one time the mayor of Mogadishu. He co-chaired
the new UN Police Committee and helped reorganize the Somali
Police Force that disintegrated following the downfall of
General Barre's regime.
smiling, soft-spoken Jila'o remotedly resembles General Aideed.
He also belongs to Aideed's rival clan. Nevertheless, dozens
of crack American troops slid from their hovering Black Hawk
helicopters, just as prominent clan elders, including former
Vice President, Hussein Kulmiye, were meeting in Ahmed Jila'o's
villa overlooking the Indian Ocean. The villa was located
in Ali Mahdi's stronghold, the last place Aideed would ever
hide. The American Army Rangers and Delta Force arrested the
elders, thinking they were arresting Aideed and his aides,
despite denial by Jila'o that he was not the wanted man. But
when a soldier hit him with a rifle butt he reluctantly admitted
he was the fugitive general!
is an example of the misleading intelligence reports the Americans
were fed with by people who pose bona fide informers," an
old man told journalists who rushed to the scene. He said
he hid in the washroom to escape the dragnet.
Mahdi's clan who until now refused to get involved in the
US/UN imbroglio in Somalia, poured out into the streets to
protest the arrest of the prominent elders.
hours later, the elders were released and returned to the
villa, when Ambassador Oakley and Admiral Howe realized the
glaring mistake the soldiers had made. An apology wasn't good
enough for Ali Mahdi's clan. They wanted more than an apology
from people who bungled operations after operations despite
their hi-tech military gadgets, including AC-130 flying gunships,
sky cameras, night vision goggles and guns with night-scope.
one day the hunt for General Aideed was abruptly dropped without
explanations to the thousands of international journalists
who converged in Mogadishu to cover the "big profile".
to visitors of banadir.com: unlike the movie "BLACK
HAWK DOWN" which turned out to be a fantasy, there is
nothing in these series of articles, which has not happened.
Many Somalis and independent eyewitnesses corroborated every
single episode that took place in Mogadishu in 1993. Nevertheless,
some well meaning visitors to this Website who claimed that
they too were there in those fateful days, said that although
they accepted my in-depth appraisals, I should have mentioned
the names of General Aideed's and Ali Mahdi's clans who were
at loggerhead in Mogadishu's clan warfare. Like many Somalis,
I feel embarrassed to mention the names of Somali clans because
I feel that I had outgrown the cancer that's tribalism or
clannism for a very long time now. And it has been my unwavering
position that we should dump this cancer once and for all
- a cancer that has shattered our nation beyond redemption.
But to the clan leaders it means the license to rob, steal,
divide and kill. Anyway, mentioning the names of the two men's
rival clans would have made no differences at all.
again I thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for
your encouraging emails. As before the number is staggering
which confirms that you love your country and cherish fair
play, not fantasy as depicted in the film BLACK HAWK DOWN.
long time correspondent, M.M. Afrah was there when military
dictator, Major Mohamed Siyad Barre came to power in a military
and police coup in October 1969. He was there when General
Barre was ousted from power by poorly trained, poorly equipped
youths in beach sandals, after more than two decades in power.
He was there when the militia youths turned their guns on
each other for the control of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
He was there the US Marines, Army Rangers and the Delta Forces
stormed the beaches of Mogadishu to spearhead an international
task force under the code name of Operation Restore Hope.
And he was there to see them leave. He watched as their initial
goodwill turn into an impotent rage, and saw their efforts
to impose Western-style democracy end up in fiasco. It cost
the UN and US billions of dollars and the lives of several
UN and US soldiers end up in body bags. The cost to Mr. Afrah
was one of his sons and the destruction of his house after
it received a direct hit from a tank shell. He buried his
son at the steps of his demolished house. In an article in
the British edition of ESQUIRE magazine, Aiden Hartley, who
worked with Afrah in Somalia, described his frontline reporting
as "A Bravery under Fire."