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Somalia Affair: Defending the Airborne Regiment

Canadian peacemakers were lauded as heroes when they went into an untamed land ruled by rebels. Their mission, Operation Deliverance, charged them with restoring order in Somalia. But in fact, the Canadian Airborne regiment was splitting apart at the seams, lacking both leadership and accountability. Murder after murder, the troops came home disgraced. Tracks were covered and responsibility shifted up and down the chain of command during an investigation that would dismantle the army and implicate the government in a high-level cover-up.

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The schools they built, the infrastructure they developed and the people they saved - it's all being overlooked by Canadians, say Sgt. Ronnie Smith, Sgt. Hercule Gosselin and Cpl. Patrick Couture in this CBC Television interview. The three members of the Airborne Regiment say they worked hard under difficult conditions. Some Somalis threw stones at them while they worked. Stealing was a constant problem. But despite this, they say that desire to be in Belet Huen was born of a genuine desire to help.
• The Canadian Airborne Regiment returned home in May of 1993 under a dark cloud of public scrutiny. Many Somalis expressed affection for the Canadians for their work rebuilding the Belet Huen bridge, opening a school and establishing a police force, as shown in this CBC Television report.
Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 31, 1993
Guest(s): Cpl. Patrick Couture, Sgt. Hercule Gosselin, Sgt. Ronnie Smith
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Keith Boag
Duration: 5:21

Last updated: November 8, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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