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Canadian soldiers under investigation

The Story

March 19, 1993 - Pembroke Observer reporter Jim Day witnesses the curious removal of an unconscious soldier from a holding cell in Belet Huen. Day doesn't yet recognize the magnitude of this event, but suspects there is a story behind this unusual incident. He finds out that the soldier, Corporal Clayton Matchee, has attempted suicide. The rest of the story -- one of torture, murder, racism, aggression and denial -- will unfold over the next four years, tarnishing the Canadian military's reputation and leaving politicians scrambling under allegations of a cover-up. In this CBC Television report, Paul Adams indicates that four soldiers have been taken into custody for the murder of a Somali man. Over in Ottawa, Defence Minister Kim Campbell has just announced that she will be running for the Conservative leadership. But she has come under fire from the Opposition who allege that the Airborne investigation has been conducted improperly. Jim Day is interviewed about the murder of Somali Shidane Arone, 16, allegedly at the hands of Canadians Cpl. Matchee and Pte. Kyle Brown.

Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: April 2, 1993
Guest(s): Jim Day
Host: Pamela Wallin
Reporter: Paul Adams
Duration: 2:36

Did You know?

• On March 4, 1993, Airborne soldiers found two Somalis, Ahmed Aruush and Abdi Hunde Bei Sabrie, on the grounds of the camp. Soldiers shot at the pair, killing one and wounding the other. The incident was largely dismissed, despite Maj. Barry Armstrong's protests that the men were shot in the back and one of them seemed to be carried out execution style.

• Intent on stealing from the Canadian compound, some Somalis stripped nude and greased their bodies to slip through the wire, set along the perimeter of the camp.
• On March 16, 1993, Shidane Arone slipped onto the grounds of the Canadian camp at Belet Huen. He was fully clothed and, when captured, he protested that he was looking for a lost child.

• According to interviews and testimony, it was revealed that Sgt. Mark Boland left Matchee and Brown in charge of Arone, reportedly with the advice "I don't care what you do, just don't kill the guy." Arone was then blindfolded and punched, kicked and burned with cigarettes. Matchee and Brown posed for pictures with Arone, placing a pistol to his bruised head. Arone is reported to have begged "Canada, Canada" as a plea for mercy. His tortured cries were heard throughout the camp. Matchee continued abusing Arone with an iron bar, kicking and punching the captive until he was dead.

• Following Arone's death, Matchee attempted to commit suicide and was deemed unfit to stand trial because of brain damage. In this CBC television interview, Matchee's family said they did not believe it was a suicide attempt but rather that he was the victim of an attempted murder.

• When the Liberal government took power, David Collenette was named minister of defence. Under constant pressure, he called the Somalia Inquiry in March 1995, two years after the murder of Shidane Arone.


The Somalia Affair more