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Somalia Affair: Dismissal with disgrace

The Story

Shidane Arone's last words were "Canada, Canada" -- bitter irony for Ahmed Adan, an observer at the Somalia Inquiry. He fled Somalia to escape the tightly ruled dictatorship of Siad Barré. Coming to Canada, he believed fairness and justice reigned. But as the trial of Kyle Brown drew to a close today, he expressed outrage. Canada had failed Shidane Arone. Brown was found guilty of second-degree murder and torture in the death of Shidane Arone but received an unduly light sentence, Adan explained.Brown was sentenced to five years in prison and was dismissed with disgrace from the Canadian army. The sentence was considerably less than the 15 to 25 years sought by the prosecution. "It says that it's OK to do something like this," Adan said angrily.

Medium: Radio
Program: Hourly News
Broadcast Date: March 20, 1994
Guest(s): Ahmed Ahdan
Reporter: Henk Van Leeuwen
Duration: 1:29

Did You know?

• Often cited as the one soldier who demonstrated remorse for his actions, Kyle Brown gave the thumbs-up sign when his sentence was read. The trial found that at least a dozen soldiers had known the beating of Shidane Arone was going on but did nothing to stop it.
• When Kyle Brown was asked at his trial why he participated in the beating, he replied, "I thought he was a thief. I despised thieves."

• In 1997, Kyle Brown published a book called Scapegoat: How the Army Betrayed Kyle Brown with journalist Peter Worthington. In the book he argues that he was made a scapegoat by the army to save the higher-ranking officers from culpability and embarrassment.

• Lt.-Col Carol Mathieu, the highest-ranking officer facing prosecution, was acquitted. He was criticized for ordering his soldiers to shoot at looters running from the Canadian camp.
• "It was not an order, it was a guideline. The rules of engagement are guidelines. They authorize you to go from nothing to deadly force." -- Lt.-Col Carol Mathieu, 1994.

• Maj. Anthony Seward was convicted of negligent performance of duty for his instructions to "abuse" anyone who broke into the compound. He was reprimanded, demoted and served three months in prison.
• Pte. Mark Boland knew about the beating and suggested Matchee place a telephone book over Arone's head and smash it with a riot stick. He later testified that he was only joking when he made that remark. He pled guilty to negligent performance of duty and was dismissed from the army.


The Somalia Affair more