Mogadishu DEC 1992 25 years ago

Joseph Cosgrove

Jul 13, 2013
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For those anciens who took part in this operation legionnaires and US forces, a look back at things by journalists :

French legionnaires kill 2 Somalis Seven others hurt after truck tries to crash through weapons checkpoint OPERATION RESTORE HOPE
December 11, 1992|By Richard O'Mara | Richard O'Mara,Staff Writer
MOGADISHU, Somalia -- The French Foreign Legion drew th first blood of Operation Restore Hope yesterday in a confrontation that left two Somalis dead.

A truck carrying Somalian gunmen tried crashing through a checkpoint manned by French legionnaires. The legionnaires opened fire. The truck slammed into a concrete wall. Between the shooting and the wall, two Somalis were dead and seven injured.

The French say the Somalis fired first.

"If the dead men were gunmen, it is good for Somalia," student Hassan Aden told Reuters. "But if they were not gunmen, this is an evil foreign action."

The French have not been gentle with the locals who come to gape and smile at them, as they had at the Marines after the U.S. force came ashore Wednesday.

The legionnaires do not smile back; they are brusque, all business. Most of them are not French; they are professional soldiers from many countries commanded by French officers. They have not come to befriend the Somalis but to provide the security for which the overwhelming majority of the people here have been waiting.

The legionnaires who are here from nearby Djibouti picked the biggest puddle in this mud-splashed capital to establish the roadblock on the city's wide main street in what appeared to be the first systematic search for weapons since the launch of the resume mission to Somalia.

Headquartered in the gutted bar Las Vegas at the Kilometer 4 traffic circle in the center of town, the legionnaires ran searches of the occasional car or truck and of houses in one neighborhood where gunshots were heard.

They created possibly the largest and wettest traffic jam Mogadishu has ever seen. According to one report, vehicles at one time were backed up for a quarter-mile.

They also annoyed a lot of Somalis.

Marines also were in the streets, but in fewer numbers, mainly to support the French. A Marine colonel said, "We're starting to make our presence known out and around the city."

After shots were fired from a mansion owned by a backer of warlord Gen. Mohamed Farah Aidid, the Marines entered the building and found a large arms cache -- a recoilless rifle, heavy machine guns, 40,000 rounds of ammunition. They did not remove anything but tried to make their displeasure known.

Marine tanks the color of sand ground their way here and there through the muddy street. The heavy sound of helicopter engines already has become a part of the city's background noise.

But most of the Marines remained confined to the port and at their initial landing area near Mogadishu International Airport. A growing sense of impatience seemed to be developing, and questions were raised why they had not yet secured the western towns of Baidoa and Bardera in the heart of the "hunger zone."

Meanwhile, the overall relief effort gathered pace. Paul Mitchell -- the spokesman here of the World Food Program (WFP), the source of all the relief food coming into Somalia -- said the ship Milos L would soon be back in Somalian waters, loaded with maize.

The Milos L took two hits from renegade shore batteries off Mogadishu on Nov. 24. It was turned back to Kenya and might have been the incident that triggered President Bush's decision to launch Operation Restore Hope.

Food ships have been fired on before, and every time it happens it sets back progress in the fight against Somalia's famine.

U.S., Foreign Forces Back Each Other Up : Somalia: The large number of countries volunteering to send forces has taken American commanders by surprise.

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Lt. Roy Hollan's machine-gun platoon was backing up a French Foreign Legion reconnaissance mission in a bombed-out neighborhood here a few days ago when his U.S. Marine unit spotted snipers on a rooftop. The Americans raised their weapons, girding for a firefight, until the French commander quickly informed them that the snipers were Legionnaires providing cover for the mission.

"Seeing those snipers gave us a start," said Hollan, of Mission Viejo. "We didn't know they (the snipers) were French. But I must admit it was smart of the French to put them there."

So it goes daily in Somalia, where the U.S. military force leading Operation Restore Hope already has been joined by almost 1,000 soldiers from eight countries, part of a non-American international force that is expected to exceed 10,000 troops from 30 countries.

The large number of countries volunteering to send forces, in units ranging in size from 20 to 4,000, has taken the operation's American commanders by surprise. And Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command, said the large number of combat troops from other countries may mean an early ticket home for some Americans.

This is a newspaper clipping (in French) about the 3rd CIE 2 REPs participation. Check out Ossie O in the foreground.

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