RECOMMENDED READING (NIGERIAN ECOMOG OPERATIONS): ” FROM SAS TO BLOOD DIAMOND WARS” BY HAMISH ROSS AND FRED MARAFONO – REVIEWED BY PECCAVI

Nigerian ECOMOG artillerymen dismount for action during the Battle of Freetown II, 10 Jan 1999

Nigerian ECOMOG artillerymen dismount for action during the Battle of Freetown II, 10 Jan 1999

HIGHLIGHTS

* Tells a story about a British Special Forces mercenary and the Sierra Leonean Deputy Minister of Defence(Chief Sam Hinga-Norman)

* Arguably the best account of ECOMOG operations in Sierra Leone and the Battle for Freetown out there.

* Narrative suggests that Nigerian troops really fought competently and professionally.

* The NAF, NN and NA all come out so
creditably. No patronising comments just a faithful retelling.

* Sadly, it is foreigners telling our story but it makes for pleasant reading.

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BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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21 Responses to RECOMMENDED READING (NIGERIAN ECOMOG OPERATIONS): ” FROM SAS TO BLOOD DIAMOND WARS” BY HAMISH ROSS AND FRED MARAFONO – REVIEWED BY PECCAVI

  1. beegeagle says:

    Post more snippets here, Peccavi.

    That is the second book by white non-African narrators which you have prescribed and which refreshingly casts positive light on what we have consistently advertised as a heroic performance by troops who endured the limits of hardship to fight for the return of peace to a sister African country.

    The first book which you recommended(can’t remember the name now) also hailed the dexterity of Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet pilots.

    That opinion has since been borne out by world exclusive materiel excerpted for us from non-classified Nigerian military archives which shows that nearly 3,000 multimission sorties on a non-optimised aircraft were flown at grave personal risk to pilots in what was an unprecedented combat deployment of a hitherto unheralded Alpha Jet.

    Telling it like it is – we defined the Alpha Jet in combat, same way the Aermacchi MB 326(Impala) was defined by the racist South African Air Force of yore.

    Read

    http://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/ecomog-air-operations-during-the-liberian-civil-war-a-brief-overview/

    http://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/blog-exclusive-ecomog-air-operationsii-a-closer-look-at-the-phases-and-statistics/

    • peccavi says:

      Bros I’m telling you prophets are not recognised in their own kingdoms, our boys on courses here always get high praise, always tough, always top.
      Why we don’t tell out own storys beats the hell out of me

  2. peccavi says:

    When I get chnce I’ll copy some stuff verbatim, very complimentary of COl Khobe, Gen Malu, NAF Staff and Alpha jet operations.
    Critical of Khobe’s decision not to destroy the RUF/AFRC in Freetown which would have destroyed more of the town and caused more civil and friendly casualties but arguably ended to war but it was understandable on humanitarian grounds.
    Only one helo flown by mercs kept ECOMOG’s isolated garrisons supplied, imagine what could be achieved with2. It was maintained by an Ethipian and NAF engineers, who kept it flying despite everything.
    Describes a brilliant op whereby ECOMOG captured the AFRC/RUF MI-24 and MI-17.
    If I can I’ll type it up or scan the pages. A really well executred air ambush

    • doziex says:

      Spot on ! Yeah man, that one mi-8 kept the Jui base resupplied for nearly a year, before general Khobe decided it was time to send the AFRC-RUF alliance packing.

      Surprisingly, the major ecomog assault, came from that JUI base on the outskirt of freetown, and not the Lungi penninsula that had a larger ecomog presence, but no direct land route into freetown.

      That lone helicopter, also kept general Ndefo’s (then colonel ndefo) men resupplied for their hinterland battles in Kenema, bo, and daru amongst others.

      Max Khobe’s plan called for the trapping of the AFRC-RUF fighters in freetown, but due to lack of logistics, like you know, helicopters, the vast majority escaped the dragnet, and returned with a vengance in the dec 98/jan 99 battle for freetown with new and improved weapons courtesy of the ukrainians, charles taylor, and our newest ally, blaise compaore of burkinafaso.

  3. Spirit says:

    @Oga mi Peccavi,

    We can’t wait to get it.

  4. jimmy says:

    I BEG/ JO / BIKO. I am holding my breath and trying to make a dash to my nearest bookstore.please let us see it o!
    Let me tell you guys a personal story. My mum came to visit me in the states during the height of the Ecomog Liberia crises on the way to the shopping mall we got into a heated argument with her concerning intervening or not intervening ( she of course felt we should not intervene) we were speaking in yoruba and the argument spilled out of the car into the parking lot and continued and just as we were about to enter the shopping center we were stopped by two ladies . I was startled when she asked are you guys Nigerians both my Mum and I said yes . they literally almost fell to their knees and said thank you very much and these where her exact words “Thank God for the Nigerians.” after that my mom did not say a single word!

  5. peccavi says:

    P96 (This refers to the capture of two AFRC aircraft by ECOMOG)
    The Air wing of the junta was under the command of Major Victor King and he and some of his colleagues tried a different escape route…..At around 04.30hrs after refueling and packing both their Mi24 and Mi17, they were airborne but were spotted by an NAF officer at Spriggs Airfield and he alerted the Alpha jet commander that they were on their way to Roberts International (in Liberia). At that very moment 2 Alpha jets had just taken off for a mission to Sierra Leone and they were ordered to intercept and escort the helicopters to Spriggs airfield which ECOMOG controlled. There the junta airmen were arrested and taken into custody. Pres Charles Taylor retaliated by threatening to attack the airfield. The ECOMOG response was to buzz his state mansion with an Alpha jet every half hour

  6. beegeagle says:

    @Peccavi. More, my man. Turn paper nack we tory.

    Hmn, when are Amazon simply going to open a physical outlet at Shoprite? Even if we have to buy at the day’s naira to dollar exchange rate? Missing out on some nice stuff, man. I still have not read Max Siollun’s book either! Na wa o.

    • Max Siollun says:

      General Beegeagle, what are you waiting for? Oya, get the book! ;-)

      • beegeagle says:

        There goes my man..the great Max Siollun, one of the foremost authorities on Nigerian military history. Google that name, people.

        So Max, how is it going buddy? Our people at CE nko? Been a long time, man. Now you know what we have been trying to build while we were apparently AWOL.

  7. profafrica says:

    Nice work but will be more virtuous if Nigeria film producers/actors will use this opportunity to transmit the capabilities of the Nigeria Armed Force. I mean reproducing it as a movie in liaise with the writer.

  8. beegeagle says:

    Peccavi, o’boy na wetin you dey do dia na? Put tory down mek we hia :-)

  9. peccavi says:

    Later that evening the junta sent their Mi24 again, this time to Lungi in preparation for the second attempt to ambush Bokkie (Friendly Mi8) but this time it was flying very high. All the while it was in the air, the ECOMOG anti aircraft guns simply monitored its movements. But Juba (SA merc pilot of the Mi8) stressed to the Nigerian officer that this was a recce flight to see where Bokkie was parked. He told them the gunship would be back and they should get all their systems on full alert toprevent it getting within striking range. Sure enough, next morning at 0300, the juntas MI24 returned to bomb Lungi airport. To the surprise of the gunships crew, the ECOMOG AA guns radar was fully operational and had already tracked them at 10km out. The gun crews let them get to 8km before they opened up. this seemed to unnerve the crew and they decided to drop their 250kg bombs in the ocean and run back to Freetown

    • doziex says:

      Plenty stories. there was also one I heard, that after a similar mi-24 raid against the lungi airport .(you know NA troops long shared lungi airport with their SLA hosts)

      Alphajets tailed the mi-24s back to cockerill barracks, the HQ of the junta, this bombing killed several rebel brass, and was said to decimate the mi-24.

      This triggered an AFRC/RUF assault against the nigerian heavily defended base.

      The nigerian army, scored one of the most lopsided victory it ever had, but the BBC spent the whole day reporting SAM Bockarie’s fantastical accounts of killing and capturing hundreds if not thousands of NA troops.

      To which colonel Khobe cooly responded, ” I don’t even have that many men to be captured in sierra leone”.
      BBC could have recanted their 100% false account of the day, and blamed it on the fog of war, but they chose not to.

      Yeah, I was listening. I was initially shocked by the BBC account, by my sources in and around freetown. ( my friends sources I should say) quickly assured us that the opposite of the BBC report had just happened.

  10. doziex says:

    Oga peccavi, I am glad that you have discovered these new sources of accurate information.

    I would believe any account given by fred marafano, the fijian ex SAS soldier, who was one of the four mercs that stayed on to help ecomog and Ahmed Tejan kabba’s govt.

    The cat and mouse games at the onset of this conflict was very intriguing.

    Firstly, the split and change in loyalties between the NA and the SLA was tricky. SLA soldiers served under col. max khobe’s command, when they as ecomog was warring against Charles Taylor. So Col Khobe(late) knew the SLA soldiers and officers intimately.

    As Eeben Barlow confirmed with us, the EO was forced out of SLR’s diamond mines by the UN and some other western interests circa 1996.

    However, by then, the SLA had increasingly turned to the Ukrainians for mi-24 and mi-17 support.

    So when Johnny paul koroma’s coup against president Kabba occurred, at least 2 mi-24s and 2 mi-17s (not all serviceable) were in the possesion of the SLA, There navy had just been gifted 2 chinese patrol boats, armed with mortars and anti-aircraft guns.

    On the ground, they had several 120 mm mortars, anti aircraft mounted vehicles and even T-72 tanks and BMP-2s that was supplied by the ukrainains much earlier, and used very efficiently by Mr. barlow’s EO troops in their 1996 defeat of the RUF.( The BMP-2s that is)

    However, by the time Colonel Khobe and the nigerian army suddenly had to face the SLA, they had ballooned to a seasoned mercenary trained army of 15,000 men. All with the aforementioned weapons.

    Their new allies, the RUF was no longer the rag tag force the EO defeated, but was now fully backed by taylor’s troops and weapon facilitation.

    In other words, the nigerian army faced a perfect storm. Coup leader John Koroma had just united with taylor’s man in the RUF, Sam Bockarie aka mosquito, at the height of their individual strengths.

    Anyway, I hope this account sheds more light on the complex, and sophisticated nature of this war.

    NAF’s alpha jets, and merc flown mi-8, versus SLA mi-24 x 2, and mi-17.

    NAF alphajets versus SLR navy’s 2 patrol boats. And so on.

  11. doziex says:

    Oh the tragedy, for an air force that in the mid to late 80′s, could boast the serviceability of 2 squadrons of super puma transport helicopters, and another 2 squadrons of Bo-105 armed helicopters, ends up in this decisive conflict with only the service of one mercenary flown helicopter.

    I wish we would just learn the appropriate lessons from history, and quit repeating past mistakes.

    In peace time, responsible nations gear up for the possibility of war. They don’t wait till the late stage of the conflict to do the obvious.

    • jimmyhollyee says:

      AMEN my brother i have often told a compelling story here that is very personal to me
      Just like you doziex I had immediate cousins living in Sierra Leone at the time kata start now as we dey say to make matters worse their son in law was heavily involved in the fighting as a junior NA officer ( our belief sometimes that all things bad can only come from Nigeria sometimes literally can kill us) repeatedly warned his mother in law that as a civillian Nigerian this was the last place you want to be undeterred they told him they were going to stay it took a lot of effort and even then his mother in law came to lagos muttering if i go die nah my country i go die o her husband somehow refused to come back and somehow miraculously survived the war!

  12. Max Siollun says:

    Beeg Eagle, my second book is out o! It is also available at Shoprite as you requested. You no get excuse o! ;-)

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