Geoff Hazel - An arrest

Running time
4 min 48 sec
Date made
Copyright
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Transcript

There was one, and probably one of the worst experiences in my life was, I had to go to the hospital again. This time there was a five-year-old there that had been injured in a UN motor vehicle accident. And walking into that kid's ward damn near tore me to pieces. I mean, I can still now, I can still smell it, I can still see it, I can still hear it. It was just unbelievably bad. Got talking, and that had been from the next province. So, I had to go up there and follow up on the investigation. Now, when I got there, an interesting story again, because this is completely different.

I arrived, and they weren't happy with an investigator coming from regional headquarters. We've already written that off. So, I looked at it, and there's no mention about a five-year-old being injured. Matter of fact, there's no mention of anybody being injured. Okay, so I'm starting to go through files. And next thing, I look around and there's only me and an Irish constable there. Everybody else has gone. And there's this noise outside. So, we open the door and the police station is surrounded, or the UN offices are surrounded by all these locals, and they've got guns.

So, we're standing there, and fortunately one of them spoke very good English. And we started to talk. And he said, "Well ..." And this would have been 7:00, 7:30 at night. So, it's been a long day. And we started to talk. And he said they were all people who had applied to become drivers for the UN. And they'd been interviewed by a UN civilian and a local interpreter. And they had all paid money to get the job. And then, they hadn't got the job because they brought in two Australians, which are two of my boys, to do driver testing. And those that failed the test didn't get the job. And most of them couldn't drive to save themselves, they'd never driven. But they were now upset. They didn't want the job, they understood that. That part they understood.

What they were upset about was that the UN people and the local had gone away with all this money of theirs, and they wanted their money back. So, we're just sitting there and we're just chatting. And they said, "We know where the local lives." Okay. So, "We'll follow you." So, we followed him in the car, the two of us and we got there. And they were already there around the house. And they weren't game to go in because they knew he had an AK in there, it was just a typical Mozambican house. So, we went in. And I came and had a talk to him. He was so glad to see us, he thought he was safe. So, I said, "Righto, you just stay here." I went out and I said, "Right, we're going to bring him out. But if anybody touches him or hurts him in any way, then that person's got to deal with me." Okay, they accepted that. We brought him out, put him in the car. And the other thing I said, "And we will follow you to the local police station when we leave here." "Yes, sir." So, we got him in the car.

He thought we were taking him back to the UN headquarters, and we took him to the local police station. Went in there, told them the story. Left him and said, "Look, we will be back tomorrow morning. You can do your interviews, but he better not have a mark on him. There will be no forced confessions." "Yes, sir." And they were good. And we went back the next morning. He'd admitted to everything. And so, he was processed through the local legal system. The UN employee, by the time I got the message to Maputo, was already on the plane on his way home…Yeah, well the UN reimbursed the money…Yeah. But then I went and followed up on the accident.

And it turns out that it wasn't just a five-year-old girl. Over a distance of 600 meters, he'd killed three people while he was driving, and she was the last one that was injured. So, put that report in and basically said he should go home. Now, it turns out he had contacts of some sort, and he didn't. And although I wasn't doing ... When they were withdrawing, he actually killed another one when they were driving the vehicles out. So, he should never have been ... That should never have happened. But that was one of the things you had to deal with.

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