Geoff Hazel - Conflict resolution

Running time
3 min 41 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


And next morning, I think it was Shan and I drove at 6:00 left the next morning to drive to the nearby province headquarters to do an internal investigation into a fight between two. Got back, coming back that afternoon or that evening, heard a call over the radio calling to help because shots had been fired. And anyhow, nobody answered, which didn't surprise me because I didn't recognise ... I recognised the voice, but I didn't recognise the call sign. And it was Charles Mackay] who was from Zambia, Zambian police, Superintendent Charles Mackay from Zambia…but spoke with a perfect Scottish accent.

Anyhow, we turned up and there was police in the street. There was, obviously somebody had let loose with a burst from, because there was holes in tires and holes in the sides of cars. Nobody has been hit or anything. So, the two of us get out, and there's a building over there, the police are here. And so, we're trying to find out what's going on. And they were the election workers from the local election workers. Now, they hadn't been paid for the fourth day. And they knew, if these people didn't pay them now, they would never get it. So, they were determined to get their money for the fourth day. And they'd ambushed the local electoral president in his car and were wanting the money. And somebody had smashed the car window and he'd been hit. He wasn't ... He was only hit, he wasn't seriously injured.

Anyhow, the police had turned up, and they'd all run into this building, and they were all in there. And the police said, "Well, we're going to go charging in." And so, I'm standing with the police, the commander of the group. And Shan said, "I'll follow them." So, he followed them in. And he said, "Lucky I did." Bloke that went in, "Lucky I did." He said, "None of them had a torch and it was pitch black inside." He said, "So, I went and turned the torch on. We found the door where everybody was." And he said, "Because I was there, they brought them all out." Nobody went in, no shots were fired. They came out. Now, I'd called up headquarters and said, "Look, I want some more CIVPOL here, preferably a couple that might be able to speak Portuguese." I knew exactly who would turn up, the two Brazilians who were there, who were really good. They knew what they were doing. They were good.

Anyhow, sure enough, the vehicle pulled up about 500 metres down the road, driven by somebody else who was not coming any closer. And these two guys came out and helped us out. And we got that resolved and got the message away. "Right, well done. Now, we'll be in there in the morning at the police station to check on these people to make sure they haven't been injured." And we did. Next morning we went in there. They said, "Right, we waited until you came in so you could see that the ones we will release hadn't been hurt."

So, they let 18 of them go and charged the one who'd actually broken the window and injured the person. Right, happy with that. That's part of the procedure. Yeah. Shan kept ... He did most of the checking of the prison. The prison wasn't great. But I went out there a couple of times, and yeah, it was okay. It wouldn't have been acceptable in Australia. But I kept telling him, I said, "Shan, it is better than the children's ward at the hospital." He wouldn't believe me, so I took him. He said, "I'm not going to complain about the prison again ever, boss."

Was this page helpful?
We can't respond to comments or queries via this form. Please contact us with your query instead.