Geoff Hazel - Under attack

Running time
3 min 44 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


On the ballot day, I had 21 polling sites. By 3:00 in the afternoon, 14 of them were under attack in one way or another, and we got them all out. I was standing... Well the big, first one came at 12:00. They attacked the one in Gleno itself. I went racing down there and couldn't get my vehicle through because the Poli was stopping it. So I got out and all of a sudden, Poli was stopping me.

And then the sergeant said, "No. The colonel says you can't go in until he says it's safe enough for you to go in. So then right, you can come in, but I have four Poli on every corner." And then finally I go, "None of them come above my shoulders." So the head was completely exposed if somebody wanted to have a shot, but it didn't matter. Went in there, my counterpart was there with a couple of the militia, standing in the background and they were armed with handguns: revolvers, things like that.

You could see one very well dressed, very tall, obviously Indonesian, and I would suggest by his statute, the way he held himself, he was an army officer of some sort, standing amongst the big group of militia that were there that had come in and attacked this place. We reached a negotiation, [00:54:30] we reached an agreement.

It would reopen, but only UN people, UN internationals would take the boats, that all the local staff would not be involved. Because they were accusing them of telling people how to vote. There was an issue behind that, but not a problem. Anyhow, yep, so that's fine. And then the commissioner flew in with a couple of others, and they were heading off to somewhere.

We got it underway and yap, got everything finished. And then from there, I went back when the counterpart stood outside his comms room. And we just managed all the troubles that were happening all over the place, and people got attacked everywhere. That night, they attacked our headquarters.

Gunshots into the building, because I have no idea how many of the local employed staff were sleeping out the front. So we got all them. And the CIVPOL stood out all night. The next morning, when we tried to get our ballots out, they attacked us again. And then a few days later... While that [inaudible 00:55:49], the UN had been attacked a few times before, and every time it evacuated immediately, and then negotiated back in later.

Other places [00:56:00] got attacked and evacuated immediately and went back. But at least, they were attacked after the ballot was finished. We were the only ones attacked on ballot day. And we stayed from the first attack to the end of eight days. And we got out, and we tried to patrol, we did what we could.

At 11:30 on the 4th of September after the ballot, next door had a phone. The UN security officer, and it was my counterpart ringing to tell me that he had been ordered to withdraw my security, withdraw his security from the UN at midday the next day and not see what happened. So that's when we evacuated the next morning.

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