Michael Apperley - Constant gunfire

Running time
3 min 31 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


During the day there was a bit of a presence on the streets, generally, when we first got there. So generally moving around in the streets and things, as long as you looked like you meant business, the Australian uniform was well recognised by the locals. The battalion had done a fantastic job up in Baidoa and around that sector.

And, you know, word of mouth, I think, is that the Australians weren't, you know, people that would go out of their way to make your life difficult. So having the uniform, certainly, the Australian uniform on was, I think the locals didn't mess with us as much as they would with some of the other contingents.

So, yeah, so a routine day for us would be, you know, didn't happen every day, but most days, as soon as the sun would go down, the locals are, they used to chew this thing called Khat, it was like some sort of some sort of drug that they'd get on to, and they would, you know, get a bit brazen towards the end of the day.

The compound that I was in was secured by a Tunisian contingent, and there would be, you know, concrete wall and then shipping container, shipping container, a concrete wall, you know, where a hole had been punched through the main perimeter wall. So they'd fill the gaps with shipping containers, and they were pretty good targets for rocket propelled grenades.

I think the locals thought that was cool, you know, because, you know, if you hit one with an RPG and make a nice mess, and during the evening, the Somalis would try and, you know, either penetrate the compound or fire mortars or RPGs, over the fence. So there would be gunfire most nights in both directions. And more often than not, there would be a bit of mortar fire and RPG fire into the compound from the outside as well.

The contingent, you know, the United Nations contingent used to set up, you know, a few posts around to try and I think there's a couple of sniper positions set up to try and stop some of that sort of activity. There was a bit of drive by activity as well. So that was pretty much a, you know, an evening. You knew things were getting a little bit too close when you could smell the cordite from the actual mortars. Yeah, so, you know, that that was a regular occurrence.

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