Somalia Affair: Chronology | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Somalia Affair: Chronology

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on April 15, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

What began as a humanitarian mission quickly unravelled into one of the darkest chapters in Canadian military history (see Somalia Affair).

December 15, 1992

The Canadian Airborne Regiment arrives in Somalia.

March 4, 1993

Two Somalis infiltrating a Canadian base camp are shot by sentries. One dies.

March 16, 1993

Somali Shidane Arone, 16, is beaten and tortured to death by Canadian soldiers. Two days later, Master Cpl. Clayton Matchee, one of those arrested in Arone's death, is found hanging in his cell in Somalia. Matchee suffers brain damage and is declared unfit to stand trial.

May 19, 1993

The first charges are laid against Airborne soldiers related to Arone's death. Eight soldiers eventually face court martial, four of whom are convicted.

March 16, 1994

In the most serious conviction to date, Pte. Elvin Kyle Brown is sentenced to five years in jail for manslaughter and torture in Arone's death.

January 23, 1995

Defence Minister David Collenette announces he is disbanding the Airborne regiment after the broadcast of several videotapes showing soldiers making racist comments and taking part in brutal hazing rituals.

March 21, 1995

Collenette appoints a civilian inquiry into the Somalia mission.

March 27, 1996

Federal Information Commissioner John Grace says senior military officers deliberately altered documents related to the Somalia affair before releasing them to a CBC radio reporter.

April 1, 1996

The Somalia inquiry reveals that computer logs and documents supplied by the defence department had been tampered with to delete crucial information about what happened in Somalia.

Maclean's April 15, 1996