It was early 1984, we were working in the west just south of the border, we had spread out, looking for spoor and questioning the locals.
‘I’ve just caught one in civvies with a F 1 hand grenade,’ Wessie announced over the radio.
‘Drive around and make him point out any others that he knows,’ We advised Wessie. ‘We’re coming.’
We caught up with Wessie a few minutes later outside a kraal complex, where he had just detained a second suspect, who had been identified by the first suspect.
One F 1 hand grenade between two suspects was hardly an accomplishment, so it was time for them to produce their weapons and reveal any arms caches that they may know of.
It didn’t take much persuasion to get the second suspect to lead us to a big water pit, where he retrieved his Soviet PKM light machine gun as well as the rest of his equipment, which was hidden under the acacia branches packed around the water pit.
Our attention now fell on the first suspect. We needed his weapon, as he was now claiming that the PKM actually belonged to him. The F 1 hand grenade was not enough to later claim a kill.
After ‘interrogating’ both suspects for hours we were getting nowhere, it seemed that one or both of them were lying. We decided to head back to our storeroom at Okave base and continue the interrogation there as our arc welding machine was in our storeroom.
The ‘interrogation’ went on into the early hours of the morning and eventually the truth was emerging. The first suspect was a SWAPO PLAN deserter, the second a commander that had been sent to execute or eliminate the first, as desertion was a crime punishable by death in SWAPO. The first suspect, could not remember where where he had disposed of his weapon and equipment. Finally it became obvious that we were not going to retrieve a second weapon.
The sun was rising the next morning as we rode out of town heading west, the two suspects still with us. At Oshikuku we headed north and soon crossed the border into Angola. We stopped and some of the guys got out of their Casspirs and disappeared out of sight into the bush. I sat on my Casspir behind my guns.
A cold shiver ran down my spine. There was no point in even thinking about it anymore and so we made our way north to look for more enemy.
We now had two more points on the scoreboard in the ops room at Okave and nothing else seemed to matter.