Search This Blog

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Heroes from the Past - Staff Sergeant Azman Tahir and Sergeant Gani Binjoi

After the Bakarra Market incident which saw 18 US soldiers and 1 Malaysian soldiers dead (some sources stated 2 Pakistani soldiers were also killed but this remain unverified), the United Nations mission in Somalia received further shock when then US President Bill Clinton decided to end US involvement in the war-torn country. That had forced United Nations to plan for withdrawal from Somalia.

With Lieutenant-General Çevik Bir's term (Turkey) as UN Commander expiring on 17 January 1994, our own Lt Gen Aboo Samah Abu Bakar was specifically appointed to lead the mission.

His appointment was specifically requested by US; as an honour to Malaysia for involvement in the Bakarra Market incident, and due to other certain reasons.
Malaysian Battalion continued to contribute to UN QRF (Quick Reaction Force) due to dependability. Other incidents including the Benadir Court House incident had the rest of UN preferring Malaysian forces to be the QRF element.

Staff Sergeant Azman Tahir (GGK) and Sergeant Gani Binyoi (other name variations are Ghani Binyoi, Gani Binjoi and Ghani Binjoi) (Royal Ranger Regiment) were part of this team.

On 18 July 1994, they were providing escort duty to an Italian colonel conducting intelligence gathering when their convoy were ambushed by militia at K4 roundabout.

Staff Sergeant Azman was hit in his head and was killed immediately. Sergeant Gani fought back and was killed when militia came from behind and shot his head. The resistance ended with Gani's death.

The convoy was taken hostage. The bodies of our two soldiers were mishandled by the militia.

Upon receiving the incident report, Lt Gen Aboo Samah took several of his GGK bodyguards and went to the residence of Lt Gen Mohamad Farrah Aidid, being the leading Habr Gedir warlord.

Meanwhile at Malbatt HQ, angry men begin to stock up ammunition.

It was not recorded how long did the meet between Lt Gen Aboo Samah and Aidid. But when Lt Gen Aboo Samah left, he left with a warning that all hostages to be released and the bodies returned. Failure to do so would see Bakarra Market razed to the ground.

Not too long after the meeting, the militia released all hostages and both bodies.

Apparently, Lt Gen Aboo Samah and Aidid had once met when both were assigned by their respective leaders to study in foreign military institution. Lt Gen Aboo Samah was a senior while Aidid was a junior. It was due to this that US had also insisted his appointment to the post. (However, do note I never did find any supporting written information on this.)

Staff Sergeant Azman Tahir of Teluk Intan was a career GGK enlisted man with a very good track record. Unfortunately, most of his missions are still classified.

Staff Sergeant Azman Tahir 

Sergeant Gani Binjoi was from Kampung Koran Mawang, Serian district in Sarawak. He left behind a wife and 3 children, the youngest born when he was in Somalia. For his sacrifice, the Army built a home for his family on his family land. Education of his children were taken care by the government until university. As I recalled, my father mentioned that his wife was a former student of his.

Photo from Malaysian Army Museum, Port Dickson

The K4 roundabout where both were killed would later claim the life of another Malaysian, this time a Bernama reporter, Noramfaizul Mohd. Nor, 41 in 2011.

K4 Roundabout today - their sacrifices are amongst those that helped Somalia to return to peace today.

1. Renjer Valour blogspot by Major (R) D Swami. 
2. The Patriot.
2. Verbal information

No comments:

Post a Comment