Thai version

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

To Stop a Theif

Mogadishu, Somalia October, 1986 I am fast asleep in my bed in our house not far from the hotel. I see the light from the hallway light hit my eyes and then see the bedroom door go shut. To help with security at the houses we have connected the wires at the light switches together so that the hallway lights could not be shut off using the switch. This action could have saved my life tonight. I jump out of bed in a hurry and grab the pick handle I have in the bedroom for my defense, I run out of the bedroom door yelling, I see the man run through the living room and turn going into the kitchen. I follow him yelling to alert everybody. Although we have a guard outside the guard must have been asleep or something. I run through the living room and turn into the kitchen. In the kitchen I am confronted with three not just the one person like I though would be there. The two that had been in the kitchen was on the far side of the kitchen by the door. They was drinking my beer and eating things from out of our refrigerator. When the two men by the door see me they quickly run through the door to the outside carrying what ever they have. However the third man is not so lucky he is trapped in the corner with me between him and the doors leaving the kitchen. He grabs a kitchen knife from the counter and come at me. He raises the knife and slashes at me with it. I am able to hit his hand with the pick handle. I am surprised at what happens the locally made pick handle breaks, when I had hit the mans arm. I have a very surprised look on my face and am left holding about one foot of the pick handle in my hand. The knife the man was using has shot to the floor and the man is scrambling to make it out the door to freedom while I am chasing him with a foot long piece of pick handle. He scrambles over the wall were they have thrown a blanket to keep from getting cut on the glass embedded into the top of the wall. Then he like the other two disappear into the night.

At the bottom of the wall I find a box that has all of the liquor that I had, had in the house. Then on the kitchen table I find our television set and VHS player and tape player and tapes all ready to be taken out of the house. They had gathered up all of the food they wanted from the kitchen and had it in sacks ready to be taken out also. I try the phone which is not working. Somalia only has 25 outside lines coming into the country. Whenever there is any trouble these lines are all disconnected at the central telephone and Post Office.

Going out side I find that they had removed the security screen from the kitchen window and had then climbed inside the kitchen and opened the door from inside of the kitchen. That allowed them to get into the house. It is almost a half hour after all this has started when the security guard wonders around. He must have known to stay away while all the trouble was going on.

I always wondered what would of happened if that I had not waken up. When they was done they may came and slit my throat. Or what if one of the men would have had a gun? When I came into the kitchen they would have surely shoot me. Guess I was lucky again that night. A worker working for the US Aid program was killed in a robbery attempt at about this time. We were informed by the grapevine of this killing happening. We were told that we should be careful in our travels and in the security of were we lived.

The next day I take the guard and the housemaid down to the police station. We meet the officer that will be handling our case. He talks to me and the housemaid and the guard. The house maid keeps talking all the time. The officer has no car so I take him back to our house and show him how that they had removed the security screen on the window to get into the house. I tried to give him an idea what the thief’s looked like but the two I only got a quick glance at and the one with the knife I did not have much of a change to get what he looked like either. After reviewing the guard and the house maid stories again the officer ask me to take him back to the police station. I think he just wanted to get away from the housemaids talking. As she is still talking when we get into the car to return to the police station. When I return him to the police station I ask him what will happen next. As expected he says he will be in touch with us to inform us what they have learned. That is the last we ever hear about it.

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