"Gun Running" by Pete Skarulis

A group of us went on a hunting trip, outside of Mekale, just before Christmas of '72. Unknown to us, after weapons were signed out from the rod and gun club, and the permits filled out, a member of our party decided to switch one shot gun for another. He didn't tell anyone, thinking it wouldn't matter.

Unfortunately, on our return trip to Asmara, we were about 110 K's out of Asmara when we were stopped at a Second Division checkpoint. The soldiers wanted to know why we were firing weapons. We explained that we weren't firing weapons in the area, but were returning from a hunting trip. They proceeded to search all vehicles and everything in them, including tampon boxes. Then they proceeded to check al weapons against the Rod and Gun Club permits.

Low and behold the unlisted gun showed up. We were then questioned about why we were trading weapons with the insurgents. We were "escorted" to the police station at Adigrat, questioned and put in a "hotel" that had no furniture.

The following morning before sunrise , were were awakened by a guard and told to leave quickly and quietly.. The parting words were do not stop at any checkpoints.

When we passed the spot where we were stopped the previous day, 2nd division soldierstarted running down the hill after us waving for us to stop. Needless to say we didn't, and returned safely to Asmara. The weapons were later returned after considerable effort by the base and the consulate. However, they were unusable.

The story almost seems funny 25 years later. It wasn't then.


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©Copyright Rick Fortney 1998 All Rights Reserved