Friday 30th Oct 1992

2.30pm on Friday 30th October 1992.....our lives on a diamond mine in Angola were fraught but generally 2.31pm.....

Our lives changed forever. 


I was leading a team of 30 retired Gurkha Soldiers who were providing private security services to the Angolan Government. 


The results of the election that had been held on 29/30 September 1992 had just been released. 

The ruling MPLA Party had won...which UNITA disputed and the country immediately returned to civil war.

What is now known as the Halloween Massacre took place in the capital city, Luanda. The impact for us was that soldiers from the UNITA rebel army attacked our diamond mine.  

With no warning and no time to prepare, we were unable to fight back.

Withdrawing to a safe site in the African first issue was that we were not going to be able to evade to Zaire or Zambia....we didn't have the kit we needed. The only decision was to return into the Villa and speak to the UNITA rebel commander to negotiate safe treatment for my men.

I told the senior Gurkha that if I didn't return, they were to do their best to get out of Angola and that all avenues and options were then available to them.

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Gaining access to the UNITA Commander was difficult. His soldiers attempted to search me twice, which I refused.

By all accounts 'Fu'k o''' translates into all languages. 

We agreed that harming us, the people who had been stopping diamond theft, would not serve UNITA......and that we would help all of the Expats leave the mine as quickly as air transport could be organised.

I had no choice other than to accept his word. 

Returning to the bush, I brought the Gurkhas in. We packed and prepared to leave. 

The Saturday and Sunday morning were relatively uneventful. 

Sunday afternoon wasn't. 

On Sunday afternoon, the UNITA Commander told me they were leaving to attack Huambo. They had got what they wanted, knew we were leaving and knew they could come back at any time. 

The 4000 people in the local village that was a mile away would now know we were vulnerable. We expected them to try and take advantage of this vulnerability. 

I took four of my team down to the village in our one working pickup. We were all armed.

I told them that we were planning to leave and they could then do what they wanted with what was left in the Villa. 

I also told them if they came near the Villa, they would be fired on and that we now had authority to use lethal force. 

This was mostly bluff and bluster but we were now in a position where it was going to be our lives or theirs.

Sunday evening - we were told there will be no more flights in or out of Luzamba. Our civilian contractor refuses to fly!

Sunday night - using our Sat Phone to speak to our MD in Brazil.......strings are pulled....the Brazilian Airforce are on their way!

Monday night.....the Herc arrives...


15 minutes after it takes off....we are now all out of Angola and on our way to Namibia. 

Three hours later....we are being processed at Immigration in passport - purpose of visit 'Evacuation'. 


Out of the frying pan and about to willingly get back into the fire.

Two days team and I return to civil war torn Angola.....the three other security teams don't. They go home.

There is no financial incentive....only pride, but that's enough. 

A number of clients have enjoyed finding out about the leadership challenge I faced....there is a short video.......please click on the link below:

To book Bryan to speak email or call 07967564939. 

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