Chaplin Ordered by CO (in Somalia) to Wear Gun or Be Charged

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SPECIAL REPORT

Conflict in Yugoslavia tested chaplain's faith, p. 3

Having his picture taken standing over several bound Somali teenagers wasn't the only hot water Padre Mark Sargent got into during his Somalia tour. He also found himself embroiled in controversy for wearing a gun - contrary to international laws.

Former chaplain-general Jean Pelletier and his since-promoted deputy, Gerry Peddle, were asked about the incident this summer in a wide-ranging interview. For his part, now Brig.-Gen. Peddle was not pleased with a reporter's question about an incident involving a gun-toting chaplain. "The issue of bearing arms is minuscule," he said flatly.

But although he wouldn't confirm the name of the chaplain involved, Gen. Pelletier admitted that he wrote a memo in 1995 to all chaplains reminding them that under the terms of the Geneva Convention, they can't bear arms unless in self-defence. He said he was forced to intervene because a chaplain in Somalia was ordered to carry a weapon by his commanding officer.

Normally, a chaplain is assigned a guard, but the situation was so tense, the commanding officer felt he couldn't spare anyone. …