True Spies Episode 1: Operation Brothers
Welcome to True Spies. Week by week, mission by mission, you’ll hear the true stories behind the world’s greatest espionage operations. You’ll meet the people who operate in this secret world. What do they know? What are their skills? And what would you do in their position? This is True Spies Episode 1: Operation Brothers.
GAD SHIMRON: I heard the shots, I heard the shouts. I saw them charging. I saw the flashes from the muzzles of the rifles. It was going to be a massacre. My name is Gad Shimron. Born in Jaffa in Tel Aviv, Israel, 26 February 1950.
NARRATOR: Gad Shimron. Mossad spy, journalist, and one of the key operatives behind the mission known as Operation Brothers.
GAD SHIMRON: To be honest, I had many other names and different identities and passports and unfortunately I cannot go into details unless you want to cause a diplomatic uproar or a scandal. So, we'll have to forget this.
NARRATOR: Tall, handsome, smart, athletic, but above all, calm. Which turned out to be very useful.
GAD SHIMRON: By the way, the Mossad doesn't use the term 'agents'. Agents you have in insurance companies, not Israelis working for the Mossad. Israelis who work for the Mossad are either called ‘warriors’ - that's when they are operative, or whatever they do, they're called Mossad ‘operatives’, but never agents.
NARRATOR: Gad - Mossad’s man in Sudan - is going to be your guide through Operation Brothers. First, some context: Ethiopia, 12th September 1974. Haile Selassie and his government are overthrown in a military coup. This revolution highlights the political tensions in the country, with the regimes’ opponents facing the threat of arrest or even execution. The country descends into civil war. While separatist guerrilla movements are fighting for independence, Ethiopia’s Jews - an ancient tribe known as Beta Israel - become prominent political revolutionaries - active in rebel struggles against the military regime. Infighting between the rebel groups, combined with instability in the country, lead to thousands of Beta Israel refugees fleeing Ethiopia. Many are forced to make a perilous journey across the deserts of the Horn of Africa to reach refugee camps in Sudan. In 1979, Ethiopian activist Ferede Aklum, who was involved in a previous attempt to rescue Ethiopian Jews, writes a letter from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. He tasks Mossad with the rescue of the Beta Israel.
GAD SHIMRON: This operation is really unique in the history of intelligence communities because it's the only case, I believe, that a professional intelligence organization is giving the order to operate actually as a humanitarian organization.
NARRATOR: Gad is persuaded to join what would become Operation Brothers by its Commander, Dani Limor.
GAD SHIMRON: Dani Limor. I knew him vaguely. He was a case officer. I knew he was a troublemaker. It was after my second tour in the Mossad. I was supposed to become a case officer in a different unit. And at that time I also divorced for the first time and the Mossad at the time had a policy that divorcees are not sent for overseas operations due to some unpleasant affairs of single case officers who fell in love in Europe with locals, etc., etc. I think it's a stupid policy. And I went straight to the chief of the Mossad and I told him: “It's a stupid policy.” And I resigned. And, when I came to the headquarters to arrange all the bureaucratic paperwork, I met Dani Limor. And he looked at me and said: "Hey Gad, what's new? What are you doing?" And I said: "I resigned." He said: "No, no, no, no, no, I need you." And then, against all regulations, he took me apart and told me - in what we call a ‘corridor talk’ - that he is in charge of an operation in Sudan to get Ethiopian Jews who ran away from the homeland due to the civil war. They ran away to the refugee camps in Sudan and they asked to be rescued and brought to Israel. And I said immediately - it took me between four to five seconds to decide - and I said: "Okay, I'll join.”
NARRATOR: Just five seconds to pack up your life, leave your loved ones behind and go to a hostile Arab country.
GAD SHIMRON: You know, I like the action. I like the push of the adrenalin. That's how I joined the Brothers Operation.
NARRATOR: Dani Limor had been visiting Sudan since 1979, working with Ferede on ways to get the Ethiopian Jews out of the country and into Israel. At first, they used the cover of an international aid agency that allowed them to leave Sudan’s capital, Khartoum legally.
GAD SHIMRON: The problem was, it was very small numbers - let's say five, six, 10 every week. And the Mossad, they understood they needed another cover story in order to be able to get big numbers of Jews every time, not a family here and a family there. And so, Dani and Ferede, they went looking around and 40 kilometers north of the big port city of Port Sudan, they found a deserted diving resort which was built in the early ‘70s by an Italian company.
NARRATOR: On the edge of the Red Sea. A paradise for divers.
GAD SHIMRON: And, those Italian entrepreneurs, they decided they were going to build a diving resort in the best diving spot in the world. They started investing money in building this holiday resort. No road, no electricity, no water supply. Relying on the promise of Sudanese officials that inshallah bukra there will be an electric line going from Port Sudan and of course a pipeline of water and decent roads, etc., etc. And, of course, nothing was realized.
NARRATOR: After a brief time, the Italians realized they were in the wrong place, packed up, and disappeared.
GAD SHIMRON: And Dani found this place deserted, as it is, and he came up with the idea that we, the Mossad, will take over the place. We'll pay the Sudanese government, the Sudanese tourist corporation, some money, every year - kind of a lend-lease deal. And the idea was that this diving resort would enable the Mossad to bring people, operatives, to Sudan. It's a good cover story.
NARRATOR: Indeed it is, one of the best. And so they build a high-end, high-class diving operation, from the ground up! This is a remarkable feat as the infrastructure is, let’s say ‘limited’?
GAD SHIMRON: There was not one single gasoline station on the way. Not one single normal hotel. Not one single normal garage. Maintenance is a word - nobody knew what it was.
NARRATOR: Toward the end of 1981, Dani Limor is given the go-ahead to invest money in the Red Sea Diving school. Gad and a colleague, Robi, are sent to Khartoum to start setting up. They run into trouble straight away.
GAD SHIMRON: I started very badly because we were arrested on the way to Port Sudan. Due to an idiotic failure by some bureaucrat at the headquarters in Tel Aviv, we were sent at the wrong time to the wrong place. And Robi and I were told by the headquarters not to stop at a certain point, but drive through it and stop only at the next point. Now when I say point, that means roadblocks because every 50 kilometers there were roadblocks - either police or Army, or both of them - because we are talking about a dictatorship. They were controlling whatever was going on, on the only main road in the country. And that's what we did. We didn't stop at the place we were told not to stop and we continued to the next place. We had a cup of tea in one of those sheds along the way. And while Robi and I enjoyed the hot tea, all of a sudden, we saw a very nervous and excited policeman talking very fast to his friends and pointing at us and at our car. And, in two minutes, we were surrounded by about 10 policemen and soldiers, all of them of course with weapons. And it's not very nice to look on the wrong side of a barrel when you sip tea.
I spoke little Arabic at the time and I could understand that they had identified our Toyota pickup as a car that broke through the roadblock a week before our arrival. They even shot at it, and one of the soldiers said: "I emptied my whole Kalashnikov AK-47 magazine. I emptied it into this car, which was driven by al'uwrubiyu, which means a European. And he disappeared in the desert." And he was right, by the way, because the car we were driving had been taken from another Mossad operative who was, at the time, stationed in Khartoum. And he actually broke the roadblocks a week before with his car. But somehow they didn't tell us this. The headquarters, they just told us the car was in some kind of trouble at point A, so go straight to point B. But they made a mistake and they sent us to point A. That's where we were stopped.
NARRATOR: The operation has barely begun and they’re arrested.
GAD SHIMRON: A guy was sitting next to us in the cabin of the Toyota pickup and another policeman in the back of the pickup. And we drove some 200 kilometers to the headquarters in El-Gadarif. And when we arrived at the compound, my friend Robi, he was called for an investigation and I knew that his cover story was rather weak, flimsy. He spoke, what we call ‘Pinglish’, you know? Palestinian English.
NARRATOR: Just pause for a moment. You’ve just been arrested by Sudanese police. The operation hasn't even started and everything hangs in the balance. Your vehicle is compromised. Your partner, Robi? He's a courageous former Israeli Navy Seal but he's a liability here. There's going to be an interrogation of Robi's cover story and his accent might jeopardize the whole operation. If your cover is blown, forget Port Sudan. Forget Israel. What's your plan? What would you do? Let’s find out what Gad did.
GAD SHIMRON: He spoke Palestinian English so I made it as if I got the name wrong and I stepped into the investigation instead of him. And there was an interrogation. I'm sorry. It was not as dramatic as it sounds because I was not tortured. No nails were pushed. It was a very professional investigation. There were two officers, one colonel, and the other captain. They questioned me in English. If somebody would have attached some kind of heart measuring instrument to my body, it would probably have exploded. Of course, I played the complete European idiot who doesn't understand what they want from me and I was lucky for - as we say in Hebrew - the difference between a medal and being demoted is very short.
NARRATOR: There’s planning and execution, but in espionage, luck can be useful too.
GAD SHIMRON: Almost as important as good planning and brave operatives. There's a very famous story about Napoleon, who promoted one of his favorite generals to marshal, and his fellow generals came to Napoleon and said: "He's a lousy officer. He's only lucky." And Napoleon said: "I love lucky generals." And I had lots of luck in this case because, first of all, as I walked into the interrogation room, I saw that the aerial on top of the building was broken. And I saw that the telephones on the desk were dusty. So I understood they had no direct communication with Khartoum. I kept poker-faced and I played the idiot. I asked them all the time: “What do you want from me? I’m just a member of the Sudanese tourist board.” And they were very harsh. They told me: "Shut up. Sit down." And they were looking for all sorts of details. And it went on like this, I think, for two or three hours. All of a sudden, I remembered a book I read many years before about Sudan called The Migration of the Birds to the North or something like this. And I saw the colonel smiling and he asked me: "Do you know who wrote it?" And I told him the name. And he smiled and said: "My cousin." So this was the end of the investigation, as you can imagine, and we departed as good friends. I even invited them to come to the diving resort.
NARRATOR: A little local knowledge goes a long way. But how can you guarantee if someone is right for a job this ambitious? Gad had run several European missions before Sudan. He knew how to convince people. This was something he’d trained for and Mossad looked for these sorts of characteristics in its warriors.
GAD SHIMRON: They try to select and find the people who are independent, who know how to think out of the box, and know how to improvise. And they are brave but not stupidly brave and know how to hold their nerves in difficult situations. And, of course, you also need to have some background that will enable you to operate under a false identity. So that means a foreign language, the right look, etc. The biggest problem, of course, is to find people who - first of all - can live under a cover story, which means that maybe they should speak up to a certain level of foreign language. So when I was approached in the ‘70s by the Mossad, I could speak rather fluent German and ordinary English.
NARRATOR: Gad’s parents were from Vienna. Young, Hebrew-speaking Zionists. They came to Jerusalem in the ‘30s. During the Second World War, his father volunteered for the British Royal Engineers and his mother was a nurse in a British military hospital. Gad moved to Europe in the ‘60s when he was 14 after his father was appointed the Israeli delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
GAD SHIMRON: It was a time when it was a very tough job because everybody in the world was wondering: “What is Israel doing in the Negev, in Dimona, and is it really a textile factory like the official version was?” And because I came from a neighborhood where many people were from a security background - either Army officers or members of the Shabak, the Mossad - it was kind of a norm in the neighborhood that you volunteer to the top units. And I went to officer school, and then I was relocated to the intelligence unit. It was called 848 and I served as an officer until my release in 1971.
NARRATOR: Enter Mossad.
GAD SHIMRON: In the early days in the ‘70s and ‘60s etc., Mossad recruiting was done by the very simple method of ‘a friend brings a friend’. I remember the guy who came to my house. I was a student at that time and I knew him very vaguely. And he started talking with me and asking me all kinds of questions.
NARRATOR: If you’re thinking that all sounds rather easy, then you’re mistaken. The fact that Gad makes it seem that way just illustrates his low-key character, which makes him a perfect operative. In reality, that call from Mossad is simply the beginning. It’s followed up by a rigorous recruitment and selection process lasting a whole year. Of the 100 or so recruits who started the training with Gad, only six graduated from his class.
GAD SHIMRON: There were more instructors around the table than recruits. And after a very short while, I found myself in Europe running after the enemies of Israel. I was a member of a very operative team at that time, and we were doing the real James Bond work all like observation and planting microphones and following Palestinians and Egyptians and Arabs. But I cannot go into details, sorry.
NARRATOR: Released by the Sudanese police with the help of a book about migrating birds, we find Gad finally on his way to the Arous Holiday Village now famously known as the Red Sea Diving School.
GAD SHIMRON: There's a dust road along the shore 40 kilometers in the desert. You drive, you drive, you drive and then you come on top of a hill and you look down and there's a beautiful lagoon. And on the verge of the lagoon, I think 16 or 18 small huts, red roofs. No trees, Of course. Nobody, you don't see anybody moving around. And the view is magnificent. And we came to the village and there were some local Sudanese employees who were in charge of watching the place, keeping all the looters away, and they became our employees. The first months of 1982 were probably the most serene and quiet in my life. You know, we were two Mossad operatives in a deserted diving resort in the process of being rebuilt with five or six Sudanese employees. And we really had the time of our life. I remember Robi lying on the beach, spreading his fingers in order to let the sun reach every centimeter of his skin. I took one of the locals and taught him how to drive a rubber dinghy, a Zodiac. And we would go into the lagoon and he would tow me. I would be water skiing in the name of the security of Israel, which is very nice if you think about it. Whenever we were hungry we would take one of the boats we had and go out to the most beautiful blue seas of the world. And we would just pick up a nice grouper and catch him and bring him for lunch, or a lobster or two.
NARRATOR: But after a while, reality knocked on the door.
GAD SHIMRON: We had to rescue Jews not to enjoy life.
NARRATOR: Early February 1982, Operation Brothers’ leader, Dani Limor, returned to Sudan with his number two in command along with an intrepid Israeli citizen drafted specifically for the operation, who - it must be said - seemed to neither know nor care who he was working for. The Mossad operative from Khartoum - the one who’d lent them the car that nearly blew their cover, remember? - also joined them. Under the cover of darkness, telling the staff they were off to party with some Swedish nurses in the nearby Red Cross hospital, they would leave the resort village, traveling in a convoy of two trucks and two pick-ups.
GAD SHIMRON: The modus operandi of those actions was quite simple. An Israeli Navy vessel with some Navy Seals on it would sail out under a foreign flag posing like a commercial vessel. And when they arrived vis-à-vis Sudan, we left the village with gasoline and water and some food. Meanwhile, in the refugee camps, there was a group of very courageous young Ethiopian Jews, we call them ‘the committees’. They were in charge of organizing the group that should go to this operation. They knew who came first. They made the list and they would get a message. Friday 8 pm, 160 Jews at the abandoned quarry five kilometers south of the refugee camps. We arrived there at night, switched off the lights, went off the highway. It was dark. It was pitch dark. It was a desert and all of a sudden there was a whistle and 200 people rose up 10 meters away from you. We didn't even see them coming.
NARRATOR: And then, there’s the small matter of transporting scores of Jews across the desert to the shore. But remember, this is Sudan under a dictatorship. And all those roadblocks Gad had to cross? They’re still in effect. You’ve got to smuggle 200 people in a convoy of trucks across a police checkpoint. Any ideas how? Brute force? Bribery? Sweet-talking? Or maybe just a distraction? Know your audience. Understand local traditions. And don’t over-complicate things.
GAD SHIMRON: The system was quite simple. Danny, who was our chief, when we approached a roadblock, he went very fast to the roadblock, stopped, came out of his cabin, and chatted with the officer in charge. It was always done on Friday because on Friday it was the day off for the soldiers and policemen, and they were mostly drunk from date liquor. Dani would start chatting with the officer, giving them whiskey, cigarettes, and tell the officer: "By the way, I have two trucks and a pick-up coming behind me and we are in a hurry. So just let them go if that's okay with you." And I remember this picture very vividly. You drive in this very dark night, on the impossible road, and you approach a roadblock, and you see Dani standing on top of one of the barrels. The roadblocks were made of barrels full of cement or rocks. And behaving like the landlord, Dani was waving at us: "Come on, come on. Go through. Go through. Go through."
NARRATOR: And it worked.
GAD SHIMRON: In 95 percent of the cases. Relying on the fact that we knew that, in each roadblock, there is at least one Jeep but 95 percent of them had no ignition.
NARRATOR: Once the trucks reached the shore, they were met by Israeli commandos who used Zodiac dinghies to transfer the Jews to the waiting ship which would then ferry them to safety in Israel. All was going... Well, swimmingly.
GAD SHIMRON: And it was a success because instead of taking out one family in a week, 200 brothers were rescued in one shot. And it went on like this in the early months of 1982. And, somehow, it almost never happened. Only in March '82, we had an incident, a very violent incident, which ended the Naval operations. It started with me being sent up to an observation point to see that everything was okay. While Robi was going out with the boat to bring the Navy Seals, and Dani was coming with the convoy, the Sudanese Army units observed them and followed them without lights all the way from Port Sudan to the evacuation lagoon. And, when there was only one boat left on the shore, the last one, then they charged. They opened fire and charged us shouting: "Hands up."
NARRATOR: You’re caught. What are you going to do? What are your options? Stand your ground? Save your colleagues? Or save the people you’re there to rescue? What does your training tell you? What gives you your edge?
GAD SHIMRON: When you hear shots on a very dark night, when you're in the middle of a very intense operation, the right thing to do is to look around and see what you can do. I remember I heard the shots. I heard the shouts. I saw them charging. I saw the flashes from the muzzles of the rifles. In the corner of my eye, I saw this last dinghy boat on the shore with two Navy Seals and 20 brothers on it. I didn't think. I just ran to the boat, together with my friend, and we pushed it into the water and somehow we kept very cold heads.
NARRATOR: Cold heads. There’s Gad’s understatement again.
GAD SHIMRON: I told the Navy Seals: "Don't go away.” We waded 50 meters in the water. “I have to report back what I see." Dani and the three other guys were surrounded by the Sudanese soldiers. Their hands were up and it looked like a very bad scene from a Second World War movie with the Gestapo rounding up resistance fighters. And I heard on the wireless system that the commander of the Israeli Seals heard the shots. He understood something wrong was going on. He reorganized his forces and they were already about a kilometer away in the open sea. He’d gathered a force on three boats in order to charge the shore and free Dani and the three other guys who were caught by the Sudanese Army. It was going to be a massacre.
NARRATOR: Remember what Gad said earlier about the importance of being able to improvise?
GAD SHIMRON: All of a sudden I see Dani taking his hands down and shouting at the officer. He immediately understood that the officer in charge had no idea what had happened in front of his eyes because he was told to catch smugglers. What he saw was many boats coming and going, people getting off trucks and into the boats. Some were white and some were black. He had no idea what had happened, and that's why he waited until there was only one boat and then he charged. And Dani started shouting, and he would say: "You are an idiot! Who gave you the rank of an officer? I'm working for the Sudanese Tourist Organization. They bring tourists to night dives and you almost kill them! Tomorrow I will go to Port Sudan. I will complain to the chief of the Navy. I know him very well. You will end your career as an officer. And the officer said: "Oh, excuse me." He apologized and told his soldiers: "Okay, let's go. They are not smugglers. Wrong target." And he left.
If the mission would have been exposed, we would have either been shot in the first 24 hours or beaten up in the next 48 hours. But we always remembered that if we somehow managed to get to Khartoum, through international pressure, we would be released because we were not working against the Sudanese government. We were working in order to save Jews due to the existing circumstances. And here is something that I must stress again and again. The real heroes of the whole story we are telling are not the Mossad operatives and all the Israeli Navy Seals. The Ethiopian Jews, they are the real heroes. What they went through in order to achieve the goal of coming to Zion, I think a normal white Israeli wouldn't have survived one week.
NARRATOR: The diving resort was working. It allowed money, equipment, and, crucially, people, to flow in and out of Sudan without being scrutinized. It was a brilliant cover story.
GAD SHIMRON: And while the operations were going on, there were always two or three Mossad operatives in the village entertaining European tourists or Saudi Arabian millionaires who paid a lot of money to get a very high-quality holiday in one of the most difficult places to run a resort place with the most professional diving equipment and diving instructors. I think it was one of the only cases in the history of the Mossad where a cover company was actually making money. And the funny thing is that nobody thought that the operatives were actually Mossad people. We had a desalination plant brought from Israel. The air conditioners, which proudly were marked as made by company LuxAire, California, US, were actually made in Israel and were brought by the Israeli Air Force on the way in. They brought in air conditioners and took out brothers.
NARRATOR: Goods in and people out. And everything scaled up once Mossad decided to employ the Israeli Air Force in its subterfuge. After the incident in March 1982, Mossad decided the naval operations were too risky. Apparently, invading Sudanese airspace at low altitude would be more subtle. So Gad went back to Israel for some training and then returned to Port Sudan to scope out locations for planes to land. These were big aircraft - 80-foot long, four-engine, Hercules military planes which had to land without being seen.
GAD SHIMRON: I don't know if any one of our listeners understands what it means to land a heavy transport in a desert. Once it lands, it makes such a cloud of dust and so much noise that you don't have to be an African refugee in order to panic. And, in the first flights, we had cases where the brothers ran away. And it was a very surrealistic picture seeing Israeli Mossad agents and Israeli commandos coming from the airplanes and running after Jews in the desert and bringing them back and putting them on the airplanes. And also there was a case where the Sudanese fired an anti-aircraft missile, a SM-2 on the airplanes. All those aerial operations, we had in mind the picture of the big American f***-up in Iran in 1980 when they tried to rescue the embassy hostages through a commando operation and lost one Hercules and two helicopters. And we understood that, in case of an accident or just bad luck, probably the next picture sitting in the world is some Israeli agent hanging from the tail of a burned-out Hercules.
NARRATOR: But none of that happened. There were no deaths of Mossad operatives or Ethiopian Jews. In 1983 to 1984, there were nights when three Hercules transports landed in Sudan in succession, loading up hundreds of Jewish refugees, flying them directly to Israel. And everything was kept under wraps. This was a huge success by any standards, but one that didn’t always go by the playbook.
GAD SHIMRON: I think there was not one operation without some kind of incident. First of all, it started with the fact that in every operation, every night like this, there were two or three real Mossad operatives and two or three what we called ‘Foreign Legionnaires’. And the Foreign Legionnaires were very courageous - and I have very high-esteem for them - but they didn't really know what they were doing. Some of them came to Sudan - which is an Arab, hostile country - with a bag of medicine, pills from an Israeli pharmacy, in Hebrew. Or there were cassettes, music cassettes, for the Walkman. Israeli cassettes with Israeli music. They were, how should I say it? Very unprofessional.
NARRATOR: There are always random elements you can’t predict in any mission.
GAD SHIMRON: This operation was really something, I think, unseen before and never to be seen again in the history of the Mossad. There was a joke in the Mossad that if the operation would have been given to the real operative unit, called in the real professionals, [they] would sit down and plan it for half a year, invest $20m, do 30 or 40 rehearsals, and in the end rescue 40 Jews. And I think one of the strong points of the Mossad, it’s their flexibility to see that sometimes you have to break the rules. And it was decided that, in this case, all the rules will be broken because it's the only way to take out big groups of refugees, of brothers, out of Sudan.
NARRATOR: Over two decades, and several Mossad operations, an estimated 90,000 Jews from the Beta Israel community made it to the promised land. Gad Shimron went back to being a journalist where his secret life as a spy served him well.
GAD SHIMRON: About 15 years later, being a journalist, I had the pleasure of interviewing them on the Israeli radio and I knew more about them than their mother knew.
NARRATOR: Today Gad Shimron says he lives a normal life, a grandfather who enjoys hiking and windsurfing. These operations are in the past, but the skills that he employed? Do they ever fade?
GAD SHIMRON: The truth is that sometimes I meet with old friends. And sometimes we sit in a café house, and first of all, we see things that other people don't see. For example, if there's a police squad following a drug dealer, we see it immediately because once you know the technique, you see it. We film. We take a picture of anybody walking into the restaurants we sit in. It's things that are already in your blood system, and you don't get rid of them. And I don't think it's bad. It gives more color to the daily routine. I think spies do the same thing as normal people. It's only that I call it ‘partial schizophrenia’. Because you are trained to manipulate people and do things that normal people don't do. The government gives you a license to be a thief, sometimes a murderer, a con man, and once you are off-duty and you're back to your real identity, you have to remember that you are just another normal citizen of the state of Israel.
NARRATOR: Gad Shimron. Just an unassuming, unremarkable, ‘normal’ citizen. Join us next week for another encounter with True Spies. I’m Hayley Atwell. Join us next week for another conversation with True Spies. We all have valuable spy skills, and our experts are here to help you discover yours. Get an authentic assessment of your spy skills, created by a former Head of Training at British Intelligence, now at SPYSCAPE.com.
Gad Shimron was born in Tel Aviv. During his long career he has worked as a journalist, military commentator and as a Mossad spy stationed in Sudan.