Eight Iraqi Soldiers, Mostly Privates, Have Turned in Their Company Commander, a Major, and a Captain Who Were Supplying Army Weapons to Local Insurgents.
U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officers had believed for some time that munitions from the Badush ordnance depot in al Kisik, near Tal Afar, were being purloined and supplied to guerrillas, who used them to manufacture improvised explosive devices.
The Badush munitions depot was established during the reign of deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Stars and Stripes reported on April 24 that although Iraqi army officers repeatedly assured their U.S. counterparts that the magazine had been secured, U.S. intelligence noted that local guerrillas seemed to have a limitless supply of artillery shells and other military ordnance. The issue strained local relations between Iraqi officers and U.S. military commanders in northwestern Iraq.
The soldiers turned in their commanders last month.
The 1st Armored Division`s 1st Brigade liaison officer to the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Iraqi Army Division, Maj. John Stark, said, ‘It`s an incredible story. What makes it great is that it wasn`t just one guy who came forward, it was eight, and they did it when they were scared. They had never done something like that before.’
On March 6 the soldiers, members an intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance company, were using night-vision equipment to monitor the site when they observed two civilian cars, which they decided to investigate.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the men said, ‘We went down to question them and they confessed. They told us, `we have bombs in our car. Don`t worry though, we are only going to use them on Americans.`’
A search of the men and one of the cars uncovered a battery, explosive timers and a cell phone. After they summoned their commanding officer, he ordered them away from the vehicles, took out something, and then allowed them to drive off. The commander subsequently told them that he had searched the vehicles and found nothing.
The soldiers then contacted a U.S. liaison officer and some U.S. Special Forces soldiers and informed them about what had happened.
Under interrogation the officers were determined to be lying and imprisoned. Ordnance disposal teams were sent then to the facility to inventory the remaining explosives.
The 3rd Iraqi Army Division`s intelligence officer, Col. Khalid Al Murad, said, ‘I am very proud of the soldiers who told us what happened. It`s hard to find faithful men and I`m really proud of them.’