As disenchanted British mercenaries flew back from the civil war in Angola on Tuesday (10 February), Britain's Prime Minister, Mr.
As disenchanted British mercenaries flew back from the civil war in Angola on Tuesday (10 February), Britain's Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson, was telling Parliament that there was now little doubt that some mercenaries had been massacred for refusing to go into battle.
Mr. Wilson announced that he was setting up an official inquiry into the possibility of prohibiting any future recruiting of soldiers of fortune for foreign wars. He told the House of Commons that the men who recruited the mercenaries in Britain were just a bunch of small-time crooks, who had criminal records.
A group of about forty mercenaries arrived back in London on Tuesday morning, after having changed planes in Brussels, Belgium. They had flow from Kinshasa in Zaire, the country which borders northern Angola.
When they arrived for the stop-over in Brussels they looked transformed from the self-confident young men who had set off ten days or so previously. Their hair had been shorn and they looked miserable. They refused to talk, and occasionally hit out at newsmen who approached them.
A couple of the men had small head wounds, and two more walked with crutches. The only luggage they had with them was hand baggage, and this was searched by police. Two or three of the mercenaries ended their journey in Brussels by using their passports to get through Belgian immigration. The rest boarded planes for London.
When they arrived at Heathrow Airport they were escorted to police buses which took them to a number of separate police stations in the capital. Scotland Yard said the men were not under arrest, but just helping with inquiries. It is not thought likely that any of them will be charged with any offence. What the police hope, however, is that one of them might unwittingly possess information which may identify someone who took part in the massacre of mercenaries in Angola.
In the past few days the British press has carried reports suggesting that 14 British mercenaries were shot dead by their own comrades for refusing to face the enemy on behalf of the western-backed forces of the FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola).
SYNOPSIS: Disenchanted British mercenaries flow into Brussels airport early Tuesday morning on their way back to Britain from the civil war in Angola. Their ten days or so in Africa had transformed them. Their hair was shorn and their bouncy self-confidence had gone. They refused to talk to newsmen about their experiences in the civil war.
Later in the day, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson, was to tell parliament that there was now little doubt that some British mercenaries had been massacred for refusing to go into battle.
Their luggage was searched by police, though all they carried was hand baggage. Two or three of them decided to end their journeys in Brussels, rather than fly on to London.
Those that continued their flight home were met at Heathrow Airport, London by Police who escorted them into police buses which took them to separate police stations in the city. The police said the men were not being arrested, but were helping in inquiries. The police hoped that one of them might unwittingly possess information which could identify someone who took part in the massacre of mercenaries.
The British press has carried reports over the past few days that fourteen British mercenaries were shot dead by heir own comrades for refusing to face the enemy on behalf of the western-backed forces of FNLA. In his statement to Parliament, Prime Minister Wilson, described the men who had recruited the mercenaries as a bunch of small-time crook.