Mike Horn: revelations about his military past during Apartheid cause trouble in Switzerland

Mike Horn: revelations about his military past during Apartheid cause trouble in Switzerland

Mike Horn created mayhem in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Jessica Jaccoud, lawyer and socialist deputy to the Vaudois Grand Council, questioned this week the government of this canton which runs along the French border and Lake Geneva. The elected “wonders” about the title of “honorary member” of Vaud Promotion, the association which monitors the notoriety and attractiveness of the region, which was awarded to the famous 56-year-old adventurer, known in France for having animated “In the wild” on M 6, then “Survive the impossible” on RMC Découverte.

The elected official reacts to the broadcast, on Thursday, January 19, of “Mike Horn, the hidden face of the adventurer”, in the RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) program “TempsPRESent”, the equivalent of the magazine ” Special Envoy” (France 2), presented by Jean-Philippe Ceppi. This investigation focuses on the youth of the man who was born in 1966, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and who found refuge at the end of the Apartheid regime, in Château-d’Œx, Switzerland.

VIDEO. The RTS program, “Mike Horn, the hidden face of the adventurer”

The 45-minute document, fed in particular with archive images, delves into the troubled past of the media character. And picks up on some of the many lies Mike Horn has told, with accounts that vary over time.

In the mid-1980s, he took part in numerous operations during his military service. At 19, Mike Horn “voluntarily” joined the infamous 101 Battalion, which raged in what is now Namibia during the war on the South African border. Questioned by the RTS, former officers of this special force confirm the presence of the future explorer in what Sam Nujoma, the first president of Namibia, nicknamed “the assassin battalions”, because they tracked down all those who fought against the apartheid regime.

Secret missions for the South African army

“It was our job. We were considered the best counterinsurgency unit in the world. It was the war, so inevitably there were unpleasant things. Not only were we shooting at each other, we were rolling over each other. Enemies couldn’t run over us because they were on the ground. But we had vehicles. And the driver’s weapon is his vehicle. So if someone was aiming at him, he didn’t have time to stop, he was running over him. That’s how it is, it’s war”, assumes, facing the camera, Waal de Waal, former officer of 101.

Since 1986, this team has been accused of being behind a massacre at a meeting of SWAPO (an armed rebel group fighting for the independence of Namibia) in the Namibian capital Windhoek.

PODCAST. The life of Mike Horn, great extreme adventurer

From these serious accusations, Mike Horn defends himself lightly in front of the camera. “It was so long ago … I have to look in my diary … I’m not sure I was present”, stammers the one who will then do secret missions for the South African army before leaving everything at the moment. of the release of Nelson Mandelaharbinger of the end of the segregationist regime.

Questioned by the RTS, the globetrotter tries to justify himself, awkwardly. “I wanted to play an active role in protecting South Africa. People think we were hunting and killing. I was hunting people who wanted to kill other people. Like a policeman. I was not looking to kill but to prevent bad elements from killing people I love, ”he says. Later in the show, he adds that military expeditions were “part of his life” like “going to buy croissants”.

“I take full responsibility for everything I have done in my life”

A few days before the broadcast of this edifying issue of “Present Time”, Mike Horn sent a long message to the production.

“I was part of the official forces of the South African army at the time. I was doing my compulsory military service there. I strictly obeyed the orders given to me, he explains. I had no particular love for the Apartheid regime. I was only fulfilling my civic duty. I was not present during the operation of battalion 101 which is accused of having assassinated the leader Immanuel Shifidi in Windhoek in 1986. I never supported the apartheid regime, not only during my military obligations, but also once they have been fulfilled. I never had a relationship with Battalion 101 or its members. My coming to Switzerland is not linked to these operations but is due to chance, as I have had the opportunity to explain in all my books. It is clear that today I regret having participated in these operations, although I take full responsibility for everything I have done in my life. »

Contacted by us, he has not yet responded.

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