Reporters on the Job

CAPTURING HUSSEIN'S BODYGUARD: The Monitor's Ann Scott Tyson was one of three reporters who attended the early Tuesday morning raid in Tikrit, Iraq, that netted one of Saddam's top bodyguards (page 1).

She jumped in a US military Humvee at 3:15 a.m. and her three-vehicle convoy raced through a part of the central Iraqi city known as "RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] Alley." At 4 a.m, about a minute after she arrived with officers from the brigade headquarters, three US platoons, backed by Apache helicopters overhead, stormed three houses in the middle-class neighborhood. "The Iraqi targets didn't know what was happening. US troops had to fire just three shots."

Ann followed the troops into the house moments after the raid. "Saddam's bodyguard was inebriated, and was the only one of the three to put up a struggle. His wife and children were wailing and pleading. A female military interpreter was talking with the wife, and hugged her saying that she wasn't bad, only her husband."

The soldiers found piles of money in the house but left it for the family, says Ann.

After the raid at a second house Ann visited, the women were making such a ruckus that a male military interpreter barked, 'If you don't go back inside, I'll carry you in myself.' "He counted down from 10 in Arabic a couple of times before they complied."

IVORY COAST COOKING: Last fall, during the rebel uprising in Ivory Coast, reporter Nicole Itano ate every dinner in her hotel. There was an 8 p.m. curfew and several foreigners had been attacked. "Shops were closed and the environment was very hostile." Now, it's a different world (page 1). "Life is back to normal. Restaurants don't fill up until 9 or 10 p.m." Nicole says she's enjoying "some of the best cooking I've ever had in Africa."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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