RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 1

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - soldiers, vice president, presidential villa, Honda Civic, military helicopter, military, kidnapping of the missing vice president’s daughter.

                                           
“Stop! Stop here!” One of the soldiers shouted. Idriga stepped hard on the break and the car screeched to a sudden stop. Everyone in the car lunged forward momentarily, under the spell of the abrupt break application. The doors swung open and the soldiers jumped out. The two soldiers at the back dragged Linda out of the backseat. The soldier on the front seat followed them as they marched briskly into the thick forest. “Remain here, and keep the car engine running,” one of the soldiers, the most senior of them instructed Idriga. They disappeared into the forest. Linda wanted to shout but her mouth was firmly sealed with a gag. She fought hard, but they were too powerful for her. Idriga’s heart was beating fast. This was the second time he was witnessing such incident. The first one was two years ago.

His stomach churned violently; he knew what was coming. His hands shook as they sat on the steering, as the car engine hummed gently. His throat went dry. God, I hate this, he thought. I need to get out of this job. I can’t stand this anymore, he thought to himself. A pang of guilt swept through him. He wanted to jump into the thick forest and attempt to save Linda, but he knew he did not stand a chance against the well drilled, trigger-happy soldiers. Then, he heard the gunshots. Kpo! Kpo!! kpo!!! The gunshots were followed by unnerving quiet. The night was pitch dark, except for the stars that dotted the sky, and they were in the middle of nowhere.

Soon, the soldiers jumped out of the bush and into the waiting vehicle. Idriga marched on the accelerator and the vehicle zoomed into speed, heading back to the presidential villa in Ilude. A short while later, they settled back into the hustle and bustle of the presidential villa. He watched as Sale, the leader of the three military assassins walked into the president’s quarter to deliver the news – his young, pregnant mistress and the daughter of his best friend and vice president, Chief Uloke Adingo had been killed; carefully tossed into a deep ditch in Agriga forest.

9:00AM - Press Conference, Presidential Villa, Ilude
“My wife and I will give everything we have for our dear daughter, Linda,” the vice president, Chief Adingo announced to a room packed with news reporters from across the federal capital city. “We are deeply troubled by her sudden disappearance. She went out last night without security escort. She does that a lot….and…and this time, she has not come back,” he broke into tears. His wife, Mildred was crying her eyes shot beside him. The president, Dr. Michael Assimoke walked over to the vice president and placed a hand on his shoulder for a moment. Then, he walked to the microphone and began to address the room. “This is a sad day in the federal republic of Jinga. I have known the Adingos all my life. Linda, their daughter is like a daughter to me. That is the reason I have deployed all our resources to make sure that she is located and returned to the safety of the villa. I cannot describe my pains.” He paused, pulled a white handkerchief from his pocket and wiped what looked like tears off his eyes.

“This is intolerable. If she has been kidnapped, we will work night and day to find her. If you know anything about Linda’s whereabouts, please contact the detectives investigating this matter at the number on your screen now. I will personally offer seventeen million shillings to anyone who provides information that will lead to the finding of our dear Linda. Furthermore, the federal government will offer anyone with information on Linda’s whereabouts the sum of twenty million shillings. Fellow citizens, please do not hesitate to cooperate with us as we make far reaching efforts to find Linda. Thank you!”

The whole nation was agog with fear and concern. “If the vice president’s daughter can be kidnapped from under the noses of the presidential villa with all the security they have there, then common people like you and I are finished,” a man said on the bus in Legon after commuters had listened to the president and vice president’s press conference on the radio. “But ordinary people like you and I do not have millions, so we are relatively safe,” another man teased. Similar discussions erupted across the country. “I don’t care! I wish they’d kidnap them all; all the politicians, their wives, children, grandchildren and friends. They are all thieves, so I am happy these stupid kidnappers – our jobless youth have learned to target the right people,” some other angry individuals said. “Yes, indeed, I agree with you,” others concurred. “How can you say that? It could be you and I next, when they have run out of rich politicians to kidnap,” some other people argued. “By then, I’d be dead. There is an awful lot of corrupt politicians to be kidnapped in this country. By the time they are through with all of then, I should be in my grave,” one man teased, albeit with a tone of sincere seriousness.

Idriga watched the press conference with revulsion. He could not believe his eyes…and ears. The president who had ordered the killing of Linda because she was pregnant for him and had refused to abort the child was playing the role of friend to the vice president. Idriga tried to brush the matter off his mind, but he could not. Each time he walked past the vice president at the villa, a part of him wanted to tell the vice president where Linda’s lifeless body was lying. He restrained himself, but he had come to the end of the road. His conscience would no longer take the torture of silence. Right out of Police College where he excelled tremendously in driving, the president had handpicked Idriga to work for him. He had sworn an oath with the president never to divulge sensitive information. He was handsomely paid, but his conscience was eating him up.

Two days after Linda’s murder, he began to plot an escape from the villa. His conscience was battering him relentlessly. First, he sent his wife and two daughters to their village in the northeast of the country. “When you reach home, I want you to cross the border to Camuran,” he explained to his wife. “Take the girls, your parents and mine with you.” “Why? You have been troubled of late, Idriga. What is the problem? Why do I have to run to another country with our whole family?” “I wish I could tell you now, but anything I tell you will put you in danger. Just do as I have directed you. Please my love, trust me. We are in grave danger here. Just go, I will meet you there in a week. You remember my friend, Izunga? I took you to his village the last time we were in Camuran.” “Yes, I do.” “Good. Go to him. I have spoken with him already. He will hide you and the children including your parents and mine until I get across the border.” “Have you committed a serious offence, Idriga? I am your wife, please tell me.” “I have done nothing, my love. I will explain everything to you later. No matter what you hear, please don’t believe any of it until you hear from me okay?” “If you say so…I don’t like the idea but I will obey you, my husband.” “You are a good wife.”

By morning, Idriga’s wife, Ramuna left for their home state, Euche. Within two days, they all crossed the border and headed for Bamenda in Camuran. As soon as Idriga got word of their safe arrival from his friend, Izunga, he took his backpack and left the villa. He drove through the night passing Zanrie and then Kabunga. By morning, he stopped in a small hotel in Zenge to get some sleep. When he woke up, he turned on the television to find out what was going on in the country. His heart almost jumped out of his mouth;

The picture on the screen is that of Idriga Amusa, one of the president’s most trusted drivers. Mr. Idriga is a highly trained police officer who has worked for the president for the past three days. He is highly dangerous and likely armed. If you have information on Idriga’s whereabouts, please contact the number on your screen now. Mr. Idriga is the chief suspect in the suspected kidnapping of the missing vice president’s daughter, Linda. Please do not….DO NOT confront Idriga if you come across him. There are hefty financial rewards for anyone who may have information on Idriga’s whereabouts. He and his family left the presidential villa hurriedly on the heels of intense investigation into Linda’s disappearance.”

That was the voice of a female newscaster on Jingan Television Authority (JTA). Idriga’s heart began to pound. He dashed to the door, opened it slightly and peered into the open. There was no one in the immediate vicinity. He wondered how long it was before the police and perhaps the military swooped in on the hotel. He frantically threw his personal belongings in his knapsack.


“Yes, I am sure it is him. He checked in last night,” a receptionist at the hotel where Idriga was staying said into the phone. He had called the number on the screen with the hope of claiming the millions promised to the person with any information on Idriga’s whereabouts. “Is he still there now?” “I believe so. I checked the door just before calling you and it was locked from inside with a sign on the outside saying, do not disturb. I remember the vehicle he was driving last night too, it is a 2014 Honda Civic, and it is still parked outside.” “Do you have the plate number?” “Of course yes. We write plate numbers down for every guest, so I checked his plate number last night when he arrived,” the receptionist explained flipping through a big notebook. “Yes, here is it,” he added, reeling off Idriga’s plate number to the person on the other end of the phone line. “Great. That is his car. Stay where you are. We are sending an armored unit over there right now!” The voice over the phone said with urgency.

Within two minutes, an armored unit rolled down the streets of Zenge with numerous military trucks in front and behind it. A military helicopter took to the air with multiple military snipers on hand to take aim at Idriga the moment he was sighted. The helicopter was fast, darting through the air with urgency. Idriga opened the door and peered out again. There was a short distance between him and his Honda Civic. He wanted to make a direct run for the Honda Civic, and then he heard the sound of the approaching helicopter.

STORY CONTINUES...
               CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 2

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 1
RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 1
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - soldiers, vice president, presidential villa, Honda Civic, military helicopter, military, kidnapping of the missing vice president’s daughter.
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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