RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 3

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - helicopters, Colonel, Soldiers, military, president, tunnel, potato field, light.



Idriga unbolted the door carefully and peeked outside. The door led into an empty room. He could see a cupboard blocking the door slightly, to his left and right were windows that were firmly locked. He could see light pouring in through cracks in the windows – it was not dark yet. He pressed his ear into the room, attempting to calm the pounding of his heart so he could hear anything else that was not the violent pounding of his poor heart. He heard a humming noise outside. The helicopter was still hovering outside. He closed the narrow door, bolted it gently and sat quietly, waiting for darkness that did not seem willing to arrive.

“You cannot tell me that he is not in that building. He was seen running downstairs, so he has to be in that building. Find him!!!” Sale ordered the leader of the military search team. His voice was filled with rage…rude rage. “We are doing our best, sir,” answered the leader. “And your best is not enough, sergeant. Consider yourself fired if this dangerous man is not found and shot tonight!” Sale barked at him. “By the way, your name is Sergeant Kpafu, right?” “Yes, sir.” “Kpafu, if you find Idriga and eliminate him, you will be promoted to the rank of colonel. I can assure you that. If you fail, you should be packing your things from the barracks for a sad trip to your village.” “We will find him, sir.” “Good. Get back to work.”


“Kamunja!!! I want you to refuel the helicopter before it is dark. Go…go now and refuel and come back. Also, radio another helicopter to the area. I want two or three helicopters with snipers above us. Go now.” It was Kpafu’s turn to bark out orders. Find this man, and I am a colonel, he thought to himself. Colonel of the federal republic of Jinga! He contemplated the idea. He had lobbied severally to be promoted without luck, but right now, he has an opportunity to climb…to the rank of a colonel. I must find this man! He assured himself. A trip back to his village was not going to happen. The helicopter turned and headed back to barracks while radioing another one to head back to the area. Soldiers searched every apartment, bush, corner and angle of the area. More men had been brought in to find Idriga. People peeped through their door holes in fear.

“This is to inform people in Zenge, that Idriga Amusa, the former aide to the president who is thought to have murdered the daughter of the vice president, Linda is in Zenge. Military reports have confirmed that he is being chased by military men in a neighborhood in Zenge. Please do not hesitate to contact the military search team by calling the number on your screen now, if you have information that could lead to the arrest of this dangerous man. Remember, you stand to receive a handsome reward worth millions of shillings if you provide information that leads to the arrest of Idriga,” the newscaster announced. The plump lady who had helped Idriga through the tunnel could not believe her eyes. The image on her old TV screen was that of the same man who was in her apartment earlier in the day. The military men had kicked her door open without finding anything. They had assumed that she was not at home after they found no one in her apartment.

She had closed her door upon return and held it shut with a chair. How many millions? She asked herself, counting with her fingers. She began to imagine a trip to Paris or London. But, he didn’t look like a killer to me, she thought. He could have killed me if he wanted. Should I call the number? She pondered the idea holding her iPhone in hand with the number already punched in.

“Sale, they must find Idriga. He knows too much. Far too much! I want you to fly out on a private jet tonight to Zenge. Take your finest men with you. Hunt him down and kill him. The soldiers up there do not understand what is at stake. If Idriga says one word, we are all finished,” the president, Dr. Michael Assimoke ordered Sale. “Okay sir. I will do as you said.” “Good. The jet should be at the presidential villa’s air field in less than half an hour. Get going!” “Yes, sir.”

“Hello,” the plump lady spoke into her phone. “Hello, please tell me your name,” a husky male voice answered. “My name is Miss Amarul Chikwele.” “Do you have information concerning Idriga Amusa?” “Yes, I do.” “What is your information, Miss Amarul?” “I know where he is.” “Where is he?” Amarul could not get the millions off her mind, so she dialed the number after a prolonged thought. She had first run down the tunnel with a plate of rice to see if Idriga had left. He was still there. “Have something to eat. It will soon be dark. Wait until it is dark enough before you leave,” she urged Idriga. “Thank you so much. You are far too kind,” he replied. “Don’t mention it.” “Are the soldiers still out there?” “Yes, a lot of them. Just stay here until they are gone, okay?” “That is my plan.” “Good. I have to run now. I wanted to offer you something to eat.” “Thank you so much.” Idriga began to devour the rice with a ravenous appetite.

“He is here in Zenge.” “We already know that. Where in Zenge, woman? If you don’t have information for us, then hang up!!!” “I just saw him. I know exactly where he is hiding.” ‘And where is that?” “I want guarantee that you will give me the money when I tell you where he is hiding.” “This is an order from the president, young lady. You will get your money. We have your name and your number. Just give us the location.” “May I talk to someone more senior than you? I really want to make sure that my information does not go in vain. I really want that money.” ‘And you will have it!!!”

Amarul’s door burst open. She was alarmed as armed soldiers poured into her room. “What is this?” She asked in utter confusion. They had traced her call but she did not know. A gun was pointed at her, menacingly. She began to shake. “Woman, please tell the men where he is or you could be shot for misleading a military investigation!” Her hands shook violently. “Where is he?” Sergeant Kpafu yelled at her. “But…but I was told that I would get money.” “That will come later, just tell me where he is or you are a dead person now.” Kpafu raised his Bazooka to her throat.

“He…he is…he is over there,” Amarul said, pointing. “Where?” “There is a tunnel there, behind the cupboard.” A soldier dragged the cupboard out of the way, and there stood a narrow door. “There is a door here, sir,” he shouted to Kpafu. “Go go go!!!” Kpafu ordered them. “Shoot him! Don’t bother trying to capture him. Just shoot him!” he shouted. His men poured into the tunnel while he stayed back, still pointing his gun at Amarul. “I hope this is not a joke?” he asked her. “No, it is not, sir. But, I thought you were meant to capture him. Why did you ask your men to shoot him?” “Shut up woman! He is far too dangerous to be captured. We can’t take chances.”

Idriga opened the door one more time. Some light was still coming through the cracks in the windows, but there were dimmer. He figured they might be electric lights and not daylight. He entered the empty room, opened a window gently and peeked into the open. It was almost dark. Perhaps, dark enough for him to get going. He looked outside; there was no one there. The street was empty, except for soldiers walking all over the place. Then, he heard noise in the tunnel. It was a distinctive noise – military boots pounding on the concrete floor. Without thinking, he pushed the window open and jumped outside. He darted to his right and ran through a garden of vegetables. Rolling on the ground, he pushed past a few soldiers on the street. Then, he looked right and then left. Convinced that the soldiers would not see him, he rolled across the street onto the other side. There, he got on his knees and crawled as far from the street as he could.

That was when he heard the noise. Soldiers were yelling at one another. “He is not here!” said one. “But the window was open. He must have just left,” said another. “Did you see anyone jump out of this window?” they asked the military patrols. “No…no sir.” “What do you mean no? The window was open. You ought to have seen something.” “Nothing sir. We have been vigilant.” “He is gone!” The soldier radioed to Kpafu. “What do you mean gone? Find him!!!” He could feel his promotion evaporating in the air. “You go there! You, there, and you there!” The soldier outside ordered his colleagues in all directions. Kpafu quickly joined them outside.

The circling helicopters turned on their massive lights. There were flying close to ground, shining their light in all possible directions. Idriga saw the helicopter light streaming towards him. He dropped to ground quickly, covered by potato leaves. Fear was surging through him. The light beamed around him as the snipers looked around for the remotest sign of Idriga. No sooner the light has passed than the second appeared. It poured past his hiding spot. Then, the light moved in, convinced that they had searched the area well. Two soldiers walked towards Idriga.

“I need to pee,” one of them said, unzipping his trousers. He positioned himself and began to pee. His urine splashed onto Idriga, but he remained quiet, frowning and squeezing his nostrils as the smell of the soldier’s urine wafted straight into his nostrils. “Be fast,” said the other soldier. A minute later, they walked just past Idriga. He was barely breathing, for fear of being found out. “I want to check that area again,” said the pilot of one of the helicopters. “Why?” “I am not sure…perhaps just instinct. The potato field over there is a good hiding spot,” said the pilot. Just before Idriga rose to his knees, he saw the beam of light from the helicopter coming in his direction again. He dove back down, obscured by broad potato leaves.
STORY CONTINUES...
               CLICK HERE TO REA EPISODE 4
 
               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 3
RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 3
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - helicopters, Colonel, Soldiers, military, president, tunnel, potato field, light.
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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