RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 4

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - private jet in a small airstrip, Mercedes jeeps, drivers, Jeeps, military, squadrons, helicopter, driver, Soldiers, president, Bamenda.



Colonel Sale and his men got off the private jet in a small airstrip in Zenge. Two Mercedes jeeps were waiting for them with a driver behind the wheels in each jeep. The men hopped into the Mercedes jeeps and the drivers revved the mighty engines to life, heading speedily towards the area where a massive search for Idriga was on. Sale’s phone rang. “Hello, sir,” he answered. It was the president. “I want you to make arrangements for a squad or two to be sent to Idriga’s hometown. Search his house. Arrest anybody that is remotely related to him. Find them all and throw them into jail. We need to question them. Somebody must know something,” the president instructed him. “Yes, sir.”

As soon as Sale hung up, he was on another call, dishing out orders to a colleague who was to lead two squadrons to Idriga’s hometown from the closest military barracks. In less than an hour, two military squadrons were rolling into Idriga’s town in armored tanks and military trucks. “Welcome, sir,” Sgt. Kpafu greeted Sale on his arrival. “Thank you. So you have not found him?” “No, sir. We are sure he is in the area.” “Then, let’s go find him. I have ordered in four new squadrons. This whole place is teeming with soldiers. He cannot escape. I want every road covered and every street watched. He cannot escape!” “No, he won’t, sir.”


I have to get out of here…I have to get out of here while it is still dark, Idriga considered his options, still lying underneath the potato leaves. He stuck his neck up slightly, to his left; about a hundred meters away were two soldiers. To his left, there were three soldiers, but they were further away. The smell of urine caressed his nostrils. He could see a house down the street. If I could get to the back of that house, somehow, I will climb over the wall and get to the next street, Idriga thought. He began to roll across the ground, slowly gaining yard after yard. Four more helicopters hovered above. As soon as he had rolled past the cover of the potato garden, a military truck rolled towards him. Instinctively, he ducked behind a heap of refuse, holding his breath as though they’d hear him breathe.

The truck rolled slowly past him, with the occupants scanning the area. He was relieved when they passed without spotting him. He crept on his knees, avoiding lit up areas, lurking in the dark. When he reached the building, he made his way straight to the backyard, crawling like a reptile. The front of the building was devoid of a wall, but the back was walled off from the street behind. He crawled along the wall, looking for an elevation to climb from. He found a small tree. He climbed it and took hold of the wall. Just as he was about to leap onto the next street, a helicopter pilot spotted him. He flashed his massive light in that direction, but before he could get a closer look, Idriga jumped over. The pilot steered the helicopter towards the area. “I think I saw someone jumping onto Izubamba Street,” the pilot announced to the men on ground staring at the map in front of him. “Cover Izubamba Street! Do not let anyone in or out of the street until I say so!!!” Sale barked into the phone as his Mercedes jeep steered into Izubamba Street.

Idriga ran quickly to the road and saw two trucks rolling along the street at speed. He could tell from the frenzy in the street that the helicopter may have spotted him. He ran along the wall, staying behind a hedge of flowers until he found a small house. Without thinking of it, he headed for the house. Then, a helicopter above shone its lights into the yard. He ducked behind a hedge of flowers. He was nearly picked out by the helicopter. The soldiers began to search every house in the street, waking people up in order to give each house a thorough search. Helicopters above hovered over the street as rain began to pour.

Idriga watched patiently. He had spotted a soldier, the driver of one of the trucks in the street who stepped away from his truck every few minutes to smoke. The truck driver stepped under a tree, away from the rain which had reduced to light drizzles by now. He lit a stick of cigarette and puffed a fume of smoke into the moist air. The smoke hung around him, circling like a vulture around a carcass before zeroing in on it. Idriga looked up; a helicopter was heading up the street above. The next one would soon take its place. Slowly he walked behind the flowers towards he driver. Soldiers shouted across the street as they searched every house frenetically.

When he reached striking distance, Idriga lunged at the driver. Before he had time to respond, he landed a lethal blow to the driver’s carotid artery. He fell to the ground, grabbing his neck. Another punch immobilized him momentarily. Idriga dragged him behind the hedge, removed his uniform and put them on. He remained behind the hedge for a while, watching the street to make sure he did not make a mistake. Certain that there was no other person in the truck, he walked casually into the truck, inserted the key in the ignition and slowly began to drive along the street. His heart pounded furiously as he steered to the end of the street. There was a military checkpoint at the end of the street. He slowed down, as he approached the checkpoint. “Any news?” A soldier asked him at the checkpoint. “We are still searching furiously, but I was told to lift a few more men from the street across,” he answered as his poor heart pounded against his rib cage.

“Go! Be fast. We have to find this mad man, so we can go home…away from this rain,” the soldier said to him. “I wish I was home now. I have a new wife at home. With the rain, you know what I’d rather be doing tonight,” Idriga said, holding his breath. “Man, I know what you mean!” They cleared the way for him and he slowly steered past. Slowly, he steered to the left onto Aguribe Street, and then towards Ojoko Avenue. Soon, he was on the highway, speeding like a frenzied shark towards Taribe. He knew a place where he could sleep for the rest of the night before making his way to the Jinga-Camuran border the next night.


“Where is his family? His wife, children and parents?” An angry major asked Kadinga, Idriga’s cousin. They had arrested everyone who was remotely related to Idriga in his hometown. “I don’t know,” he replied, his face covered in tears. He had been brutally beaten. “Liar! Where are they? I will shoot you if you don’t tell me,” the major threatened, pointing a gun at him. “Maybe…maybe they are – maybe they are in…they might be in Camuran.” “Why do you say that?” “He lived there for a short while. I know he…he normally goes to Bamenda on holiday. He has friends there. Maybe that is where his family is.” Major Maurice Elondi quickly got on the phone and relayed the information to Colonel Sale.

“I am not sure, sir, but it seems the most likely place to send his wife and children…perhaps his parents and parents in-law too because they are all missing from the raid of his family home,” Sale explained to the president. “Extract every piece of information you can from this relative of his. I will get in touch with the president of Camuran and call you back immediately. Seal off the borders to Camuran while you hunt for him. If he has disappeared from Zenge, maybe he is on his way to the closest border, which is in Tariba,” the president elaborated. “I have already sealed off the border, sir. I have soldiers swarming the border in Tariba and Baguchi. We will have helicopters along the border by morning, sir.” “Good. I will have the president of Camuran send in his troops to pick up Idriga’s family in Bamenda, once we know where exactly they are staying in Bamenda.” “Sir, we can have the president announce on local television in Bamenda that there is a hefty reward for anyone with information on how to find a Jingan family hiding in Bamenda. Send them pictures of Ramuna, Idriga’s wife, and those of his two children and parents. That will flush out information for us real quick.” “You have a very good point, Sale. I will get down to work.

“Paul, how are you today?” asked Dr. Michael Assimoke, the president of Jinga. “Mike, I am fine. How about you?” Said Paul Bayda, the president of Camuran. “I am okay, just the usual administrative issues. You know what I mean.” “What is this I hear about a killer on the run in your country?” “That is the reason I have called you Paul.” “Please don’t tell me that the killer has sneaked past the border into my country.” “Not yet, well as far as we know.” “Good. I will have to tighten my border then, because from the sound of your voice, he is headed this way.” “We think so. Furthermore, we think his family, his wife and children, parents and parents in-law are in Bamenda.” “Really? Why do you think so?”

“We have been reliably informed that they are hiding out with friends of the killer in Bamenda.” “You want me to go after them?” “Yes, Paul. I will greatly appreciate that. I will send you their pictures. You can announce on local or even national television that these people are wanted by the law. Make a promise of a handsome reward to anyone who has information that may lead to their arrest. I will cover the cost of that.” “That is nothing my friend. Send us their pictures and we will get down to that. I will have a military unit sent down there by morning.” “I knew I could trust you, my friend!”

STORY CONTINUES...
               CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 5
 
               CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 3

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 4
RAIDERS OF THE INNOCENT - Episode 4
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - private jet in a small airstrip, Mercedes jeeps, drivers, Jeeps, military, squadrons, helicopter, driver, Soldiers, president, Bamenda.
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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