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The Bodyguard Reloaded – Episode 17
© Tisa Phiri
Hello Sir, I answered my phone immediately I got into the car.. a car was sent to pick me up from home that evening at 20 30 hours.. I was scheduled to arrive before morning the following day..
Am on board Sir , l responded when the general in charge asked how far I was.. Just starting off from Chingola and must be in before morning I added , before cutting the call..
I fastened my seat belt as we left the town of Chingola.. The poster welcome to Chingola flashing in the side mirrow before me.. I sighed and relaxed , knowing the density of the scenario at hand I understood we would be probably going at a great speed , thankfully there were few vehicles on the road..
Music? The driver asked me giving me a quick glance and focusing back on the road..
Loud I answered without turning.. I needed something to distract me from thinking about my family back home… I was actually feeling sad. I could not get myself promise Paula of my return , of all the jobs I had pulled out for the government , that one was the most risky of all..
We were told of stories how mercenaries operate.. They were highly trained former military forces that where hired by high profiled people or even the government to carry out attacks and dangerous missions for great monetary rewards..
I could not really figure out how they where hired to take down our current President but from the briefing. It was probably done by some opposition members and even members of the rulling party who intended to take over power..
Oh God save us, I sighed sitting my mind as the loud music from the stereo played covering the deep silence that was in the car.. The driver seemed to be focused on the road doing his thing.. I was glad he was not the talkative type as I had no mood to chat whatsoever ..
I watched him hold the steering tight as he negotiated a corner , the car meter maintained at 180km/hr … my hand moved up and back down as the vehicle passed on some high ground..
I recalled the time we went to some rescue in the thick forests of western province where one of the top guys was being held prio to some disputes between the chiefs and the government.. It wasn’t so much of a challenge as the only resistance we had faced was just a few village men hired as guards for the royal families..
The two of us with a guy from Airforce who was also the pilot of the chopper we used managed to take them down and rescue the minister just before they murdered him. Their intention was to kill him and later on plot an accident after he confessed where and who was sighning against them…
I really wished at that moment that the current issue was as simple , then I could have confidently promised my woman return.. Thoughts of her filled my mind and I felt a grip in my throat.. I knew it wouldn’t be easy for her.. Paula was a good and strong woman with sorting out things for example at work and creating harmony around my life and family , but I knew from deep down my heart she was terribly scared of losing me..
Her fear was mine.. Only that I sometimes shielded myself like I was not so desparate , losing her easpecially to death would really take the best of me that I knew , but if asked who should survive between the two of us.. I would definately volunteer to die in her place.. I felt she deserved to live more than I did.. After all she could take great care of my son’s and I had done quite some bad things , it doesn’t really matter whether I was forced or not.. Sometimes no wonder I pushed myself so had to work for my country.. It felt great to have to save someone’s life or even protect my country , it was some kind of retribution for me.. I felt less on the budden I felt and the guilty..
I was lost in thoughts and didn’t even realise we were approaching Kapiri.. Hey turn here I just want to check on my mother before we go on I ordered the driver who I had come to learn was a sergeant from the Zambia Army who was assigned to take me to Lusaka..
Yes sir, he answered indicating to turn as I showed him the exact point to turn on…
We found the farm house very quite.. I looked at my watch it was 30 minutes passed 22 hours.. My mom is probabaly sleeping i thought to myself as i opened the vehicle door and walked to the front..
Ackim, I heard mom call out as she opened the door..
Mom you still awake? I asked surprised she came to open before I could even knock… She wore her night gown and wrapped a chitenge material on top…
I was almost sleeping but the sound of the vehicle woke me up before I could close my eyes , she answered opening to let me in.. I just saw from the window that it was you she added turning on the switch to light the sitting room..
Is everything okay sonny? She asked sitting down.. what are you doing here at this time of the night and where is your family ? Everyone okay? She asked one question after the other..
Mom, come on everything is fine and my family is at home in Chingola.. I just thought of coming to see you as am on my way to Lusaka , how are you here ? I asked still standing..
We are okey my son.. your sister was planning on coming to your place tomorrow , shes asleep..
Okay mother that’s good.. am glad you are okay.. I wanted to say hi before going.. God willing I will pass through on my way back i told her touching her shoulder as I stood besides her..
Ackim, sit down she ordered calmly.. Tell me what is bothering you my son.. No matter what you have never come here alone since you got with Pauala and you just married I
Know something isn’t right , tell me what is going on Ackim she said indicating me to sit down..
Mom don’t worry..I told her , it’s nothing to worry about am just going for a job I was called to do in Lusaka am needed there urgently and the issue couldn’t wait ,I explained..
She insisted I told her the job but I assured her it was nothing to worry about..
Listen mom, am okey and I just needed to see you.. I have to go now I told her standing from the sofa I sat on..
She saw me to the vehicle and greeted the driver. Safe journey sonny she added as the car moved away..
I felt great seeing her, though l couldn’t get to tell her about my job it was a relief knowing she was praying for me like she had told me that night..
I called Paula as we approached Lusaka and she answered almost immediately.. Indicating that she had not really slept..
What are you still doing up My love ? I asked her..
I can’t sleep babe , she said her voice sounding asleep.. I miss you already and I am sleeping with the boys tonight she said softly her voice reaching me and making me wanna go back to her.. She sounded so calm I could tell she was laying down in bed..
I miss you more love, I told her . Listen I called to let you know we are almost in Lusaka and that my phone will be probably of , but not to worry everytime I get a chance I will communicate..
Yeah I understand you told me about going dark she answered , just take care of yourself okey?
Yeah sure my woman, I will do just that.. Remember our discussion . I don’t want to find you all pale and thin because of worrying I told her..
I heard her chuckle… It’s hard not to but I will work on it she told me..
We talked all the way till we drove to the point l was to meet up other guys on the mission..
Hey commando ! The general called me out as I approached the room.. He stood near the door , l could tell everyone was waiting for me to arrive.. The moment l paid my compliments to the general and another high ranked officer seated inside.. The general introduced me to the other 8 people in the room..
This is colonel Ackim, special forces agent , worked as a commando in ndola and is the one surviver of the Congo captive he added , he’s been assigned to work for the special operations and he’s highly trained too.. His experience with the mafia minds will be of great benefit to this mission..
You are welcome sir, the other officers already in combat answered when the general was done with the introductions…
We sat around a wide wodden table , a map displayed on the white board in front.. The deep silence that surrounded the room leaving the voice of the general who went on giving us details of the operation and the way to go, ringing loudly in our ears , we discussed the full details of the attack and by the time we were done it was almost dawn..
Take 2 hours rest soldiers and make sure you are ready at exactly 5 am the general ordered.. Everyone walked to the rooms given for us to take the rest from but I was called back..
Colonel , the general started when I stood my hands at the back waiting for him to tell me why I was stopped..
I want you to know that I have read your profile and am proud of what l have seen.. You of all these men have been exposed to lots of trials and life threatening missions.. I expect you to work with your mind alert and help to save not only the president but also these soldiers you are going to be with.. I can tell their baldness isn’t as great as yours .. They are afraid , lead them and bring them back home he added patting my back..
Thank you sir , I responded.. I will do my best and I pray I succeed..
May God help us all he added dismissing me..
I lay down in the bed dressed in my full combat.. I was ready to go and taking rest wasn’t going to be possible as the alertness of my mind couldn’t allow me.
Taking my phone I watched the photos of Paula and the twins.. I missed them and deep inside l wished for God to save my life that I returned home safely..
Before 5 am I was already in the chopper taking us to the other destination.. The other guys joined In a few minutes later..
Breakfast sir, one of the soldiers said handing me a packet of wrapped food and water.. Thank you I told him grabbing the enveloped pack and a bottle of water..
We are 2 minutes out ! The pilot informed us.. Prepare to land he added shouting on top of the noise from the chopper..
We fastened our head covers and immediately the ground was a few meters down from the chopper , we all jumped out quickly running to the bushes.. Our deep green camouflage matching well with the thick bushes and trees..
We were ten in total. My mind turned to suit the conditions of the environment, l got to it giving directions on our next target , my militally instincts fully activated…
The Bodyguard Reloaded – Episode 18
© Tisa Phiri
Listen up soldiers….. I called out the group to one place after we surveyed the place for any unexpected threats.. We were to camp deep in the luangwa forest.. The mecenaries where last spoted near luangwa river.. We were realiably informed they had camped in Mozambique near the Zambian border..
Efforts to try talk to the Mozambique Government to help locate them failed as they refused to give a go ahead for our government to invade their borders.. Their fear was that would seem they were supporting the work of the guys launching an attack on our country..
From here we all dress as civilians and move in different directions.. We pretend to be traders and cross the river to the other side like the local civilians do from around this area.. I explained to them.
I handed them money given for the operation so that they all may seem to be out for buying some galic and fish from Mozambique..
This will be our meeting point, make sure we all come back here guys.. No room for failure we go in pairs and ensure we all watch out for our partners , we are going to be in contact using our radios… Ensure you secure the place before making any attempt to communicate , each team is to call me after an hour I instructed as they nodded taking in my instructions..
We all changed in casual kits from our back packs and around 7 am we spread in pairs , some of the soldiers remained on the Zambian side and 3 pairs we crossed over..
How is business in this area? I asked the owner of the conoe paddling us across the river.. he was a tall and very dark guy with yellow teeth and rough heels , one could tell he lived near the river and that fishing was his life , his chikunda accent was so vivid.. He told us his name was Suzhi… with a stress on the Z.
Um, business is good here he said with a smile revealing his yellow teeth… His strong muscles moved up and down as he pushed the paddles to and from. I couldn’t help admire his strength.. He seemed confident with his work I felt proud..
Buy cheap onion(galic he meant to say) from Mozambique and you make a lot of money in Lusaka he explained.. Is that what you are here for? He asked looking at me..
Yes l responded giving him a forced smile.. It’s our first time so we really don’t know the way to go , can you help us go round… I will pay you at the end of the day I added , me and my friend here just came for anything that can sell from here I lied…
No problem he said excited , his eyes looking at me from top to down.. I like your clothes he said shly.. I would love to make money and go to Lusaka were I hear they sell a lot of nice clothings..
I looked at him for a second and an idea popped up my head.. If the mission was to succed I needed a better disguise , if this man can tell my clothes are nice, it was possible if we came into contact with the guys we were looking for, they would easily identify me.. I thought to myself my eyes in the water as we had reached the middle of Luangwa river the waves made by the paddles making small tides around the canoe and behind …
You like this shirt? I asked pulling my brown v neck t shirt which I wore on top of a black jeans ..
What? He sighed looking at me as he stopped paddling making the canoe move away from the position taking the direction of the wind.. No I was just saying.. he said shipishly as he got back to his work controlling the movemnet of the canoe..
It’s okey you can have it I said with a chuckle.. let’s exchange with your shirt I said looking at his blue shirt which was faded looking like it was worn since the day he bought it without tasting water..
thankfully I could suit to anything even to the extent of persevering the odor from the shirt ..
We exchanged t shirts and I asked him for another one for my partner.. No ,the one I have is torn I have not used it in a long time he told me seriously as we were almost approaching the river bank on the Mozambique side..
It’s perfect for my friend here my man , no worries we want to look local so that the people in Mozambique won’t charge us a lot of money for the things we will buy..
Well if you say so , he giggled removing a t shirt that I couldn’t even tell the colour.. I felt laughter coming to my lips but I pushed it back..
You are in trouble man, I told the sodier with me.. I actually felt for him cause that t shirt had what I would call a real deal stench..
He shrugged . It’s okey Sir he said with respect and a fake smile , I could tell he was insulting me inside… If only he was my rank mate he would tell me his mind but luck for me I was in charge and there was no refusing orders especially on such a delicate matter ..
He also changed but held on to his t shirt avoiding my gaze for fear l would tell him to give it away..
I smiled at him , it’s okey man.. At ease and please drop the sir thing, we may not know who is listening…
Sure he answered..
By 10 hours we were on the other side and the Fisher man tagged along leading us to some areas where he explained they sold galic.. Our attention though was in finding any clues about the hide out for the Mecenaries..
After 5 days of moving up and down I used the fisherman to talk to the villagers in Mozambique asking if any strange looking people had been spotted in the area..
A certain man confirmed that he had seen a chopper land some distance from his village two days before we went there..
Ask him how far I told the fisherman..
Well he says about 2 hours walking distance from here he answered pointing in the direction.. We are scared of going close for fear of meeting dangerous people out there , there are a lot of deadly activities sometimes in these areas he added..
We thanked them and saw the fisher man back to the river bank.. I handed him his money and let him go ,telling him we were spending some time in Mozambique.. We watched him paddle back happily looking at his newly acquired short and the notes in his hands…
I called in all units informing them of our latest situation.. We are heading to the location now I told them. Stay alert as I might call in less than 2 hours..
We walked and jogged to the direction.. Surprising my mind was so alert and active I didn’t think so much of home.. I had to push every thought down and focus on my mission..
We came to a clearing and I instructed my partner to stay back and watch out as I approached the cleared area.. It was on a high land.. I carefully got to the top and on the other side was another bushy area..
Surveying the place I saw from deep the trees some brown things.. Tents, I thought to myself..
I indicated to the other guy that I would go further to look around..
Touching my back l felt the pistol still intact where l had tacked it in.. My small magic dagga knife safe in my boot.
I crawed down for almost 5 minutes and there before me were two deep green tents which looked brown from a distance..
I lay down looking around.. I could hear some noise and chattering ahead and I knew it was their camp.. All I needed was to confirm the kind of people camping..
After watching for quarter an hour I noticed the camp had almost 10 guys , they were outside some doing some drills and I could tell they were military.. Three were white and the rest where black except for the shorter and rough guy who seemed to be coloured… probably between Caucasian and Mongolia..
Withdrawing silently I went back to the spot I left the other soldier and we walked backwards before I called in the others informing them about my discovery..
I called back to the general for further instructions and he told me I needed to act according to my discretion .. Just tell me what we need colonel and carry on as per situation he informed me..
Yes sir , all we need is a chopper to carry us back but that will come later.. Am currently calling in all units to come here so that we ascertain the situation and see way forward , we can’t just attack as they are on foreign lands , they can claim they are on a different mission..
Of course Soldier, keep me updated the general said before hanging up..
4 other soldiers joined us that evening around 18 hours.. I had suggested we stayed about 10 hectares away from the mercenary camp.. The soldiers who joined us came in with other equipment needed for the job…
Later in the night l took 3 of them leaving 2 at the camp and a went to take a closer look with night binocualars taking in the activities of the enemy camp…
Hearing some noise from a distance we all stayed put… It’s a speed boat I informed them.. I targeted the direction of the noise.. Since the camp was near a river I could see the wide river in the side..
A boat landed to the bank and I saw the entire group loading things hurriedly…. No one seemed to be paying attention to look at where we hid ..
Let me get closer and hear what is going on I informed the others in a whisper..
I moved forward closing in the gap between the river and our hide out.
We have to hurry .. The operation is on tonight, I heard the two who stood besides the boat talking.. Is everything ready the other side? The next man asked..
Yes they are just waiting for us , two trucks are waiting for us on the other side he added..
Make sure we stick to the plan , attack and immediately it’s done rush to the airport.. We are flying out before morning and make sure you clear this location.. No one must be able to trace any of us back here..
I listened quietly and I ran back after the people at the camp were on board leaving the area clear after they destroyed every small remaining item burning and throwing them in the river..
Guys call in the chopper we have to ambushi them on the Zambian side before they leave for Lusaka I ordered. .. Am going after them someone needs to see where they are heading to.. Follow the tracker on me.
Let’s do this boys…. I told them with a stern order..
I rushed back to the boat and before it took off l climbed on board from the engine side finding a hidden spot by the corner…
We were on the other side in minutes.. I crawed down quietly the dark night shielding me..
Before everyone could step out l hide under one of the big land cruisers parked….. As everyone got busy unpacking and loading their things in the cars..
In 20 minutes the engines started and l held on to avoid falling off the vehicle I had crawed under .. My life was not worthy anything at that moment , my own was to save my country whether I survived or not…..pulling my t shirt to cover my face from dust with one hand I Breathed heavily as the vehicle increased speed..
To be continued
The bodyguard Episode 17 & 18
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