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