TITLE: Accidental Victim EPISODE: 32
They both looked at themselves with quizzed expressions
on their faces. Mustapha shrugged and got up. Damien
got up after him and they both went out of the tent with
“Have your seats gentlemen”, the General said as Damien
and Mustapha walked into the makeshift office. ‘And
please give me a moment’, the General said again as he
continued clacking the keys on his laptop.
Damien and Mustapha looked at each other wondering
why the General wanted to see them. They began
communicating with each other with facial signals.
Mustapha slightly shook his head, indicating that do not
divulge their plans to the General and Damien nodded
slightly, indicating that he understood.
Damien looked around the office and saw many military
paraphernalia on the wooden wall behind the General. He
stared at the satellite generated maps of the area and
wondered if Funmi’s exact location was there on the map.
That was his priority. Nothing else matter to him anymore.
He hoped that she was fine wherever she was.
Damien was brought back to his senses as he heard the
‘Sorry gentlemen for keeping you waiting’, the General
said, ‘I actually sent for you because I need your help.’
“We are not soldiers”, Mustapha blurted out.
The General nodded to his assistant, indicating that he
leave the office. The assistant complied immediately.
The General was now alone in his office with Damien and
“Hmmm… Please correct me where I’m wrong”, the
General began, looking directly at Mustapha. “You are
Mustapha Danladi, a Crack detective in the Nigerian Police
Force, so brute and efficient in your methods that you and
your partner successfully incarcerated many notorious
criminals in your state, till your partner was killed in a
botch shootout with some terrorists. You blamed yourself
because you guys weren’t supposed to be there, you
insisted both of you went for the operation and he got
killed. You blamed yourself for months and thought of
ways to avenge his death till you had an opportunity and
you successfully infiltrated the Taliban group.”
“And you are Damien Abbah”, the General continued,
turning towards Damien, “a graduate of Delta State
University, a former student of the Nigerian Defense
Academy, trained in Reconnaissance and Tactical
operations, one of the best in your class till you had to be
expelled after your Training Officer died in the most
disturbing circumstances. You got kidnapped by the
Talibans, and you later escaped from them… Yes, I know
you guys are not soldiers, but I pretty much know a lot
about you.”Damien was frozen in his seat. Even though they
happened a long time ago, the events of the past came
reeling before his eyes. He tried blocking out the flashes of
images in his head, but it just wouldn’t go away. He
wished he could go back in time to correct his wrongs, but
that was all it was – wishes. He knew he didn’t killed his
Training officer on purpose, he was sick. But that didn’t
change the fact that he had killed his Training officer. It
was unheard of.
Mustapha was lost in thoughts. He remembered his best
friend and partner of 5years. They both were the envy of
all other police officers in their division. That fateful day,
his friend had insisted that they were on break when they
heard the distress call, but due to his over zealousness,
Mustapha insisted that they respond to the call, and that
was the last distress call both of them responded to. His
friend died in the attack. He had not forgiven himself for it.
He engulfed himself with work hoping to gain atonement,
but he realized that he would never forgive himself till he
avenged his friend’s death. That was when he devised a
means to infiltrate the Taliban camp. And here the General
was, opening old wounds. Mustapha was angry. He didn’t
like to be reminded of that ugly past.
“Do you guys understand what I’m saying here?”, the
General asked louder again, banging the table as he
noticed both of them didn’t respond to the question he
“What do you want from us?”, Damien asked.
“Both of you were in the Taliban camp. You know their
routes, you know their MO’s. We got intel that the Talibans
are most likely expecting us, and are well prepared. We
are planning on using an alternate route, one they
wouldn’t anticipate we would use. Is there a route you
have in mind?”
Mustapha looked at Damien and he nodded slowly, then
he spoke up.
“Like you know, the major routes into the Taliban camp
would be heavily manned, and it would be next to
impossible, even foolish to drop in men with a chopper.
You’ve already lost a chopper and some men, you
wouldn’t want to lose more. But there’s a route through
the forest. It’s not an established path, and it’s just about
2clicks away from the main road, leading directly into the
Taliban camp. That would be your best bet.”
“Would you be able to trace it on the map”, the General
asked, spreading out a map on the table.
Mustapha smiled and said, “General, like I said earlier, the
route does not exist, at least not on any map.”
“So, how are we supposed to be able to locate it?”, the
General asked again.
“We have to be on site”, Mustapha replied.
The General contorted his face. “You know that wouldn’t
be possible. I can’t possibly send you civilians into the
field”, the General said.Damien spoke up. “Sir, I’m not sure you have much
choices here. Your men can’t identify the location you
seek. We are the only ones here who can identify the
route. I guess you’ll just have to bend your rules here.
Besides, you know us. You know our capabilities, and you
know we are your best chance at getting this right.”
The General took a deep breathe, rested back on the chair
he sat and looked at both of them. “Hope you understand
that the military would not be responsible if anything
happens to any of you?”, the General asked.
Both of them nodded, and the General looked pleased.
“But we would need a few things”, the General heard
Damien say. “And what would they be?”, he asked.
“Uniforms, complete combat gear, guns, ammunition, the
lot”, Damien replied.
The General nodded. “Anything else gentlemen?”, he asked
“No sir”, they both replied.
The General sat up and picked up the handle of the
deskphone on his table. He pressed two buttons and
spoke in hushed tones into the mouthpiece. Some
seconds later, he dropped the phone.
“Gentlemen, I believe you have a mission to prepare for.
Thank you very much for your co-operation. Your gear
would sent to your tent”, the General said as he rose up
from the chair. Damien and Mustapha stood up after him.
They shook hands, after which they left the General’s
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