“…you are here because Somalia needs help, Somalia need you to help her bring this great nation back to her glory. We hope and pray that with your presence and the presence of the UN, rebelliousness will be crushed and peace will be restored… ”
It was mid-day before their convoy arrived Mogadishu, the journey was not a sweet tour, aside some old villagers who still struggled to remain alive irrespective of the crisis, the roads were deserted. Stench of burnt woods and flesh filled their noses that they had to tie their bandanas to cover their noses.
There were feasts of the vultures, and rotten fleshes where delicacies.
They had children, covered on rags and dusts, who looked at their convoy with interest, some stretched their hands towards them and screamed in Arabic and Somali; “They beg for food” a black soldier with a heavy accent had said
“…the boys you see on the street with weapons are not the real enemy, they are merely the foot soldiers, the real enemies are the men who hide to do the dirty jobs, who turn Somalia Citizens against the Government… ”
They had encountered road blocks and young militias shouted threats and orders in Somali, at some points, the troop had thought their convoy would be attacked and had gotten ready for shootouts but they had reached some compromises with the militias, they had lost most of their supplies.
“… it is important to note that these militia has the sole purpose of unseating the Somalia government, and they are fighting hard, as at yesterday, there was heavy bombardment in Shibis and Bakaara Market, many Somalian soldiers lost their lives in that bombardment. You are here on a clarion call, in the name of the United Nations …”
The soldiers had been standing under the scorching sun waiting for instructions and orders. Some of them already knew what would come next while some still didn’t understand where the General commander was going with his long speech
“… this troop will be divided into infantrymen, each infantry will be sent to districts in the capital, this is to secure what is remaining. You have to uphold peace and order, but if there are situations beyond your control, I repeat, situations beyond your control, you can shoot to protect the district and to save yourselves. Am I clear! ” the General commander barked
“Yes sir!” the soldiers echoed
“Infantry? I thought we are going back to the Encampment? are we going to be part of this war?” Aminu rushed the words
Every soldier walked with a haste as if his heels were on fire, Voices shouted orders from every corner, more Artillery entered the base; “well, we are fighter Aminu, we should always prepare for days like this” He fall in line with his Infantry
“We are stuck in a war, we are stuck in a fcking war! They lied to us, they said we are not going to be part of this, we are only here to make peace and protect the helpless!”
He stopped walking and faced the scared Soldier “Aminu stop! fear will kill you faster than bullets man, think of survival, how we can finish here and get back home”
“You are not worried sir?”
“I didn’t get to the rank of a captain by cowering at the sight of battles and fights” he saw that his words did nothing to calm the young soldier “Truth is, I am scare” Aminu smiled a little “But I have people waiting for me back home so I will not allow fear kill me here. you should also think of your family and let their prayers strengthen you” he held the soldier by the shoulder; “Let your children know that their father is a brave soldier, you will tell them this story man”
Aminu smiled and nodded with a boosted confidence, “We will go home alive sir”
“Yes we will, and I will see your twins”
“I will be the best man during your wedding”
They caught up with their Infantry “Na, you are a Muslim, you will not want to enter the church. besides, you are already married the role is for bachelors”
the chatted like it was the last time they would talk, their voices gave then strength, the future there was unknown, the war would soon consume them, they were list prepared for what was about to come.
His heart was heavy, Ebube couldn’t describe his feelings at that moment, ‘so this is it? It would all start from here’ no wonder they were asked to pack their belongings. He would not be going back, he would not be making any call home and that may be the end for him.
PORT HARCOURT NIGERIA
He came home earlier than usual, his wife was not at home, the silence of his house welcomed him, the echoes of his own stupidity deafened him.
He held the sack letter with two fingers in disdain, it was all because of her “You ruined me Elizabeth, you took my happiness my marriage, my innocence and now you took my job” he folded his palm to a fist and took his anger out on the wall.
“I hate you more than anything Elizabeth, and I will destroy you, five time much more than you have destroyed me…” he went to the sink and splashed some water on his head and his face, he blew off some trickles of water from his mouth
“I will ravish you till I am satisfied, then I will make sure no man ever desire you again fcking bi*ch” he loosen his tie, fling it carelessly on the floor and abandoned himself like a drunken man on the sofa
“You know you cannot allow it to grow further than this” Amaka drank from the bottle of maltina given to her by Elizabeth’s mother
“What do you mean?”
“Isn’t it obvious? You cannot leave this pregnancy; you are not sure if he is coming back” Amaka drank again
“Please bring down your voice, my mother will hear you” Elizabeth hushed her friend
“She doesn’t know?” Amaka brought her face closer.
“Oya take these nuts with your drink” Elizabeth brought a plate of cashew nut
“Thank you mama” the friends waited for the old woman to leave before they resumed their discussion “So you have not told your mother” Amaka continued
“She found out about the pregnancy by herself, last night”
“And?” Amaka chewed some nuts
“She doesn’t know who is responsible”
“So technically she doesn’t know your man could be dead in a foreign land”
“Amaka please, you are not helping…”
“I am trying to help, but you are not allowing me” she eat the whole of the nuts “Okay see, I understand how much you loved your soldier boy and would want to keep this baby, but think about this very critically” she looked around to make sure the older woman wasn’t around “You have not heard from him since he left, he should have tried to call you if he cared too much but he didn’t. there is no certainty of him coming back”
“Amaka stop please”
“No let me talk sense into you big girl, what happens when you meet another man who will love you and will stay, but he finds you pregnant? What if you give birth to this child and then meet a man later, will you be proud to tell him that you have a baby for another guy?…”
“Amaka don’t say those worlds to me, Ebube will come back, he promised”
“He promised before he left! Not yesterday…not today, he is a soldier and he follow orders even to his death! Think girlfriend please get rid of
“I can’t” Elizabeth whispered with tears on her face
“What? why do you want to subject yourself to this? Why do you want to become a mockery to yourself and your mother?”
Her Phone rang, it was a number she didn’t know, without checking she pressed her right middle finger on the green symbol and placed the phone closed to her ear
“Hello” she said with a shaky voice
There were no responds from the other end, only heavy breath
“Hello” she said more audibly
“Who is this!”
She hissed and brought the phone down from her ear
“Who was that?” Amaka asked
“I don’t know, the person didn’t say anything, network problem I guess”
She had bigger issues than an empty phone call and the heavy breath of a drunk
“Lizzy, if Ebube is here with you, this would have been the best news ever, but he is not here, he may never be here again. He may even have moved on with his life and have even gotten himself a beautiful Somalian girl…”
“He will not do such thing Amaka, I Trust him…” Elizabeth cut in
“You trust him how? How long have you known him? Did you have a blood oath with him? He is a Soldier and soldiers are known for soaring wild oaths everywhere, love and emotions mean nothing to them…” Amaka explained
“Not this one Amaka, he will honor his word, he will come back for me” Elizabeth wasn’t sure
Amaka sighed “Okay, does he know about the baby?”
Elizabeth frowned “No…I didn’t know about it myself until last night”
“Hmm, I don’t know what else to tell you again Liz, but I know that this pregnancy is bad news as far as I am concerned”
“Amaka, I can’t remove this baby, please understand. I can’t do this to him, to us! If Ebube was here, he would have been thrilled at the news”
“So what are you planning to do with it if you don’t want to remove it?” Amaka folded her arms
“Keep it I guess…”
“Then congratulation with it, because it is not going to be as easy as you think. You are a hustler, think about your business, your life…adding a fatherless baby to yourself will be an extra luggage” she stood up in resignation
“The baby has a father” Elizabeth stood to see her friend off
“Good for you then”
The phone was on all along and their conversations where heard from the other end.
“She is pregnant!”
He tossed the half-filled can of ‘Heineken’ and the content splattered on the wall. his wife was back and like always, she was glued to the television. That was a habit she picked up lately and even though he didn’t want to admit it, it was beginning to get him annoyed.
“What is this?” she had asked when she picked the letter from the table where he left it. She didn’t wait for him to answer before she read it out to him, deliberately and carefully pronouncing the words.
She dropped the letter after reading and walked into the guest room where she had moved in few weeks ago. without pity for him, she left him standing like a living-dead, he was in his room, carrying out his creepy phone call when he heard her movements on the sitting room, and the laughter and cries from that annoying show.
He could manage Ada’s indifferent attitude, after all he started it; but for Elizabeth to get pregnant wasn’t a news he was expecting, how could she do that? If Elizabeth must carry a baby, it should be his not for another man.
“She mustn’t be pregnant, that bastard must get out of my way” He paced the room. His anger heated up and wrapped him like a winter-coat.
“Elizabeth you don’t know me; I swear you will regret doing this”
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