We watched as the terrorist scampered for safety and most of them kept falling as soon as they were hit with bullets. We immediately joined in the chase and gunned down as many as we could.
Waiving a color symbol, we identified the shooters and behold they were soldiers from the 8th division. They finally located our whereabouts and home was calling. Most of the soldiers were already down and weak, as the rest continued with the sweeping mission. I could visibly see tears from the eyes of most soldiers as they held onto some their close friends who had dropped dead. I sat on the ground alongside some other soldiers and we kept breathing heavily.
“Arrange yourselves, home is calling” One of the senior officers of the rescue team yelled. Something was missing and I suddenly realized that I couldn’t see Bright again.
“You’ve seen Pvt Bright?” I asked one of the soldiers I saw sitting on the ground. He was visibly tired and didn’t respond much but pointed towards a specific direction. I quickly dashed off towards there and started calling around. It was long before I saw someone lying face down and holding onto his stomach. I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing and move towards him with a slow pace. I bent down slowly and turned the face of the soldier I presumed dead and behold it wasn’t Bright. The body of the soldier had been clearly battered with bullets and his face like that of a man who didn’t die well. I used my hands to cover his eyes into a close position and laid him well. “RIP” I muttered as I continued my search. I didn’t go far before I heard the groaning of someone not far from where the dead soldier was lying.
“Bright” I shouted as I ran towards his position. His belle had been split open by a bullet and he was clearly losing blood. “Someone help” I shouted while trying to draw the attention of the medical team I believed came alongside the rescue team.
“They are on their way” one of the rescue team member shouted
“Hang on bro… they are coming” I whispered and I helped cover the part that blood was gushing out from. “Am I gonna die?” Bright asked with a voice that was becoming weaker and weaker. I didn’t even know the reply to give to him
“Not at all, you are stronger than death” I encourage him. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and bent his head in tears. I didn’t want to cry along but I was already in tears within me. I helped him cover of the wound using some sand and cloth.
“We are moving in 5” The guy who was announcing kept shouting. I helped him stand up, before I realized I couldn’t move again. I felt a sharp pain deep my leg and had to let go of Bright before seating on the ground. I groaned in pain and carefully pulled up my trouser before realizing there was a major scratch on my legs. It was most likely caused by a bullet. I used a cloth I saw around and cleaned it up and forced myself to stand. We were moving in lines towards the main road where the evacuation vehicles were packed.
“Something isn’t right” I murmured to Bright, who wasn’t really interested in what I was about saying. We were being commanded like we committed an offence, instead of a welcome-like command. The way they made us move in lines and made sure we followed it was more or else, surprising to me.
“Move on” One of the soldiers from the rescue team shouted “double up” He yelled as he quickly pushed one of the soldiers in my team into the line. I couldn’t tell what was happening, but I knew that something wasn’t right. We arrived the main road where the vehicles to evacuate us was parked, and they opened the back of a big van and we were ordered to enter inside.
“This guy is injured” I tried speaking to one of the soldiers. I barely finished my words before he pushed me towards the truck direction and spoke in pidgin English “When you reach headquaters, we go treat am. Mumu soldier” (when we get to the headquaters, he will be treated) was the reply he gave to me. I tried showing a little bit of force, but before I knew what was happening, I found myself inside the back of a van with its doors locked, with little or no ventilation. We were driven through a rocky terrain because I could feel the galloping from my seat. I looked at the other soldiers and nobody spoke to each other.
“What did we do?” I tried asking one of the soldiers sitting close to me. He gave me a stern look and I quickly apologized. I face my other side and saw a soldier who was looking very sober.
“What is our crime?” I asked him. “I don’t just know” He responded like someone who was already beginning to shed tears. I kept mute and didn’t bother talking again and resorted to wallowing in my own memories of what has happened for the past few days.
I was clearly hungry as I kept felling bites from my stomach and the pain was becoming unbearable. “Who should I tell that we hadn’t eating for days?” I thought to myself “They don’t even care about us”. The sound of low cries and groaning from injured soldiers was what filled the entire bus. The bus was stuffy and jam-packed and we were clearly running out of oxygen.
“But what did we do?” was the question one of the guys kept asking himself. Nobody knew what was happening and we had to be patient till we get to the destination they were taking us to. The bus finally came to a halt and the door of the van was opened. We were ordered to come down in a single file and we were led to a waiting room. I kept looking around to know exactly what was happening but couldn’t get an idea.
“That guy is injured” I said to the lance corporal that was leading the way for us, while pointing at Bright. “Make I no knack you the head of this gun oo”(let me not hit you the base of my rifle) was the harsh reply he gave to me. “But why?” I thought to myself. I kept mute and we followed the line till we got to a room.
“All of you are welcomed, you can have your seat” was the greeting we got from a man I presumed to be the Director of Relations. We looked around for a seat but he was clearly asking us to make ourselves comfortable by sitting on the floor. We quickly sat on the floor with about 5 soldiers surrounding us with sophisticated rifles. It was long after we sat down, we were ordered to pull our various uniforms and submit to to a certain soldier who kept on collecting all of them. We were practically on just our undies without shirts on. It wasn’t long, before we heard the announcement that would change our lives for ever!
To Be Continued!!!