There was nothing like food all this while and we were all running on empty belle. Some of us had to look for dews that fell on grasses and licked the water on it. It wasn’t enough to quench thirst but it was enough to keep us alive. It became more of a shock when one of us opened his radio and fortunately he was having some reception of radio network. It was alleged on news that the terrorists had taken over Bama town, but the Army Chiefs were busy denying it.
“What do we do next?” One of the officers asked our commandant
“We are waiting for orders from the headquarters” He responded
“But we aren’t getting any response” The senior officer added. Meanwhile; I was busy trying to locate Tunji.
“You know where Tunji ran too?” I asked Bright who was reading a very small pamphlet with his mother’s picture by the side
“I don’t know bro” He replied with a very weak voice.
“What is the problem” I asked him. I could feel the emotions in his eyes as he looked at me and said “We are all going to die”.
“How?” I asked surprised. He wasn’t ready to talk and I kept shaking him to say something
“Have you heard about mutiny before?” He asked
“What is the meaning of that?” I asked him because I haven’t heard about such before. He was reluctant to say and I perceived it was going to be bad news.
“Bright say something please” I begged
“What do you want me to say?” He asked back “We ran away from a battlefront and terrorists overtook our base while we ran into the bush. If they find out, we will be court marshaled and either executed or something bad” He explained in a low voice. I never believed I could shout “Jesus” till this point in time.
“But they asked us to retreat” I asked in a low voice while looking around to make sure nobody was listening to our communication.
“What about Tunji” I asked again “I don’t just know” Bright replied confused. Another soldier came along and told us exactly what happened “Most of us had split into smaller group and ran various directions. We tried using our communication equipment to contact other units around us, but it was a futile exercise”.
“Nonsense” I whispered. “Emi bẹ ti a yọ ninu ewu o” (I pray we survive) He whispered in his local language. I looked around and saw the mood of the soldiers around, and it wasn’t a pleasant one. Some of the soldiers with us were injured slightly while some had serious bullet injuries. We tried using some of the local herbs around to treat them, but it wasn’t just getting better.
“Ba su mutu ba” One Hausa soldier was telling his friend. Which meant (Don’t die please). We rushed to meet him, and he has lost and kept losing so much blood.
“Kada ka bar ni in mutu” He kept saying with a weakening voice in Hausa (Don’t let me die please).
We tried to breath in air into his mouth and used a pin we normally use in our shoes with some rope to stich up the tear that allowed blood flow. His pulse was already going down and I knew this would be my second time seeing a fellow soldier die in action. Finally he gave up the ghost.
“We are moving” Our commandant shouted.
“What happens to him?” One of the soldiers questioned
“We are leaving him behind. We don’t have the capacity to carry him along” He said with his Yoruba intonation.
“But…” One of the soldiers was about say before the commandant cut him half way his speech.
“No but… we are leaving” He insisted. It was a code of conduct not to argue with a superior, even when it was a clear ridiculous situation. We left our fallen comrade and continued our journey with nowhere in sight.
“I sabi this road” One of the soldiers said with pidgin English (I know this route). So he was chosen to lead the way, while our commandant stayed at the rear.
“Shhhhsshhh” He said as he gave us commands to lie low. We quickly complied by lying close to a trench that we found inside the jungle there. We never knew that we had approached the main road that was leading to another town differently. We noticed some people well-armed on the road, about seven of them in number.
They were some exchange of words between them and from the way they spoke, they seem to have known themselves for so long or he was trying to make an introduction. The argument continued and tempers were rising and before we knew it… To Be Continued..