TWISTED PATH (Episode 10)
By Oluwafunminiyi Komolafe
Mohammed was amazed the next day when Dr. Akpan came and took him out of his cell. His wound had not fully healed but he could walk with his leg. After taking shower, he was giving a new cloth and fed. A hood was placed on his head as they walk out of the building and when the hood was removed, Mohammed found himself outside in front of a car. He cast a questioning glance at the doctor.
“Going for a ride will help refresh your memory and besides you can use the fresh air.” The doctor said as agents ushered them into the car.
Mohammed never thought the ride could last up to an hour but he was surprised when after three hours the car never pulls over. Mohammed’s doubt was already rising when the vehicle pulled over at some sort of camp.
Before any of them could come down from the car, an army of haggardly dressed little children surrounded their car. It seemed Dr. Akpan had foreseen this, he brought out a pack of sweet, opened the door and started sharing it to the children. The children bubbled happily as they receive their gift.
Mohammed retracted when he came down and a little girl who had lost her left hand suddenly approached him. Dr. Akpan offered him the pack of sweet, he took one and handed it over to the girl.
“Thank you.” The little girl said with a bright smile before running off to play with her colleagues.
The three armed agents who had accompanied them was ordered to wait by the car while Dr. Akpan took Mohammed on a tour of the camp. Entering the camp, Mohammed noticed more handicapped children playing around in the camp. What touched him most was a young boy without legs but still struggling on clutches to play football with his mates.
“What is this place? And what happened to these kids?” He asked.
“It’s a camp for people who had lost their homes and properties as a result of the war.” The doctor replied.
“War? What war?” He asked surprisingly.
The doctor couldn’t answer his question because by then, they had reached the office of the camp director.
“Oh Dr. Akpan, it’s so nice of you to check on us.” She greeted.
“It’s always my pleasure to come here and do the little I can. This is my colleague Mr. Badiru.” The doctor introduced.
“Mr. Badiru, thanks so much for coming.” She greeted and Mohammed answered.
She offered to get them refreshments but they politely declined. After spending a while with the camp director, Dr. Akpan requested to check on the camp’s infirmary and dragged Mohammed along.
As soon as they entered the infirmary, their noses were attacked by an offensive odor whose origin no one could trace. The place was overcrowded with patients to the extent that some of them had to lie on the bare floor because all the bed available had been occupied. Mohammed almost suffocated himself when he found it difficult to breathe the tainted air flowing around in the clinic.
Pandemonium suddenly erupted somewhere in the clinic. A woman was holding a lifeless baby and however hard the nurses and doctors tried, they were unable to persuade her to drop the already dead baby. She held on to the baby as if her life depended upon it and was holding out a knife to scare off the doctors and nurses.
Dr. Akpan approached the scene and was told what was happened. He turned to the woman and she explained that after her husband and her two other children were killed in the terrorist attack, the little boy was all she had left and there was no way he would be dead. It took a whole lot of time for Dr. Akpan to convince her to let the dead baby go.
By the time they were leaving the camp, Mohammed was fighting to hold back tears.
“Life is really hard for people over here.” He said as they mount into the car which had brought them.
“Yes, this war has claimed lots of casualties.” The doctor replied.
“What war? Is the country fighting any war?”
“Yes, the war against terrorism. I hate to break it to you but your terrorist group drove every single one of those people out of their homes and ruined their lives.” The doctor explained.
Mohammed was taken aback by the news.
“How could I be part of such a ruthless terrorist group killing innocent people? What’s wrong with me?” He lamented.
“I believe only you can put an end to all these.” The doctor said.
“How can I? Please tell me.” Mohammed asked desperately.
“We need you to get back into the terrorist group as our spy.”
“No no, how can I go back to such a thing? You want me to start killing innocent people again?” Mohammed asked.
“Mohammed, you are the last line of defense this country has against this deadly terrorist group. You need to help us, for the sake of those innocent children.” The doctor persuaded.
Mohammed’s lips were sealed but deep down he was ruminating on what he had just been told.