Atthat point, I was so terrified and frail, I tried to raise my voiceto speak but no words came out of my mouth. My whole body wasshivering and my hands were getting soaked in sweat. I could hardlyfigure out what I needed to do to keep myself out of danger. I wasleaning against the wall at the corner of the room. I hoped I couldmute the sound of my heart which was throbbing fast and loudly. Thesilence was interrupted by a very disturbing noise of a creaturemoving just above where I was standing. The height of the hut was solow so I felt the disturbance right next to my years. There was notime to think and I jumped out screaming
“Helpme! Help! Help me! Linda where are you? Jolie something is chasingafter me, save me.”
“What’sthe matter? Why are you shouting in the middle of the night? Who isit?” Linda asked as she walked out of her Tukul.
“Shoutingat this hour is not allowed, it can attract the attention of enemieskeep calm. Shouting at night is taken as a call for help for beingattacked by enemies. The local warriors will come carrying guns andarrows ready to kill the enemy,” Linda added.
“Whoare these strangers that have come to intrude our territory? Why arethey disrupting the peace of our community? We shall deal with them,”one of the men in a group of four armed with guns asked.
“Wework with Linda, we came here to assist the local community,” Ianswered.
Oneof the gentlemen said, “Shut up, that is not how you speak to thewarriors, one extra word and we will finish you.”
“Comewith us, today we have managed to catch spies of our community.”
“Wearrrrr…….,” Jolie tried to speak but one of the men blocked hermouth.
Theyled us out of the camp, at this point I knew we were in deep troublebut there was little we could do.
“Letus take them to the disciplinary committee of elders for action.”
Theyblindfolded us and forced us to follow them.
“Hurryup, don’t waste our time or we will get rid of you ourselves.”
Wedid as they wished to avoid falling in trouble. We had only walkedfor a short distance before I heard heavy footsteps and murmursbehind us. I could not figure out who they were but I could tellsomething was wrong.
“Theseare traitors. They have been selling our secrets to the enemy. Theyshall be an example to the rest.” One man turned to explain to thecrowd.
“Traitors!Traitors! Traitors! Traitors! Traitors! Traitors!” the crowdshouted this as they hastened their pace.
Thisattracted the attention of many other people who came to showsolidarity. We continued walking until we came to a stop, I couldfeel the heat go up and I was sure there was fire close by.
“Couldit be that they want to burn us? This is so cruel yet we areinnocent. Why did we even come to this terrible place? We would havestayed back home,” questions and feelings or regret ran through mymind.
Theylet off the blind folds we were standing next to a bonfire and agroup of warriors who were seated sipping something from a commonpot. A large crowd of young men was standing behind those who wereseated. Each one of them was holding a gun ready for use.
“Nostranger stands before us and comes out alive, so what would you liketo say to us before we end this.”
Iwas dumb founded, not a word came out of my mouth. Jolie was alsoquite terrified, she was speaking but not a single voice was heard,it was only her lips moving.
“Execute,”one old man ordered seemingly angered by us.
Allguns were pointed at us but before they could fire, gunshots wereheard from a distant. They all left leaving us with only two old men.From what I heard, the enemy had attacked and they needed to takeguard.
Twopeople were approaching where we were and when they got closer, Irecognized them. Linda had accompanied the head of the base, Wani tosort out the issue. I was relieved to have them around. A longconversation followed, they spoke in Arabic. We could not understandbut I could tell that they were enraged. Later is when Wani,explained that the locals required to be notified of any new peoplethat were coming in the base. He had forgotten to inform them and itmade them feel like there was something being plotted against theirback. However, it was settled and we returned to the base but we werewarned against creating scenes.
Wewalked back to the sleeping area but I was still scared. There seemedto be all sorts of scary things from within and outside. Everyone hadcongregated on one central table that stood under a tree. We seemedto have been causing more trouble than offering help. We apologizedfor the incidence and we were urged to adapt to the environment forpurposes of peace. We dispersed and everyone walked away leaving meseated at the table with Linda and Wani.
“Iam afraid I cannot go back to my room, I’m sure there’s an animalin there, “I told Linda and Wani.
“Letus walk there and see what is there, but there is nothing to worryabout you will get used to it,” said Wani.
Wanilit his torch and walked in my room, I stood at the door ready totake off. I could not imagine what I saw, a very big and ugly monitorlizard sat in my bed after leaving the mosquito dome unzipped. Ispent the night in Jolie’s Tukul, counting minutes remaining todawn.
Theday that followed was quite busy. I joined people from economicsecurity department which was responsible for food distribution. Wewere going to give food to families in the town which was about 5minutes walk from the base. Jolie accompanied the team that was goingto distribute drugs to a dispensary in the neighboring town. Theyused a truck as the roads were too muddy and a car couldn’t makeit. The number of patients was quite high and many needed medicalattention following clashes among the locals and another tribe.
Therewas rule to return to the camp by 6.00pm for security reasons.However, it was at 6:45pm but Jolie and her team was not yet back.Wani tried to contact them using a satellite phone but it was notgoing through. Everyone was getting worried as they were aware of thesecurity situation in that town. Wani called a few warriors armedwith guns and drove away to find out what had gone wrong.
“Whatcould have happened to them? Did their phone go off? Did they getstuck on the roads?” these are some of the questions that ranthrough my mind.
“Thereis a possibility they have been kidnapped if they did not carry workIDs,” Chol explained. “The community is quite hostile tostrangers let’s hope they come back alive.”
Youcould tell that all was not well but Linda reassured me, “It israre for NGO employees to be attacked.
Imean who will provide them with food and medical supplies?” Herargument made a lot of sense.
Theyreturned to the base at 10:30pm. Linda made a call to the clinicasking that two doctors make their way to the base. The two gentlemenhad been seriously injured and were in pain. One had a bullet lodgedin his leg and needed immediate attention. Jolie lay thereunconscious with her dress soaked in blood. I could tell she had beenraped.
“Emergencysituation, send a helicopter first thing in the morning to collectthree patients.” Wani made this call to the Juba base.
Theteam was given first aid treatment to push them to the next morning.The dispensary wasn’t equipped to attend to them. No planes flew atnight for security reasons.