A terrorist to love – part 10
12 February 2023
The driver grabbed her by the arm and took her to the cab. He lowered her head before pushing her into the cab. It was so symptomatic of how policemen put their prisoners into their police car that she wondered if he was a policeman on an errand for Boko Haram. She looked up at him after he had sat behind the wheel again. She could see in his eyes a flutter of recognition of what she was thinking. At the same time there passed in his eyes like a shadow of guilt and that persuaded her that he was indeed a policeman but perhaps also a hired gun for Boko Haram. He lowered his eyes so that she could not decipher anything in them.
- You are an English cop, right, she said
- I am in no mood for your mind games, he answered
- No mind games at all. I would just like to understand
- There is nothing to understand. I am a devout Muslim and am doing my part to cleanse the world of the kafireen (non believers). We will soon prevail. Our numbers are growing and we have struck into the heart of the financial system in the UK. The same will happen also in the US and other western countries who do not respect our religious beliefs.
- How can you kill people who are also God’s creatures. Is Allah not merciful and desirous of preserving the creatures he created?
- You know not what you say. Shut up you poor excuse for a Muslim. You have no right to speak of Allah and what Allah wishes for humanity. I know all about you and your involvement with the ATU. I also know how you bewitched Manas and weakened him first in Cameroon and then now in the UK. My superiors may not think much of your prowess, but I can see how you are bringing down a great man and an excellent strategist for our Jihad. If I were to have my way, you would not last long and Manas would then be fully occupied by our Sabil (way) to the higher realms.
She chose to keep quiet as she realized that the driver was a zealot and he might kill her if she went too far. He visibly had no respect for the Boko Haram hierarchy and was only drawn to the cause in order to be able to kill the most kafireen as he could. She had seen countless times men like him, so devout to the cause that they would take matters into their own hand regardless of whom they were supposed to answer to. Their leaders were of course unable to punish them overtly as they would then be questioned on their motives and might also lose a large part of their following if it were known that they had castigated a devout follower because he had killed a kafir. There were fine lines within Boko Haram just as there were in the ATU. In reality, the two organisations had quite a lot in common although they were working on opposing sides.
Her mind drifted back to her time at the ATU when she was charged with finding Manas and either bringing him to justice or making sure he died. It had been at a wedding of one of Manas’s cousins and she had yet gotten the order to take him down regardless of who else died with him. She had realised at that time that she would not be capable of doing that and hurting several people who were very likely innocent. There had not been any intel, indeed, on the cousin who was getting married and in all likelihood he had nothing to do with Boko Haram and most of the marriage party were but innocent bystanders. She remembered her boss’s anger at the fact that she had not planted a trigger and left but there was no way she could have done such a thing. She had killed many people but it had been during face-to-face confrontations with terrorists and other armed followers.
She lifted her eyes again and caught the driver looking at her. She looked away, not wishing to ignite again his fury against her and his anger at the thought that he was not allowed to kill her. She could see from the corner of her eye that he was still looking at her seemingly ruminating murderous thoughts about her but she chose to steadfastly look away waiting for them to pull up to her building. Soon enough she found herself next to the building and the driver came out, opened her door and tugged her out of the car unceremoniously. She let herself be hauled out and quickly started walking towards the building hoping that he was not following her. She heard the car start before pulling away and sighed a sigh of relief. When she reached her flat, she could see that someone had got in. The rocks that she put in front of the door to check whether someone had got in were moved about. She opened gingerly the door and looked into the room. She did not have any weapon with her. She decided that if anybody would have wanted to kill her it would have already been done by Abdelkader, Younes or one of their followers. She went right into the flat yelling come out now you cheap bastards. Her heart skipped a beat as Manas emerged slowly from between the plants on the balcony…
Sweet Blasphemy – Dhafer Youssef
She asked the driver to go to Edgware road as he seemed to be taking a different route. She told him curtly that she would prefer if he would take the normal route to Edgware road as she did not think changing the route would get them there faster. The driver simply looked at her in the rear view mirror and said nothing. She started feeling a cold shiver going down her back and her heart started beating faster in her chest. She tried to act like she was not affected at all by his mutism and asked him again pointedly to go through the other route. He just stared at her again without saying a word. She told him she would report him to the station and started typing the number. In one sweeping movement he turned around grabbed her phone and put it in the glove box.
Her heart was beating really fast now. She was not sure whether this was the terrorists taking her away to kill her or whether this was Manas trying to get her to him without the police noticing. After a few minutes settling her racing thoughts, she realized that it was probably Manas trying to get her to him rather than the terrorists kidnapping her as the man could have hit her but just took away the phone instead. She decided that if they wanted her dead she would probably already been dead so she dug her heels into the fabric of the back seat and sat back against the cushion. She was clearly not going to get any information from the driver so she thought it better to save her breath.
The cab drove onwards into small lanes in Westham and then further out into some dingy neighbourhood. It came to a standstill in front of a weather-beaten house with broken windows that seemed on the brink of collapsing. He came around the car, opened her door and then gruffly asked her to come out as he held her arm. As she shrank away from him, he seized her arm stronger and pulled her out unceremoniously. She fell to the ground and he picked her up with both arms under her armpits. He half carried half dragged her into the house which seemed pitch black at first. He then pushed her onto a chair that was at the middle of what seemed to be a living room. In front of her, far from the chair, there was a black man who was looking at her intently.
What do you want from me, she said, attempting to sound self-assured while she was shaking inwards. This was not Manas and she could not identify him as a member of the team who had tortured her when she was in Cameroon. The man just looked at her without answering her question.
- Where is Manas, she said.
- What do you want with Manas, he said
- I want to know where is, whether he is safe
- It is not for you to ensure his safety or query his location
- Please, I just want to know that he is alright. I want to speak to him
- You are a burden, a terrible burden and you are not a Muslim
- I am a Muslim
- No, you are not. You say words that Muslims say but you are not. Look at how you dress. No decency and your hair is for everyone to look at. You would be a disgrace to Muslims if you really professed to be one.
- Have it your way. In any case I just want to speak to Manas
- Forget about him. You must never answer his calls again. You will make no further contact with him. If you attempt to contact him or if I hear that you were with him, that will be the end for you. Do you understand?
- Do you understand I said, he was suddenly so close to her, seizing her by the hair
- Yes I understand
- Now the driver will take you back near your place and you will forget everything about Manas and about us and beware not to tell Manas anything about this encounter.
She nodded and slowly got up. She felt dejected. The perspective of not ever seeing Manas again was so painful that tears welled in her eyes. She heard someone talking softly to the man who had threatened her and it seemed that he was called Abdelkader. The person talking to him seemed to be called Younes and he was talking very respectfully to Abdelkader so he probably was high up in Boko Haram. Perhaps not the faction in Cameroon but possibly Nigeria. She tried to get a good look at him but it was too dark even though her eyes had gotten used to the bad light in the room.
Younes gave her a baleful look after he finished talking to Abdelkader. It seemed like none of them had noticed that she had gotten their names. She was indeed very skilled at finding out what was being whispered and this had helped her a lot when she was in the ATU. Younes came towards her, grabbed her arm and handed her over to the driver. She was totally compliant as she did not want to end up dead here in this god forsaken place. She eyed Younes again to be sure to recognize him. They thought they had had the better of her but she would make them pay when she would reunite with Manas…
Lil Wayne - Drop The World ft. Eminem (Official Music Video) ft. Eminem
Before she could finish thinking about a solution to her predicament, she felt the ground shake. She thought it was an earthquake and peeked out of her flat to see whether she should stay indoors or go out. She could see the tube station which seemed to have caved in with large pieces of metal and rock protruding from the hole that had once been the ceiling of the tube station. She looked all around and there seemed to be no sign of an earthquake. She retreated from the window, slowing realizing that this was a terrorist attack. She could not figure out why there was one in her neighbourhood of Canada Water while Manas had only spoken about Green Park and Bond Street.
She put on the TV and saw gory pictures of what remained from the stations of Green Park and West Minster. It seemed that they had changed their mind about Bond Street. The police were asking witnesses to give their recount of anything suspicious they had seen. Apparently the most deadly hit had been at Green Park. They had not only bombed both sides of the station but they had also bombed some of the neighbouring buildings at Green Park. They had come very close to Buckingham Palace as one of the ISWAP members was working on a building site nearby and had been able to plant a bomb there. The police found two guards who had been taken down at the site and it was obvious that the terrorists had put a trigger there. It was not clear whether the terrorist who activated the trigger had survived.
She felt sick and almost threw up. This was all her fault as she had not alerted the ATU in time. She watched other images of the Westminster massacre and realized that the small dark blots were bodies covered up and it seemed like BBC did not want to show the full extent of the horror that had hit both Green Park and Westminster stations. She knew it was Manas’s men who had triggered this horror in London. His men were probably elated at how much terror they had struck into the hearts of Londoners. That day was going to remain for years in the hearts and minds of not only Londoners but all the English people as well. Boko Haram claimed the terrorist attacks as their own and broadcasted the set-up of the operations, boasting about their ability to trump British intelligence. They had used two terrorists who had been working under cover as Electricians with a black card access to the Tube so they had been able to practically go anywhere.
She looked out of the window again. There was absolutely no reason for them to bomb Canada Water station. Could it have been a warning to her so that she stopped seeing Manas? Was Boko Haram sending a message to Manas so that he would stop seeing her? She could not bear just sitting at her flat so decided to dress up and leave in search of Manas. There was always a code blue that she could use if she needed to see him at all costs. She needed to get to Edgware road so that she could use one of the burner phones that was linked to Manas and type in the code. She decided it was better to get a cab than use the tube as it would be in shambles and with stations on high alert as it wasn’t clear if the terrorist attacks were over. She buckled her belt and looked at the driver. There was something odd about him…
Disturbed - The Sound Of Silence [Official Music Video]
She was thinking that the ISWAP had gotten away with disguising the money trail and she had never been able to establish a proper link during her time at the ATU for Africa. Little did she know that not only her previous boss had been able to link the accounts with an advanced IT team that worked for the ATU but he had also been able to preempt attacks at various strategic locations. Following the money trail had enabled them to assess when a serious attack was being organized and work around the various terrorist cells to stop the attacks without any of the cells actually realizing that the units working against them had the relevant insight from following the money trail. Her previous boss was astute enough to let go some of the smaller attacks to concentrate only on those that would lead to the most massive casualties. Checking what the terrorists were buying from the account allowed them to assess whether it was going to be a nerve gas attack, a bomb or just firing into crowds of bystanders.
She pondered on the time she had also been able to link commercial invoices that she found out were actually matched by the sale of rocket launchers instead of the car spare parts that were indicated on the commercial invoice. Her previous boss had let go of that intel she had got from bribing the customs officer, without organizing raids but rather infiltrating the cell and ultimately new intel came up that the rocket launchers had been sold to a small Al Shabab unit that was operating in Cameroon on a freelance basis. The unit had decided to concentrate its pan-African attacks from Cameroon after a passage through Kenya where the local authorities were too good in identifying Al Shabab cells. She always wondered at why her previous boss chose to use certain intel and let go of other intel depending upon where the intel was and how he could get other intel. There seemed to be no logic in the strategy he used for dealing with the various types of intel and the various groups that intel led him to.
Her mind moved back to Manas. He was probably going to have a hard time ensuring that his part of the Boko Haram organization did not get pulled into what the freelance Al Shabab organization in Cameroon was doing. Manas knew from his operatives on the ground that this group pledged allegiance not to Boko Haram but to a few units of Al Qaeda operating through Qatar and Iraq. Ultimately, the branches of Daesh in Cameroon and Nigeria sought to control this freelance group as well as the Boko Haram unit in Cameroon. She knew that with all that was going on both in Africa and in the Middle East, Manas had to maneuver very carefully to convince the HQ in Nigeria that he was making Boko Haram a force to reckon with and stand as part of a united Islamic front against the kafir westerners. She also knew that his friendship with her was frowned upon by those that knew in his unit and in a couple of others where the rumours of his relationship with her had reached but nobody could do anything against it as very few knew she had worked with the ATU and he could easily argue that she was Muslim or partly Muslim and coming back to the way of God and the Sunnah. Her phone chimed and she saw that she had got two covert messages from Manas that two new attacks were on the radar in Green Park and in Bond Street. A third covert message forbade her from informing anyone as there was apparently a mole in the ATU and any attempt from her to inform the ATU would result in her being beheaded at her residence.
7 Seconds Away ~Youssou N'Dour & Neneh Cherry
After a period of interrogation, the anti-terrorist team released her as they didn’t have anything against her and they could no longer retrieve her to the US as an asset given she was no longer part of the team. They let her go with a sneer and a jeer though and inferred that if they found her with him, they would not hesitate to shoot her down to serve as an example. She merely scoffed and took her belongings before leaving the US embassy in London. She could see that the two who had caught her at the London eye were following her discreetly. They were not so discreet though as to evade her trained eyes. She stuck up her middle finger backwards towards them, showing them she was aware of their presence. She went straight to her flat and decided to sleep for a few hours.
Her phone buzzed for a while before she got up and grabbed it. She had hoped to see Manas but it was someone else who was clad with the same clothing that she had seen Manas wear. He pointed towards a picture next to his face. It was very small and she had a hard time identifying what it was. He then sent her a picture and deleted it after he saw that she had identified it. It was a burner phone and he spoke in Arabic telling her to get something similar. He told her to get the yellow one and she put on her computer and activated the private network application so that nobody could follow her search on the internet if they were hacking her computer. She almost felt like a terrorist herself now that she was trying to avoid the US anti-terrorist unit dedicated to African terrorism that had been hers. He also sent another picture and she quickly took a photograph of it before he could delete it. It was a number in what was now considered as Arabic numerals and she realised it was a UK number to call.
She kept the application on throughout her research and purchased the yellow burner phone. Instead of having it delivered to her, thereby leaving her address, she marked it for collection at the store. She was glad she had got this small payment card that she had used as it could not lead back to her at all and had sufficient money in it to purchase anything else she would need to make her encounters with Manas as safe as possible. Later that afternoon she went and picked up the phone and bought two prepaid sims which she paid with cash rather than the debit card even though it was deemed to keep her untraceable. She walked towards Southwark park and sat on a bench before bringing her phone out. She put in one of the prepaid sims and called the number that Manas’s man had sent her. The phone did not have whatsapp on it and she realized that it would not be possible to put that application on this phone. She heard Manas on the line and her heart skipped a beat.
- How are you, she said
- I am fine Angel. How are you?
- I was so scared for you but I feel better now knowing that you got away.
- Angel, I need you to do something for me
- Anything my love
- Don’t take any tube today that passes by Westminster
- Why, what is going to happen in Westminster?
She felt a cold sweat running down her back. Was there going to be a terrorist attack in Westminster? She could not possibly suspect it and do nothing. So many people could die if she did not report it to the authorities. Manas was not answering her question. He appeared hesitant but then said
- I don’t want you to get hurt. Two opposing factions of Boko Haram are meeting at the station. I really don’t want you to get hurt
- What about the other innocent bystanders?
- They risk less. You risk a lot because your face is now known to the two factions. You could be used to bring me down or as a tool to make me lose control at the leadership level of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
- Understood. I will not go there today
- Today and the following two days might be better actually.
- Yes, okay. I will do as you say
She hung up feeling a pit in her stomach. At the same time, her mind was racing. Should she report this to the authorities or not? If she did report it then the two factions might suspect Manas and she did not want to get him killed. Was he telling her the truth? She knew that Boko Haram wanted to reignite its fame and be counted as a force to reckon with outside of its territory and this might mean that they could have wired up the station to take down westerners together with the other faction that called itself the Islamic State West Africa Province (to be known as ISWAP). Boko Haram could easily send only suicide bombers to the meeting with the ISWAP group and then bomb the whole of the Westminster station. This would cause huge disruptions in the life of thousands of westerners and block all logistics around that area for days if not weeks as well as send a stark message to Islamic State abroad. She felt stuck, incapable of making a decision for several minutes. Then all of a sudden she stood up and went back home after throwing the sim card in a dustbin. She knew what to do.
"Desolation" - Adam Hurst