Am I a cheap bastard my Angel, he said smiling with that beautiful smile that made her heart beat faster.
Of course, not she answered while throwing herself into his arms. How are you, she whispered her head buried against his collarbones.
I am well and so happy to see you in a single piece, he said.
She found out that he had been informed about Abdelkader’s visit and his intention to see her and scare her off. She also found out that the Head of Boko Haram in Nigeria had asked both Abdelkader and Manas to step up the operations in the UK. It would seem that they wanted to have a significant event on the 5th of May at Westminster to mark their stronghold in the UK. The earlier bombing had not been significant enough and they had received confirmation that the bombing had not been strong enough to completely destroy the tracks and Transport for London would be repairing everything in a matter of weeks. They had hoped to cause more damage than that and that is why the Boko Haram cell in Nigeria was connecting with the followers in London to inflict more damage, especially at that date as the next day would see the crowning of the new King. They wanted to make sure those plans were thwarted.
- Why are you telling me this, she said
- I am telling you so that you do not take the tube that day and the day after as more attacks may follow above ground.
- What if I told the ATU or the local authorities
- If you tell them then we will both be dead. There are several Muslim policemen and a few of them are followers of Boko Haram although you would not know this by looking at them. The information is bound to come back to them and if they identify you then this would lead them straight to me and they would report me to the cell in Cameroon or Nigeria.
- I can imagine I would be dead but why you`? Aren’t you their leader in Cameroon?
- My credibility took a blow when you informed the authorities about the projected bombing of Westminster after I had informed you. This time I will not be able to escape suspicion as most of the cell members know that you are my girlfriend. They will be sure that it was me who informed you.
- Why do you not forego this life my love. I am sure that if you gave it up the ATU might actually be able to use your skills to catch other terrorists. You are an incredibly intelligent man and I know you have the physical capacity to keep up with ATU members
- I cannot do that my Angel. This is the life I have chosen for myself because our countries have suffered under the colons and Muslims have been repressed for so long. In Cameroon the situation flares up sometimes and we have to make ourselves heard. We have to be a force to reckon with so that the West may listen to our demands.
- I thought it was all about killing kafireen and increasing the number of Muslims
- That too, my Angel but also letting the countries that do not allow Muslims to practice their faith properly know that they may not continue what they do.
- But the UK is not one of those countries.
- The UK has another purpose. It is an important financial center. Our purpose is to cripple the most financial centers the West has and then put at the forefront those centers that Muslims are backing. This is also why I was in Dubai. It was possible to assess how far Dubai could go. I also went to Malaysia to assess whether they could take over parts of the operations.
She fell silent. She simply could not understand how a man as intelligent and loving as Manas was could be a terrorist and align with the dogma taught by them. She understood in part the anti-colonial aspect as she too came from two countries where colonialism had left deep scars in the countries and the looting by colons had impoverished them. Yet she could not see herself as capable of being a terrorist. Then again, if she kept quiet about the projected bombings, was that not terrorism by absence of communication to the authorities. If she did mention something, though, she would not even know if she was mentioning it to one of the followers of Boko Haram who had infiltrated the police. It could also be Al Shabab followers. Should she risk her own life in order to save people she had never met? Would it be possible for her to live life without any regrets if she did not mention it at all and attempt to stop it?
Manas could see she was torn between different decisions so he took her by the shoulders and told her that it would not change a thing as they would just change the date and both of them would be dead for nothing. He tried to make her see that it would all just be pointless and their families would also suffer from the fact that they would no longer be alive.
She pulled away from him. She felt all at once exasperated with his convictions and so drawn to him that she only wanted to be back against him again. She told him she was not sure she could just leave things as they were even though she risked being killed. She could not let him be killed though and she knew for having undergone it how horrible their methods were when punishing someone. They would no doubt punish him much more than they had punished her as he would have been the cause for their plans to fail. She threw her arms around him and cried against his chest. I know it is difficult for you he said and held her closer.
Wael Kfoury ... Kifik Ya Wajaai
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
She knew she had to alert the Terrorist unit that had been hers for so many years. She picked up her other mobile and called the head of the unit. After an exchange of salutations and a few pleasantries, he asked her what the purpose of her call was as she had been excluded from the unit by her boss who had asked the head of the unit to refrain from speaking with her anymore and to ensure other members of the unit also did not exchange with her. She answered that an attack might be imminent in Westminster but she did not know for sure there would be trouble. She explained that it was expected that individual cells from Boko Haram and ISWAP would meet at the station and perhaps things could go awry from there. He asked her for a few other details and finally told her not to worry and that the unit would be ready for them the whole day and the couple of days after that if they did not arrest them the same day.
After hanging up, she wondered whether it was really the best choice. She had no idea whether Manas would also join the Boko Haram cell. After all he was the head of Boko Haram in Cameroon and he might need to prove his value to the headquarters in Nigeria. She wondered whether she should call him and tell him not to join the meeting but she had already broken her burner sim and she was not sure she would have enough time to get a new sim so she just typed ATU coming on her phone and hoped that Manas would see it in time to avoid the Westminster meeting. After that she ran to the shop to purchase another sim which she used to call the other number for Manas. The phone rang several times but nobody picked up. She kept calling, all the time worried that something happened to him. Suddenly she saw a message flashing on her normal mobile. It said “OK, out”. She felt so relieved that he was no longer in any danger.
She wondered what was happening with the other members of the two cells. She tuned into the frequency that the members of her old unit used to use. The satellite phone she had was able to link into the frequency and she heard everything her old team was saying. Funny that they had not changed the frequency after her departure, she thought. The head of the unit probably thought she would not remember it but he visibly did not realise how good with numbers she was and underestimated her incredible capacity to learn strings of numbers without any problem. She was not just a tactical part of the team, her ability to leverage a person’s psychological issues in order to turn them away from what she wanted them to stop doing was considerable and had made her boss interested in deploying her in the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU).
When she was in the ATU for Africa, she had been able to decipher several transfers of money using her pattern-matching capacities. It was thanks to this that she had been able to establish that several transfers coming from high-ranking officials in Qatar were funneled into an Islamic organization that professed to be a non-profit for building mosques and then routed through the disguise of Sadaqah, or charity towards the poor, to reach a similar organization in Nigeria and be distributed to what looked like ISWAP’s accounts in Nigeria. It was difficult in practice to establish that these accounts were indeed ISWAP’s accounts because the front was a non-profit that looked like a charitable organization but when you linked all the entities with the payments made and you realized that the individuals who received the payments were indeed suspected ISWAP members, you knew that these had to be ISWAP accounts. The only problem was that they could not establish for certain that these individuals were ISWAP members because they were perceived as God-fearing individuals who were devout Muslims and there was no actual proof of wrongdoing. In the time she worked with the ATU, she had never established a clear link and her unit was never able to bring the ISWAP down through the money trail as they had to proceed with caution, owing to local cultural and religious sensitivities
Enigma - The Rivers Of Belief
She looked again at Manas’s beautiful black face filling the screen with his lips parting on pearly white teeth in such a beautiful smile that it made her heart ache with longing. His face seemed to pop out of the screen.
She smiled back, yet she wanted to know the truth, even if it were to hurt her.
- Did you order my torture, Manas?
- How could you think that my angel?
- I don’t know. It seemed impossible that your supporters would do it without your permission.
- Those who have tortured you have been castigated. I know I cannot make it up to you, I can never remove the effect the torture had on you, but I have punished those who took it into their hands to punish you for my imprisonment. As soon as I was let out of prison, I tended to that.
- It was awful
- I know. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I should have left instructions that you should not be touched but everything happened so fast, and we had to run away from your anti-terrorist team.
- I forgive you. I see now that it could not have been you and you did not have time to make sure nothing happened to me.
- Meet me alongside the Thames, near the London Eye at 4 pm
- Tea-time! I see you are getting acquainted with the locals
- Anything for you, my angel. I have followed the change of your career and know that it is now here that you have settled down. I want to be with you and give you the best of myself.
- What about your terrorist gang? Are you going to be attacking civilians here?
- I wish I could answer you, my angel. Let’s not think about things that separate us. We have so much to catch up about. I have missed you so much
- Me too
The words almost suffocated her. She had missed him so much that it actually hurt her. She felt as if her chest had been bashed in, so difficult it was to breathe. She quickly put on her clothes and ran towards the tube. It would not take her long to get to the London Eye from Canada Water. She kept wiping nervously her hands on her jeans as she was sweating profusely, and her hands were wet too. She wondered what it would be like to be in his arms again. Would his love for her be the same? Had he been with other women while they were not together? What had he been doing after his release from the Cameroonian prison?
She got down at Waterloo and walked towards the London Eye. From far she could see Manas. He was disguised and now had a beard on as well as a wig, but she could easily recognize him. Suddenly she felt someone gazing at her on the side and turned to see one of her team members from the Cameroon operation. She also felt someone staring at her from the back and turned around to see another of her team members. They were closing in on her and she realized that her phone must have been tapped.
The good thing was that they had not yet recognized Manas so she turned around and looked squarely at the team member behind her. She pushed him and he fell to the ground. The other team member at her side closed in on her and caught her wrists. Stop fighting, he said but she started throwing punches at him while kicking at the other man who was trying to hold her legs. She saw Manas slowly back out of where he was and then turn and walk away. At least he is safe, she thought as her two team members jointly held her by the wrists and legs.
Norah Jones - Come Away With Me (Official Music Video)
She thought back to those dark moments when she had been tortured while Manas was in captivity. It had seemed to last ages although it was only two weeks as she had discovered later. At the beginning of the torture, she was full of the resolve to fight and avoid giving crucial information, but it did not seem like they were searching for any information at all. They had put her feet in a bucket of water and periodically one of the three torturers present would put a wire in the bucket making her experience what seemed like a thousand shockwaves jolting through her body. They had kept doing it systematically until she lost consciousness. She could hear the prayers throughout the day while she was being tortured and that gave her the sense of what time of the day it was.
She was never left alone, even during the time for prayers, as there was always one guard watching over her. The second day they had attached wires to her genitalia and every time the electricity went through it felt like her genitalia were on fire. Later, when she attempted to urinate, she found it was even more excruciating to pass urine than to suffer the electricity going through her genitalia as the effect of the burning lasted. She pleaded for a bucket of water but there was no moving them it seemed, even though she had started pleading in Arabic and invoking the name of Allah in her request. At last, one woman she had not seen before came to her and gave her a sponge filled with water so that she may wipe herself. This apparent mercy was no doubt due to the fact she had invoked the name of Allah and had done so in Arabic.
That temporary mercy did not last long though and they resumed torturing her. This time she was whipped repeatedly until she lost consciousness. She was then awakened with salts and whipped again. She could feel the skin on her back tear in smaller pieces than she could imagine possible. At the same time, they were repeatedly telling her something in a language she could not understand. A few moments later, one of the torturers who had understood her plea in Arabic came forward and said that she was being punished because she had persuaded Manas to give himself up. She understood from him that Manas was their leader and him going to prison exposed them all to getting caught if Manas talked under torture in prison. She answered that it had been necessary to keep him from being killed. She tried to explain to the man that being in a Cameroonian prison was a better option than him being caught by the US anti-terrorist squad operating in Cameroon. This did not end her ordeal though and she was tortured day after day with only a few hours of rest in the evening when they went to rest leaving only one guard watching her.
One day, without any warning, she was given new clothes and taken into a house that was in front of the shed where she had been tortured. The woman who had given her the sponge earlier took her to a bathing room where she was cuffed at both the hands and the ankles before the woman gently eased her into a bathtub full of warm water. Instead of soothing her, the contact with the water just seared the scars all over her body. She did not complain though as she realized they may be reaching an ending of some sort. It could be that they would kill her or that they would release her. She prayed it would be the latter and indeed, after slowly applying the sponge all over her body gently and attempting to clean her skin as much as she could on the back and with a bit more vigor on her front side, the woman asked her to stand up. As she stood up, the woman applied gently a balm to her back and gave her some asking her to apply it to her genitalia.
She was then clothed gently with a white linen shirt and a matching flowing white linen skirt. She was then blindfolded and left in front of the US embassy where her boss had taken over from the embassy officials and told her she would be leaving in a day or two to Dubai. Her thoughts were immediately for Manas and she wondered whether she would ever see him again. She felt saddened and at the same time angry at her boss for his lack of empathy considering what she had endured. She also wondered: was Manas the person who had ordered her to be tortured in that way? Could it possibly mean that he did not love her anymore? She tried to soothe herself by thinking back to the days when they were together and to how much she had been happy with him. No, undoubtedly, Manas had not been the one to order her torture. She closed her eyes and could see behind her closed lids the beautiful image of Manas smiling at her. It was only that which had kept her sane during the torture.
Fadl Shaker &Yara Akhedni Maak فضل شاكر و يارا - خدنى معك
It had been difficult to get Manas to surrender to the police in Cameroon. Not only because he would not have volunteered himself but also because she did not feel like turning him in. The time before she had taken him to the police was filled with days of laughing and visiting the forests and nights of lovemaking. One night though, she had realized that her team was closing in on them and she had confessed everything to Manas. More important was the fact that she confessed to him that his case would be better off with the local policeman than with the anti-terrorist team who had been asked to either bring him alive to justice or just shoot him if their mission was starting to be difficult. The morning after she had the realization about her team, they hid in a truck which was then driven towards the police station in Douala, Cameroon. The truck had dropped them off at the police station where she had asked to be dispatched to the US Embassy as a US Citizen with diplomatic status. Manas was immediately taken by the police and put in chains. Before being put in separate rooms he had walked towards her, his eyes shining and a smile on his face and told her that they would soon be together again.
She did not hear from him again for several weeks and she had been demoted and posted in Dubai where her anti-terrorist expertise was not used. She dwelt very little on the terrible things that had happened in the first two weeks before she was relocated. Her boss was seething at her initially for not having brought Manas to the drop off point as agreed when she met him or at least put the explosive and plant the trigger so they could bomb the shack where the marriage was taking place. After some thought, she was not fully let go off but was assigned to the trade commissioner’s team and meant to bridge between the UAE nationals’ companies and the US corporate interests in the UAE. While she was in the UAE, she had been contacted several times by someone who wrote to her at the UAE number that she had got from one of her procurement associates that she worked with, out of the sphere of her official job. The writing seemed extremely similar to the words that Manas would use. She started getting used to the daily communication and wrote as if it were Manas himself indeed writing to her. At one point her correspondent suggested meeting at a café in a mall and she went there but did not meet anyone. Just before she had left the café, however, someone with the stature of Manas but with hair had attempted to get inside the café before looking pointedly towards the right and aborting his attempt. She had then seen stroll through three emiratis in their national outfit. It was obvious, however, to her trained eyes that these were secret service agents. It looked like they just did not want the encounter to happen but disturbed neither her nor the man who had fled the mall.
After that potential brief encounter, the job she was doing was no longer sufficient to take her mind of Manas and was not even remotely connected to what she wanted to do so she had resigned. She was now an adviser on security in the private sector and most of her work was around choosing the right security teams for different types of jobs as well as building secure hideouts or camps for different types of individuals or corporates. Initially recruited by a security company in Dubai, she had slowly branched out of the Gulf and then started her own security company in the UK, advising high net worth individuals and corporates on security. She was based in London and had very few friends but was all the much better for it. Friends were a liability that brought you down in hostage situations and she did not want to have that kind of a weight put on her shoulders. It was then that Manas had reached out to her directly first sending a message to her phone and then contacting her over whatsapp. She had watched with longing as his face filled the screen, smiling like he had done when she had first met him. “Hello my angel”, he said and the tears had welled in her eyes. She knew that it was not him but his terrorist gang who had got to her the first two weeks after he had been turned over to the policeman but his face rekindled those dark memories. At the same time, she could not look at his face without feeling such elation.
3 Daqat - Abu Ft. Yousra
She was walking for almost an hour now, always with the Thames by her side. Her thoughts went back to Manas and how she had met him first in a small hut-like construction in Cameroon. She had landed quite abruptly in the field near his house and had hid the parachute under the sand and foliage beneath the trees. She had removed her jumping gear and shoved it under the sand before straightening her clothes. She could not see the remaining members of her team and remembered that she had seen no member of her team jump after her. She knew what her mission was anyway: look for and then report Manas once she had identified him. She had headed towards the house and found the household in great agitation and fuss, celebrating a marriage.
Without further warning, she had been whisked into the cohort and had become part of the celebration. With her local clothes on, nobody suspected her of any ulterior motive than just the wedding celebration. She had looked around for Manas and identified him sitting next to the bride. She looked at the wristwatch with the small camera, but the camera place seemed damaged. She had turned it nevertheless towards Manas and the bride, hoping that the camera would transmit the images of Manas to her team in the airplane that seemed to have vanished in the skies.
They probably will come back after viewing the images sent by her camera she had thought. She had sunk into a small couch next to several other women and joined the celebrations, keen to keep her identity safe. Manas had walked over towards her, his smile engaging and charming like she was told it would be. Her boss had predicted accurately that she would be Manas’ type and that this would lead him to bring his guard down. Manas had bowed towards her, with his hand extended, inviting her to dance alongside him like the Muslims in Cameroon did. She had stood up and had slowly been taken by the banter and the dance and almost forgotten what she had come here to do.
She looked back at the Thames and threw a stone in it, watching the ripples grow as the water was displaced by the impact. One of the images that haunted her mind was Manas standing in front of the policemen in Cameroon where she had taken him, and he had not fled. He was free now, walking sometimes in the streets of London when he needed to but all she could think of was the Manas in chains in Cameroon smiling at her, with his followers at his side. She realized that the only reason Manas was free now was because some policemen in Cameroon admired his jihadism and one of them had released him making use of the lax state of security in Cameroonian prisons.
Her story with Manas had been a very controversial one when her boss realized that she was actually falling in love with the man she was supposed to bring to justice. She had been demoted and was no longer on the anti-terrorist team so she resigned and joined the private sector. She thought back to how the story had evolved. It seemed so long ago now while it had only been 6 months since she had first met him. She remembered how he had reached out to her when he had first got out of prison. She had wondered how he had found her in London as she was not on the phonebook and not a registered voter. She threw another stone in the Thames and realized that it was raining, making more ripples than with just her stone. Her love story with Manas had begun in a very strange way so it was probably just as well that it could lead to strange things. She let her mind drift…