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‘You know, for a mere writer you have very interesting connections Mr

Yusuf,’ the white man said. His suffocating American accent


the foetid air of the small room. I looked down at my hands.

‘You forgot the handcuffs.’

The overhead light paused in its buzzing as the American let out

a low laugh, ‘I am so sorry I had to ask you to come like that, it has

given you a false understanding of why you are needed here.’

‘I wasn’t asked. I was ordered… with four Nigerian militants at

my door.’

‘As I said, you have very interesting connections.’

‘Well I could say the same about you. CIA?’ I was demanding an

answer but he pretended that I had only humoured him, though the

tensing of his body suggested otherwise. It took a while until he

decided it was in his interests to indulge me. ‘I am part of an anti-

terrorist force that has allied with the Nigerian army; in particular,

the covert operative section. I am here to seek your assistance.’

I ignored the last few words he said. ‘I guess there is a lot in it for

the West to try to foment a war against terrorism in Africa. I know

the record. If Nigeria goes… Chad goes. Kenya goes.’ I wondered to

myself what ‘goes’ even meant.

‘You were at the site of the bombing in Jos.’ He made a grim

attempt at a smile.

‘I just caught the second bombing, near the bus station.’ I felt the

dull burn of my freshly healing wound creep up the outside of my


‘There were at least 100 deaths and many more casualties –

innocent casualties.’

‘I know the statistics.’ They made me sick.

‘Then you know your people are dying. And you would know that

it would be absurd to refuse foreign aid at such a time; we – you and

me – have the power to intervene, to change this unfortunate course

of warfare. But if we don’t do anything, well, evil would look a bit

like us.’ His certainty imposed itself onto me but deep down I was

already on his side; just scared of the repercussions.

‘Yusuf is a very common Islamic surname is it not?’ He took my

contemplative quietness as consent, his shoulders smoothing as I

replied with a grunt. He continued, ‘I suppose that is why you never

changed it when you left the Boko Haram.’

‘I was never a part of the Boko Haram.’

The Lambs

Of War

Mi-Tu Kieu