Bruises of the Civil war: Life without a leg (Part 6)

Posted: February 1, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Kur Wël Kur, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Kur Wël Kur, Juba, South Sudan


February 1, 2017 (SSB) — Two days later, M.O.T (Nhials Kech)’s two bodyguards spilled into the compound, reared by one guard, then Nhials strutted in, and finally, his three experienced guards witnessed the closing of the compound gate. Nhials was heavily guarded because of his position in his battalion. Several other officers with the same ranks (lieutenant commanders), but with the roles in logistics, communications, and trainings received less attention in regard to their security.

His bodyguards routinely received security briefings on holes and strengths in officers’ security from the head of military intelligence (MI). In alignment with MI advice, Nhials always sat far off from the fence in his compound. His guards’ bench was positioned against the fence so whenever the four guards sit on it they create a barrier, humans’ shield; one guard at the gate, and the other would patrol the whole compound: behind the kitchen, around Nhials’ hut, behind Elizabeth’s  that became Elizabeth and Martha’s hut, behind three huts for guards( two in a hut).

As a military intelligence policy, guards were not allowed to play entertaining games: dominoes, cards, chess or any attention demanding games. The policy came into effect when one of the top military operations tacticians got assassinated with his bodyguards. They were playing cards, laeib alwaraq, when a local whom they took for a neighbour joined them to play cards.

After they were drawn in the game, the stranger in the name of a neighbour strolled to the latrine and skulked back with his right hand in the pocket. He dropped the grenade in the circle where the cards lain stacked. The victims tried to react, but the grenade detonated, shredding them into pieces. The assassin attempted to ease away, but the grenade got his legs. Legless, he slithered on his belly. The explosion had alerted a knot of neighbours who swarmed around him (the assassin).

 His interrogations that involved heavy torture humbled him to confess his connection with the enemy. The military intelligence guys dug information out of him on how he planned the assassination. “I descended the Russian F1 hand-grenade (famously known as little lemon by Russian soldiers, a pineapple-looking  grenade) behind the latrine. Then I walked into the compound through the gate. After I watched the game for some time I visited the latrine to collect the grenade and to fuse it; raced back and released it directly in front of the commander,” He said under his heavy sniffles. He died in two hours after his confession.

After M.O.T Nhials Kech was seated, facing the fence, his four bodyguards sat on the bench, the other two guards settled in their respective positions, Martha Bil trudged to where Nhials was seated for a handshake. She shook his hand; and then guards’ hands, and stood with her eyes riveted on her toes; hands laced in front of her just below her belly. Nhials shot a glance to his guards and one of them volunteered to offer her a chair that was idling at the guards’ sitting area. She sat eyes down.

Nhials saw the same likeliness of his wife in Martha Bil; especially her ostrich’s egg- shaped face, the muscular calves, the slender nose, except the hair, her hair was curly and not wet- looking.

“Hello Martha, how are you?” Nhials said.

She hesitated to respond. Because the shyness had paralysed her so the words squeezed out of her mouth in a childish manner.

“Greetings… uncle.” She managed to say.

Nhials’ and Martha’s conversation was much of a one man’s talks because Martha    was just responding with a stressful tone. She couldn’t wait to be let go. Nhials understood her thoughts so he quit asking her.

“Thanks, Martha for coming over; you can go now.”

Relieved, Martha raced back to their sitting-area. She almost stumbled over her own feet.

A week after her arrival, Martha Bil was introduced to tasks she was required to perform. Akuol Manguak advised her to do half of the domestic tasks Elizabeth Aliet used to labour to get them done alone. And they settled into the routines of sharing the labour nicely and easily.

At the end of 1988, Torit fell into the hands of ALL People Liberation Army (APLA). So a letter of transfer was read over the long range radio set R-147.

And it reads:

To: The commander of the Lion Battalion, CDR Bak Bak,

In Ngalangala and its co-ordinated and liberated areas.

From: C-in –C, the head of all armed forces.

Address withheld.

Dear Cmdr. Comrade Bak Bak,

Greetings in the names of our liberation and of New Sudan. I hope our forces in your command are doing well and staying healthy. As you’re aware that our forces stormed Torit and captured it on 21st December, 1988 at 5 A.M yesterday morning. With Torit in our control, our forces are eyeing Juba; Thanks to God with Whom all things are possible.

With this letter, I am requesting M.O.T Nhials Kech to fill a position left vacant in a battalion in Torit. So, as soon as this letter reaches you, Nhials must be on his way to Torit.

For any clarification, don’t hesitate to contact me.


With best regards,

Signed by: C-in-C.

As M.O.T Nhials prepared for his transfer, his mother, Nyankoot Bolak was busy looking for a girl as Nhials, her son’s wife. Nyankoot Bolek was from Aliab so her family cattle were not raided when the 1991 massacre occurred in her marital subtribe. Paying dowries for her son’s wife wouldn’t be a problem.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address, city and the country you are writing from.


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