Bade turned sharply towards the voice, his arms going up in a defensive position. He relaxed when he saw Tunde.
‘Jesus, you scared me. What are you doing here?’ Bade asked.
‘Saw you sneaking around. Seems like you are the only one who knows what he is doing. Decided to stick with you. You want to escape right?’
‘Obviously,’ Bade said shortly.
‘Good, then I suggest you hurry up, things weren’t looking too healthy after I left the boys’ hostel.’
‘If you knew that, then why have you been wasting our time?’ Lola fired back fiercely. Tunde held up his hands in surrender.
‘Alright,’ Bade said, crouching again, ‘I’m going.’ He heard a rustle of movement, and he made the leap, clawing at the wall, but his hands had just barely hooked the top when he heard a grunt and felt a hard body crash into his. Bade fell flat on his back, momentarily disoriented. He got to his knees, shaking his head and trying to bring things back into focus. He looked up to see four masked men around them. Two were restraining Tunde and Lola and dragging them away while the third one who had tackled Bade rose to his feet, dusting himself off. The masked men were dressed like the soldiers in combat fatigues, though they all tied red bandanas around their necks. The fourth one held an Ak-47 rifle with the nozzle pointed directly at Bade. He motioned with the rifle, and raising his hands, he got to his feet. The two masked men walked behind him, prodding him with their guns when he walked too slowly as he slowly made his way to the quadrangle. He walked into a scene from a nightmare. The hostels were still standing, little damage had been done to them and the dining hall. The two wings of the gate hung from their hinges, and the APC was now in the compound. Bade could see still forms lying at the gates where the soldiers had made their last stand. He was astounded at their bravery. The Corpers looked mostly unharmed, both male and female were kneeling in a wide circle, the masked men standing around them. Bade was prodded to his knees in the space beside Tunde and Lola who completed the circle. Lamps had been hung at strategic points on the buildings, and the headlamps of the APC were on, coupled with the fierce moonlight, and the quadrangle was as bright as day.
A tall, black, fat man, dressed similarly to the masked men, without the mask, but with the bandana stood in the centre of the circle, speaking. Bade was surprised that he could understand him as the man spoke in crisp unaccented English. Subconsciously, he had been expecting some Hausa speaking buffoon. The man gestured expansively as he spoke.
‘My brothers and sisters, I promise you, no harm will come to you. Just point out the infidels in your midst and we would deal with them and be on our way. This I swear.’
Bade looked around, suddenly understanding the situation. The fanatics could not tell who was a Christian and who was a Muslim, and if they intended to harm only the Christians, then someone would need to point them out. Bade closed his eyes and began to pray.
‘Speak up my brothers. No harm will come to you, I have sworn it. Let us clean this stain from our land, this abomination. We cannot leave in peace with these people, we are superior to them. Speak and be free.’ The man cajoled. Everywhere remained silent. Surprised Bade looked around again trying to make out the features of those who he knew were Muslims, to figure out what was going on in their minds. Most were looking down at the ground, refusing to meet the eyes of the speaker, while others who were looking up were looking resolute, and Bade felt his spirit lift. Nobody would betray them tonight.
The man seemed to realise the same thing as the smile died on his face. He walked to the corper closest to him, a short, slim man and asked in a deep growl.
‘Christian or Muslim?’
The man stuttered as he spoke. ‘Mu, Muslim,’ He said. The fat man smiled again as he pulled out the handgun he had been wearing at his hip.
‘Recite the Suratul Fatiha’
The Corper still looked scared, but he recited the passage confidently.
The fat man stopped smiling, a look of regret passing across his face. ‘Then why didn’t you speak up and identify them when I asked you to?’ He asked sadly.
The Corper was confused at the emotion he was seeing, and he died with that confused look on his face as the handgun barked and the bullet cut through his heart.
The women started screaming.