Vicinity of Gitarama, Rwanda, April 25, 1994
A little moonlight seeped through the thin clouds, as Craig Hobart glided down clearly hearing the swish of air in his ears, between the triangular straps of the helmet. The ground looked almost completely dark. If he strained his eyes, a feeble glow of two or three lights somewhere below could be seen. A quick glance at the altimeter, mounted on top of his reserve parachute showed the glowing indicator needle just passing the 3,000 – foot mark and moving fast.
The sound of the engine of the Cessna 172 that he chartered in Tanzania got lost among the wind noise a while ago. He couldn’t see it either. The plane’s navigation lights were turned off and in any case Craig’s dark parachute covered a good section of the sky. He actually bought a used, white model from an English jumper at Tanzania’s Mwanza airport, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and after checking it over inch, by inch, gave it a very light misting from two cans of dark grey paint, just enough to darken the chute, without stiffening the fabric.
According to the altimeter – and he hoped that it was calibrated correctly to the high altitude landing – the ground should be coming up soon. Not that he could see it, but it must have been close, if this patch of ground was indeed about five thousand feet above sea level.
Craig pressed his legs together and fervently hoped for a level piece of soft ground.
Something slapped his right arm and his helmet and then came the impact. It felt as if his legs would be driven inside his body. He rolled a bit to the right and crashed hard down on his back.
Thank you, flashed through his mind, as he feverishly tried to orient himself. There was hardly any wind and parachute drag was not an issue. Craig gathered the lines above his head in his left hand and released the harness straps with the other. Then pulled the parachute towards him hand over hand and folded it into a smallish bundle. Then he groped for the strap, holding his leg bag, pulled and felt the weight, which made him feel better. The bag held most of his equipment, including the backpack, more weapons, ammunition, and food. He unclipped the Heckler & Koch MP5 SD 9mm suppressed submachine gun from the front of his combat harness, adjusted the shortened strap around his neck, patted his combat harness for the two ammunition pouches, each holding eight magazines and removed the black gaffer tape, which secured the closing flaps during the jump. The holster holding the Sig Sauer P-226 9mm pistol was on the right side of his belt and the smaller brother of the P-226, a P-239, also in 9mm was resting securely in the holster in the small of his back. Craig took the compact 15-round clip out of the submachine gun, which was meant only for the jump, replaced it with a 30-rounder and slid the loaded small magazine into his right thigh pocket.
Craig glanced up and could dimly see the outline of a tree canopy against the gently moonlit clouds. This must have been what he grazed just before landing. He didn’t even want to imagine the shape he would be in if his fall took him just a meter, or so farther to the right.
Craig felt a bit of soreness around the front of his left knee. He probed and squeezed the area, but could not sense any injury.
I did all right. The landing could have been so much worse. Time to get organized; wonder if there’s anyone lurking in these hills, he thought.
He dragged himself to his feet, leaned down and untied the strap of the leg bag, without letting it go – as he couldn’t see the bag in the dark. Following the strap he grabbed the duffle, unsnapped the hook and reached inside. The impact must have shifted a lot of the contents, but it didn’t take long to find the metal box with the Vietnam war-era SU49/PAS5 night vision goggles. It was outdated technology, but it still would give him a huge advantage. He happened to own this particular pair for years.
He pulled the box, removed the nylon tie holding the cover, removed the goggles and put them on his face, tightening the strap in the back. The switch was easy to find and soon the world turned pale green. Craig looked around slowly, holding the MP5 at the ready. There was nothing, except for a few trees, rocks and grass. It was time to unpack, gear up and bury, or hide the parachute and the bag.
There was a small hollow at the base of the tree that he grazed. The loaded Swiss army backpack came out next, then the boonie hat. He dragged the parachute bundle to the base of the tree and realized that the hollow wasn’t nearly deep enough. Craig muttered under his breath, dropped the bundle and scanned the immediate area. Nothing suitable was in view. Walking a few more steps, he noticed a jagged rock. When he pushed it with his boot it moved a little. Grabbing one of the edges he heaved it to the side. It shifted a bit. He pushed harder, pivoting it around its base. A small hole was under the rock, possibly big enough. Craig dragged the parachute and stuffed it into the hole followed by the now empty duffle bag. He stepped on the pile of fabric, jumping up and down to pack it down. Despite all the efforts, it still stuck out above the ground. He dragged the rock back on top. Pieces of nylon protruded in places. He pushed them in the best he could, then took his Buck Special knife and scraped some dirt over the fabric, then cut handfuls of the tall grass with the knife and covered the area around the rock.
This will have to do. What do I care if someone finds this stuff, anyway?
News was scarce, but Craig did know that by now tens of thousands, or maybe even hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis have been slaughtered by Hutu extremists. The slaughter was being committed by the Hutu militia (mostly the interahamwe) and by the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR). It all started on April 6, just three weeks before, when Rwandan President Habyarimana and the Burundian President were killed when Habyarimana’s plane was shot down near the Kigali Airport. Hutu extremists suspected that the Rwandan president was finally about to implement the Arusha Peace Accords, which were intended to stop the internal violence. The Rwandan regime used violence to harass and silence the emerging internal political opposition. Violence was also used to derail the peace process. After a long period of negotiations in Arusha, Tanzania, the Arusha Peace Agreement was signed on 4th August 1993, but never really put into practice. The orders to kill Tutsis were broadcast by radio shortly after the plane crash and the killings began that very night. Thousands died within hours at roadblocks and in house to house killings.
Many Hutus and Tutsis lived among each other and despite the cultural and ethnic differences, a good number maintained relatively good relations. The Hutus, who befriended Tutsis and especially those, who defended them, or were against the killings, were branded as traitors by the rest of the Hutus and often slaughtered as well.
Craig also knew that Belgium, France and the U.S. sent planes and rescue teams to get their own citizens out of Rwanda, but that no Rwandans were rescued.
Belgium withdrew their troops, after ten Belgian bodyguards of the moderate Hutu prime minister were tricked into giving up their weapons, then tortured and killed.
The U.N. Security Council voted to withdraw the UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda) troops, which were largely useless anyway, standing by, while the slaughter went on.
The Catholic Church did not do much better, failing to protect people, who sought refuge in churches and monasteries.
The only effective force left in the country was the Tutsi Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF). Craig didn’t have any contacts within it or information on the disposition of this force and fervently hoped that he wouldn’t be mistaken by them as some sort of an enemy. He did know that the RPF was operating out of the Congo and Uganda, but that was about all he knew.
The latest horror was not the first in the region. In the early 70s in neighboring Burundi, the minority Tutsi government tried to eliminate the majority Hutu elite, killing upwards of a hundred thousand people.
The awful news coming from Rwanda pissed him off almost as much as the inactivity of the U.S. government and the rest of the world. He believed that sending in a single airborne division would save countless lives and that it could have been deployed by now, three weeks after the start of the slaughter, if there was enough political will and courage. Instead – to the best of his knowledge – he was the only outsider literally jumping in to help.
Craig wasn’t quite sure where to go first. Besides the Michelin road map of Rwanda he also managed to find an outdated topographical one. That helped, but he had no idea what was going on and where. If his hired pilot’s navigation was half decent, he should be a few kilometers south of Gitarama, which was about 100 kilometers west of Rwanda’s capital Kigali. His navigational aids consisted of a Silva Ranger compass and the two maps.
If he was where he was supposed to be, a road south from Gitarama, to Mukingi should be to his west. There was Mutanga Dam and a lake, just south of Gitarama. He wasn’t sure, but there seemed to be a glint of water reflecting the moonlight, as he was descending by parachute. By now he lost his bearings, but probably landed in the right neighborhood.
Instead of traveling cross country he intended to move along the side of the roads, hoping there was enough cover to hide him from sight.
He grunted, while shouldering the backpack. There was a luggage scale at the Mwanza airport, from which he took off in the Cessna and the loaded pack weighted just a shade over 30 kilograms, which translated into about 66 pounds. The pack wasn’t really designed for such loads, although it did have a short external frame and a waist belt. There was no other option. Besides a week’s-worth of U.S. military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), a water filter with a pump, two canteens and a small stainless steel pot, Craig also had a cut-down Remington 870 12 gauge pump shotgun with 100 rounds of buckshot and reloading components and supplies to load another 250 rounds – a weight-saving solution that bailed him out more than once before. Even though he expected to be able to obtain 9mm ammunition fairly easily, he did carry another 500 rounds on top of what was in his loaded magazines.
His only spare articles of clothing were three pairs of undershorts, five pairs of socks, two extra black T-shirts, a woolen long sleeve undershirt and a rain poncho. He also had a basic first aid kit, aspirin, codeine and two dozen penicillin pills.
Knowing that one cannot have too many knives, he also carried a couple of Japanese Spyderco folders, beside his faithful Buck Special.
According to his map the road in the area of Gitarama was supposed to be paved – one of the country’s major highways. He didn’t hope for much, except for adequate cover close to the road.
He only had five sets of spare batteries for the SU49/PAS5 night vision goggles and they weren’t the kind one could buy at a neighborhood 7/11, so he knew that he should be using the goggles sparingly. He switched them off, flipped the oculars up and was instantly surrounded by darkness. Knowing that there was some moonlight, he decided to give his eyes a few minutes to adjust. Pulled out a canteen and took a small, careful sip and chomped down on a piece of beef jerky, one more ingredient of his emergency rations. Craig’s trusty Omega Seamaster showed that it was 2:46 am. Sometimes he wished that it would glow less brightly, but it was hidden under the sleeve of his tiger stripe camouflage shirt anyway. Normally he wore it on a stainless steel bracelet, but for missions like this it was wrapped around his left wrist with a thick, black nylon strap. He pulled out the Silva compass, opened the cover and the dim phosphorescent needle showed that he was indeed facing west. He put the compass back into one of the pockets attached to his web gear and started to slowly and carefully trudge towards what he hoped was the Gitarama road.
Craig wasn’t some desperado or a down on his luck soldier of fortune. He simply could not stomach the fact that an outrage, such as the one in Rwanda was going on and the world was doing next to nothing.
He stood at six feet, one inch, which translated into just over 1.8 meters, had thick, brown hair, with just a tinge of grey in places, brown eyes and a slim, athletic frame. His looks and a good sense of humor seemed to be just the ticket many women were looking for and he could not complain about the lack of popularity among the opposite sex.
He wasn’t an amateur adventurer either, but rather a professional one. He could be living comfortably, without doing any work whatsoever, as his paternal grandfather has been good enough to provide him with ample means. He didn’t know exactly how much his trust fund was worth at the moment. Those details were taken care of by an able administrator. Suffice it to say that he could draw practically any amount he needed, or wanted, without anybody ever questioning his motives, or needs.
Since his teenage years he spent more time with his grandfather, than with his parents. His grandfather’s father and grandfather have been “comfortable” for well over a century. The fortune has been made in railroads, oil, banking and other enterprises and it seemed to be steadily growing. The family was not only extremely liquid, but also had extensive real estate holdings in several countries. People of that ilk would never use the term ‘rich’. ‘Comfortable’ was the more widely accepted term.
As of late, in consideration of his age, Grandpa lived in a tall brownstone, among other similar ones, along Boston’s Beacon Street, overlooking the Charles River. Craig has spent a lot of time there. The house was a treasure trove of art, antique furniture and hundreds of mementoes from Grandpa’s foreign travels and was worth in the neighborhood of $10 million.
There were also some very nice waterfront properties in Rockport, Mattapoisett, Hyannis, Provincetown and several other places as well as a beautiful chalet in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
The house that Craig considered home nowadays was fronting the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. It was sitting on five acres of very prime land since the end of the 19th century, since his great-great-grandfather had it built as a sort of a transitional home, between Boston winters and Florida summers. Originally it had its own dock and even a breakwater, behind which a variety of yachts and boats were kept. The photos of the original house and its surroundings were prominently displayed in simple, but elegant frames throughout the house. The remains of the breakwater have been removed before Craig was born as a hazard to navigation and his 30-foot Dufour Arpege sloop was kept in a nearby marina.
For the longest time, Craig couldn’t decide on a course of study. Since he liked the sea, enlistment in the Navy, or Coast Guard seemed like a great idea, despite his father’s strenuous objections. His grandfather in turn supported his decision, saying that it would be a great experience for the boy, who finally decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy. Shortly after completing basic training at Great Lakes, Craig was sent to San Diego and a destroyer for a familiarization cruise. The skipper seemed to take a liking to him. It was unusual for a lieutenant commander to even a look at a raw seaman, and even more unusual to engage in extended conversations with such a lowly person. The chats soon led to long and very competitive chess games in the captain’s cabin. When the two-week cruise was over, Craig was surprised to receive orders to report to the Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. Twelve weeks later, wearing the single stripe and a gold bar of an ensign, Craig was shipped straight to Virginia Beach and then to Little Creek, Virginia where he passed the initial screening for SEAL training.
It was a surprise. Not that he minded it. After all, the SEALS were considered to be some of the best troops in the world, but he has heard all kinds of stories about Hell Week and other accounts and myths about the training. It took six months, during which he considered quitting about ten thousand times. Most of the stories have proved to be true. The strain was not so much physical as mental and almost every day someone did indeed quit. The first few weeks were the hardest. Towards the end, when the finishing line was almost in view, most of the remaining guys, along with Craig managed to tough it out. Receiving the Special Warfare Insignia, known as the SEAL Trident was a huge source of pride for everyone. Getting a two-week leave, he went to Boston, feeling and looking lean and trim with the Trident proudly displayed on his chest. His father seemed to have gotten over his earlier resistance and now seemed genuinely proud of his boy.
It took another year and a half of specialized training, before he was assigned to a team. Over the next two years he took part in several operations, which he still wasn’t at liberty to discuss. After that he decided to resign his lieutenant’s commission and finally go to college. Since he was always interested in art, his first degree was in Fine Arts – not a very typical choice for a former SEAL. He then got a Master of Science degree from MIT, which made his father – a proud alumnus of that hallowed institution, very happy indeed.
After leaving the Navy Craig wasn’t planning on having any further involvement with the military, but it seemed that the military was still interested in him. Lieutenant Commander Chris Matthews, who befriended him aboard the destroyer, right after basic training, was a captain by then and has become one of top men in Naval Intelligence. His contacts extended all the way into the White House, the National Security Council and he had a close working relationship with the CIA and the NSA as well.
Matthews approached Craig shortly after he finished MIT, suggesting that they could use someone of Craig’s experience and now – education.
What followed, were a series of missions, mainly involving the gathering of intelligence. Craig has traveled to several countries, sometimes as himself and at other times in the guise of a diplomat, properly equipped with a diplomatic passport and cover. He had the opportunity to actually meet and speak with two U.S. presidents, several National Security Advisors and officials of the CIA.
The collaboration with the U.S. intelligence apparatus was fairly random, although, in consideration of the importance of some of the missions and the level of access that he had, Craig was given a Top Secret security clearance and a number of other perks.
He has never actually held a 9-5 job except for his years in the Navy, but kept busy either sailing, traveling, writing and of course working with Rear Admiral Matthews.
The going was fairly easy, through gentle grassy hills with an outline of an occasional tree, or bush visible in the moonlit night. Craig wasn’t a great fan of traditional, high-topped military-style boots, preferring the lower hiking variety, with which he usually wore longer pants in order to keep debris from getting inside the boots. His Fabiano Mountain Boots had already been resoled once, after he completed the Appalachian Trail some years ago, but he kept them, as there was no substitute for comfortable footwear and the Fabianos were certainly very well broken in by now. They were classified as medium weight boots and the soles were fairly thick and hard. He did carry a 15-meter bundle of parachute cord, which would come in handy if the shoelaces needed replacing. He also had a couple of strips of moleskin, which was one of those things one didn’t need, unless it was badly needed.
Craig kept in very good shape. He disliked gyms, but had a weight set at home, which he used a couple of times per week. He also ran, hiked, swam, scuba-dived, skied (both downhill and cross-country), regularly visited a shooting range and of course sailed.
Despite the darkness and the need for careful footing, Craig’s mind wandered back to his last tryst with his girlfriend Cathy. Shortly before he left for Rwanda they went sailing aboard his vintage, late 60s French Dufour Arpege sloop, which he kept close to his house, in a small marina on the west shore of the Chesapeake Bay, some 25 miles south of Annapolis.
Cathy wore her usual skimpy bikini, barely covering her private parts. They’ve been together for over three years and there wasn’t anything Craig hasn’t seen, or touched, but that day she looked particularly appealing. The tight butt, shapely, muscular legs and medium-sized, but firm and shapely breasts seemed ripe to be touched. She obviously felt his thoughts.
“Why don’t we anchor? More privacy than at the marina, “she said.
Craig smiled, glanced at the depth meter, which showed 30 feet, meaning that they could drop anchor almost anywhere.
“Grab the tiller sexy,” he said, heading into the wind. “I’ll drop the sails”.
Cathy gripped the varnished mahogany stick, while Craig released the starboard jib sheet and wrapped the roller furler line around a winch, pulling it and wrapping the sail neatly around the jib stay.
He then went forward, opened the bow locker, checked if the bitter end of the anchor rode was cleated and took the 25-pound Danforth off its bracket on the bow pulpit.
“Anchors away,” he sang out, lowering the anchor slowly into the water.
He could see that the boat was already slowly drifting back, just as he expected. Letting the anchor rode through his gloved hands he could feel it reach bottom. The line slid through his hands. The 100 foot marker went into the water, then the 125 and finally the 150-footer. A 5-1 scope would be quite enough for a short stay and with relatively calm seas and moderate wind. Craig cleated the line, letting the anchor bite into the bottom. After a while he touched the rode and feeling no vibration – meaning that the anchor wasn’t dragging, headed back to the port side of the mast, where the mainsail winch was mounted.
“Trim up the mainsheet,” he yelled to Cathy and started uncleating the main halyard.
After Cathy pulled in the mainsheet, Craig released the halyard from the cleat, unwound it from the drum of the winch and pulled the sail down hand over hand, then draped it over the boom. Since they weren’t planning to stay very long, he just pulled two sail ties from his back pocket and wrapped them around the boom and the sail.
The sex was better than ever. Craig had a flight to Nairobi booked the next day and the news from Rwanda was scary. Cathy tried to convince him that this one-man army idea was insane, but Craig was so determined to do something, even if he just managed to kill a few murdering Hutus, that she soon gave up. Cathy was a free-lance journalist and has traveled extensively and faced many dangers, but Craig’s Rwanda idea seemed incredibly risky to her.
By the time Craig got back to the cockpit, pulled off his gloves, and looked into the cabin, Cathy had her bikini bottom off and her butt high up in the air, while looking back through her legs with a grin from ear to ear on her face turned completely upside down. Craig did not use the companionway steps, but lowered himself holding the edges of the cabin trunk, wrapped his arms around her from the back, and dragged her forward past the galley and the navigation table to the portside bunk. He caught a glimpse of her oval face, the perfect teeth and the dark blonde hair. He knew that she was a real blonde, but one couldn’t tell on that particular day, as she was freshly and cleanly shaved.
Needless to say, it didn’t take them long to get started and when they approached climax, Craig thought he would never stop, collapsing with his whole weight on top of Cathy, who wrapped her arms around his back.
“Don’t move,” she whispered hoarsely. “I want to savor this.”
Craig almost fell headlong, after tripping on a rock, or whatever it was in the pitch darkness.
Shit! Keep your mind on what you’re doing, he thought.
This was not the place to be reminiscing about sex on the Chesapeake Bay, but a war zone, where people were being slaughtered by the thousands, just because they were of a different tribe.
Twenty minutes have passed since Craig started walking west, hopefully toward the road to Gitarama. At this rate he couldn’t have walked more than half a mile.
It was warm, but not hot. The altitude made Rwanda’s climate quite moderate, despite its equatorial location.
Craig spoke some French, Italian, a little Polish and good Spanish. Besides tribal dialects, English and French were Rwanda’s two official languages. Germany controlled the region up to WWI, when the Belgians took over. He hoped that he would not encounter too many problems as far as communicating with people. The crux of the problem was mainly, which people, where and how.
Craig’s topographical map did not show vegetation, just terrain features and altitude. He fervently hoped that there would be tree cover farther on and especially along the road. He picked the Gitarama area on a whim. It was within flying distance from Mwanza and it was along the road to the capital, Kigali. Besides that, he really didn’t know much about it.
Not for the first time he asked himself. What am I doing? Can I really help these people and will I make it out alive to see Cathy again?
The custom pistol grip of the cut down Remington 870 shotgun was protruding from the top of his rucksack, within easy reach. The silenced H&K MP5 was hanging diagonally across his stomach, ready for instant use.
Craig didn’t expect to meet anyone out here, but had to be ready for anything. His tiger stripe uniform was of the darkish variety. His face and hands were smeared with dark green camouflage paint. He could easily blend into the surroundings, but there would need to be some cover to blend into. The occasional trees didn’t offer much comfort. His best concealment bets were irregular clumps of waist-high grass.
Whether he reached the Gitarama road soon, or not – whatever the conditions were there, he was keenly aware of the fact that the sun would be coming up somewhere behind him in about two hours and that he had to be in some place of concealment by then, scoping out the situation.
The next town along the road from Gitarama to Kigali was Nyamabuye. There was bound to be people in the area, possibly Tutsis needing help and of course Hutu military and militias.
Something moved to his right front. Craig crouched down, flipped the night vision goggle lenses back over his eyes, but before turning on the power, changed his mind. He didn’t want to lose his night vision.
Instead he reached for his Steiner 8X30 Marine binoculars. They were his favorites. Compact, waterproof and even when sailing he used them more often that the standard 7X50 glasses. They didn’t gather the light as well as the 7X50s, but were light and compact, and from long experience he knew that he could see much better in the dark through them, than with his naked eyes.
Slowly he raised them up, scanning what turned out to be a wall of trees.
Ooff! There is tree cover after all!
He couldn’t see anything moving. There was nothing beside the trees and the stalks of grass before them.
Must have been an animal of some sort…
He slowly stood up. Hanged the binoculars around his neck and resumed his slow walk. Taking another small swig of water from the canteen, he resolved to keep a sharper lookout.
The forest couldn’t have been more than 500 meters away and the highway should be just beyond that.
Reaching the trees Craig was engulfed in almost complete darkness. To avoid going in circles, he checked his compass every few minutes. The trees appeared in front of him at the last second. After bumping painfully into a trunk, he slowed down a bit and shuffled his feet to avoid stepping on dry twigs and branches and making a louder noise.
As it seemed that the forest would never end, he realized that he could actually see some shapes. The sun was coming up at his back. Not that he could see it, but the change in light was unmistakable.
Just then he heard a faint sound of an engine, probably a truck. He knew that sound didn’t travel far in the woods, so the road must be fairly close. He adjusted the MP5 and held it in both hands. Only after he arrived in Tanzania, he realized that a night scope for the submachine gun would have been nice. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get a hold of one in time. When preparing for the trip he also debated whether taking some sort of a longer-range weapon would be a good idea and rejected it. It was hard enough to smuggle his other weapons into Kenya and then Tanzania. There was also only so much he could carry and still be able to move quickly if needed.
With the light getting better Craig could stop worrying about bumping into trees. His full attention was concentrated on walking as quietly as possible and scanning the area around him, not just in front.
He held the MP5 loosely, but at the ready. A loud crack made him crouch, before he realized that it was a dry branch that he carelessly stepped on.
Watch it, stupid! That could have been heard all the way to Kigali!
He listened, but there were no other sounds, except for occasional birds chirping.
He kept moving, after taking the night vision goggles off his head and stashing them in the rucksack, next to the shotgun. There were definitely more bird noises, as the creatures were waking up and greeting the new day. Bird noise was nearly always a good sign. If there were people, or any predators around, especially dangerous ones, the birds tended to keep silent.
Another vehicle was approaching. It was impossible to tell from which direction, but the road must have been really close. It again sounded like a truck and a fairly new one at that.
Must be the army, he thought.
If so, it was the Hutus – the enemy. He squeezed the pistol grip of the MP5 and raised it a bit, as he started to instinctively walk in a slight crouch, still scanning the area around him, but especially the area directly in front.
What is that?!
Craig went down on one knee and grabbed the binoculars. It took nearly a second for the auto focus to sharpen the image.
He could see two. Seemed like a man and a woman. He also saw a glint of something. Possibly a machete, which around here were known as pangas. He screwed his eyes tighter. It was indeed a man, a pretty big one and a slight woman. They were hiding behind a tree, looking towards the road.
There would be no reason for Hutus to hide, so it must be Tutsis, he thought.
He decided to get closer. Crawling would not be necessary, but he started to walk very slowly and carefully, holding the MP5 at the ready and with the safety off. After walking about twenty steps, he could see some light through the trees.
It must be the road. Just beyond those people.
There was no point on beating around the bush. If they were Tutsi, he very much wanted to make contact, but if they turned out to be Hutus, he could drop them silently with the MP5, without anybody hearing a thing.
Craig’s hissing immediately startled the couple. The man jumped up, waving the machete and the woman hid behind his bulk. They obviously didn’t spot Craig. He raised his left hand and gave a small wave. This produced a muffled shriek from the woman.
“I’m a friend!”
The couple didn’t relax. The man stuck the machete towards Craig, who kept approaching slowly, holding the submachine gun’s grip, but with his left hand raised. When he was within about ten paces, he decided to open the conversation.
“Do you speak English?”
At first the man didn’t say anything. His eyes darted from Craig’s gun, to his green-smeared face. It must have been obvious that he was white.
“Who are you?”
The English was heavily accented, but clear. The man remained on guard and all Craig could see of the woman was part of her face peeking out from behind him.
“I am a friend and I’m here to help. Are you Tutsi?”
“Yes, we are,” he pointed towards the road, “Hutu are killing us. I only have my daughter now. Everyone dead.”
So that must have been a Hutu military truck.
“Are the Hutu patrolling the road?”
The man nodded.
“The lorry…it just went on the road. Many soldiers. Where do we go?”
Craig wished he had an answer, as he didn’t know where he was going himself.
“Not sure where, but we are going together”