Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 73
Habib’s arrogant eyes flickered with violent rage.
‘What a dirty murderer.’
Tombye avoided Habib’s gleaming eyes.
Habib’s cold personality and racism towards tribes had caused people to lose their faith in the FROLINAT. Although they were in the same boat, Tombye felt as though Habib was a ticking time bomb.
“Habib, calm down. You are the creator of this plan. Makumbo has been with us for many years. I believe that he is faithfully following the plan to give us more time. I’ve received reports that the French special forces called The Badgers are still sweeping through Sahel. I’ve also heard that there were many losses on our side.”
Tombye didn’t like Habib’s violent behavior and how he distrusted Makumbo. The FROLINAT, without trust, was bound to crumble if the brotherhood didn’t remain solid and united.
Habib’s eagle eyes flashed with anger.
“Chairman, that’s the thing. They’re definitely bait. We’ve been lured into a battlefront on both sides. Robert Tanshe had thrown the Ratel at us to cause a diversion and took Makumbo.”
“Do you have evidence proving those bastards are bait?”
“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure that they were. Considering their immense strength and the information I received from Gaddafi, I didn’t think of them as a decoy. However, they definitely are. It’s been three days since I’ve lost contact with Makumbo, and the Ratel have remained sweeping through Sahel.”
“Isn’t there a possibility that those Ratel people kidnapped Makumbo?”
“It’s small, but that is a possibility. However, I am still convinced that Makumbo has betrayed us.”
“I don’t believe any of this. I’ve heard that our forces suffered losses in the hundreds. Do you think it makes sense to use such a large battle force as bait?”
Habib felt bitter as he began to think of the losses.
Their strength was immense to the point that even he became uncertain after receiving the reports. He wanted to chew Ahmud out for making him look like a fool in front of the old man.
“I didn’t think that those bastards were bait since their battle strength was so large. The losses we’ve suffered at their hands amount to over 700 soldiers.”
“No, that’s impossible. Are you saying that you’ve suffered so much from just a few frogs? Those 3000 soldiers, who were trained by the Northern Joseonese torture officers, were crushed by a handful of special forces members? Ha, my, my, I can’t believe it! Hahaha!”
Tombye clicked his tongue and expressed his surprise with laughter.
‘This f****** old bastard!’
Habib gritted his teeth discreetly. He found the old man’s pretense of ignorance, even after he had already received all the reports, hateful. He was an old man who would have cheered at the prospect of the hawkish faction’s weakened power.
“Chairman, the information given to you was wrong. They are the Legion Etranger’s Deuxieme Rep, who are known to be battle machines. I’ve received a report that several companies had moved separately in teams, equipped themselves with heavy weapons, and gathered once a battle occurred.”
Habib believed the report Ahmud and Payze gave him to the very last word. Since he was unaware of Black Mamba’s existence, he could only make the wrong assumptions.
He had been given information on how the French special forces team called Ratel was about the size of a squadron from Libya’s intelligence department, but Habib dismissed it.
A squadron sized special forces team had swarmed Sahel?
This didn’t sound believable. There was a limit to how much a soldier could gain from training. So, it didn’t make sense that ten or so special forces soldiers erased Musta’s independent battalion and destroyed Ahmud.
“Hm, this hurts our pride. To think three main armies were defeated by mere frogs. What do you plan to do?”
“I must catch them no matter what. I must hang their heads on the front gate of Tibesti headquarters no matter what it costs me.”
Habib gathered even more strength in his blazing eyes and glared at Tombye. His bloodshot eyes were filled with madness.
Tombye wished to leave the place immediately. He had received a report that Habib had suffered a major military loss, but he hadn’t known the loss was over 700 soldiers. Laughter pushed up his throat at Habib’s actions and at the sight of him jumping around in his seat.
“I see, council member Habib, your military loss was great. I didn’t know. If you are lacking soldiers, I’ll ask the other council members to help you. So, make sure you catch those bastards.”
At Tombye’s uncaring offer, Habib’s insides began to boil.
He wanted to embed a bullet inside him for mocking him by offering help at this point. If they had gathered their forces when he had first asked, he would have been able to set a trap and would have long killed those bastards.
“What are you planning to do about tracking down Makumbo?”
At Tombye’s question, Habib shook his head.
“Makumbo has already left by another route. It’s less likely, but there’s also a possibility that the Ratel team is protecting him. I’m planning to destroy the other forces trying to escape to Kanem by reinforcing my own. If they all die, then Makumbo’s worth will also drop. And we’d have to herd those Ratel bastards to end them. If they had been protecting Makumbo, it would be killing two birds with one stone. Chairman, you’d have to aid us with some of your forces.”
“I understand. I’ll gain the help of the other members.”
“Thank you. Where’s council member Goukouni right now?”
“He’s awaiting Gaddafi’s reinforcements down at Zaura.”
“Zaura?” Habib repeated.
He had received a report from Payze that Goukouni’s army had settled at Zaura recently.
“Chairman, don’t trust Goukouni too much. There’s a possibility that he is also enjoying a glass of Chateau Mouton Rothschild with Tanshe and Makumbo.”
“Habib, don’t share your extreme opinions. Your words can be taken as purposeful dissension.”
Tombye’s face shimmered with unpleasantness. Habib’s words had crossed the line. Those were words that could create trouble between armies.
“Chairman, go check if Goukouni’s FAP is in Zaura right now. I’ll bet my entire fortune that Goukouni’s army isn’t there.”
Habib didn’t step down. The FROLINAT was bounded together by compromises. As long as he had greater benefits for himself, he was prepared to turn his back on them immediately. Therefore, the possibility that Goukouni had turned his own back on them after reading the current flow of events was high. Tombye, who stared at Habib with dissatisfaction, picked up the phone. He ordered his subordinate to check whether Goukouni’s army was in Zaura, then hung up.
Habib threw his tired body upon the sofa.
The two men paused their conversation and fell into their own thoughts.
That idiotic dovish party had been pursued by the national media and left N’Djamena to retreat into the northern regions. Since then, they had been cornered.
“Chairman, we should have pushed down south when we had N’Djamena in our grasp.”
“If we had pushed south towards Lark and Hadjer-Lamis back then, France and the U.S. would have sent armies. If the People’s Army hadn’t plundered N’Djamena and killed its residents, the national media wouldn’t have worsened either.”
Habib exploded in frustration after hearing his indifferent response.
“If your dovish party hadn’t requested a larger portion, that wouldn’t have happened.”
“How does the suggestion to create coalitions based on the population turn into a request for more portions? Your idea of bringing in outsiders is a problem.”
“I can’t stand the sight of those slaves acting as though they’re the owners of Chad. The slaves have taken over the fertile south, while the actual owners, the northern warriors, are made to fight for their lives at the Tibesti mountain range and the Sahel. Meanwhile, the slaves are growing a handful of goats and digging murky wells.”
The debate began once more.
Tombye’s head ached. The final goal of the FROLINAT was to establish an independent government against outside forces. The FAP had insisted on an Arab-based government with pride as their cause.
The FAP’s goal was to regain their pride and establish a military-power based government.
In the past, even the Muslim fishers by Chad Lake had four to five southern slaves under their command.
Habib was someone who was chained by the past.
He saw those southern blacks as traitorous slaves and didn’t recognize their citizenship. Habib’s goal was to conquer the fertile south and enslave the Christians like in the past.
“Enough. Let’s be honest, both you and I are bloodthirsty men who are trying to expand our influence to gain central power.”
When Tombye took a step back, Habib closed his mouth.
“Are you certain that Makumbo has betrayed us?”
“Makumbo is a sly fox. If Goukouni received Gaddafi’s reinforcements faster, we could have moved according to our original plan. France has reinforced Clemenceau and moved foot soldiers into the capital. Makumbo, who saw this change, has attached himself to France. If not, there would have been no reason for the communication to stop.The Ratel are the cause of this chaos. Those f****** bastards!”
“Hm!” Tombye sighed deeply and closed his mouth.
Habib didn’t open his mouth again.
He was waiting for the situational report on Er Ekdim Valley. Newly founded rage rushed in. He found those bastards called Ratel even more hateful than the betrayers Makumbo and Goukouni.
The plan they had been following to the letter was now tangled up like palm leaves.
Habib shook his head. This situation was as a complicated as the Gordian knot. The big problem was the FROLINAT’s careless combination of material goods. The bastards who had jumped between their attempts to change their combination from material to chemical were the Ratel.
The Ratel team had interfered when he was about to get rid of Goukouni after noticing his change of heart. While he was dealing with them, he had lost communication with Makumbo. The sheer amount of military loss he had suffered at their hands totaled two battalions. Now, due to his pride, he couldn’t forgive them.
From those in the FROLINAT’s army who had fought against the Ratel team, only a few had survived. Each one of those guerrilla warriors who had survived shivered in fear as they believed Black Mamba was responsible for this travesty. They referred to Black Mamba, who created incomprehensible deaths everywhere, as ‘Kanma’, ‘Reuhur’, or ‘Azrael’.
‘Kanma’ and ‘Reuhur’ were thought to be humans who were reincarnated as the South African traditional spirit Roa. They were magical beings that caused calamities and deaths in a South African language. The Kanma was a more realistic and cold-blooded being than Reuhur and was known as an immortal who drank human blood and filled its stomach with human flesh.
Habib laughed at the rising Kanma rumors that were spreading rapidly across Sahel. Desert tribes originally believed in many myths, revering and fearing the existence of supernatural beings. The harsher the climate humans lived in, the more they believed in myths and revered cruel tribal gods.
The rumors of the Kanma, which was spreading across Sahel, was nothing less than dumbfounding.
There were rumors that the Kanma had sent one platoon to Allah in a single breath, made bullets curve around obstacles to meet their target, and that soldiers were crushed by rocks larger than elephants when they fought back.
Those were all exaggerations the defeated cowards had spread.
Habib gritted his teeth.
His army had become a mess by chasing after that group of frogs. Due to Musta and Ahmud’s failure, he was even being mocked by an old man like Tombye.
Makumbo had escaped through their grasps. Makumbo hadn’t acted as though he had betrayed them, but he had truly turned coats. Habib’s theory, aside from the part regarding the Ratel team, was close to the truth.
The phone rang.
Tombye picked up the phone. He handed it over to Habib without a word. It wasn’t a call regarding Goukouni’s whereabouts.
Habib, who had been listening to the report, leaped to his feet and began to yell. His face had been gone pale from shock.
“What happened to the frogs… there are no corpses? F****** s***, what about Payze? … Everyone’s dead, and only one with a critical injury survived?!… What! Just one bastard? What are you talking about?!… The Kanma flew all night?”
Habib’s hand, which was holding onto the phone, shook.
“A surface-to-air missile, grenade launcher, and 120 desert warriors with RPG 20s were massacred by a single person?! You want me to believe that? You call this a report?!”
Habib threw down the phone.
He collapsed onto the wooden chair as his strength left him.
His head was buzzing. The personal air defense team and Payze’s scouts he pushed into Er Ekdim Valley had been massacred. On top of that, it was all apparently done by a single person.
He couldn’t believe it and didn’t want to believe it. Ahmud kept talking about the Kanma, but was it really the Kanma? According to the company commander, the Kanma had been on a rampage ever since the air defense team shot the helicopter down.