Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 354
On January 1st, 1985, which was also New Year’s Day, an unregistered parcel was delivered to the French Embassy in Kinshasa. 13 days had passed since the Areva expedition team went missing.
The embassy’s female staff screamed as soon as she opened the tightly sealed wooden box. Two wrists were placed side by side in the box filled with salt. They were discolored and dried up but still well preserved for people to know that they belonged to different people.
The officer presiding at the embassy immediately took security measures and wired an emergency report to the regional administration. Once contacted by the regional administration, the DGSE flipped on its head. The Middle East / Africa manager, Ariba, was dispatched to Kinshasa.
[We are God’s army. The 23 heathens who set foot inside God’s land should be killed, but they are fed and resting well because of Allah’s grace. We demand 1,000,000 francs per person. Additionally, a list of weapons to arm God’s army is attached. Airdrop the money and weapons at the Buliisa Kissimo Temple on the eastern shore of Lake Edward.]
[500 FAMAS and 5,000,000 bullets, 300 boxes of grenades, 30 Minimi machine guns and 300,000 bullets, and 10 60-millimeter mortars and 400 high-explosive bullets…]
“Huh, it’s the work of the Mai-Mai! They’ve gone mad.” Ariba laughed as soon as he checked the note taped inside the box.
As soon as the DGSE intelligence agency realized that the expedition team was kidnapped, they suspected the Mai-Mai guerillas. The Ituri Rainforest region where the expedition team was kidnapped was within the Mai-Mai’s circle of influence.
A circle of influence meant that amongst several armed forces, they were the largest in number. A group mad enough to murder French soldiers and French citizens was the Mai-Mai.
Ariba was certain that it was the Mai-Mai’s work when he saw the hostages’ wrists. The barbaric and inhumane act of cutting someone’s wrists and ankles were perverse acts commonly taken by the Mai-Mai rebel guerrillas.
“But why are there 23?”
Ariba tilted his head. Areva company had 22 technicians and scientists. 23 hostages didn’t make sense. 21 airborne members were killed and three escaped out of the 77 expedition members. All of the local workers were killed too. So, why were there 23?
Ariba shook off his doubts. Whether there were 22 or 23, the number of hostages didn’t matter. Those b*stards wanted weapons more than money. If they gained the weapons and grew their influence, Areva’s uranium mining development would be in a state of emergency.
After receiving Ariba’s report, Bonipas’ thoughts on the matter weren’t much different from Ariba’s. If Ntaganda was the culprit, the ransom wasn’t the goal but the uranium mine. He could be planning to take control of the uranium mine to keep France in check for supporting Mobutu.
Bonipas felt a headache coming. The head of the Mai-Mai, Bosco Ntaganda, was a madman and a Vodou follower who considered himself a descendant of God. Unlike the Vodou religion in other regions, the Vodou religion in Congo’s eastern region had the belief that spirits could be summoned for a person to enter a different dimension.
Their priest used severed body parts to create an energy channel called “non.” Non was psychic energy believed to be released in a state of trance, which could open portals to a different dimension. The body donors were either kidnapped locals, war prisoners, sinners, and sometimes faithful followers who donated parts of their bodies.
Ntaganda used the Vodou religion’s sacrifice ritual strategically. The dozens and 100s of fresh wrists in the box would instill fear and pressure into the receiver.
Sometimes, the Mai-Mai guerillas would slice and offer parts of their bodies to show loyalty to the leaders. Since the protruding parts were their aim, they often sliced off their private parts.
He didn’t know whether it was intentional or a mistake, but the wrists ended up revealing the Mai-Mai’s identity. Although some madmen provoked France without a second thought, the situation wasn’t that great on their side either. The Kissimo temple mentioned by those b*stards was located in a rugged mountain range of eastern Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Even the DGSE had no geographic data on such a dark area.
Bonipas had manager Ariba dispatch several operations agents to Lake Edward and Ituri Rainforest. Collecting information was an urgent priority.
Germaine flinched. He was too absorbed in his thoughts. He picked up the phone.
“What is it?”
“Sir, director Bonipas is here to see you.”
Germaine frowned. Although he didn’t want to see the man, the Director of Operations wasn’t a man who came without reason.
“Send him in.”
The Serpent’s signature expressionless face crept in as the door opened.
“What are you doing here, director? Aren’t you a busy man? I heard the new position’s rather comfortable,” Germaine mocked slightly.
The Ruman plan’s great success raised Bonipas’ worth to the top of the Eiffel tower. He was next in line for the head director position at the next personnel reorganization.
“I should pretend like I’m working, at least, to work for whatever taxes are paid. Secretary, sir, you seem to have a lot of concerns.”
Germaine’s face creased. That meant his concerns were unnecessary.
“Did you get any information on the kidnappers?” Germaine raised a brow, expressing his disdain.
“We believe that they are the Mai-Mai rebels from the border of Uganda. It’s a warlord faction that follows former president Kasa, who Mobutu had chased out. The chief is General Bosco Ntaganta, Kasa’s left arm.”
Bonipas said his piece regardless of Germaine’s feelings. He didn’t like the Secretary of Defense, who had too much pride and the stubbornness of a bull.
“Ntaganda? That madman who eats human flesh? Damn Africa, there are madmen everywhere. Where is their base, and how strong are their forces?”
“The Mai-Mai’s base is in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda and Irumu, eastern Zaire. It is a large-scale faction with a boot camp in N’Yalaka. As far as we know, there are 2,000 people. Around 100 people are believed to have infiltrated the Ituri area and caused the incident.”
“Damn. That means the elite airborne brigade was done in by a group of beggars with machetes and AKs. The media’s going to croak like frogs again.”
Germaine wiped down his face with his thick hands. If word got around that their elite airborne brigade was done in by 100 guerrillas, the military’s reputation would deteriorate once more.
“Hehe, a male lion’s better than a hairless donkey, sir. Charlie Hebdo really can’t be stopped.”
“F***, those b*stards are going to get into trouble one day.”
Frustration was written all over Germaine’s face. He wanted to break the editor’s nose, whoever it was, for presenting a caricature of his face on a lion’s body as it was being bitten to death by a hyena.
“If you provoke a pufferfish, it blows up, and if you kick a duck, it bites you to shreds. Have you decided?”
“They’re all b*stards who think highly of themselves, so what else? I’m considering the 11th Airborne Brigade’s Strike team or the First Marine Infantry Regiment’s RAPAS Company.”
“Well. It’s not that good of a decision. It’ll be difficult even if you send in all three battle units of RAPAS,” Bonipas said with certainty.
“Huh, if Colonel Charles heard that, he would be requesting a fight. RAPAS failing to shake off some duck fur? What kind of bad joke is that? Hahaha!” Germaine laughed.
They were known as armed forces in name only. Those b*stards who used to farm could pick up an old rifle at best. It wasn’t a plan to destroy the Mai-Mai entirely either.
“I’m not joking. I lost seven of my children in that damn forest. They were bitten to death by a black mamba, killed by a puma, drowned in a swamp, and died from food poisoning… They were all non-combat losses.”
“Oh, no!” Germaine’s eyes widened.
If seven DGSE operations agents were done in through non-combat, it wasn’t something to be taken lightly.
“The real enemy here isn’t the kidnappers but the forest. Secretary, sir, you went to hell and back once at the Indochina forest, right? The Ituri Rainforest is far worse than the forests of Southeast Asia.”
Germaine flinched. The wound on his side, which was a result of being pierced by a booby trap in Vietnam, ached. The guerillas had sneakily placed spears on the bottom of the trap and dung on its tip. He had to get rid of two inches of his large intestine due to the bacterial infection. He even suffered from tetanus during his recovery. At the word “forest,” he gritted his teeth.
“Does the Mai-Mai b*stards enjoy booby traps too?”
“The entire forest is a booby trap. Locals call the Ituri forest region ‘the forest of the devil.’ The forest is always dark, day or night, because of its dense canopy, and there are all kinds of poisonous insects, predators, and snakes like black mamba. There’s a village run by the Pygmy people in the forest. The locals dare not enter. Whether it’s the RAPAS or the Airborne Brigade, the forest will melt them all.”
Germaine’s expression darkened. He knew the dangers of the forest himself. Just thinking about the leeches falling off from the trees above and poisonous insects that dug into the skin made him shiver.
“Mm, your opinion that Black Mamba should be sent in remains unchanged, director?”
“Yes, sir. You’ve seen the results from the last mission. He crossed Syria’s border with 500 refugees. The abducted scientists are the best people in the field of nuclear power. We can’t delay this matter any longer. Black Mamba can move once more this year, according to his contract.”
Germaine and Bonipas had something in common. Negotiations were off the table. France’s policy to never negotiate with kidnappers remained unshakeable.
“Your words are reasonable given the situation, director. Still, rational thoughts aren’t always right. The pride of the military, no, France’s pride is on the line. Mobutu isn’t Assad. There is no obstacle to deploy troops this time, like the Ruman plan. The RAPAS Company are elite soldiers trained to handle hostage rescue situations. If they’re not good enough, I’ll send in the entire Rapid Action Force.” Germaine gritted his teeth.
We’re going to lose some unfortunate soldiers. Hoo!
France’s pride? Bonipas let out a deep sigh inwardly. The old man, who mistook his stubbornness for youthful spirit, was pathetic. Still, the Ministry of Defense had control over the plan. As long as Germaine remained stubborn, the DGSE could only fulfill its job as an information provider.
It wouldn’t be bad for Bonipas if the Ministry of Defense rescued the hostages, too. Due to the large sum of money paid to Black Mamba, the DGSE’s funds were running low. They had to act like beggars and utilize the emergency funds to pay their employees’ salaries.
300,000,000 francs worth of operating funds was a large sum of money even for the DGSE. Black Mamba’s price was expensive because the success of his missions was definite. Bonipas didn’t know that he’d mistaken 30,000,000 francs for 300,000,000 francs that year.
The parcel the kidnappers sent brought about adverse effects. Mitterrand, who advocated political culture, expressed his anger at the inhumane and barbaric actions of the kidnappers. The kidnappers’ requests were denied without a single debate. The government, which had been hesitant because of the safety of their hostages, immediately took action.
The French government wasn’t too pessimistic about the situation. Africa was France’s front yard. North-west Africa had long served as a cash cow for France. Although Zaire was under the influence of Belgium, Belgium and France were close. There were no political obstacles to the deployment of an elite troop. Germaine had to speed up his work.
On January 10th, 1985, one RAPAS Company, one Air Force Airborne Commando CPA10, and two groups of military police commandos from GIGN, making it a total of 200 commandos, were dispatched to Lake Edward and Ituri Rainforest, east of Zaire.
There was no way for Mu Ssang to know the situation on the other side of the globe. He didn’t know about the incident that took place at the remote port in the West Sea either. He didn’t return to the temple. He split firewood at Ha Dong Daek’s house and trained his mind on the eagle rock in Wol Song San. He grew scared of his teacher since he felt guilty for killing people in his hometown.
It wasn’t until a month later did Mu Ssang return to the temple. His teacher’s Tight-Fillet Spell was formidable enough to suppress Samedi’s blood-sucking instincts. Although his teacher was benevolent and moralistic, he’d become Sun Wukong and grow weak if his teacher cast the Tight-Fillet Spell on him. If he couldn’t kill, mercenary Black Mamba would become a black mamba without fangs.
In the past, he couldn’t avoid his teacher’s god-level abilities. Now that his skills had advanced, he could hide any traces of murder that imprinted on his soul and body with his mind training.
Although he was deceiving his teacher, a disciple shouldn’t make his aged teacher worry either. Fortunately, teacher returned a day late from his travels outside. Mu Ssang acted as though nothing had happened.
“Gosh, teacher, why do you always sleep outside once every month?” Mu Ssang rushed forward, lifted his teacher, and carried him into the spacious room.
Wow, wakil’s sucking up to him. He must have done something really wrong. Samedi tilted his head.
“So? What did you do to those evil b*stards?”
“I sent them off after a round of scolding.”
“Scolding? You scolded those b*stards who were meant to be beaten black and blue?”
Monk Dae Woo stared at his disciple with dissatisfaction in his eyes.
“Hehe, I did hit them a few times.”
“Good job. B*stards like them need to get beaten up so that they can come to their senses. Even Buddha beat up people when he was angry.”
“What? No way? I have never read such a story in the Buddhist scriptures.”
“Brat, did you read all of the Tripitaka Koreana? There should be truckloads of the Mahayana Scriptures alone. Don’t pretend like you know anything when you only read the Diamond and Heart Sutra at surface level. I’m going to lecture you on the Three Pure Land from today onwards.”
Monk Dae Woo declared, slightly annoyed.
 Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale.