A sudden offer from S.A.

November 05, 2008

Port Selao

Darren has resigned as Bureau Chief in Johannesburg. He and his family are heading back to England. I’m sad to see Darren leaving. He has been an avid supporter of my work here.

However, Darren’s recommended me as his replacement – Bureau Chief of the Joburg office. This effectively means I would be in charge of all African news coverage. I’ve also been offered a four-part series profiling the Jackal and the conflict here. It seems the job is mine. All I need to do is say yes.

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Tapes are live

November 02, 2008

Near Port Selao

Here they are, my audio recordings of the Jackal. I don’t have enough space on my site to post everything, so we selected highlights. These sound bites should stir up debate among you, my good readers. You won’t agree with all he says, but you’ll be fascinated nonetheless. Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear your opinion.

Jackal 01 – Recorded 17/09/2008 :

Jackal 02 – Recorded 17/09/2008 :

Jackal 03 – Recorded 17/09/2008 :

Jackal 04 – Recorded 17/09/2008 :

Jackal 05 – Recorded 20/09/2008 :

Jackal 06 – Recorded 20/09/2008 :

Jackal 07 – Recorded 20/09/2008 :

Jackal 08 – Recorded 24/09/2008 :

Jackal 09 – Recorded 24/09/2008 :

Jackal 10 – Recorded 2/10/2008 :

Jackal 11 – Recorded 2/10/2008 :

Jackal 12 – Recorded 5/10/2008 :

Jackal 13 – Recorded 5/10/2008 :

Jackal 14 – Recorded 13/10/2008 :

Jackal 15 – Recorded 15/10/2008 :

Jackal 16 – Recorded 30/10/2008 :

Jackal 17 – Recorded 30/10/2008 :

Tapes recovered

October 29, 2008

Near Port Selao

17 tapes. I have all 17 tapes again. I can barely believe my good fortune. These are the audio recordings of the Jackal made in September and October. I’ve found a resourceful computer wizard to help me.  A tiny man who calls himself Newton. He lives in a hobbit-sized hut that has no running water, but it does have impressive Internet access and a lightning-fast computer. Unbelievable the things you find if you look hard enough.

He’s agreed to encode my tapes and post them online. So watch for them next week.

A fool’s mission

October 22, 2008

Near Port Selao

Today I met the man I believe is charged with hunting the Jackal. I was at Mike’s, a local café where I’ve met many mercenaries. In fact I took this man for one of the faction militia at first. But then I could see by his fresh clothes that he was new to the country.

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Where are the civilians?

October 19, 2008

Near Port Selao

The streets are jammed with militia. Roadblocks have been set up at every corner. It’s impossible to go 10 kilometres without encountering a checkpoint of some kind. And the checkpoint rules are to shoot first. These are the worst of times.

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“I’m hit! I’m hit!”

October 18, 2008

Near Goka Falls

“Want a Kit-Kat?” This was Yuri, a Russian reporter still chasing the stories here. We are two of a small handful of the press that haven’t fled the country. I passed on the chocolate and aimed my camera out the passenger window catching some shots of the zebra in the distance.

Yuri was driving us to Goka Falls, a tall majestic waterfall. We were scheduled to meet with a local commander of the APR. I’m not sure what we expected to find. For me, I’m always searching for the personal angle. Who are these people who can do such horrible things? What does it take to choose the life of a mercenary? In fact, is it even a choice for all of them?

Goka Falls sits high atop a large cliff. A narrow winding road leads up to the APR’s complex beside the head of the Falls. We arrived at the base of the road and were waved through the checkpoint. We drove on up, Yuri carefully navigating the twists and turns. The foliage was thick with trees and vines. We could barely see the sky beyond.

Then out of nowhere: POP POP POP POP!

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An assassin among us

October 15, 2008

Near Port Selao

The Jackal is gone. I was scheduled to meet him yesterday. When I arrived at the café, he wasn’t there.  In the past, he’d always arrived before me.  I doubt I’ll hear from him again.

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A shocking rumour

October 12, 2008

Near Port Selao

Two different sources, both reliable, passed on a rumour. An assassin has been sent, and he’s after the Jackal. Neither of my sources had much information. It’s unclear whether this assassin has entered the country already. When he does come, he’ll most likely have to make the pass through the mountains to the West, the only unprotected passage. All borders are being monitored by the AU. They’re being particularly vigilant with anyone whom they suspect may be a mercenary.

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“You don’t wanna do that, friend.”

October 11, 2008

Near Dogon Village

Following a lead, I drove out for Dogon Village today. It’s a small community to the northwest of Port Selao. I had it on good authority that a major weapons stockpile was there. This was a key hub for both the APR and the UFLL. I needed to check it out.

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Prepping for final Jackal interview

October 10, 2008

Near Port Selao

Two hours at this and I feel like I have only 2 good questions for my final meeting with the Jackal. There are days I feel like a writer and other days, like today, where English feels like a foreign language. I’m not sure what to expect from this interview, but my gut tells me this will be significant. The Jackal made a point of declaring this the final one. Perhaps he’ll give me a window into his grand plan…if there is one.

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  • 10/19/08