THE travelling FC Platinum delegation of players, technical members and the media were on Monday morning frightened out of their wits when security manning Owando aerodrome in Congo Brazzavile told them of the possibility of the militant Boko Haram attack.
Getting into the aerodrome which is located about 460KM from the capital Brazzaville, the travelling delegation found one uniformed but unarmed soldier who was very friendly to the Zimbabweans who had just posted a 1-1 draw against host team AS Otoho in the Total Caf Champions League first round first leg encounter the previous day.
The team had left their base without a police escort but when they arrived on Friday morning they were escorted to their base.
Speaking through a translator, the soldier advised the Zimbabweans against taking pictures of a presidential lounge and the delegation took heed of his advice. The mood immediately changed when he said he now needed to be armed as there was a risk of being attacked by Boko Haram rebels who have so far killed at least 27 000 people in Nigeria and in 2014 kidnapped 276 school girls in the oil rich country. The soldier said Boko Haram rebels will be coming from across the borders of Cameroon where they have caused irreparable damage.
He came back moments later fully armed.
There was fear and terror in the Zimbabwean camp with some quickly getting into the minibuses and staying put as they waited for the MA60 small aircraft to come from Maya Maya airport in Brazzaville.
It was relief when the small aircraft finally landed and we were advised to quickly load our bags and be airborne in 15 minutes.
“This aerodrome is not a busy one and Boko Haram rebels who operate from nearby Cameroon are aware that any plane that lands here is a potential hostage situation since it will be a chartered flight whose occupants could be people of financial means,” said the soldier.
As luggage was being loaded into the plane another soldier, armed to the teeth, suddenly emerged from the heavy thicket. This one never smiled or showed any signs of being friendly and one could see that everyone now just wanted to be airborne and get away quickly from Owando.