Chapter 14: Chapter 3, Episode 1: Call Name Black Mamba
The southern region had a tropical monsoon climate around the capital city, Enzame, near Lake Chad.
Black Mamba was concerned about two things: one, that the old man appeared after his lens fogged, disrupting his aim and two, that the rabbit looked as if it was right in front of his eyes as if it had been pulled in view by a telescope.
He decided to check it out. He aimed at a pine cone that was 300 meters away, but his eyes didnt zoom in on the pine cone. He saw a red deer farther away on the edge of the cliffs. He placed the deers head in his scope. The deers eyes were 1000 meters away but appeared right before his eyes. It was blinking right before him, so close that even a novice from Castelnau Bridge could have shot it.
The strange vision didnt work on inanimate objects or plants, only on animals. An animal once targeted was easy to shoot even if it shifted positions.
The scope had blurred because the target had been disturbed. The same thing would have happened if a deer had blocked his targeted rabbit.
He came to the conclusion that his gun had a ghosts soul. His Dragunov wanted blood. When something became a target, this gun chased its blood until the very end. It was an incomprehensible conclusion, but he had long realized that not everything was what it seemed. This was a situation that could not be explained even with his exceptional senses.
In short, when the worn Dragunov locked onto a human or animal, that target was going to die no matter what. It was something that would only exist in fantasy worlds as a unique item.
Black Mamba stared at his old Dragunov for a long time. Looking at the surface imprints he could guess the age of the gun. It had been rolling around the battlefields for who knows how long. He could feel a lot of vengeful souls fused into the gun.
It was laughable to think that there was a ghosts spirit not under the moonlit skies but under the mornings full sunlight. A cow would have snorted over, but it was the truth. There were many souls attached to the Dragunov; it had attracted them.
“Keankuma, at a situation where Im supposed to shoot like a ghost, youre being the ghost for me. How nice of you to be a ghost gun.”
He gave the Dragunov the name “Goblin.” Black Mamba kept his cool in this odd situation.
Black Mamba had assumed incorrectly; his theory was far from the truth. The Dragunov had gone through many lives and had bathed in blood, but the experience Black Mamba had gone through with the sight was a dimensional increase in his spatial perceptiveness. It was the merging of the unconscious with the conscious mind.
The training in the dark mountain cave, the training with the Five Combined Movements, and the sniping training had triggered the supernatural increase.
If he concentrated, a huge wave would spread across his body from the core. It would read the presence of living beings like a radar. Even in the moment of the shot, heightened senses connected the target to Black Mambas mind.
Because it was solely his power, the same thing would occur even if he picked up another weapon. The confounding phenomenon was not the guns doing but his own.
“Ive gotten my hands on an amazing weapon.”
Black Mamba was happy. Since he had earned the greatest weapon a mercenary could wish for, he couldnt have been more excited. He was a god sniper. Of course, there was no such official rank. Science had increased the guns and scopes functions, so it could be said that anyone could be a sniper. Of course, that was only considering targets that did not move.
The first condition for being a good sniper was a mentality that overwhelmed the target. A good sniper had to suppress the target through their own focus to become one with its conscience, senses, and muscles.
An Olympic gold medal shooter wouldnt necessarily be a good sniper because of their mentality. Within the scope, they would see blood burst forth from targets head and spread everywhere. There would be no sane sports competitor after witnessing that sight.
The second condition rested on finding the target. A sniper would have to find their targets location in the briefest moment. They needed a keen perception that discerned obstacles from the environment.
The third condition for a good sniper was physical fitness and lung capacity. If the sniper was weak, hiding for a long time would be a problem. Without control over their breathing, they wouldnt be able to shoot properly. The fourth condition was camouflaging. If found after firing a shot, the sniper would have to expect their own funeral. They could be a target of rage and revenge or be captured as a prisoner to be tortured. That was because a sniper wasnt protected under the Geneva Convention. The last condition was their sniping skills.
The snipers skill was considered the least important of the many requirements.
Such a person was so rare that only one in every thousand people appeared. A sniper who was better than the normal snipers were called “elite snipers,” and they had to be capable of shooting immediately and continuously.
Currently, there was only one elite sniper in the Legion Etranger. It was Sergeant Mike who Black Mamba had been beaten up. Sergeant Mike was an sshle who always caused trouble wherever he went, but they hadnt kicked him out because he had elite skills.
The oldest commander in the Deuxieme Rep, Commander Philip, understood the importance of snipers. He praised Sergeant Mikes skills. On Mt. Cinto, Black Mamba prepared the foundations for becoming a true god sniper.
Year 1982, October 5th.
After several issues had been resolved, the 11th brigade issued deployment orders. All of the Deuxieme Rep was to be deployed on the 15th of October. The members no longer had to worry over whether or not they would apply their training.
Their dispatch day and the method of doing so changed continuously because President Mitterrand and Vice President Jack Lang kept pushing back the matter. The left-wing Mitterrand wanted to erase the colonial tradition, while the right-wing military and foreign affairs department wanted to cling to or expand their influence abroad.
Mitterrand did not wish to put the uncharted country, Chad, on the policy negotiating table. Secretary of Defence Germain even went to the point of almost punching Jack Lang over the table when he kept pushing back the dispatch.
Black Mamba knew nothing about Chad. His knowledge of the country was very limited. He knew that it was attached to the lower Sahara desert and that it was a country where black-skinned people fought every day.
“And to think they would name their countryChad. What kind of a name was that” Black Mamba wondered. In their native language, Chad meant “lake.” To think they would name their country “lake” just because there was a lake in the terrain was like naming Korea “Han Kang” after the Han River.
But then he remembered those snooty westerners who thought similarly of his own country. Korea was a peninsula between China and Japan, and his home country was the one whose national identity was long eroded.
When a person is continuously picked on, they become shy and introverted. And when continuous bullying persisted, they are bound to slowly lose their identity. In such a situation, the person was likely to lose even when there was a fair chance of winning.
That was why Japan was arrogant around other countries, and humble with the United States. It was the only country that had not suffered the terror of the Mongolian cavalry in Asia. Japan had overpowered Russia, humiliated China, and ruled over Korea.
The Chinese provided them Maruta, the Koreans provided comfort women, and Southeast Asians provided raw materials. This was why Japan looked down at other Asian countries.
However, Japan was thoroughly shattered by the United States. It was struck by boundless military might and firepower, including the atomic bomb. The US wasnt an opponent they could fight with pure strength, and it became recognized as a mighty and fearful country. Their phobia of the Americans soon turned into envy and finally love.
Koreas view of the United States was similar to that of Japans. The US had succeeded in crushing their longtime enemy, Japan, and because of the US troops strength in the Korean War and the post-war US aid offensive, Koreans were in fearful awe of the US.
From a history of being endlessly invaded, Korea lacked national pride. It feared raising its head because it might be beaten back down by the United States, Japan, China, and Russia.
Hae Young often laughed at the sight of their countrymen in her phone calls with Mu Ssang, and she talked so badly of her own countrymen that even Mu Ssang, who could be considered rough, looked like a better person.
“Darling, this f*cking country is hilarious. Its people are ashamed of those who dont speak English, a foreign language, despite its own long history and tradition of immigration, a country where white people are unconditionally and preferentially treated while people of color are disregarded, a country where a coup detat occurred twice, a country that mobilizes troops to kill its people, a country that runs terror politics with the main culprit of so many deaths as its president, a country that can bribe an official with a few dollars to put a decent student in jail under false rape accusations. Thats what this country is like. Its funny that its been those non-confident, non-nationalistic people who have defended and lifted this country. Do you get what I mean But Im not a Great Man theorist. Im just saying there has been no elite leader. The stronger politicians are supported by foreign powers…”
It was something he heard often from Hae Young.
Now that he thought about it, he had no business laughing at Chad. It would be like a dog covered in its own feces laughing at another dog covered in mud. Of course, Korea was much more stable than Chad, and that country could not compare to Korea in terms of the quality and amount of education.
But at the same time, it was hard to argue that Korea had a better society than Chad. Black Mamba shook his head. He had tried to forget everything when he left Korea. It seemed that his roots were impossible to avoid.
For now, the first thing to do was to understand Chads current situations.
He searched the main archive at headquarters for information on Chad. He had given it some effort, but the result was disappointing. Only a few cases could be found in the volumes on Cameroon.
He became frustrated with the lack of information and went looking for Chartres.
“Chartres, whats Chads national identity”
“Black Mamba, all you need to do is listen to the commanders orders and shoot. You dont need to figure out the enemys cultural or national identity.”
“Gosh, thats not something the best intelligence officer of the Deuxieme Rep should say.”
“Hehe, Im joking. But what I just said is the mindset of most of the soldiers in the military.”
Chartres laughed as he handed over a few pages of paper.
“This is the information I organized for you, friend. I know you well. Youre a soldier who thinks. You may be the strongest soldier but not the best researcher. But, youre Black Mamba, and its good to see that youre acclimatizing so quickly.”
Fortunately, Chartres had organized the information in English. It was an astounding amount spanning ten pages, back-to-back. Black Mamba flipped through the pages quickly and concentrated on the parts that detailed the conflicts. He should at least know the reasons behind his deployment after all!
At the beginning of the 17th century, the Bargimi, Kanemboru, and Wadai kingdoms came into existence in Chad. The three kingdoms were conquered by Sudans Lavil Al-Jubail in the late 19th century.
In 1891, the French explored the Lavil territory then ousted Lavil in 1900. In 1910, Chad became a part of the French Equatorial African Federation, and in 1946, it became classified as a foreign territory of France. In 1958, it was declared as an autonomous republic within the French community and became independent in 1960.
Chad became independent from France in 1960, then a new conflict began between southern Christians and northern and eastern Islamic powers.
In 1960, the first president, Franois Tombalbaye, formed a defense alliance with France and turned his focus on domestic integration and unification. In 1963, the northern Islamic forces opposed the southern Christian government, and, in 1966, the FROLINAT was established.
Full-scale civil war broke out as FROLINAT launched an armed struggle with the southern government. In August of 1968, France sent troops to crush the civil war. Since then, the conflict became a stand-off between the north and south forces.
The conflict expanded with Libya supporting the northern government with Arab guerrillas and France collaborating with the Southern Christian government. In April 1975, Tombalbaye was assassinated by the northern coup detat, and General Félix Malloum became the head of state. In August 1978, Malloum disbanded the Supreme Military Council and took office as president.
He founded his cabinet and named Hisséne Habré, one of the FROLINAT leaders, as the prime minister. Habré was from the northern Faya region.
President Félix Malloum was exiled to Nigeria, in March 1979, after confronting the same northern factions FROLINAT leader, Goukouni Oueddei. Goukouni, who had expelled Malloum, became chairman of the Peoples National Council and took power in April of that year, but the country was still unstable. In August 1979, the Northern FROLINAT and the Confederates voted Goukouni as president and the southern representative Kamougué as vice president. Civil war broke out again because some of the FROLINAT leaders were dissatisfied.
An agreement was signed in Lagos, Nigeria, arbitrated by Algeria and Libya, as well as its neighboring countries. In November of that year, Goukouni led and founded The Transitional Government of National Unity (GUNT) with both a Christian southern faction and the northern Islamic faction.
In March of 1980, FROLINAT divided within GUNT. A fierce battle broke out between the Goukouni factions, the Peoples Armed Forces (FAP, a military force made of people from Goukounis faction who were mostly the Islamic FROLINATs), and the Forces Armées du Nord (FAN) of Defence Minister Habré. Even vice president Kamougués faction joined the conflict. Blood flowed in the capital city, NDjamena, as it turned into a battlefield between them.
The civil war expanded further into international conflicts, with Libya supporting Goukouni and Sudan supporting Habré. The civil war thus evolved into a conflict between the northern Muslims and southern Sudanese clans, overlapping the conflict between the northern factions.
An absurd situation took place in January of 1981. President Goukouni declared an integration of Chad with Libyan leadership. He faced criticism in his country and abroad, and the Libyan army withdrew because of heavy criticism from the international public. The withdrawal of the Libyan forces led to the defeat of the Peoples Armed Forces (FAP).
Eventually, in June 1982, Habrés FAN, backed by Egypt and Sudan, won. Habré took power. After winning the civil war, FAN overthrew The Transitional Government of the National Unity (GUNT) and launched a National Committee with Habré as president. However, with most of the factions that make up GUNT owning their own troops, the power of the government was limited.
In August of 1982, Goukouni was exiled to Algeria and, with the aid of Libya, set up a national rescue government and launched a counterattack. The case turned…
“What a mess!” Black Mamba concluded.
“It should be. There are over ten Chad warlords with their own armies. I suppose this would be comparable to China before communist Mao Ze Dong came into power Its a scattered country.”
“Sigh, I wonder what state the country is in. How hard it is for the people living in that situation”
“Whats the point of saying that Warlords raid villages, kidnap boys and raise them as soldiers. Apparently, the girls are used as sex slaves. Its no different than any other government army or a rebellion force. Warlords are not interested in strengthening the country or public welfare. Theyre just crazy for power.”
“In short, the situation is no different from the mafias fighting over territories. I can see why France is slowing down its dispatch of combat troops. They dont have information thats strong enough for them to deploy troops since friend and foe are unclear. A power-hungry dictator is always a problem anywhere.”
Chartres slapped his knee. Smart Black Mamba, he had understood the heart of the matter in an instant.
“If we think were on the right side of helping the government troops, wed be the head of an amoeba. Wait, an amoeba has no head. Anyways, here or there, theyre all the same. France joined the conflict because it doesnt want to lose its influence in West Africa. Mitterrand has basically been pushed to this decision by the military. ”
“Wheres justice in war I have been paid a salary, so I have to work for it. Damn it, I was prepared, but this is a really dirty battlefield Im walking into.”
Black Mamba replaced his annoyance with a sigh.
Around that time, the situation in Chad changed rapidly, once more. Goukouni and Habib had received Gaddafis help and conquered Paya, the main city of the northern regions, and were coming down south with their FAP. The central and northern regions had fallen under FROLINATs influence. The Soviet Union similarly supported the FAP.
France supported Habres FAN (the northern army) and the United States supported France. Chad had nothing and was weak. The situation had boiled to a point where it was now a replication of the Cold war. The Soviet Union and Libya were on one side with France and the United States on the other.
Black Mamba didnt understand the situation completely even after reading through Chartres documents once more. The current warlord in power, Habre, was also from the FROLINAT. From his weak political knowledge, he couldnt tell who was his friend or foe.
Chads reality did not stem from the problems of political ideology. Its civil war had begun because of the greed of the warlords and the religious grudges between Islam and Christianity. This also meant that it was hard to discern between good and evil. France couldnt sit by and watch Libyas power grow with the Soviet Union as its backer. Now that Goukouni was moving forward, they had no choice but to side with Habres government. They couldnt hand Chad over to the crazed Goukouni.
Chad was one of the poorest countries in the world. With a 95 percent illiteracy rate, its population was mostly uneducated. It was a traditional, agricultural-based country with over 900,000 people involved in that sector. Over 85 percent of the citizens worked as farmers but to fend for themselves. Underground resources were also rare compared to the rest of the African continent. Minerals were lacking, and no oil was produced.
Black Mamba didnt know why France was sending their battle forces to Chads civil war. Chad had once been under their flag, but it had long declared its independence.
French politicians often said that the words, “for peace and righteousness” were lies. In fact, the Cold War ideology established international relations while national selfishness prevailed. There was no reason for France, who was busy fending for itself, to stabilize Chad.
Even Black Mamba, who didnt have any interest in politics, could see that. He threw away the papers and picked up the “Le Monde” newspaper. He had invested his tears in studying French and reached the level where he could understand the basic gist of newspapers. He had spent a lot of time studying, but it was worth it.
In the corner of “Le Monde,” an article mentioned the violent battle in the northern Kanem and that the oil development that had been going on since 1977 had stopped.
“Aha, its the oil!”
Black Mamba then understood.
“Of course, of course. Damn the protection, its because of the oil. Thats why theyre saying that Goukouni and Habib are problems. I would have cleaned up if there had been a billion-dollar bet.”
Black Mambas information was too limited to help him understand exactly how Chads civil war intertwined with the international powers.
On the map, Chad bordered Libya above, Sudan to the right, Nigeria to the left, and the Central African Republic below. Libya and Sudan had been regarded as gangsters by the international community since the 1970s. Chad was a poor, ignorant, powerless country with two gangsters next door.
Chad was called the “dead heart” of Africa. It was because it was located in the heart of the African continent, but they had nothing and didnt show any signs of improvement. It didnt have any suitable resources to bring forth: no oil fields like Libya had and no gold or diamond mines like the Central African Republic had. Only a few iron mines had been developed.
There were no tourist attractions and no natural parks like Nairobi in Nigeria, Kruger in South Africa, Masai Mara in Kenya, and Serengeti in Tanzania.
There were no ancient ruins like in Egypt. But when they dug up the ground, they discovered bones from hundreds and thousands of years ago. However, the primitive bones didnt have much value. Nor did Chad have a big forest that would arouse curiosity, like in the Congo. At best, the main product was cotton from the southern Chari and Logone River basins. Chad was a country with nothing to eat.
In the beginning of the 20th Century, an English diplomat said:
“Africa is the lamb shank (a traditional English dish made with the hind legs of a lamb braised in orange sauce) that has arrived on my table. Chad is the leftover bones from that dish.”
It was a caustic statement. From the standpoint of the Western powers, Chad was a land without a single thing to offer.
Chad was a wasteland that burned under the hot sun. It was a dark, uneducated country with the worst economy in the world. The people were divided into 200 races: in the north were the Arab Muslims, and in the south were the indigenous people and Christians. Chad was a place where people divided into factions and fought endlessly in the dust and heat.
The British laughed when France occupied Chad. They ridiculed the French for wanting to gain that little bit of cotton. That was how little Chad had to give.
Chad could clearly distinguish its northern, central, and southern regions by climate and topography. The northern regions were filled with the Tibesti mountains and Ennedi Plateau, which occupied one-third of the country. This area was part of the Sahara Desert.
The Tibesti region is a desolate plateau of volcanic alpine mountains, such as Mount Pictusid (3315 meters) and Mount Emi Koussi (3415 meters). The Ennedi Plateau was also a wasteland of desert and rock. The central region was in the Sahel belt, the dry boundaries of the Sahara desert reaching tropical Africa. The only vegetation was the steppe or savanna. Most of the year was the dry season, and in the short rainy season from June to August, around 200 millimeters of rain fell. The region was roughly in the 15 to 20 degrees latitude from Mauritania to the central regions south of Chad, which spanned from west to east in about 6400 kilometers. The rainfall was about 200 millimeters per year, so some areas could be farmed.
The Sahel Belt had a tropical climate with a dry steppe. The drought had continued since 1970, and desertification was underway. The population was rapidly decreasing as indigenous people who had not dealt with such environmental changes were leaving. Farmers, as well as nomads, escaped the region to live elsewhere.
The southern region had a tropical monsoon climate around the capital city, Enzame, near Lake Chad. Agriculture and animal farming developed around the Chari and Logone rivers, which did not dry out throughout the year. The annual rainfall was also around 800 millimeters, and therefore sufficient.
Southern Chad was a bit more developed and densely populated than the central and northern regions. With a line from Lake Chad to the eastern border, it was obvious that the south had more black people based in the Sara tribe and that the north had Arabians and Ham tribes.
Arab Islam in the north had long enslaved the southern Christian blacks. People had not forgotten their hatred of Arab superiority and of South Africans, and it became the starting point of civil war. In Africa, Chad had the most races, in a continent known for its many ethnic groups. These tribes directed their loyalties toward local communities rather than the national consciousness. Conflict persisted because they were a collection of tribes not citizens of a united country.
As such, Chad was a large piece of land that mostly consisted of deserts, mountains, plateaus, wetlands, and wilderness. Arable land was concentrated in the south and made up only two percent of the land area. Black Mamba also did not understand Frances involvement in its civil conflict until he saw the oil development project in Canem.
There were no sights, no resources, and it had bad access. Black Mamba understood why it was so difficult to get an accurate map. It was hard to even find a traveler or explorer in that region. All that he managed to learn was that it was the darkest country within the African continent.
Year 1982, October 13th.
The boat “Clemanso” left the port of Calvi and headed for Africa. It carried two cascade-class, 4000-ton escort destroyers, three frigates, and a heavy-duty 10,000-ton heavy transport carrier with heavy weapons, armor, and supporting materials.
Of the 1250 people in the Deuxieme Rep regiment, 1160 were on board, including all combatants. All of the Deuxieme Rep had been dispatched to Chad.
The fleet came out of the Mediterranean Sea and made its way through the crashing waves of the Atlantic then headed straight towards Cameroons port city Malabo. There, four C-130 Hercules aircraft were waiting to transport the vanguards. Armored artillery and machinery, as well as heavy weapons, were scheduled for land transportation via Cameroon.
The C-130 Hercules was a heavy transporter developed in the early 1950s. Lockheed Martin used the B29 bomber as the base for this aircraft that transported large numbers of troops and materials. Even 30 years after its development, it was still played a delivery role.
France revamped some of its C-130s to respond quickly to the frequent civil wars occurring in the former French colonies. Instead of reducing their cargo, they increased the planes capacity for transporting 65-80 fully armed airborne personnel.