Thug three, who didn’t say much while i was on the tree branch started running back into the darkness where they had returned from. Three Police officers emerged with him from the darkness later. How and when they got there was a mystery. Thug one and two together with me had been apprehended. Our hands were tied behind us with rubber cuffs. The police officers were six in number. Shortly after arresting us, they took us to the road were two police vehicles were parked another hundred meters up the road. Behind their vehicles was also the taxi car of Augusto. It was when i saw him that i figured out how the whole thing happened.
It happened that Augusto had seen when i ran past his car. He had seen the Silver Peugeot car chasing after me. He had also determined that i was in danger and had called the Italian Polizia.
We were pushed into a police van while one officer was told to drive the Peugeot.
At the Sanremo police headquarters, we were released from the cuffs and locked up in separate rooms. Our phones, documents, wallets and other belongings were taken from us.
At about 7 am, a cute lady police officer opened my door from outside and asked me to follow her. We entered a small hall with a large round table in the center. The three thugs were already there before my arrival. I scanned through their faces one after the other before taking a seat.
“So it was you people who wanted to kill me last night, why?” I said.
None of them said anything. Four Police officers were seated near us.
“Do you understand Italian”? The lady police asked me.
I shook my head negatively. She explained that the lady sitting near her was an interpreter. She asked me what i was doing in Italy.
“Officer, I was going back to France yesterday when these three people stopped me in Genova. I think they are criminals working for a human trafficking organisation here in Italy. I called the police for them in Genova yesterday but they escaped before the Police came. I didn’t know that they followed me to Sanremo on my way to France. I saw them while waiting for the train yesterday night and started running for my safety. They followed me until they caught me. They were going to torture or possibly kill me but your men rescued me from them” i said. I had paused occasionaly to allow the interpreter to do her work. The lady police officer knew English too which made the process easier.
“Do you know them before yesterday?” she asked.
I denied ever seeing them.
“Do you know why they are following you?” she asked again.
I denied knowing.
“Did you do any business with them?”
“Yes, i rescued one of their victims in Castel Volturno last week and they have been trying to kill me ever since” i said.
“Come again” the officer said as she dropped her pen and focused her two eyes on me.
“I rescued a teenage girl from them last week in Castel Volturno. They have been trying to kill me since then” i repeated.
“Where is Castel Volturno?” She asked.
“It is a town North West of Napoli”.
She got up and walked to the large map in the hall and traced Castel Volturno from the map. She circled the name on the map and returned to the table.
“How do you know they are traffickers?” she asked.
I narrated everything that happened between me and Maria down in Castel Volturno. I also told them that there was still a teenage girl trapped with Maria. I gave them the house number where Maria lived and asked her to tell the Police down there to verify my claims. I also asked that she get my mobile phone.
“I have some recorded evidence on my phone” i said.
The lady Police officer made some calls on her police radio and two minutes later, four other police men with firearms showed up. They came with my phone. She took the phone from them and said something in Italian to the new men, then she handed the phone to me.
I switched on the phone and keyed in my four digit password. The Nokia phone opened up with the usual two arms shaking hands. I headed straight to the recorded message. It was loud enough as our voices boomed.
Everything they said was recorded clearly.
Cuffs were being slammed on them as more police men entered the room. The lady police officer took me to another room and gave me a cup of coffee. She asked how i knew about the girls in Maria’s custody.
“Maria was my girlfriend back in Africa. I came to Italy from France to visit her but i was shocked when i discovered what she did. I had no option than to move the girls out. Unfortunately, one of the girls didn’t want to go. The one who agreed to go with me is now in France. I intend to make her go to school and become a better person” i said.
There were some other Policemen in the room where we were. The leader was making calls. I believed he was calling either Napoli or Castel Volturno. It turned out they have discovered a direct link to one of the trafficking cartels. Personally, i knew that i was in trouble too. I was going to be required to visit the court if they eventually charged them to court. But i also knew that Italy wasn’t Germany; They could simply send them to prison with the evidence they already had.
Right inside the police room, my phone started ringing; it was Ngozi. The police asked me not to answer it and took the phone back from me. After making the statements, the thugs were whisked away out of the police station. One of the Police men who arrested us the previous night asked how i knew Augusto, the taxi driver. I told him how i met Augusto and how i asked him to follow the thugs to Sanremo. He said Augusto was still in Sanremo and wanted his taxi fare.
“I owe him some money and i have it in my wallet. Tell him that i will send him the money through mail if he drop his address” i said. The cop left with my message.
Some hours later, the lady police came to where i was told to stay and told me that Maria and Fatimah had been arrested and would be transported up to Sanremo the following day.
Damn, i was going to sleep in the station.
“Above all things let us never forget that mankind constitutes one great brotherhood; all of us were born to encounter suffering and sorrow, and therefore bound to sympathize with each other”