By BOB CURBY
A Book-Works Publication ©2012AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON - PAPERBACK OR KINDLE EDITIONS
Botoka, the State of Dajkouti, West Africa.
Presidential palace: 04:00 Monday 16th March 1973.
"Do not move, remain where you are. Keep your hands visible. This is General Azmizo Fejethakti; your throne is now mine, Sir."
The speaker was an imposing military man, well over two metres in height and weighing in excess of one hundred and ten kilos. He was not fat. He was very fit.
President Hadjikata had been a little rash in the last few years, spending money on lavish unnecessary luxuries while country starved. The military commanders had met and decided that he must go. The decision was clear because, during the last few years, he had refused to call a general election. After a meeting that lasted an hour, General Fejethakti was chosen to oversee the handing over of power to the people of Dajkouti.
President Hadjikata reached out and turned on the bedside lamp. He squinted at the four battle-clad figures before him. "Who are you, and with what right do you invade my home?"
"I repeat Sir; I am General Azmizo Fejethakti of the Dajkouti security forces. I am ordered by the military commanders to take your throne sir. You are no longer the President of Dajkouti. You may get dressed, and with your wife and family, take whatever personal possessions without which you feel you cannot live. We will escort you to wherever you feel you would like to live and you may then live on in peace. As from now I assume the role of President of Dajkouti."
BBC NEWS Monday 16th March, 1973:
"Today, the Military Junta in Dajkouti, West Africa, deposed President Joseph Hadjikata in a whirlwind overnight military coup.
General Azmizo Fejethakti now holds the office of President. He is known to be anti-west and very much pro-the east. Western governments are concerned over the developments by the military status and the stability of the economy of West Africa. The Prime Minister, Martin Stedman has today issued a statement in relation to the protection of British Companies currently operating in the state of Dajkouti. He promised action to protect the assets of those companies and the British workers who live in and around them. Travel to Dajkouti is suspended and anyone on holiday in Dajkouti will be safely air-lifted."
Robin Templar reached forward and switched off the television. He sat quietly for a few moments and then he reached for the telephone. As the head of MI6, he had a large workload and it had suddenly got a whole lot bigger. He dialled a number and waited. He heard the ring response in the ear-piece, "Brrrr—brrrr…….Brrrrr—brrrr….." and then a voice met his ears.
"Gerry, we need to meet, please call COBRA (along with Templar and Davidson, the Home Secretary, COBRA was made up of Martin Stedman the Prime Minister, Trevor Hyde-Williams the head of MI5, Alex Fernly the Foreign Secretary and the Head of Military Operations, Admiral Mostyn), try and set a date that is convenient for everyone, and as soon as possible. Tell each one it's to do with the protection of assets in Dajkouti."
"Right, bad news Robin, I'll book a room and get everyone together tomorrow morning. Dajkouti is not within British jurisdiction so we need careful planning on this."
Dajkouti, straddling two long rivers that flowed south westerly into the neighbouring country Jambouta, and backing up against the Assissa Mountains in the north, was rich in minerals vital to British industry. Able Aaronsen, the CEO of Brit-Ameri-Corp, who mined the copper, zinc, cobalt and silver in the country, was in a state of panic when he called the Foreign Secretary immediately the news broke.
"Foreign Secretary, my Board members are extremely concerned about our ability to continue to mine the resources in Dajkouti, given that Azmizo Fejethakti is notorious in his hatred of the West and will not easily grant us zone-free un-encumbered continuation of our operations in the country. In addition my staff and workers make a sizeable number of British and American citizens."
Alex Fernley, Foreign Secretary, was a sharp witted man, but kindly and he could empathise with Able. He chose his words carefully.
"The Government understands the predicament into which this coup has placed our major companies in the state of Dajkouti. I received a telephone call a few moments ago from the offices of our security services. An emergency meeting has been called for tomorrow morning at 08:00. We will be sure to discuss the very issues that your Board is concerned about."
"I hope so Sir, for some of our Board it would be a financial disaster, so much so that the company is prepared to fund whatever is needed to stabilise the situation speedily. We could, but do not wish to, airlift the key workers out of the area. We feel that it is of greater value to maintain the mining operation, and on that basis, whatever it costs, you can look to us for funds."
"That sounds like a bribe, a back-hander Mr Aaronsen."
Able Aaronsen squirmed, it did sound like a bribe, but he knew that military protection of mines was not going to be cheap. He wanted his people protected. At fifty years of age, he held under his belt nearly thirty years in the mining industry. He recollected that in the old days, the miners would have taken care of things themselves, but in the modern society, it was not acceptable to just go out with guns and take on whoever got in the way of mining.
"Well, not a bribe, but an assurance. You see, we know you have planned already to remove this new tyrant and threat to the British economy. We just want to make sure your funds hold out, that's all."
The Foreign Secretary smiled, he knew that Aaronsen, Swedish by birth, was not trying to bribe him but he enjoyed winding up the man.
"Able, if we need funds, our American cousins will no doubt assist, if they wish to do so via your Company, then we will not argue with that."
"I believe the same conversation is taking place between my US counterpart and the Secretary of State."
"I will update you about lunch time tomorrow, in the meantime, try and keep in touch with your man in charge out in Botoka.
The more information you can give us, the better."
"We don't have anyone in Botoka, but my Chief Engineer is Harry Gould in Haltjai, he knows one of the local ombudsmen in Botoka who was close to the President. Hopefully they haven't put him in prison, he will keep us informed."
Botoka, the capital city, was half way up a three thousand metre high mountain and sixty kilometres from its airport. The mining capital of Haltjai nestled deep into the Assissa Mountains, a hundred kilometres from Botoka and had only a helicopter port and a strip for light aircraft. Anyone who needed to fly in from a major country, had to land at Alari airport, sixty kilometres south of Botoka and around the half-way mark from the border of Jambouta, the neighbouring country, through which all coastal traffic travelled. Jambouta was a country in the hands of pirates who stripped any western travellers of anything valuable before they reached the border with Dajkouti. These factors had to be taken into consideration when thinking through any strategy that they would take. Able Aaronsen had to try and get to sleep and let the 'boys at the top' sort out the strategy so he agreed with recommendation Alex had made.
"Okay, Alex, I'll wait for your call in the morning."
The receivers fell back into their rests and both men, half a city apart, sat staring at the ceiling, wondering what the future was going to be for them all.
------ you'll need to buy the book to read any more.