„We don’t know where the $3000 are going to, and how really ends your interrogation after your prison night in Liberia!“ ???
In the morning there are German and European embassy ambassadors present! Liberian authorities again let me write down a summary of my last 10 years or so, then compare it with the one done the previous night, two in order to check if I’m lying or fabricating anything (and thus may be someone with reason to hide things, possibly a spy or mercenary). When comparing the two, they find no fault, I’m being released! Back at the hotel, the bag is untouched, the money there!! All this was in August 2002.
Finally in February 2003, just across the border from Congo into Gabon, I had already found a place to stay for the night with a local family, I hear one more car approaching at around 8 pm, jump out from my bed, and stop the car on the road. It’s a new pick-up with a couple of men inside. They agree to take me further, I run back, get my backpack, say thanks to the family, and jump onto the back of the pick-up. He drives like a madman, and for three hours I feel like riding a jetski through big waves, holding myself & ‚cruising‘ on the metal somersault frame. When they stop in the middle of the jungle for a pee, I already feel a bit strange and stand nearby, so they won’t jump into the car, and leave WITH my bag but without me. At 1 am finally they stop and ask me where actually I want to go. I tell them ‚To the coast, to Libreville, the Capital‘. They ‚invite‘ me to sit inside, while another one of the five has to be in the open back. When I look around, I can see that this guy has started to work my backpack open, that was still placed on the loading area. I tell them to stop, and that I’d prefer to be back there, and don’t need a seat. Next thing they all pull out different handweapons: One tiny silvery thing, another with a double barrel, another a dark revolver, etc, etc! I’m really stunned.
I can’t believe this is really happening: I’m getting attacked by five guys with guns, after hitchhiking with them hundreds of kilometers half the night through the jungle, they give me a couple of headwounds with the weapons & also break my arm near the wrist through a strong punch/hit with a gun, then take all my things out of my pockets, my backpack with 8 kodak-films, camera, and the remaining money I still had six months later, around 800$. I had jumped back onto their pick-up with my broken arm, when they tried to drive off, and the one guy on the back jumped down, probably afraid I might be armed myself, and fired his gun off whilst doing so.
Then they stopped the car again, and the leader pointed his gun to my thigh/upper leg, and threatened to shoot me into my leg if I continue resisting. I put my hands up, and they drive off with everything. For one moment I had considered pulling my pack with me into the ditch and bush, falling off about 2 meters at the side of the road, but they probably would have emptied/sent all their bullets into the bush and me, kind of like in the movie ¨Into the Blue“ (Jessica Alba/Paul Walker).
I walked five km back to a village, knocked on all the doors, and all are so scared, seeing my face bloody all over, nobody opens. Finally some two girls open for me, then bring me to town center and police. I want to pursue them, but everybody is so scared, it seems they are the same guys that two days earlier took a minister’s hotel hostage, reception and all, for 2 and 1/2 hours, and managed to get away with about 6000$. Then they killed a tax driver, and then finally, sunday night on the way home to the capital and coast, in the jungle, they find me, treat me as some additional booty/loot/cash/gain.
They were these kind of cindarella kids, like from american movies: If there’s a roadblock, they´d just go full speed, either get killed themselves or just go on unstoppable; maybe too young to be really capable of overseeing their own actions.
A French-canadian NGO guy, who from that village also left that day towards the city, his contract had expired, at 4 am took the through-coming train and got me a ticket too, which I paid him back when I got an advance from my embassy once in Libreville. Then my mom sent me 800 Euro per Western Union for the cheapest oneway ticket home (to a northern Paris airport), 753 Euro, because once the local doctor confirmed my tennisarm was broken, I didn’t want to take chances with the healing process.
The coincidentally present German embassy doctor had earlier failed to make that diagnose!! Axa insurance later refused to see this as an emergency, they wouldn’t reimburse the ticket price, and from Paris I had to hitchhike in freezing weather, February, with only a red raincoat, and still with this huge wounds on my forhead, back to my hometown near Stuttgart, Germany