Or, for course, not
An eventful day, yesterday. With nothing to see, no access to any refugees, and very little possibility of any travel closer to the frontline, by an hour after I’d written the last post, I was ready to get off Basilan and return to Zamboanga. Zamboanga is only a 40 minute boat ride away, and with the airfield and the main army command there should any attack start, I’d probably be in a better place for real coverage anyway. Besides, I needed a shower.
The military intelligence officer let me ride in one of their Hueys on a reconnaissance mission – pictures from that to come – but by the time I was back, the atmosphere in the camp had changed. A crew from Aj-Jazeera English had arrived, along with some officers. One, a Captain Estrella, introduced himself as the media ops guy from High Command. Could he help at all? Sure, I said: I’ve been trying to get an interview with the General. Not a problem. After lunch?
Lunch came, went, and the Captain came back to me. The General had had to leave the base for a meeting. He’d be back before sundown, and could we have the interview then?
Why don’t I do like everyone else and get some rest?
The evening comes round, and I go over to the officers’ mess – a bamboo hut, but still the officers’ mess – to find only four places set at the table, instead of the usual twenty or so. Everyone has left. The General has gone, Captain Estrella has disappeared, the attack is imminent, the commanders have moved closer to the frontline, and no, no one is going to tell me anything. Shit.
It’s Saturday morning now, and I’m back in Zamboanga. Sometimes you have to back up a bit to be able to see anything.