The travellers, one by one, assembled and boarded a bus that took all the thirty people.
They titivated themselves because everyone of them looked decent and radiant.
The journey began in earnest by mid morning from Sogbo to Badan.
In many regions of the country, land matters were not taken lightly. Many people would protect their land with the last drop of their blood.
So it was with people of Konigba and Arija.
A regular communal land scuffle was on going between the two close communities which began more than five decades ago.
The rift that began when the Arijas refused to pay the agreed annual levies to their hosts, the Konigbas, had claimed many lives and properties.
Every mediatory effort failed.
One sad part of the communal war was the loss of innocent lives from other parts of the country by strayed bullets. Many were shot in error.
Each of the community also killed their own people by mistake.
Each community did not allow people to pass through any area under its control. They shot at sight anyone who dared them.
Many of such people have screamed, dying, "I'm from..."
As a result of this, they devised another way to separate "the essentials from non-essentials". The "essentials" were their own people while "non-essentials" were their adversaries.
What was the way?
The people of Konigba could not pronunce "bitterleaf" very well but they say "bitilifi".
Arija people rejoiced at this.
At the point where the people of Arija had taken over the main road, they stopped the bus coming from Sogbo.
The worriors shot into the air to frighten them. Everybody became cold from head to toe.
"Do not panic. All that we want is that everyone must come down from the bus and one by one go to that man and say "bitterleaf " before him and you're free", their commander said pointing to a man standing alone holding a gun.
They did not know what the aftermath of saying this would be, but they went as instructed.
The first and the second person were freed and returned into the bus rejoicing.
The third person was not as lucky. He said "bitilifi" and the gunman laughed hysterically, pulled his gun and shot him.
The traveller died instantly.
The "Bitterleaf man" happily said, "Yes, another enemy has gone." It was them that the rest travellers knew better what trouble they were in.
Four other people, two men and two women started to weep profusely because they knew surely that their end has come.
The four were also killed because they were identified as people of Konigba.
The rest were allowed to continue their journey, lamenting on human and material losses.
It was then that a clergyman among them began to say, "My brethren, lend me your ears."
Everybody was quiet.
"This is a clear evidence of a life without Christ. Killing a fellowman is never a way to broker peace." he said adjusting himself on the seat.
"Both communities would have known that 'the earth is the Lord's and its fulness' if they had known the Lord. They would have seen all people on earth as members of the same family of God where accent or language is not a barrier whatsoever.
Therefore I implore you all to become members of God's family through Jesus Christ."
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