KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The following story had happened in 1996 when the police found it a moral duty to heavily sift through a garbage dump to retrieve valuables of iconic singer Sayed Khalifa.
According to retired police officer Omar Ahmed Tabeedi, the commander of the suburban Jeraif West suburban area Police Station here, they early morning one day received the singing star Sayed Khalifa who told them burglars had stormed his private home that night and took away valuable recordings of sorts, in fact much of his artistic heritage.
Singer Khalfa said a burglar had stolen a video set, an office computer, an stereo set and a number of video and cassette tapes and discs all of which constitute his priceless arts treasure.
He said his home had been looted before but he did not report that to the police, but this last burglary was different in that it had targeted his arts history and his long career as a musician. “Sadly this property is very rare and cannot be compensated,“ he said, in tears.
Here I requested from Artist Khalifa to take us to see for ourselves the crime theatre.
Accompanied by Captain Adil Abuagla, Lt. Badawi Mohammad Ahmed, followed by the car of police lieutenant Mohammad Adam and five plainclothes men, I then drove behind Khalifa.
When we got in the house we started a visual survey of the place, to find the traces of force used to open the hall’s door top down.
Here Sergeant Omar Adam whispered to me that this was the work of burglar A.T who was known to the police to open doors this way in all his thefts.
A.T first presses to weaken the upper part of one of the leaf doors and then presses the lower part of the leaf door. Here the door opens quite easily.
In the meantime we missed the host who slid away secretly. But very soon he came in and asked us to go to the guest hall. We thought that he wanted to tell us something else was stolen from the hall. But once we were in, a strong smell of barbecue inflamed our noses. Looking around we found three big trays of food, each of which was enough to feed ten persons while all of us could not count more than ten policemen.
“What is all this trouble for, Mr. Khalifa? It is still morning and it is not yet for breakfast?” I asked him.
“This is just a little thing, and it is the first time the police would come into my home,” he replied in his usual politeness.
Then I gave the order for “attack” which was indeed very fierce. The men continued to consume the meat in earnest, forgetting the duty we came for. All the time Khalifa continued to sing for us his famous song “the spring of love.”
After the feast was over, drinks of all sorts (hot and cold) were brought in. Then I slowly pulled my self up and thanked the Artist for this generosity, promising to do all we could to bring back the stolen items.
As we went out, Khalifa sang for us his other famous song: I bid you farewell ! No..No.. I can’t do that (my dear policemen!)
Back to the office we were all in high morale. Secret Police Chief, Lt. Mohammad Adam said: Sir this a quality police case. I hope all of our cases will be that great!
During this chat I was surprised to know that part of the police force was already after the accused (A.T).
The next morning I was told the plainclothes police had already put their hands on the accused, seizing a number of video sets and stereos .. But no video tapes or cassettes were found with him. I was also told that some other policemen had moved at 3 AM with the accused but nobody could tell where they have gone.
At midday Artist Khalifa was brought to my office and was all smiles for the findings. In the police car outside the office he could recognize the video set and a big stereo. But he queried about the video tapes, the cassettes and the discs.
In response Captain Adil Abuaagla asked him not to worry. They were going to research the home of the accused for these items “which we knew were very important for you, our dear Artist Khalifa.”
At sunset I returned to the office in civilian clothes to find Captain Abuaagla who told me they had to press the accused “a little bit” after which he confessed he had thrown the video tapes, the cassettes and the discs in the neighborhood’s garbage dump while he sold the computer to somebody in the Omdurman market.
In the market we could find the computer with the buyer. Then they searched the local garbage dump bit by bit to find nothing. They must have been moved away on the garbage truck. A team was sent to guard the City’s major garbage dump.
In the morning next day a plainclothes police private brought the garbage truck driver to us.
Captain Abuaagla interrogated him very precisely. He and three other garbage workers took the police to where they usually empty garbage truck, near Libya Market in Omdurman.
At The Very Last!
At five PM I took note that the men had returned from the garbage dump. Going to the police office, I found Captain Abuaagla sitting on a chair beside the criminal investigations office. In front of him was a coffee thermos flask, many fresh drinks’ bottles and a number of cigarette boxes.
I sat beside him on a chair, wondering at his very bad shape, as if he were a garbage collector!
Noticing my surprise, he said had spent eight complete hours inside the garbage dump, sifting for the Artist’s belongings. But he said that time had passed very quickly. He said weren’t they at the place at the right time, the workers at the dump would have set the garbage on fire.
He said they made sure to tell the scavengers at the place to look for Khalifa’s belongings as they searched for what they wanted to take away.
A tramp at the place found the video tapes and cried for us at the top of his voice.
We ran towards him and took what he found.
Then we continued to comb the place to find 22 video tapes, 35 cassette tapes and discs some of them not used before.
Moments later Artist Khalifa was with us. Seeing the things brought from the garbage dump, he took four video tapes and held them to his breast, staining his garment with dirt, and all the time crying like a child. “God help you! You are real knights! You have saved my arts history,” he kept saying.
E N D