Illalo. There were two of them and they passed through that morning, just before classes started. They came from the west, following the dusty track that bisected a school in the middle of nowhere. Riding high on their camels, their hard eyes watching us. “Illalo,” breathed one of the boys. “Is much trouble,” mouthed another. They were illalo, the interior police. They went where Land Rovers couldn’t and regular police wouldn’t. Few Somalis rode camels. They were beasts of burden for these nomadic people, carrying their aqals, portable huts, and other belongings. Only the illalo. We watched them head off toward the mountains along the eastern horizon.
Two days later they came back through, toward evening. With a man in tow, on foot, tethered by a rope to one of his captors.
No one said anything. The illalo were like djinn — ghosts. Best not to call attention to oneself in the presence of djinn. Or police, for that matter. Painted in Photoshop.