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Shofar FTP Archive File: places/sudan/slavery/christian-group-frees-slaves

Document provided by ReliefWeb 
Source: Africanews
Date : 15 Nov 1996

For educational use only:

Christian Solidarity International frees slaves in Sudan

(Excerpt from:)
News and Wiews on Africa from Africa
Issue 8 - November 1996

Christian Solidarity International, a Swiss based organization,
redeemed 58 slaves near the village of Manyiel in the province of
Bahr El Ghazal (Sudan) on October 29. Most of the enslaved
women and children had been captured during raids conducted by
the Government of Sudan's Popular Defence Force on villages
about 15 miles east of Manyiel during January and February of
1995. The slaves' testimonies reveal a consistent pattern of
beatings, sexual abuse, forced Islamisation and denial of sufficient
food and shelter.

One of the slaves, a young mother called Amou Kawac from Wotal
Wol told CSI:

"The Arab militia came to my village early one morning in January
1995 while I was sleeping with my three children. We ran outside,
but were immediately surrounded by Arabs on horses. We were
forced to walk at gun-point. My blind husband was left behind. The
raiders forced me to carry their booty on my head and my youngest
child, Deng, on my back. My other two children Akok and Kawac
had two walk behind us. They both died of thirst during the long
march to Dogg, near Saddama. There Deng and I were separated.
He went to the home of our captor, Abdullah, while I was sold to a
man named Sama. Sama already had two wives and used me as a
concubine. He made me give birth to my little girl Achai. Sama was
a cruel man who said his baby Achai was as worthless as the child
of a dog. Sama beat me, while his wives made me work hard,
grinding gain and fetching water, while they were idle. They gave
me no money, no clothes and all I had to eat was the remnants of
their food. Soon my clothes perished, and I was left completely
naked. Sama also gave me the Muslim name Kaddija and forced
me to pray in the Islmaic way. I tried to resist this, but they beat
with big bamboo sticks. One day, I ran away and found a man from
my tribe who took me to an Arab trader. This trader bought me
from Sama and then sent me here to Manyiel with another trader. I
have been here for over one month, but cannot leave because my
family does not have the money and cows demanded by the trader.
He says he spent good money to buy me from Sama, and must be
paid before I can go home."

CSI paid an Arab trader named 'Nur' 2,900,000 Sudanese pounds to
free this mother and the 57 other slaves, including here 7-year-son
Deng. The 50,000 Sudanese pound price for each slave is roughly
the equivalent of the local cost of two or three cows.

CSI estimates that there are tens of thousands of black African
slaves in northern Sudan. Most of the cattle owning nomads in
southern Darfur and southern Kordofan have at least one slave,
according to Sudanese church sources and Arab traders. The trader
'Nur' and his colleagues blame Sudan's National Islamic
Front-dominated Government for the thriving slave trade. He said
the National Islamic Front provides arms and horses to the Popular
Defence Force and tells the local Arabs that the black Africans of
the South are infidels and can therefore freely be killed or

Meanwhile, the Popular Defence Forced killed five civilians and
enslaved 20 young women and children in six black African
villages in northern Bahr El Ghazal on October 27, 1996, according
to local administrators of the SPLM/A. The raids were carried out
while the Popular Defence Force guarded on horseback a
slow-moving military train travelling from the government's
garrison at the southern city of Wau to the North. The slave raids
were accompanied by the theft of cattle and grain and the burning
of homes. The six raided villages are Mathiang Bol, Burakuc, Rang
Ajoung, Waar Geng, Mayen Ulem and Mayom Deng Akol.

Further information and photos are available from
John Eibner,
CSI Switzerland
telephone: +41.1.980-4700
fax: +41.1.980-4715

News & Views on Africa from Africa
Koinonia Media Centre, P.O. Box 8034, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel./Fax: 254.2.560385

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