A mediation committee in southern Sudan has secured the freedom of 85 black Sudanese boys who had been held as slaves, Christian Solidarity International reports.
The Arab-Dinka Peace Committee facilitated the rescue, which was documented last week by an international team of researchers sponsored by CSI.
The freed slave boys were among the tens of thousands of black women and children who had been enslaved by Sudanese government-sponsored militias during two decades of civil war. All of the boys reported that they were forced to work without pay and were frequently beaten and subjected to racial insults.
According to CSI, Over 80 percent of the boys reported that they had been forced to practice Islam against their will, while 18 percent claimed they had been raped by their masters or by their masters’ friends and relatives. One 14-year-old boy, Mawien Garang, explained that his master forced him to serve another man as a male prostitute. Two-thirds of the slaves reported that they had witnessed the execution of other black Africans during slave raids or while in captivity.
The Islamic government in Khartoum has sanctioned slavery as part of its declared jihad against Christians and others in the southern part of the nation.
As a result of a U.S. supported cease-fire in southern Sudan, the regime recently suspended slave raids there. But it has revived the practice against the black African tribes of Darfur in western Sudan, CSI reports.
In the Darfur region, the conflict between government-backed Arab militiamen and mainly black rebels has led to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of as many as 1 million people. Many consider the situation genocide.
Since 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine due to the government’s targeting of non-Muslims.
Says CSI in a statement: “This year, U.N. sources have documented the extensive ‘abduction’ and rape of black women and children in Darfur by the armed forces of the Sudanese government. ‘Abduction’ is the euphemism used by U.N. agencies as coded language for the enslavement of black citizens of Sudan.”
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