UPPER NILE – Sudan-Persecution Project Foundation announced today the release of new photo and video documentary evidence of atrocities against civilians in southern Sudan’s oil region.
During its June Sudan relief mission co-sponsored by The Voice of the Martyrs in Bartlesville, Okla., a team led by Persecution Project Foundation president Brad Phillips encountered more than 700 Shilluk survivors of a recent government-sponsored massacre in the remote village of Payuer in Northern Upper Nile – Sudan.
Reports had leaked out of Renk County in the nation’s oil region that, from March 26, 2004, through until the second week of April 2004, 22 Shilluk villages had been burned and hundreds of people murdered while Government of Sudan (GoS) troops looked on.
“They did more than look on,” said Phillips. “Survivors told us that GoS soldiers in motorboats had fired on them from the Nile while government-sponsored militia attacked from the bush. We received testimonies that between 300 and 1,000 people were killed during these attacks. More died afterward from wounds and disease. Hundreds were abducted. Twenty thousand people were driven out of their homes, their villages burned. At the beginning of June, 700 Shilluks who had fled these attacks reached our distribution site in Payuer, where more than 85,000 internally displaced Christians have taken refuge this year. We knew the situation was desperate when we arrived, because we found the people eating ‘apam’ [leaves from the Acacia trees],” Phillips said.
These excerpts from videotaped interviews document survivors’ testimonies.
- “The soldiers came in the middle of the night,” said a man named Odatti. “They came from Malakal. Everybody ran. Some into the bush. Others into the river. Many drowned. They shot everyone. They killed blind old ladies who could not run away.”
- “My husband was killed right away,” Elizabeth told us. “I ran with the kids. Two of them drowned in the river and the other two I don’t even know where they are. You tried to grab one child here and there, but you could only do so much.”
- “We started running,” said another woman. “They kidnapped my older daughter and my husband. I came here by myself. One of the raiders came and talked nicely to my sister, politely at first, and tried to have intercourse with her. When she refused, he raped her and took her with them. I don’t know if she is still alive.”
“All of this evidence is denied by Khartoum and ignored by the international community,” Phillips said. “The only change in Sudan we can measure is a major shift in the focus of the GoS’s genocidal campaign from the south to the west. The bombardments, systematic killing, abductions, rape, forced displacement are continuing in Sudan, and in some cases, as our team observed in Upper Nile, they are still happening in the south. If Bashir’s National Islamic Front is not stopped, as many people as they have killed in 21 years may die in Sudan during the next six months.”