Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Read this piece and come to your own conclusions.
At the heart of the tale is the role of the militias, called janjaweed -- "the men on horses." Across Darfur, they have unleashed their fury on black African tribes linked with rebels.

According to survivors, hundreds of janjaweed arrived in the Kailek in February. They galloped from village to village, slaughtering hundreds of black Africans, all Muslims like themselves. Truckloads of government soldiers helped them.

They razed houses, crushed mosques and tore up hundreds of copies of the Quran, Islam's holy book. They whipped women and children, surrounded Kailek and took everyone hostage.

"It was a concentration camp," said a U.N. official who visited the area in late April. "They were eating, sleeping and dying in their own feces because they weren't allowed to go out."

There was a method to the violence. Arabs were left alone, survivors said. Some joined the janjaweed to prey on their neighbors.

Sumia Rahman, 16, and her brother Anwar, 10, fled toward the mountains after they saw their younger brothers die. But their stepmother, Fatima, 30, was caught. She was taken, with dozens of others, to the woods and beaten. Then she was raped.

"If I was an Arab, they would not have raped me," said Fatima.

Meanwhile, her husband, Hamid, and several hundred men had fled into the mountains. As he climbed, he heard explosions in the distance. Planes, he realized, were dropping bombs.

Ten days later, the janjaweed sent representatives to urge them to return to Kailek. They brought along an elder to vouch for their sincerity.

Without food or medicines, they had no other option. Soldiers, he said, escorted them down the mountain. But in Kailek, they were placed under house arrest, along with an estimated 1,700 other villagers.

The janjaweed began to execute one or two of the strongest men every day, said survivors. Children died of hunger and thirst, while scores of women endured a living death.

"In the night, the janjaweed would go into houses and select ladies and take them away to be raped," village elder Adam Muhammed Adam recounted as villagers around him nodded their heads solemnly.
(Thanks, Beckie)

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