Brutal persecution of Christians and animists by Arab Islamists in Sudan.
As he began speaking, Majok lowered his small coca colored eyes and stared intensely at the ground. It was the summer of 2002 and I had just flown thousands of miles deep into the war zone of Sudan, the largest country in Africa, to interview former slaves.
Majok, then 12, tightly hugged his long, bony legs, as we sat on the parched termite-infested ground. His ragged black shorts and ripped oversized tee-shirt hung loosely on his spindly, dust covered body. He spoke of the way he was repeatedly raped and sodomized by gangs of government soldiers, as I watched a continuous flow of tears pour down his precious adolescent face.
"They raped me," Majok cried. "And when I tried to refuse they beat me."
After he worked all day taking care of his master's cattle, Majok said he was often raped at night. He told me that his rapes were very painful and he would rarely get a full night's sleep.
He also spoke about the other slave boys he saw who suffered his same fate. "I saw with my eyes other boys get raped," Majok said. "He [the master] went to collect the other boys and took them to that special place. [ ] I saw them get raped."
Yal, another adolescent, had multiple scars on his arms and legs that he said came from the numerous bamboo beatings he received while in captivity. He told me he saw three slaves killed and one whose arm was hacked off at the elbow because he tried to run away. Yal also said he saw other boys raped by his master at his master's house.
"At the time they were raped they were crying the whole day," Yal said. He then told me that he too was raped.
Since 1989, Sudan's extremist government, which is seated in the North, has been waging war against its diverse populace. The battle is over land, oil, power and religion, by a government that is made up of some of Africa's most aggressive Arab Islamists, says Jesper Strudsholm, Africa correspondent for Politiken.
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