|NATIONAL ISLAMIC FRONT 1989-97||"KILL
EVERYTHING THAT MOVES"
Some sections of the Baggara systematically organise "ghazwa " (slave raids), carried out by their fighters, whom the Rezeigat sometimes call "al-Fursan" - "the cavalry".
Not everyone involved in the "ghazwa" is a "tribal militia fighter". Some secondary school students from ad-Da'ein have also participated in them. More or less anyone can join in the "Popular Defence Force".
The raiders divide the captives, separating small children from their older siblings and from their mothers. They set up surveillance systems to prevent the slaves from escaping, and treat them as property, to be exchanged for goats or sheep or money, or "married" in the case of enslaved women. Top
The military instructions are not to go and get slaves, but to "kill everything that moves". Nonetheless, militia members do capture some women and children and bring them back with them.
What happens after that depends on the military commander's judgement and discretion. He can order the release of the captives, but he knows that this could be tricky for his future military operations, and will often turn a blind eye.
Sometimes, however, they have stood firm, like the military commander who ordered that captured children be released and handed over to the local church in Abyei, in March 1996. Top
Slavery and other forced abductions figure alongside the killings of civilians in the war zones and the loss of young men conscripted by the SPLA in depriving families and villages of the younger generation who would normally be playing a vital role in traditional cattle rearing and farming.
This is a direct threat to the existence of the Dinka, Nuba and other rural communities, a deliberate attack on their security which leaves thern vulnerable to further upheavals, so that many more are displaced by war and war-related famine.
Hunger has been endemic in the slave-raiding areas of Northern Bahr al-Ghazal since the mid-1980s.
Attacks on villages are not only carried out by raiders from the PDF and army. The government has also succeeded in turning former rebel commanders into government proxies. Top