to a Camel Owner
"My name is Bol Deng, 1 am 16 years old. My home village is Mabior Nyang, Aweil. 1 was enslaved by Arabs in western Sudan for three years. While in slavery, 1 lost hope of ever walking into freedom. But thanks to the Voluntary Slave Tracing Team (VSTT). 1 can now narrate the brief story of how 1 was enslaved.
It was early one morning in 1989, and we were playing... All of a sudden, we saw a band of armed men on horseback. They went wild throughout the village, shooting live bullets at random. Some of the grown up villagers escaped but many of them were killed while attempting to flee. My father Deng Baak was shot dead in the incident. My mother was beaten up until she dropped down unconscious, but later recovered. Those of us who could not escape were surrounded by the armed Arab bandits. They herded us together, men, women, and children. Top
Then at gunpoint we were driven northwards. From our family four of us were captured: our mother, my elder brother, my sister and I.
We were journeying on foot and were worn out and very tired. On reaching Safaha - the border point dividing the Dinka from the Rezeigat Arabs - our captors stopped us and they divided us among themselves.
Husseini Mohieddin took possession of me. 1 was the only one among the captives who was owned by Mohieddin. My elder brother and sister were owned by the other Arab bandits. Top
Moheidin's village where we were staying was called Fardos, south of Da'ein. Fardos in Arabic means Paradise. But for me this was no Paradise at all but Hell.
1 stayed with Mohieddin for one year. When 1 first went into his house he was still a bachelor but later married while 1 was there. He had a herd of cattle and we used to look after them. Top
Moheidin was a harsh man. He used to cane me whenever a cow or a bull went astray. He and his wife insulted me and called me names which made me most unhappy.
Then gradually Mohieddin began to lose interest in maintaining me. One day he decided to sell me to a camel owner named laqabi Suleiman Hassan. 1 don't know for how much 1 was sold to Suleiman, but from the way the negotiations were conducted between Mobieddin and Suleiman suggested that 1 was being sold to someone who was not related to Mohieddin in any way. Top
Suleiman was a Kordofani. Unlike Mohieddin, he did not beat me, but overworked me like a donkey. Day and night 1 had to keep watch over the man's camels. In the grazing land 1 often met my fellow captives - age-mates from my Dinka tribe. We shared our troubles and suffering together.
Suleiman was a family man. His wife was not very rude like Mohieddin's wife. Although she gave me food 1 was not allowed to share the same table with them. 1 ate alone.
1 stayed with Suleiman for two years until the committee retrieved me