The following story was not written by me. It came from a concerned lawyer (whose name I won't use until I get permission) who put it on the list serve for Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer's College, with this message: "In the daily news of Iraq, we may lose sight of other atrocities. Attached is a letter from a friend working for "Doctors without Borders" in the Sudan."
Khaltouma’s Story – as told to me on Monday, March 20, 2006
On a Saturday night in 2004, Khaltouma’s village was attacked. Her husband, father, and infant were killed before her eyes, as were all of the men in her village. She and 63 other women and girls were kidnapped along with all of the community’s livestock (oxen, camels, sheep, goats, and donkeys), and forced to walk for five days to the Nyala airport. She had her infant daughter with her - the twin of the child slaughtered in front of her - but had to leave behind a toddler crying in the hut.
Thirty minutes after arriving at the airport a green (military) helicopter arrived. The Janjaweed captors started cheering and clapping because their money was in the heli. The women were flown to a place in Khordofan, a state adjacent to Darfur, where they waited for 36 days until the livestock arrived. They were moved to another place in Khordofan and a village was established, with the men taking the Fur women as their wives. In a neighboring village some kind people discovered what had happened to the women and decided to help. Unfortunately, the JJ got wind of the plan and scattered, dividing the women and animals between them.
Khaltouma was taken with ten men, one of whom claimed her as his wife. She was forced to stop breastfeeding her baby, and she quickly became pregnant with another set of twins. She suffered many abuses at the hands of this JJ ‘husband’. He tried to kill her several times, hanging her from a tree, strangling her, and trying to break her neck. He held a gun to her head many times. In spite of all the abuse, she delivered healthy twin girls.
A travelling traditional healer came upon Khaltouma one day while she was sitting under a tree and asked her why she was so sad. She told him her story. He made her an amulet from her breast milk and the hair of her and her children, and then he told her to leave in three days. Three days later the JJ returned home after a triumphant day of robbing and looting – they had stolen a car. A lot of alcohol was consumed during their celebration and Khaltouma’s “husband” passed out. She strapped the three children to her back, front and shoulder, and left. She walked for five months arriving in Kalma four days ago.
NOTE: Khaltouma (not her real name) gave me permission to share her story – she wants the world to know what is happening in Darfur.