Monday, May 17, 2004
Religion of peace: Islam works wonders in Sudan.
Deep in remote northern Darfur, the Sudanese rebel fighters are gathering to talk tactics in the face of genocide. At this desert rendezvous, in the punishing terrain of the Sahara, we are 120 miles from the nearest settlement and 75 miles from the closest reliable water supply, a large reservoir.
There is little to mark Wadi Hawar as a hideout: the "camp" has no huts or tents. Rebels from throughout northern and western Darfur choose to meet here because they know that the brutal Janjaweed - the mounted Arab militia whose men are systematically "cleansing" western Sudan of its 80 black African tribes - will never find them.
It is 47C and the air ripples with heat. The dust creates a persistent, arid fog. The only shade comes from the scrubby trees, their branches stripped of leaves, and the rebels' 25 pick-up trucks. The commanders shelter under the thicker twigs; their men lie out in the sun.
Tattered and filthy, a boy moves among them, bringing water and tea, shying away from any adult who approaches. Aged just 12, Adam Erenga Tribe has more reason than most to shrink from grown men.
A month ago, Adam came home from school to find the government-backed Janjaweed burning his village in western Darfur. He watched more than 20 armed militiamen spur their horses through the inferno, slaughtering any who refused to leave and rounding up their cattle.
Running home, Adam found his two older brothers lying dead in the dirt outside the family's straw shelter. Inside were the bodies of his mother and father, who had been shot in the neck and the stomach.
"They killed my whole family," Adam remembers, shaking as he speaks. "Lots of girls were captured. I lost control and started screaming and crying. And then the Janjaweed snatched me and took me away on horseback. They made me their slave."
Go read the entire article, if you can stand it.