Sudanese Children Executed During U.S. Visit

On November 20, the day after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice's arrival in Marial Bai to meet with victims of slavery, government armed forces executed seven black African school boys following a mid-morning slave raid on the nearby Guong Nowh Community Elementary School. The information was furnished by Simon Wol, the civil commissioner of Aweil West County. Government soldiers also enslaved 24 other children, including six girls. Two boys who escaped from their captors reported witnessing the execution of three of their friends. The boys reported that soldiers shot the three boys in the head to instill fear and obedience in the other children. Local people subsequently found the discarded bodies of four other captured boys who had been similarly murdered.

Civil Commissioner Wol called on UN Secretary General Kofi Anan to break his silence on slavery in Sudan and to demand that the Sudanese government immediately return slaves to their homes and prosecute those responsible for these grave criminal acts against the civilian population. However, Sudan President Omer Bashir had earlier signaled the beginning of a new season of slave raiding, when he urged 12,000 troops at a mobilization rally in the western town of Nyala to continue the "jihad" in Southern Sudan.

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