There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim.
Akeen was just a toddler when he was abducted by the murahileen and taken to Matek.
Akeen is too small to remember being abducted. He was just a toddler at the time. It was a disaster. We had fled from South Sudan to Mujlet, Kordofan, in North Sudan, to escape the fighting. The murahileen attacked us before we could reach Mujlet. People ran in all different directions. I ran one way. Akeen ran another. We were both captured separately. I was taken to Mujlet; he was taken to Matek.
I was freed from slavery two years ago. The Arab slave retriever brought Akeen back here a month ago. He is a good man.
We hugged when we saw each other. I felt so good. He’s an adult now! I gave praise to the people who brought him back. I was always thinking about him, but I didn’t think we would meet again. This is by the grace of the Lord.
I have four smaller children. They and Akeen’s father are all here.
I don’t remember the South, only that I was abducted. I am happy to be back here in my homeland. Life in the North was bad. The Arabs beat me and ordered me around. I haven’t met the rest of my family yet, but we will meet tonight. I am very excited. We will hug each other and celebrate. I didn’t know we would meet again.
Narrative provided by Christian Solidarity International