Thursday, March 22, 2007

Footnote to Tuesday

A group of lawyers in Darfur say there is strong evidence that there have been "many cases" of people being abducted and forced into slavery by the notorious Janjaweed, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The lawyers, who are
too afraid of possible reprisals from either militias or state security agents to give their names,
say that slavery is happening on a smaller scale than it did during the north-south civil war in Sudan that saw a settlement a few years ago, but it is happening.

This represents an escalation of the abuses, since
[u]ntil now, a key difference between the two conflicts is that despite all the other atrocities committed, there have been no reports of people in Darfur being abducted and held for more than a few weeks.
One suggested reason for the difference is that while the people of south Sudan are largely Christian and animist, both those of north Sudan and the people of Darfur are Muslim. Muslims are barred from enslaving other Muslims - although not, it would seem, from slaughtering them.

Footnote: The BBC had a helpful graphic in December, showing how the conflict is spreading. The link is here.

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