Christian Solidarity International has returned 300 former slaves to South Sudan in the third slave liberation action of 2021.
From August 7 to 8, 192 women and 108 men who had been enslaved in the north – in some cases for more than 30 years – were accompanied back to their former homes in Aweil North County and Aweil East County, close to the border with Sudan.
CSI project manager Franco Majok was in South Sudan to oversee the operation. Although he has witnessed many slave liberations, it was still a very special moment, he said.
“Former slaves were smiling and singing for the first time in their life since being freed. They were talking about their future plans, farming, getting wives or husbands”.
For Franco, slave liberation is all about “giving hope and love to people who were totally forgotten”. “Being in slavery is the worst thing to happen to any human being”, he believes.
Garang Nyeny Gum spent 34 of his 45 years as a slave in Sudan, where he tended his master’s cattle and slept outside without any protection. Finally free after years of ill-treatment and deprivation of liberty, Garang hopes to go into farming and support himself. ”I thank the people from Europe and the United States who helped me to come back to South Sudan”, he said.
Athok Bol Geng, 30, is also full of hope for her future. “Many bad things which happened to me in slavery will not happen to me again in South Sudan. I feel free and I am so thankful about that”, she told the CSI team.
Goats and survival kits
All those liberated received a goat to provide them with milk, a survival kit as well as sorghum.
More than half of those freed required medical assistance, in most cases for malaria.
“CSI bought enough medicines, and every former slave who was sick was treated”, said Franco. “The majority were seen by our nurse in the field for the first time in their life”, he said, adding that their Arab masters had not allowed them to be treated in hospital when they were sick.
“This is another important work of CSI when slave liberation is done, to treat and save lives of many freed slaves”, he said.
“We can see what CSI is doing in South Sudan, it’s a very special work. CSI is so committed to continue to bring back many slaves”, Franco said. “It makes me so happy to be part of CSI team helping slaves to return back to South Sudan and Dinka land”.