|As of 3/2002||Return to SUDAN PROFILE|
A couple years ago, we began to
realize the potential for abuse of the "Slave Redemption" process in
Sudan. Our first trips were successful in releasing several thousand
slaves by purchasing their freedom. Subsequent trips, about which we felt
uneasy, fell through for reasons which now become clear.
When CSW representatives were
in Sudan in October of 2001, they traveled with top officials of Southern Sudan
and were told quite frankly that the officials have discovered a man among them
who was defrauding, on a very large scale, several organizations which were
This man began setting up
organizations to redeem as many as 5,000 people at once. Our source, Dr. Samson
Kwaje, told us that he doubted that even 5% of the supposed ‘slaves’ had
ever actually been slaves, and that they were coached in how to act, and stories
to tell. One man's conscience began to bother him, and he came to the top
officials of the SPLM/A (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army) and
confessed his involvement in this fraud. That was the final proof they needed.
Although many of their own family members are slaves, the SPLM/A
leadership now discourages "slave redemption" officially.
As you can imagine, this was
shocking to us, but did confirm a suspicion we had for some time. Thank the Lord
we had suspended slave redemptions before the abuses began.
Peace agreements have been
worked out between members of regions where slaves were abducted, and the
Khartoum-supported tribal militias conducting the raids. They are now releasing
slaves at no cost whatsoever. About 15,000 have been released so far. This also
puts the abuser of the process out of business!
It would therefore be a major
misuse of funds to offer to "buy slaves into freedom" at this time. We
have therefore suspended any further ‘slave redemption’ operations
Rather, we have chosen to
emphasize our medical and practical aid programs. We are re-supplying hospitals
and plan to provide doctors’ services in upcoming trips. Opportunities exist
to supply food to villagers who have had their livestock and livelihoods
destroyed, in addition to funding the rebuilding of both their homes and
their lives. Cal Bombay, of CSW-Canada, has even been asked to be
Co-Chairman of a 12,000+ acre Sudanese farmer’s co-op, providing both advice
and monitoring of the machinery and distribution of funds.
We say all this in hopes of
giving you a fairly clear insight into the situation as it now stands, and an
idea of how you can effectively impact the life of a Christian in Sudan.
Could we therefore ask that you
let us transfer any donations from ‘slave redemption’ to use in the medical
and other urgent needs of the people of Sudan, or to another region of
We trust that you can
understand our position here at CSW, and that you will agree with our present
approach to the still dire needs of the Southern Sudanese. If you have any
questions, please call us at (307) 235-4800/ (877)
Yours sincerely in Christ,