While the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, issued a landmark arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for ordering war crimes to be committed in Darfur, a CNN reporter, Nic Robertson, interviewed a former Sudanese soldier who was ordered to rape and kill children by his superior officers.
The use of rape as a weapon of war is common in the Darfur area of Sudan and inside the huge displacement camps serving as home to the several million Darfuri refugees, who have been uprooted by the war. In many camps rape victims are giving birth to as many as 20 babies per month–babies who are then subsequently abandoned by their mothers.
The soldier is called Adam, but that is not his real name. Adam was forcibly conscripted into the Sudanese army and trained to kill by shooting targets, after which his officers told him “we will be taken to a patrol and then soon after that we were asked to join other people to go and burn and kill people.”
It was then that he realized that he was being forced into a war against his will and against his own people. He was told that if he resisted his superior officers’ orders, he would be killed. “The order is that the soldiers at the front, and there are some people who are watching you from behind, if you try to escape or do anything you will get shot. The order is that we go to the village, burn it and kill the people,” said Adam.
“I had no choice,” he said “but I will say that I didn’t kill anybody, but the raping of the small children, it was bad.” The children, “they cry out,” said Adam. “Two persons will capture her while she is crying and another raping her, then they leave her there.”
Adam said that the soldiers raped girls as young as 12, and the officers ordered them to so because it will make people flee their villages–make them run away and never come back.
Adam tried to desert the army as soon as possible, but he was caught and subsequently tortured. The soldiers tied him down under a tree, and then the officers would set fire to tires above him. The burning rubber would drip onto his body burning his skin. He showed the scars left on his skin by the burning rubber.
Was he forced to rape children? “Yes I did, they were government orders,” replied Adam.
“It didn’t feel like raping, I was feeling very bad but as I was ordered, I had to do something. What I did was take off my trousers and lay myself on top of the girl but I didn’t feel like raping, so I lay there for about 15 minutes.”
“So you didn’t actually penetrate the girls?” he was asked. No, he said, “because I had no feeling for it, my penis didn’t actually wake up, so there was no actual penetration,” Adam answered.
Adam said that he has trouble sleeping at night. But he is not alone. Aid workers in Darfur say that millions of women in Darfur also have trouble sleeping at night. But, more importantly, they also live in constant fear of rape day and night.
The following video is a CNN report about the interview of the soldier: