17 October 2012

Sudan Government Forces Kidnap, Torture Boy After Burning His Village in South Kordofan

Khartoum — New video footage released by the Nuba Reports website on Wednesday told the story of how Sudanese government forces kidnapped and tortured a school boy on suspicion of being a rebel after burning his village in South Kordofan State.

The video report shows uniformed government soldiers attacking and burning Gardud al Badry village in northeastern South Kordofan while interrogating a young student named Naim who was falsely accused of being a fighter for the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army North (SPLM/A-N).

Naim, 18, was kidnapped along with four men and taken Al Abassiya prison where he was beaten and tortured for ten days despite producing an ID card proving his status as a student.

According to the Nuba Reports website, which uses citizen journalists to report on the conflict, the first attack on Gardud al Badry village and kidnapping of Naim occurred on May 18, 2012, and was carried out by Central Reserves Forces known as Abu Tira. Another attack on the village happened in late July, the website said.

The website said that its journalists saw eight destroyed villages during their trek to meet with residents of Gardud al Badry.

In the video, Naim tells the story of how he was awoken by the heat of his house burning, seized by the soldiers and forced to confess to the charge of being a rebel after a barrage of death threats and questions.

The video footage, shot with a mobile phone camera, shows Naim being interrogated in the back of a vehicle by a group of soldiers while flames rose from the homesteads behind him. One solider is heard saying "get information from him, then kill him,"

Naim was eventually released after his father went through a bureaucratic ordeal and had to pay 150 US dollars to government soldiers to secure his son's release.

Since fighting between the government and SPLM/A-N rebels broke out in South Kordofan in June last year, and spread to Blue Nile two months later, there have been several and credible reports of atrocities committed by government forces and allied paramilitary groups against the ethnic and civilian population deemed supportive of the rebellion, particularly against the Nuba of South Kordofan.

A UN report released in July last year documented and accused government forces of committing a wide-range of "especially egregious" acts against the civilian population in South Kordofan, saying that the acts may amount to "war crimes and crimes against humanity."

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