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That's when he says he realized he wasn't getting national service training, that in fact, he was being forced into war against his will, with his own people. "They are black," he told me, noting the difference between the lighter skinned rulers of Sudan and the darker farmers of Darfur. "I am black," he said, "this shouldn't be happening."
But, he said, worse than being told to kill his own people, was that if he tried to resist, he himself 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."
But it was following a pattern: I'd have to lead the way. We were both waiting for the inevitable. How he came to know of rape in Darfur.
And that's when he said it.
He brought up the rape by himself. He was talking through a translator but his voice was quiet. I thought I heard anger, heard him slow and his voice drop: "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" I knew this was going to be difficult and now it had begun.
What happens with the children, I asked. "They cry out," he answered. "And what happens when they cry out?" "Two persons will capture her while she is crying and another raping her, then they leave her there," came his reply.
Silence. "What do I ask now?" I thought. Be forensic. Get the story. This is important testimony, I reminded myself.
And so we continued, Adam describing in detail how soldiers raped girls as young as 12. How officers ordered them to do this to make people flee their villages, run away and never come back. Through all of this, Adam didn't once mention whether he actually had been directly involved in the raping.
He said he tried to desert the army as soon as he could, but was caught and tortured. He showed me the scars where he said he was tied down beneath a tree and officers set fire to tires above him, dripping burning rubber on his body.
Eventually, he said, he did get away, went to his sisters, tried joining the rebels to fight the army. But even there, his troubles were far from over. Incredibly, he said, the rebels didn't trust him; he was kept at their camp and only escaped when it was bombed by the army.
The end of his story, but we weren't really done. One more question.
Had he been forced to rape children?
"Yes I did, they were government orders," came his reply.
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