By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
December 19, 2011 (BENTIU) - Two South Sudanese described their forcible recruitment by the rebel South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) in Khartoum and escape from South Kordofan, in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Monday.
- Escapees, Michael Latjor Gai and Gatbeal Tap Chuol, December, 19, 2011 (ST)
Michael Latjor Gai and Gatbeal Tap Chuol claim they were abducted by armed members of the SSLA on 15 November while working as merchants in Safer Sherik, Khartoum.
The SSLA are a rebel group operating predominantly in Unity state. The South Sudan army spokesperson described them as "mercenaries" of Khartoum, an allegation potentially corroborated by the findings of a Small Arms Survey report published in October.
Gai said on 18 November they were put on a bus to the rebel base in Nyama, South Kordofan with 44 fellow South Sudanese in Omdurman.
Gai described escaping after 21 days of detention, only to fall into the hands of herders who they paid, via cash transfer by relaitves in Khartoum, for their release. They then made their way to a South Sudan army base in Kaykang.
The abductees claim many South Sudanese in Khartoum have been forcibly recruited by the SSLA for military training in South Kordofan.
Last week the Unity State speaker appealed to UN and the international community to intervene and condemn the brutal activities of Sudan government against the people of South Sudan.