In this testimony Darfuri survivor Abdul describes the murder of his father, being imprisoned and tortured, and escaping to the UK.
Abdul belongs to Al Zaghawa tribe. He lived in Tendalty, west of Al Ginaina near the borders between Sudan and Chad. Abdul tells his story, he begins with the moment that his father was killed in front of him in Darfur.
‘One morning I was drinking tea with my father who used to belong to the Justice and Equality Movement. We were sitting in our farm which supply us with our food and pasture for our cattle. Suddenly two cars full of Janjaweed malitias stopped in front of us. They did not ask any questions. They shot my father in the chest showing no mercy. I was 19 years old then. They dragged me to Ardumta prison at the east of Al Ginaina.’
After this terrifying incident in 2004, Abdul spent two months in prison during which he suffered torture and threats of killing by the police and the army personnel. He says: ‘Death used to visit me every day.’ He made a decision to escape this slow death even if the result was instant death.
One day, they took him out of the cell with five others to unload food supplies delivered in a car to the prison. In a decisive moment he slipped his body under the car and hid adjacent to a bar on the car. Luckily nobody noticed him. The car then moved away from the prison.
Abdul says: ‘The journey outside prison seemed to me so long although it was short with time count.’
His body was close to ground while the car was driven quickly. His heart was beating fast fearing that the army could have discovered his escape. If they did they would have killed him as they did his father.
When the car arrived at Atra on the borders between Sudan and Chad, Abdul emerged from his hide and kept on running towards Chad. He was running and hiding the whole day until he arrived at Umbasha town in Chad.
He did not have any money on him so, he worked for two years as a car driver. When he collected some money he escaped to Libya and stayed there for a year. Unfortunately war erupted between supporters and opponents of Gaddafi, the former President of Libya. He felt as if war was his destiny. Sudanese people were then accused of supporting Gaddafi and they lived in a hostile environment.
Abdul had to hide for more than a month at his home fearing being killed by Libyans or Sudanese Government officials who used this environment to chase up their opponents.
In 2011 Abdul departed Libya through smugglers to arrive in Greece. He boarded a ship where he worked for a year collecting money in order to continue his journey. He arrived at Italy through smugglers, then to France for a month until he found a way to get to United Kingdom on the 16 April 2013.
Abdul says he could not contact his family until he arrived in the United Kingdom, ‘I suffered from anxiety for years not sure what happened to my mother, two brothers and my two sisters during those years.’
He continues: ‘I am worried about my mother who is above 60 years old. I left her struggling to survive along facing various dangers and challenges from everywhere. I am also worried because one of my brothers is lost for years and we do not know anything about him or his whereabouts.’
Abdul concludes his story by saying that he still remembers the moments which turned his life into hell when his father was killed in front of his eyes. He remembers his imprisonment and the moments he escaped danger during his long journey.
He said: ‘I escaped death but what about my family and relatives?’ I am secure, alive and away from danger now, but losing my family means another death of different type’.
Thank you to Abdul and Waging Peace for providing this testimony.