News, Northern Bahr el-ghazal

Boys escape nomads’ abuse

By Hou Akot Hou


Two boys from Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, who ventured to graze cattle for Sudanese nomads in exchange for a cow, returned empty handed.

The teenage boys were seeking the neighboring Sudan to address their economic hardship back home, but their master turned dishonesty to the agreement.

The boys returned to Gok-Machar this week after being out for a year, searching for survival.

One of the boys who declined to be named narrated how they got to work for the wealthy Reizgat pastoralists but were later mistreated like slaves.

He said it was during the dry season that those pastoralists used to come to Aweil North County’s headquarters, Gokmachar, and he talked to one who accepted for him to graze the cattle for two years, after which he would be given a cow.

“He agreed with me to give me a cow and two good years of herding his cattle, but the agreement got altered,” he narrated.

“He (the cattle owner) disobeyed the agreement by abusing me, so the year didn’t even end. So we decided to escape back to our home,” he cried.

The boy expressed that it was a painful experience; indeed, even some of their children in the village within Dheen were going to school.

Another minor, identified only as James said, that even after falling sick, their master could hardly heed the complaint raised by them.

“They could not even seek treatment for you; that made us take a decision as well to return home before we complete the year,” said James.

Reacting to the news of the boys’ ordeal, the member of the peace committee that has been inked between Reizgat and the Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Deng Garang, said the parents of the boys will be summoned for interrogation.

He said hearing the experience of the two boys at the hands of the Arab nomad was alarming.

“We are glad that they came back home and are now at Gok-Machar without anything that got them on the way, as the Sudan conflict is flaring up yet,” he said.

“We will go to their parents to find out why they allowed the boys to go for the bad deal of grazing the Reizgat cattle,” Malual added.

The economic hardship across the country is causing a lot of bewilderment as some people make risky decisions in search of survival.

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