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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 07:23 GMT 08:23 UK
Darfur refugee tale: Arab herder
The crisis in Sudan's Darfur region is often portrayed as a simple conflict between Arabs and Africans, but as the World Food Programme's Greg Barrow discovers, the reality on the ground is much more complex. Issa Ibrahim Taha from Mosai Camp near Nyala in South Darfur told him his story:

Issa Ibrahim Taha in Mosai Camp near Nyala in South Darfur, Sudan
Mr Taha lost 140 cattle in attacks from African groups

I am 52 years old. I have two wives, and nine children.

I am a deputy chief from the village of Milebeda, which is 20km from Nyala.

I came here in May this year because of the war.

I am from an Arab group - the Tarjamia - but for many years, we lived together in peace with people from African communities.

This year in January, February, March and April, the African people of the Fur, Zargawa and Dagou started looting our belongings.

They began by taking our cows. Myself, I had 140 cows.

When this began, we tried to retrieve our cows, but when we went after them, we were surrounded by a large number of the attackers.

They accused us of being Janjaweed. They took our guns, and demanded that we swear to them that we were not Janjaweed.

Some of them wanted to kill us, but others did not, and eventually we were freed. We managed to recover a small number of our cows, perhaps 30.


We returned to our village, but the next day, the attackers came back. This time they burnt our houses, and stole everything.

That was when we escaped to this camp. I think we were attacked because these people wanted us to join the Sudan Liberation Army rebels, but we refused.

When we came here to Mosai camp, the local authorities gave us some vegetables, salt and soap.

For the first time, we received food from the World Food Programme in September.

Now life is much better, but we still have no blankets, mosquito netting or shelter.

If there is security, I will go back to Milebeda. We will need the UN and aid agencies to help us to rebuild our village.

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