Christians working with local authorities, churches and inter-ethnic peace committees aided in the release of 102 black slaves in the Sudanese-state of Aweil last week.
The rescue which was widely reported by UK-based charity Christian Solidarity International (CSI), Tuesday, said that the captives were mainly boys and young men captured by government-sponsored Arab-Muslim militias.
The slaves endured physical, psychological abuse and forced-conversion according to the CSI report.
Agor Deng, 16, was repeatedly raped by her master and his friends. The master’s wife pulled out Deng’s nails for failing an order to grind grain. She was forced to pray like a Muslim while under death threats.
45-year-old Achol Loc Wiel, who was wounded in the leg during a slave raid, was forced marched to Northern Sudan where she endured gang-rape by her master’s friends. Her master forced her to convert from the Christian-faith to Islam.
Slaves attempting escape were punished severely by their ethnic-Baggara Arab masters if captured.
Garang Akot Wiir, 30, was partially paralyzed in the right arm and leg after being tied up and beaten for 24-hours after being caught escaping.
Sudanese religious figures praised the rescue effort between CSI, local Christian churches, domestic civil authorities and ethnic Arab-Dinka peace committees.
“Thank you for helping bring back our people from slavery. Now they are free to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and choose their own religion,” said Rev. Tito Athian, a Sudanese Episcopalian priest.
The former-slaves have reportedly been returned to their homeland in southern Sudan where Arab-Muslim militias have long conducted slave raids in their fight against the non-Muslim, black-African Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
Slave-trafficking continues despite a tentative 2005 ceasefire between the two groups.
Last week’s rescue coincides with the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Mar. 25 abolition of the British African slave-trade.