By Al Nur al Zaki
Khartoum, June 15 (EFE).- Two months into Sudan’s raging war, families anxiously await any news from hundreds of loved ones who have vanished since a full-blown conflict between the country’s powerful paramilitary and army erupted on April 15.
Ozman Abu al Fadi has been one of the lucky few who has managed to return home after he was kidnapped.
His sister, Shaima, tells Efe that “he returned three days ago and the family home became a joy, after the pain and anxiety over his fate.”
During the family’s excruciating three-week wait, Ozman’s mother “couldn’t even eat,” his sister adds.
Since Sudan’s Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (FAR) started fighting in mid-April, the Sudanese Group for Victims of Enforced Disappearances, an organization that was born out of the crisis, has documented “406 cases of forced disappearance, of which 14 returned, including one woman,” group member Ibrahim Abdel Aziz tells EFE.
Of those who remain missing, 16 women and two are minors, he adds.
According to accounts from civilians who have returned from enforced disappearance, they were “detained by the Rapid Support Forces, but the place of their detention has not been determined,” he adds.
When Ozman was kidnapped, he was blindfolded and has no recollection of where he was taken, his sister tells EFE.
“He was kidnapped by an RSF unit near his home and accused of cooperating with Sudanese Army Intelligence after videos were found on his mobile of corpses of RSF members at various sites that were shelled by the Army in southern Khartoum,” Shaima says.
Ozman “did not know the place where he was being held because he was blindfolded and was only fed a plate of lentils a day for three weeks.”
According to his sister, he was being held with dozens of other people.
Ozman was released after he agreed not to cooperate with the Army or speak to the media about the circumstances of his arrest.
Since the start of the conflict, which has so far claimed at least 866 lives according to United Nations data, social networks have played a key role and have acted as a lifeline for many civilians.
Telegram, Twitter and Facebook have been essential tools for Sudanese civilians — of which there are over two million already — who have sought to flee their homes for safe zones, as well as to gather logistical information on bus routes to neighboring countries like Egypt.
Civilians have also turned to social media platforms to search for missing loved ones, as Tariq al Amrabi’s family has done.
Tariq disappeared over a month ago in the Um Durman market when he went to check on his shop which had been ransacked.
He never returned.