Friday, May 25, 2007

Law and Order

Law and order in Sudan is nonexistent! In other countries if there is a car accident- it’s called an accident. There is insurance, police, courts, etc, etc. In Southern Sudan there is a 'take justice into your own hands approach', especially when it comes to the army. This makes it worse because they all have guns, are bored, underpaid and still trying to fight the war. Following an accident there is no justice for the victims or perpetrators. Someone else who is around remains responsible and anyone foolish enough to get in the way faces a sort of mob justice.
Two nights ago 5 soldiers showed up at our compound after beating up one of the drivers of a vehicle that we sent out in the field. They had gotten information about the plate number of the vehicle and decided to beat up the wrong guy based on this information. They were actually looking for a different vehicle that was also parked at our compound (how it got here is a long story…). They coincidentally happened to find it here and decided that since the driver had run away that they should take the owner of the car or the car itself. Of course based on no evidence except that they had guns and said so. In the dark night I had to tell five tall shadowy men with guns to leave our compound and to take the vehicle with them and sort it out in the morning. I heard that the punishment was for the owner of the car to pay $1000 for the hospital bills of the injured soldier.
The day after this I got another lesson on the lack of discipline and order among the army. There was a shooting in town when a soldier lost it and shot his friend and another person and in return he was shot himself. The army barrack is in the middle of town so those affected by internal fights are likely to be civilians. Even following the peace agreement, the rule of the gun is still the strongest rule of the land. No need to worry mom - things are fine and I am safe, I just needed to vent about my frustrations of living in such a violent gun ridden place.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lady H. I am very proud of what you are doing, don't loose hope you are making a change. Please be safe!

Kizzie said...

Thanks for doing this job!
I've stumbled upon your blog through "Sleepless in Darfur"!
I just want to say that I'm impressed by your courage and compassion. Most of what I hear about my country breaks my heart but I will remain optimistic:)

Kyna said...

Interesting to know.