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mia farrow

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August 20, 2008

Kaltum's story...

It was 'food distribution day' at Oure Cassoni. As I sat waiting with the women, Kaltum was sitting next to me, began to tell me her story. She was unusually detailed in her account and clear about the dates and the events that changed her life.

"In January, 2003 aircraft first flew over Karnoi. On Saturday they came -- not bombing, just circling low over our shopping market. But then, on June 3, 2003, they started to bomb. The first bombing was the water point. It killed five people. The people were afraid. Half of the town's population left their homes. The planes came again and they bombed part of Karnoi. On June 22,23,24 there was no bombing. On the 24th it rained heavily. Some of the people who had left the town came back. We wanted to farm the fields. But we took all of our children out of our houses because we were afraid. On June 29-30th the planes returned and bombed the whole area. There were two Antonovs. There were 16 bombings on Karnoi. One was right in front of my house. I was injured. My relatives took me to the wadi. I thought I was going to die but God saved me.

In August the town of Karnoi was empty because everywhere was bombed. The people were hiding in the wadi. The wadi was full but there was no choice.

In November/December there were very huge bombings everywhere in Darfur. People fleeing other villages arrived at our wadi and we asked them what is happening. They said 'everything is destroyed.' They said 'don't stay here, janjaweeed are coming.' But some people did stay. My husband and I decided to take the children far away. Because we had only one donkey he took the children first, then he returned for me and for my elderly father who could not walk. We arrived at the place where the children were and then we saw the Janjaweed coming. They caught my husband and they killed him. I was sick so they beat me and left me there. They took one of my children, my 14-year-old son -- the other children ran away. At night I heard people coming. I shouted, 'Please, take me, I don't have the strength to walk.' They brought me on their donkey. They helped me and found the children, except for my son who was taken. I still don't know anything about him. During that time I cried so much. I think he was killed.'

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