Darfur women fighters negotiate for first time

Although Darfur has fallen off the list of “newsworthy” items in the McMedia, the conflict is very much ongoing. A Red Crescent driver was just killed.
This is a great article about the female commanders participating in the Abuja peace talks. Worth the time to click on the link and read the whole thing.

ABUJA, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Darfuri rebel commander Mariam Abdallah saw her husband murdered in front of her and took to arms dealing to look after the 15 children in her care before joining a revolt to fight the government she says is racist.
Abdallah, nicknamed “mother of the army”, was one of the first women to fight in Darfur’s main rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). Now, she is in the Nigerian capital Abuja where three female commanders are for the first time participating in African Union-sponsored peace talks.
“We were about to take up arms to revolt against the men to gain our place at the talks,” the 55-year-old woman told Reuters in an interview.
“Women have suffered so much in this war — we want this peace so we can go back to being mothers and wives rather than fighters.”
She said a recent rebel congress in Darfur finally gave the 215 women SLA fighters a voice in the movement.
Abdallah, from the non-Arab Fur tribe, said her life changed when President Omar Hassan al-Bashir took power in a military coup in 1989. Security forces came early one morning and killed her husband, a religious leader, after he refused to give government-approved speeches during prayers.
“I heard my son screaming ‘Daddy, Daddy’ and ran out to find my husband murdered on the floor, blood pouring out from his head which they had split open with a machete,” she said, tears streaming down her face. She fell silent and her eyes darkened as the memories came flooding back.
“I felt my whole life had died with him — I had 15 children in my care and no way to look after them,” she finally stuttered.
Reuters AlertNet – Darfur women fighters negotiate for first time

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