KHARTOUM, Sudan, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Darfuri women have been kidnapped by Sudan-backed Arabic militias and sold into physical and sexual slavery, a group says.
The Darfur Consortium, a group of African non-governmental organizations, says many kidnapped Darfuris have been forced into marriages or sold as sex slaves while children have become forced laborers with the complicity of Sudan President Omar Bashir, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
While it is not known exactly how many black African Darfur tribe members had been abducted by mounted Janjaweed militias, the coalition says its research showed "hundreds, but more likely thousands" of Darfuris had been kidnapped since the war there started in 2003.
The group says it has documented the case of 16 teenage girls from Garsila in West Darfur who were allegedly kidnapped and then transported to the other side of the country, where they were forced into marriage, the British newspaper said.
The Darfur Consortium claims their enslavement was part of a determined government policy of ethnic cleansing in Darfur, similar to efforts carried out by Khartoum in southern Sudan in a 22-year civil war.