Ex-Janjaweed Captive Seeks Govt Protection for Zambians Abroad

Former militia hostage and humanitarian worker Felix Ngoma says government should do more to protect Zambians serving in foreign countries.

Ngoma, who was in captivity by the janjaweed militia in Sudan for 21 days, emotionally recounted his ordeal whilst featuring on Muvi Television’s The Assignment programme.

He also revealed that he was urinated upon and spat on during his captivity as part of the process of trying to break him down.

“I do not want to be judgmental but allow me to speak in my personal perspective we need to do more especially our offices abroad. We need to develop a system as a country where we know where our people are especially those who leave the country legally to go and work and serve the country abroad,” he said.

“Our embassies abroad need to do more, for example Sudan is under our embassy in Ethiopia they need to visit Sudan more often because that is where volatility is and that is where most of the people who come from Zambia work, our soldiers, our police name them they are there they work in different parts of the country.”

The Zambian government only caught on Ngoma’s abduction 18 days after the International Organization of Migration employee had been held hostage.

Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba belatedly held a press briefing to dilute the shock at the laxity on the government side to be abreast with a high profile international kidnapping that fell within government jurisdiction.

Ngoma said that the captors demanded for a US$2 million ransom which they reduced to US$1 million but said he did not know how he was finally freed after 21 days.

“I came out of the office two minutes late to join the convoy which was like 50 metres away. I was boxed in by three land cruisers with machine guns mounted on them and other personnel in RSFF uniform and with the common hoods they put on as janjaweed, the fourth vehicle was a Toyota Hilux in between,” said of the moment he was captured.

“They blindfolded me, tied the hands behind me, we drove for about six hours before we could stop to a place where they had food, they did not give me anything.”

Ngoma said he held his sanity despite not having eaten or drunk anything in four days.

“There is a lot of de-humanizing things if you wish, they urinate on you, spit on you know it is during the month of Ramadan they don’t swallow saliva so they will spit on you. The aim is to break you, and once you are broken they will ask you any question then you will provide them with any type of information if you credit cards, you can offer if you have relative. When you survive the ordeal in five days then you have survived,” he said.

Ngoma said the mock execution charade was the most tormenting for him.

“I knew that anything could happen, especially during the mock execution when they blindfolded me, tied my back to a tree then they fired their guns all over me and also fire the machine gun on top of the tree then you can feel the leaves and other things,” he said.

“The only fear I had was that if a bullet hits a hard surface and knew that it could hit me and then I am gone.”

Ngoma was only given water on the fifth day by his captors.

“The fifth day they gave me water, there is only brown water which you can use your shirt to sieve on order to take something out of it,” he said.

“The sixth day one of the guards, every 24 hours they used to change, there would be eight armed guards smuggled food in his in his clothes, it was sorghum food. In the whole ordeal there was no official way of giving me food.”

Source : Zambia Reports

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