A Sudanese woman’s race to the border after giving birth


Zamzam Adam, then 23, was in labor when her village in El Geneina in Darfur, western Sudan, was plundered and pillaged by armed rebels. Her neighbors had fled into Chad across the border.

Her hamlet of Ayatine in western Darfur has been hard hit by fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has reignited a two-decade-old conflict.

According to residents and trustworthy sources, the western section of Darfur has seen a robbery, ethnic revenge attacks, and fights between the government and the RSF, an organization formed from janjaweed militias.

According to the United Nations human rights office, the war has revived intercommunal violence in Darfur, killing at least 96 people since Monday.

“In our village, armed people came and burned and looted houses, and we had to flee,” Adam said.

Adam was alone since her neighbors had fled the region in a hurry due to the explosions and gunshots. Her husband had gone job searching in the east and had been away for some time.

A neighbor informed her sister and mother that she was about to give birth. They were fast to assist her.

Sudanese refugees are making their way to Chad.

“By the time we arrived, she had already given birth, and everyone had abandoned her.” Adam’s younger sister, Souraya Adam, told Reuters, “I cut the child’s umbilical cord and we cleaned her up.”

The women hurriedly wrapped up the infant and began the almost 30-kilometer (18-mile) trip into Chad, where they would join the approximately 20,000 other Sudanese refugees who have fled to Chad from western Darfur since the war began.

In the Koufroun refugee camp in Chad, Souraya Adam stated, “We let her rest for a while, and then we continued on to here.” Zamzam Adam sat on a mat under a tree, cuddling and nursing her 13-day-old baby, who, according to her sister, had cried for five days straight.

He’s stopped sobbing now that he’s feeling better. “I know the child is sick, and his mother is sick because my sister has rashes,” Souraya Adam said.

The camp near the Sudanese border was packed with women and children, some of whom were sleeping in makeshift shelters constructed of wood and rushes wrapped with pieces of cloth, while others wandered aimlessly.

Chad’s already low resources are being strained even further by an influx of migrants, including 400 thousand refugees fleeing conflict in neighboring Sudan.


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