National Geographic : 2010 Nov
• their deaths hardly registering against the rumbling of his stomach. e group ate some of the hippo meat on the riverside and dried the rest. en they continued north toward the border. A er several meals of hippo meat, Logocho's stomach knotted, and his bowels loosened. He remembered his sister who had died of dysen- tery. It racked him hour a er hour, exhausting him, wringing the water from his body. At last he lay down at the side of the path and watched the shapes of passing travelers. Some stopped, but others prodded them forward. "Leave him." He lay there drying out in the sun, and a thought lled his mind: I am going to die. A young man named Jowang---a relative of his---saw him. "I will go and get water and come back," he said. A while later someone appeared with water, and Logocho tipped it into his mouth. A er some time he climbed to his feet and con- tinued walking. He held on to hope for whatever waited in Ethiopia. Food and water. Rest. At the end of another day, a soldier made an announcement: A great forest lay ahead, and there was no water in it. To reach water on the other side, they should walk through the night, when the temperature dipped. ey entered the trees as darkness settled in, and the men put the boys in the middle of the line and watched for nodding heads. As they walked, Logocho's own head whipped around. e forest had made a sound. He lis- tened, and it came again, the sound of snapping wood, of something heavy moving in the dark. en an elephant let out a trumpet that seized the boys where they stood. A blast of gun re followed, and instructions from a soldier: "Keep walking." And so the night continued, with the terror of elephant charges answered by gun re. At daybreak they emerged from the forest, exhausted. e sweat had dried cold on their skin, and they ran forward when they saw a river ahead. A soldier held up a warning hand. He and others red their ri es into the water, and several crocodiles glided away. e boys bunched to- gether and paddled through the water as soldiers continually red around them, and with relief they heaved themselves onto the opposite shore. Only a little farther now. "You are still young and need to take time here," the soldiers told Logocho when he rst arrived in Ethiopia a er the grueling 12-day walk. People had come from all over southern Sudan to this camp near Gambela. It was a camp for refugees, but the SPLA used it as a kind of recruiting pen, sorting boys and men according to their age, strength, and stamina. , toured the Ethiopian camps, he peered into boys' faces, and his heart broke for them. ey walked on thin legs, some with teeth protruding from shrunken cheeks, others with eyes that bulged, blind from hunger and sickness. He wondered whether he might ever meet any of them again as men. Many of the boys were malnourished be- cause the northern Sudanese government had learned to use food as a weapon. At rst, vil- lagers throughout the south clustered in open areas when they heard planes ying overhead, because pallets of food would always follow. So the government started sending planes in just a erward, dropping bombs. It had a devastating double e ect: It streamlined the killing, since a few bombs could wipe out whole crowds of people, and it taught people to fear air-dropped food, so they starved out of sight. A similar ruthlessness in Darfur would lead the International Criminal Court in e Hague to issue an arrest warrant in March 2009 for Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In July 2010 he was also charged with genocide, and a second arrest warrant was issued. Logocho had hoped to join the ghting force, but he couldn't hold up an AK-47 long enough to train it on a target. So for six months, at the Bonga training camp, he learned other tac- tical skills, from commando crawling to secret "You are young and need to take time here," the soldiers told Logocho. e SPLA used the camp as a kind of recruiting pen, sorting boys according to their age and strength.