In May the first time they came they beat me. They were asking me to bring money and alcohol. They took a stick and beat me in the back and then they came back and beat me again. I didn't have money or alcohol. My back is still in pain.

We fled to Tuoch Riak and then to Kok. They would come and cross the river and start shooting so it was also not safe. Sometimes you can think it is over when they leave for some days, but then they'd come back.

We'd go hide every day in the river inside the papyrus. When it was morning at 6 am, we'd just go and hide, and then at 6 pm come out. I have three small children. All of us would go and hide and we'd go and lie down in the papyrus. If you don't lie down the gun will get you. I'm thanking God that we survived.

Many people have been killed. Somebody named Riek Chuol. He was a student when I was in Leer. Another named Dok, also was a student. Both in their twenties. Another man I knew was a businessman, a married man. He used to sell cloths and food. When we came out from hiding we found their bodies.

Many girls have been raped or taken. I know four girls and two women that I know were raped. They were taken to the barracks. Some of them stayed for two days, others three days. When they came back the older women checked them and found injuries. Some were gang raped, others by individuals. Some of them are girls, teenagers.

I'm not sure if there's peace. We just say if there's calm we say there is peace and when the fighting starts again we know there is no peace. 

I came here to Nyal to look for food. My husband is in Kok. So are my children. I got two sacks. I'll go back there. Leer is our home. We will go to the islands and wait until our home becomes calm. We like our home. Home is home.

By Jason Patinkin

Published on 21st October 2015