Lost Boys of South Sudan

The Lost Boys of Southern Sudan are more than 27,000 boys of the Dinka ethnic group who were displaced and/or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). Approximately 2 million people were killed during this war; 4 million people lost their homes and became refugees.

Most of the boys were orphaned or separated from their families when government troops from the north systematically attacked villages in southern Sudan, killing many of the inhabitants, most of whom were civilians. The younger boys (mostly under age 12) survived in large numbers because they were away tending herds or were able to escape into the nearby jungles. Orphaned and with no support, these boys banded together and made epic journeys a thousand miles to relief camps, first in Ethiopia, where they lived for four years. When civil war broke out in Ethiopia, the boys were again chased out, forced across the crocodile-infested Gilo river, and walked another thousand miles to Kenya. Those who survived the trek evaded thirst, starvation, wild animals, insects, disease, and one of the most bloody wars of the 20th century. Experts say the Lost Boys are among the most badly war-traumatized children ever examined.

When villages were attacked, girls were raped, killed, taken as slaves to the north. As a result, relatively few girls made it to the refugee camps. In 1992 UNICEF reunited almost 1200 Lost Boys with their families. Approximately 17,000 are still in camps in the area.

In 2001, about 3800 Lost Boys were repatriated in the United States, where they are now scattered in about 38 cities.
(Adapted from Wikipedia entry, Lost Boys of Sudan.)

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