HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Bin Laden Buys Child Slaves For His Drug Farms In
Pubdate: 29 March 1999
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: of Telegraph Group Limited 1999
Author: David Blair in Kampala


OSAMA BIN LADEN, the world's most wanted terrorist, is buying child
slaves from Ugandan rebels and using them as forced labour on
marijuana farms in Sudan to fund his international terrorism network.

New evidence indicates that bin Laden, who masterminded the bombings
of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last August, has made
Sudan the centre of his global empire.

Sudan, whose Islamic government has close links with bin Laden, is the
long-standing patron of the Lord's Resistance Army rebels who have
abducted at least 8,000 children from northern Uganda since 1994 and
forced them to serve as soldiers or sexual playthings. Others have
been sold into slavery in Sudan in exchange for guns and ammunition.

Brig Katumba Wamala, commander of the Ugandan forces fighting the
rebels, said: "We know that large numbers of children abducted by the
LRA are being sold into slavery in Sudan."

Many are bought by bin Laden, via Arab slave traders. "Bin Laden is
the main buyer of these children. He has very big marijuana farms in
Sudan and he buys the children as slave labourers," said Brig Wamala.

Evidence comes from children who have escaped the slave dealers. "We
have the testimony of abducted children and we also have intercepted
radio conversations," said Brig Wamala.

Radio intercepts show that bin Laden pays one Kalashnikov assault
rifle for every child he buys. Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, is in
desperate need of weapons and has recently complained of being cheated.

"It is on the record that Kony was complaining about the exchange
rate. Once the Arabs gave him 98 guns for the 100 children he had
given them. He complained very bitterly. It is a very lucrative
business," said Brig Wamala. Ugandan intelligence sources have tracked
the fate of children sold into the Sudanese slave trade. After being
abducted, they are forced to march to Jabelin, the LRA's headquarters
34 miles south of Juba, the main city in southern Sudan.

"Here a selection is made on the basis of physical appearance," said
the source. "The girls and some of the boys are taken away for what is
called special training. They are sold into slavery, while the rest
are used as soldiers."

Many of the girls are taken to Nsitu camp, 15 miles south of Juba,
from where they are distributed to Arab slave dealers. Once sold, the
children are taken to Juba airport and flown to other regions of
Sudan. Both of these camps are supplied by the Sudanese government.
According to a source who visited them in July 1997, Nsitu is less
than 200 yards from a Sudanese army base. Within the perimeter of
Jabelin camp, Sudanese government troops are housed alongside LRA rebels.

Ugandan intelligence has monitored the close links between bin Laden
and the Sudanese government. "After being expelled from Saudi Arabia,
bin Laden lived in Sudan from 1994 until 1996," said an intelligence
source. "He has a wide range of business interests there, covering
farms, banks, factories and infrastructure. These are used to fund
terrorism in Africa and elsewhere."

The marijuana farms worked by bin Laden's child slaves are located in
the Nile Valley, north of Khartoum. In the same area, he has several
large sunflower plantations, where slave labour may also be used.
Ugandan intelligence believes that bin Laden has invested UKP30
million in front organisations for his terror network. He has also
helped to finance major infrastructure projects in Sudan.

Uganda believes that bin Laden's web of terror is aimed at toppling
African governments, as well as striking at British and American
interests worldwide. "Sudan has offered itself as a training ground
for terrorists. We know of 17 terrorist training camps and the target
is to install Islamic fundamentalist governments in east and central
Africa by 2002," said the source. "That is why bin Laden is helping
them to sponsor rebels and kidnap and enslave our children."

Children who escape from the rebels have been encouraged to draw and
write about their experiences as part of the recovery process. Their
work featured in a book, Where Is My Home? Children in War, published
by children's charities in Uganda last year. 
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