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My name is Akoon Mou Tsina. I am a refugee from South Sudan and am now being held in Eilat, awaiting deportation. A militia attacked my village, killing my mother and my sister. I have not seen any members of my family since 1998. I was captured by the militia and taken into slavery for three years. A pastor from a Catholic Church helped free me and took me to Egypt in 2002 when I was 17 years old.
In Egypt, I was arrested four times without reason. The Sudanese Embassy kept security around the place where I was sleeping and arrested me once at night. If I had stayed in Egypt any longer I would have been deported back to Sudan because I talked to American journalists about my situation. I know if I am sent back there I will be in danger.
In June 2006, I crossed the border into Israel and am being held in a detention center in Eilat. The first thing I want to say is thank you to the Jewish people and the Israelis. The Israeli soldiers have been very nice to us. In my opinion there is no better military in the world. Egyptian border soldiers shoot at us when we try to get out of Sudan; the Israeli soldiers never shoot us. The Jews in Israel and America have been very supportive of us, but now we need their help more.
I am asking you for your help because you have been the victims of atrocity as well. You have also had to deal with borders being shut against you when it mattered most. In my experience, Egypt and Sudan are strongly linked. If we are sent back to Egypt, we will be put in prison or killed by the Sudanese security forces. Please ask Prime Minister Olmert not to send us away.
I understand that Israel is a small country and you cannot take in all those who suffer in Sudan. That is why I am asking for help from Jewish communities around the world. I hope the media, the Americans, and the Europeans will understand how much we need to leave Sudan and help to absorb us into their societies.
Thank you again for all of your help so far.
Akoon Mou Tsina's words were brought to print by Molly Nixon.