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One evening while he was still celebrating the birth of his first son a week earlier, Philip Bati answered a knock on the door at home in Yambio in South Sudan.
Expecting well-wishers, instead he found men with guns on his doorstep, demanding money. It had been an expensive week since his son’s birth, and Philip, 35, was broke. He had no chance to plead for his life.
“He was shot right at the door, since he had nothing to give them,” says Faustina Joseph, Philip’s wife. She was next door at the time, showing off the baby to the neighbours. “They pushed his body inside, blocked the door, and set fire to the house, burning him with it.”
Yambio, the large town in southern South Sudan where the couple lived, is far from the swamps and savannahs to the north and east that have been ravaged in the country’s two-year rebellion. That fighting, between its government and forces loyal to its vice-president, has killed 10,000 people and driven 2.3 million from their homes, stoking catastrophic hunger.