Katiba Banat: Sisters in Arms
Katiba Banat: Sisters in Arms uncovers the previously hidden stories of Canadian women who helped liberate South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation. Displaced by war as teenagers, they were trained and armed for battle and formed lifelong bonds rooted in shared hope for a more secure future for their children and their nation. In this intimate five-part documentary series, they share their stories for the first time.
Amel, Yar, Lucy, Amoul and their “sisters in arms” joined the Katiba Banat, the women’s regiment of the SPLA, during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) and immigrated to Canada over 20 years ago. They haven’t seen one another in person for decades. The series weaves together their stories of young lives interrupted by civil war, archival footage, a trip to modern day South Sudan and the Kakuma region where many South Sudanese refugees still live and a long-awaited reunion.
The series was produced and directed by Vancouver filmmaker Adhel Arop, the daughter of Katiba Banat veteran Amel Aluk, in association with Rogers Sports & Media, the Canadian Media Fund, Rogers Documentary Fund, Rogers Telefund, Creative BC, The Province of British Columbia Film Incentive and the Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit.
Watch the premiere of Katiba Banat: Sisters in Arms on Sunday, June 11 at 9:30 p.m. ET/ 6:30 p.m. PT on OMNI.
Meet your Cast
Amel Madut Aluk
Amel Aluk is from Aweil and left to fight for liberation at the age of 14. Four decades later, Amel has kept in touch with the women from her former division in the SPLA. She is the guide who will introduce us to the veterans of the Katiba Banat.
Amuol Aman is from Yirol and left Bor at 16. She remembers the most significant events of the Katiba Banat and lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Yar Aguto Ayol
Yar Aguto is from Bor and left her tribe at 16. Yar still remembers all the songs of the liberation. She lives with her family near Windsor, where she cares for her autistic son.
Lucy Anteros left the Lokuto region of Eastern South Sudan to join the SPLA in the 1990s. She now lives with her family in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Ayen Mach Chiengkou
Ayan Mach left home in the ’80s as a young teen, joining the first wave of Katiba Banat women soldiers who fought in the Battle for Jikao. She now lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Priscilla Yar Manyok
Priscilla Manok joined the Katiba Banat regiment early, and took part in the battle for Jikao. She now lives with her family in London, Ontario.
Awok Atem left the Bor region to join the SPLA in the ’90s with a second wave of displaced women and girls. She now lives in London, Ontario.
Sarah Anoon Bul
Amira Bul is from the Bor Region of Sudan and joined the SPLA at 13. She now lives with her family in Calgary, Alberta.
Kuei Kuol Agotu
Deborah Kual joined the SPLA with the second wave of women and girls displaced from the Bor region. She lives in Calgary Alberta.
Episode 1 – Displaced (June 11)
The women of the Katiba Banat prepare to reunite, they must first reflect on how their sisterhood began the moment they left their homes for war.
Episode 2 – The Walk (June 18)
As the Katiba Banat travel to Windsor, the women are reminded of when they first met as girls on their months-long walk; some to find safety, while others sought to join the rebellion.
Episode 3 – Training and Combat (June 25)
The Katiba Banat women reflect on their training and active duty during the Second Sudanese Civil War, forming the only female battalion.
Episode 4 – Womanhood and War (July 2)
As the Katiba Banat recount all they have overcome as girls becoming mothers, they share how their sisterhood became the foundation of their survival.
Episode 5 – Catharsis (July 9)
Reunited, the women rejoice knowing their story will be shared with the world and that their contributions to the independence of South Sudan will now be a part of history.
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