It’s not fiction but real life. Your own government wants to drive you off your land—indeed out of your own country. They want you gone so badly that they resort to the aerial bombardment of civilians. The safest dwelling places are mountain caves and sometimes your only food are greens. Every time you hear the sound of an airplane you run to the cave for shelter. If only it were fiction, but unfortunately this is real life for the residents of the Nuba Mountains—some of whom are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The peace deal between Khartoum and the South Sudanese rebels signed in 2005 left three notable unresolved problems: the border regions of Abyei, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. There has been heavy fighting in each one at some point in the last few months. (For your reference, Egypt is directly north of Sudan; Uganda is directly south of South Sudan.) Graphic courtesy BBC News.
Abyei and Blue Nile have received some coverage in the international press but in this post I want to draw your attention to a less-publicized but serious and a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Nuba Mountains. Some international observers are concerned that Nuba could become the next Darfur.
Nuba is geographically located in Sudan’s South Kordofan State but many of the inhabitants would prefer to self-identify with the brand-new country of South Sudan when considering social, cultural, religious, and political factors. The Nuba Mountains are a remote area with few roads so most of the movement within Nuba is done on foot. As you can imagine, communication with the outside world can be difficult.
A few of our church leaders in the Nuba Mountains were able to leave Nuba last month and they made their way to Juba. My boss and I met with them there and they were eager to tell us—and the world—about the war in Nuba.
Please read their 1-page report here. Photos of those forced to seek shelter in caves can be seen here and are safe for viewing by all audiences.
We were also given photos of war victims. The church leaders in Sudan and South Sudan believe they can best honor the dead by the reporting of this war in the international community but the photos of the war dead are very graphic (e.g. decapitated corpses, intestines spilling out, etc.) so in the interest of discretion I can share a private link to these graphic photos, upon request. (Similarly graphic photos are available by Googling “Nuba dead” and selecting ‘image’ results.) My boss and I have no reason to believe that these photos nor the above report are anything but authentic.
How can you help?
I urge you to consider telling the story of the atrocities in the Nuba Mountains. Work it into your daily conversations—in an appropriate way, of course. The survivors, their families, and the leaders in the Lutheran Church in Sudan will thank you.
Learn more about the various challenges in South Sudan on the dedicated page by BBC News, South Sudan: New Nation.