Trapped Between Two Wars

Since June, 2011, the Nuba people in Southern Kordofan, Sudan, have endured a relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing and persecution from the NCP regime in Khartoum. Dictator Omar al Bashir’s call to “take out the garbage” — referring to Nuba residents — sparked a series of massacres of thousands of ethnic Nuba in the state capital of Kadugli. What has followed is a full scale military assault on the indigenous Nuba in all 19 counties of Southern Kordofan.

Unable to control the ground, Bashir’s SAF forces have resorted to a cowardly aerial terror campaign using high flying Antonov bombers, MiGs, and now the deadly SU24 supplied by Iran.

Tens of thousands of innocents have died and an estimated 1.2 million Nuba have been uprooted from their homes.

IMG_1124Many Nuba refugees have fled south to a place called Yida, in Unity State, South Sudan. Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse has played a key role in organizing a platform for refugee assistance there.

For the past three years, Yida has become a safe haven for Nuba refugees and has grown to more than 78,000 residents.IMG_1112

But, tragically, late last year, the new nation of South Sudan descended back into the abyss of civil war. On December 15, 2013, the capital of South Sudan, Juba, exploded into an inferno of new violence, as government soldiers confronted an alleged coup attempt by forces loyal to former Vice President, Riek Machar. While Riek vehemently denied participation in a coup attempt, he quickly called for the overthrow of President Salva Kiir.

Now more than one million South Sudanese have become internally displaced in their own country with dire humanitarian needs.

The massacre in Bentiu, Unity State

The massacre in Bentiu, Unity State

And Yida is in jeopardy as the key towns of Bentiu and Mayom in Unity State have been overrun by rebel forces. For the last four months, supply lines of food and other emergency relief have been disrupted by fighting and insecurity.

The UN has resorted to some air drops, but it lacks the funding to sustain this expensive mode of delivery.

A USAID map showing areas of conflict in South Sudan

A USAID map showing areas of conflict in South Sudan

Most of the fighting has concentrated in Unity State, Upper Nile and Jonglei State. A terrible pattern of war crimes and atrocities has played out in these regions. More and more grim reports are being published: mass killings of civilians, rape of women and elderly, some burned alive inside homes, others executed as they took shelter inside churches and even hospitals, etc. Recently in Bentiu, local radio stations were used (as done by the interhamwe in Rwanda) to incite violence and targeted killings based on ethnicity.

The rebel assaults have been bolstered by overt support from the Khartoum regime in munitions and air support. SAF forces have bombed along the North-South boundary areas targeting both Unity and Upper Nile States coincident with rebel attacks in those locations.

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A sea of grass shelters make up the refugee city.

Today, the refugees in Yida are trapped between two wars.

Road access from Juba to Unity State has been cut by rebel advances, disrupting the supply of food, medicine, fuel and other relief to Yida and the Nuba Mountains. Thankfully, we can still access Yida by plane.

IMG_0956PPF has played an instrumental role in delivering medicine, non-food items, blankets, Bibles and other relief to Yida. Right now, we are rallying all of our resources to assist them while the door remains open. Will you help us load the next plane?

The people of the two Sudans — especially the Nuba — need our prayers now more than ever. Please pray with us that God will continue to lead us to safe corridors to deliver hope and help to those who are caught between two wars.

A recent PPF distribution to refugees in the Upper Nile.

A recent PPF distribution to refugees in the Upper Nile.

Finally, pray about your role in the struggle. You now know what’s happening. What can you do? What will you do? We encourage you to “Get Active” and use your community to serve our persecuted brethren in the Nuba and in South Sudan.

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