The Islamist’s Ultimate Weapon
For more than a year, the skies over the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan have been mostly quiet. The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) ground troops have also shown little mobilization. Part of the reason for this is that the SAF has been increasingly pulled into the war in Yemen, allied to their new financial backer, the Saudi government.
But you rarely read about Sudan’s role in the Yemeni war. And what little press is reported about the Nuba mountains is that a unilateral government “cease-fire” has been holding.
But this supposed “ceasefire” actually doesn’t exist, unless one is only considering traditional weapons like guns and tanks. The main weapon against the Nuba, which has been consistently used by Sudan’s dictator, Omar al Bashir, has been a total economic and humanitarian blockade of the region.
More simply stated: in Sudan, food and medicine have always been more effective weapons than bombs and bullets.
The Nuba mountains have been under this blockade since June, 2011. That’s nearly 7 years as of this writing. The cumulative effect of this kind of embargo has devastated the Nuba economy.
Add to this poor rains and widespread crop failure in recent years, and we have all the ingredients for a full-scale famine in many areas. This famine is Sudan’s Silent Killer.
Bashir thinks he can fool the world by playing diplomatic “footsie” with the West. Officially cutting his ties with Iran, supporting the Saudi’s in their proxy war in Yemen, sharing intelligence with the Americans on certain “terrorist” targets, are all means Bashir is using to convince the world that he’s a changed man.
But is he?
Just ask people living under his regime.
Ask Mariam, who lives in Delami county, an area hit very hard by the humanitarian blockade.
When we met Mariam, she was living in a cave made by the massive boulders around the base of a mountain range. Her village had been abandoned, and even with the cease fire, Mariam still lives in the cave, because she’s afraid to go home due to its proximity to enemy lines.
Mariam is one of thousands of examples of ordinary Nuba people, many of them our brothers and sisters in Christ, who continue to suffer from Sudan’s “Silent Killer.”
The people who genuinely suffer the most are children— like Rhemas. Rhemas is a girl our team met on a trip to visit the Kwalib people, a large, mostly Christian community in Delami county. We’ve shared her story in our June 2015 Africa Messenger.
Rhemas’ family live among the large boulders and caves just like Mariam. To get water for her family, Rhemas must climb high into the mountain to a cave where rainwater collects. She makes this perilous trek sometimes twice a day. Can you imagine doing this kind of work on an empty stomach?
PPF has supplied crisis relief items to the Nuba since 2011. Each year, we have seen the humanitarian situation gradually worsening, as the effects of the blockade compound.
Honestly, it’s a struggle to keep up with the need. The Nuba is home to nearly 1.5 million souls. Yet the number of organizations defying the Islamist blockade with a permanent presence in the mountains can be counted on one hand. And the Islamists consider us criminals. To them, providing safe water to people like Rhemas’ family is a criminal act. Providing emergency food and shelter items to Mariam and her family is also a crime.
Bashir and his Islamist government do not want anything to stop their “Silent Killer.” While they turn on the charm offensive and try to convince the world they are allies in the War on Terror, the Nuba people know better.
As do we.
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Let’s continue in prayer… then engage in more Active Compassion for the Persecuted!