News

People in Sudan's Nuba Mountains Under Siege

New recruits for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) train in a secret camp in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan, FILE July 11, 2011.
New recruits for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) train in a secret camp in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan, FILE July 11, 2011.

Representatives from Sudan's Nuba Mountains are holding a two-day conference in Kenya's capital highlighting the plight of people in their region, where extensive aerial bombardments and fighting have been going on since June of last year.

Arnu Ngutulu, spokesman for the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, paints a grim picture of the situation on the ground for the past 10 months.

“More than 1,000 Antonov bombs dropped in the Nuba Mountains, targeting civilian populations, killing many children and women and elderly people.  More than 400,000 displaced people, 30,000 of them are in South Sudan, and in Blue Nile, same number, or even more,” Ngutulu said.

The Antonov airplanes are from the Sudanese armed forces, which began bombing and shelling the Nuba Mountains, which are located in Southern Kordofan state, last June.

Zeinab Balandia is executive director of Vision Organization, a Nuba Mountains women’s group that is located temporarily in Uganda’s capital.

“There is a high need for protection of civilians, taking into account the specific needs of women and young girls, because they are subjected to different kinds of violence, gender-based violence, and they are subjected to exploitation.  They are also facing the problem of rape (and) sexual harassment in different situations,” Balandia said.

Communities in the Nuba Mountains and other areas have long been at odds with the Sudanese government, accusing it of marginalizing and discriminating against them.  Although the Nuba Mountains are located in Sudan, people there tend to relate more to South Sudan, which achieved independence from the north in July last year following many years of bitter civil war.

The SPLM-North accuses the Sudanese government of blocking humanitarian access to the mountains, where people are going hungry and medical services are few.  The Sudanese government says that rebels have closed the road, stopping aid from reaching those who need it.

The United Nations Security Council and rights group Amnesty International have called on Sudan's government to give aid agencies immediate access to Southern Kordofan and to the nearby state of Blue Nile, where rebels are also fighting the government.

The SPLM-North's Ngutulu calls for what he terms “corridors for humanitarian access,” saying that aid delivery should not be tied to progress with political negotiations.

“The international community should not wait for the government of Sudan to respond when and where our people are starving.  This is a very clear message: we need to rescue these people, we need to go in without any permission from the government of Sudan, we need to heal people as humanitarian workers,” Ngutulu said.

The two-day conference, opening in Nairobi Friday, is organized by a group called the Nuba Diaspora. The group held a one-day hunger strike and a march Friday to raise awareness, and have planned cultural events for Saturday.

The group has hosted a week-long exhibit, featuring photos from the U.S.-based Satellite Sentinel Surveillance Project, showing bombed-out homes, the burning of villages, and mass graves in several locations in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs