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Pinpointing Khartoum's Atrocities In Sudan's Southern Kordofan State

Sudanese children displaced from their homes in the rebel stronghold of Kauda take shelter in the hills surrounding the town in the Nuba mountains as they flee with their families from government bombardment, June 30, 2011

American aid worker details atrocities carried by Sudan Armed Forces in Southern Kordofan, warns of coming humanitarian disaster

The latest reports from Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state paint a dire picture.

After five months of fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, the humanitarian situation in the state is said to be getting worse.

Much of the civilian Nuba population, seen as allied to the SPLM North, is hiding in caves to escape regular bombing raids by the Sudanese air-force. Upwards of 150,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, which was sparked over accusations of rigged state elections this past spring.

Ryan Boyette, an aid worker who has been based in Southern Kordofan for nine years, is predicting a large scale food crisis. He blames Khartoum's blockade on humanitarian access into rebel areas by Khartoum.

“The amount of food is extremely low… They are picking grass and leaves from certain trees that they can eat. But now the rainy season is over, so it’s going to become a very drastic problem very soon,” he said.

Boyette used to work for the American aid agency Samaritan’s Purse. Married to a Nuba woman, he opted to stay on after international aid workers were withdrawn in June, when fighting broke out.

He is now assisting the Harvard University's "Satellite Sentinel Project," helping them to pin-point mass graves and sites of atrocities carried out by Khartoum’s security forces against the local population.

Ryan said he has interviewed eye witnesses who have “described very clearly, seeing soldiers enter houses, pulling people out and killing them, in front of their family members, killing them in front of their community.”

Boyette is currently in Washington, DC meeting with officials in the White House and the US Congress, where he took part in a Congressional hearing. This is all part of his effort to get the US and the international community to do more to help keep Southern Kordofan from turning into the next Darfur.

Please click on the link below to hear an interview with Ryan Boyette, by VOA's John Tanza.

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon