“They surrounded us, killed kids and women, burnt the village. We waited until nightfall, and then we escaped to the mountains,” said Kawthar Ali Adelan, who sought refuge from a recent offensive by Sudanese armed forces in a remote mountain cave.
“We can’t go to get water because we still hear the shelling and see the planes flying around.”
The 25-year-old mother was wedged in a rock crevice with her cooking materials laid out before her. “The shrapnel finds us wherever we hide,” she said.
Assaults like the one on Adelan’s village, coupled with daily air bombardments by President Omar al-Bashir’s forces are the new normal in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. For five years now, the government has sought to defeat the rebel fighters who once fought alongside South Sudanese secessionists and now demand greater autonomy in their remote border region.
Neither side has been able to gain the upper hand on the battlefield, resulting in a brutal, grinding conflict in which the rebel’s civilian communities are the ultimate victims.
According to Alex de Waal, a Sudan expert and the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, the Sudanese government is increasingly relying on a range of paramilitary and militia groups in addition to conventional troops. This is not because they are more effective in battle, but because they are cheaper and their abuses cannot be directly pinned on the government.
Meanwhile, since the offensive began in late March, the rate of bombing has increased, keeping farmers from tilling their fields.
According to the mayor of Delami County in the Nuba Mountains, Kumni Farid, “They continue to target the heavily populated areas – the farming areas, schools, churches, mosques. They think the power of the [rebels] is from the citizens, so they bomb us along with our farms and cattle.”
In five years of conflict in the Nuba Mountains region, thousands of people have been killed and nearly 400,000 have been displaced. But with most humanitarian aid blocked by the Sudanese government and few journalists able to access the region, the conflict has remained virtually invisible to the outside world.
- Pray for the people of Sudan and the Nuba Mountain region. Pray for and end to the conflict that has killed and displaced so many people, and for food and medical aid to be allowed to reach those who need it.
- Pray for the Sudanese government, for an end to targeting civilians in this war and for a willingness to seek a peaceful solution to this conflict.http://foreignpolicy.com/2016
- Pray for Christians in Sudan, as they face daily persecution and even death because of their faith. Pray for courage, for the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit and for opportunities to meet together to encourage each other without fear.
- Pray for Sudan, for peace, for healing for this troubled nation and for many to hear the Gospel and respond to its truth and the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 10 vs 12: “Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed.”
Source: http://www.persecution.org/2016, http://foreignpolicy.com/2016