It seems that news stories from Africa do not get mainstream broadcast coverage in America.


Suffering in Sudan

The crisis in Sudan has reached epic proportions.

However, the crisis has received very little exposure in mainstream broadcast media.

Because of years of war in Sudan, over 147,000 Sudanese refugees have fled to neighboring South Sudan, living in squalor in refugee camps in the northern town of Maban, South Sudan.

Most of the Sudanese refugees originate from the volatile Blue Nile region of the country.

Some of the refugees fled Sudan in 2011 when former President Omar al-Bashir attacked the region resulting in years of war.

Then in 2017, many more fled Sudan for neighboring countries when internal squabbles broke out amongst members of the rebel group Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), a movement that controlled portions of Blue Nile in addition to the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan.

Over the years, wars in Blue Nile have forced around 500,000 Sudanese people to flee their home for neighboring countries like South Sudan.

The country of South Sudan gained its independence in 2011.

However, the conditions in the refugee camps like the Kaya Refugee Camp consist of substandard living conditions, causing many refugees to desperately yearn for home.

“Life is very hard here,” said Khamis Abdalla, 25, a Sudanese refugee living in the Kaya Refugee Camp.

Abdalla has seen the atrocities in Sudan firsthand and his pain becomes evident to those he talks to.

He shakes his head when discussing the inhumane living conditions at the Kaya Refugee Camp.

Abdalla’s brother got hacked to death with a machete two years ago when fighting began in the Blue Nile state.

The 25-year-old does not make eye contact when he talks to other people.

He barely speaks above a whisper.

All that he has seen and all that he has experienced in Sudan and South Sudan visibly traumatizes Abdalla.

In April, many refugees and onlookers thought that Sudan had reached a turning point towards peace.

After months of pro-democracy demonstrations, President al-Bashir was removed from office, ending three decades of power in Sudan.

Rebel leader Malik Agar took advantage of the new regime and for the first time since 2011, he sent delegates to the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum to work with the Transitional Military—Sudan’s new temporary leaders.

Agar said that the two groups had reached a tentative agreement and within six months, the Blue Nile state and the Nuba Mountains region would be on their way to peace. 

However, the long and winding road towards peace hit a speed bump when a weeks long sit-in protest resulted in violence.

Soldiers from the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) then killed more than 100 protestors.

Now, the RSF is deployed throughout the capital and other cities.

A report from Human Rights Watch said the RSF is “more powerful than ever before, with little reason to fear being held to account for violations and crimes against civilians.”

“We need the international community to stand with us and push the Military Council to solve this issue quickly because we need to go home. Problems will increase if we remain,” said refugee camp resident, Hassan Junga.

When media outlet Al Jazeera visited Maban to meet with a dozen refugees, all of them said that they wanted to return home to Sudan.

The refugee camps are inundated with mud.

Therefore when it rains, the camps flood.

Refugees complain about the lack of land, which is not enough for them to cultivate.

The Sudanese camp residents have a volatile relationship with South Sudan and many complain about a lack of food rations.

One 10-year-old girl died when she fell from a tree.

The girl had climbed the tree looking for fruit to eat.

Many more children have injured themselves climbing trees in an attempt to find fruit as well.

South Sudan can only do so much to help their neighbors from the north because they have their own crisis that they have to deal with.

Five years of war have killed close to 400,000, displaced millions of South Sudanese citizens and caused famine in various regions of the young country.

The United Nations Refugee Agency says that over 850,000 South Sudanese refugees now live in Sudan.

To help solve the crisis in Sudan, mediators from Ethiopia working in Sudan have urged both the military and the opposition to sit down and reach a peace agreement.

The two sides planned to meet Wednesday at an undisclosed location to discuss handing power over to the civilians.

Ethiopian mediators did not disclose the location of the meeting out of fear of violence. 

The Forces of Freedom and Change opposition coalition and the Transitional Military Council have agreed on the proposal for a peaceful transition initiated by the Ethiopian mediators.

However, the two groups disagree on the structure of a sovereign council that will lead the country during this period of transition.

The meeting presented an opportunity for the two groups to meet face-to-face to iron out any differences that they might have.

“The two sides are just around the corner to reach an agreement but one issue remains disagreeable,” explained Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, the African Union mediator to Sudan. “We call the two parties to reach a compromise on this remaining issue.”

On Sunday, tens of thousands of people organized by the opposition alliance marched in the streets in a show of force and protest.

In Sunday’s protest, nine people lost their lives and approximately 200 got injured.

The opposition group had called for another march on July 13 and a day of civil disobedience on the following day, July 14.

The military council has blamed the opposition group for the mounting violence in Sudan.

On Twitter, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote, “Dialogue should continue without antagonism and towards an agreement on transition…It is necessary to avoid conflict and escalation.”

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