News agency IRIN has produced a video that offers a 360° view of the situation of the people of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, a state in southern Sudan.
(To experience a 360° view, play video, then “move” view by hovering your mouse.)
The Nuba people, living on the border with South Sudan, have been involved in an under-reported war for almost six years. Sudden air strikes and military campaigns by the Sudanese army continue to cause widespread destruction and trauma.
Although under-reported, events in South Kordofan have been well-documented by several organisations. Earlier reports by groups such as Open Doors and Human Rights Watch mention “systematic” and “widespread” attacks on both civilians and agricultural land. The Open Doors report (2016) goes as far as to say that the actions qualify as “ethnic cleansing” by the Sudanese government, which pursues a vision of a nation governed by Sharia (Islamic law).
For the ethnically diverse, but mostly Christian and animist, Nuba people, who in many ways have more in common with their neighbours in South Sudan, this is a threat to their existence. The war has caused many Christians to leave, while those who stayed behind have sought shelter in the mountains. And those joining the Nuba rebel ranks are quite clear about what is at stake: freedom of religion. “If we do not overthrow this government, we would be second-class citizens in our own country,” they say.
On 26 Feb, a Czech aid worker, Petr Jašek, was freed after 14 months in prison in Sudan on charges of spying, waging war, spreading rumours against the state and inciting strife between communities – all linked to South Kordofan. A church leader from the same area, Hassan Taour, and a Darfuri graduate, Abdulmonem Abdumawla, are still in prison on charges of “aiding” Mr. Jašek.