Vestiges of An Enduring Conflict
NUBA MOUNTAINS, SUDAN – JUNE 9, 2018: A view of SPLA/M-N controlled territory from the only dirt road connecting the Yida "host community" in South Sudan to the Nuba Mountains in the north, near the Sudan border. Founded in 2011 by Samaritan’s Purse, and strategically located near the border with Sudan, Yida was originally established to provide refuge for for the thousands of Nuba refugees fleeing persecution by the Sudan government in the nearby Nuba Mountains. Within three years, Yida had grown to a population of 75,000 – representing refugees from across the region. Two additional refugee camps, Adjuonthok and Pamir, were then created to disperse the steady influx of refugees fleeing conflict. The road between the Nuba Mountains in the north and the refugee camps in the south is extremely difficult to traverse, flooding often during the rainy season. It is maintained entirely by the military under the command of Abdul Aziz Adam al-Hilu, current chairperson of the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North.
In 2011, the government of Sudan expelled all humanitarian groups from the country’s Nuba Mountains. Since then, the Antonov aircraft has terrorized the Nuba people, dropping more than 4,080 bombs on hospitals, schools, marketplaces and churches. Today, vestiges of the Antonov riddle the landscapes of daily life, where more than 1 million Nuba live in famine conditions – quietly enduring the humanitarian blockade intended to drive them out of the region. The skies are mostly clear. Yet the collective memory of the bombings remains an open wound, and the Antonov itself a persistent threat. So frequent were the attacks that the Nuba nicknamed the high flying aircraft and its dismal hum: "Gafal-nia ja,” they would declare, running to the hillsides. “The loss of appetite has come."