War threatens human disaster in Sudan
It is five years since the agreement signed between the government of Sudan and the SPLM, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the south of the country. Oxfam and other aid charities say that there should be urgent international diplomatic efforts to shore up the fragile agreement.
Sudan is one of the African countries that I visited more than 20 years ago. At that time it was unsafe to visit southern Sudan but I did touch down briefly at Juba airport. The Sudanese people I met were very friendly so it is sad that Sudan often comes in the headlines as a place of conflict and suffering.
The civil war in Sudan between the north and the south started in 1983 and has claimed an estimated two million lives. The war has also driven about four million people from their homes and had effects on neighbouring countries such as Chad.
Nations that gained independence from the European colonial powers often found themselves burdened with boundaries that made no sense for the cultures and languages of the people. Sudan, covering a vast land area, is split between the north which is more Arabic and Islamic and the south which is really part of black Africa and where Christianity is an important religion.
See Sudan at a Crossroads, just posted on her Oxfam blog by Caroline Gluck. She says that there has been an upsurge in violence in southern Sudan in the past year. She previously worked for the BBC and is now a roving press officer for Oxfam.
The Guardian reports that more than 100 have died in recent intertribal fighting in the south of Sudan, where Nuer have attacked Dinka.
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