Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
As far as the eye could see, thousands of displaced people were scattered, accompanied by what little they had left in the world.This surreal vista, which we saw visiting Abyei in January, had no shelters but had big beds and suitcases and dresser drawers sitting in the open or under trees.After years of displacement, thanks to the north-south war that raged in Sudan from 1983 to 2005, thousands of Sudanese had begun the long journey home. They hoped to vote that month in the referendum on southern independence.
But they never voted, because the government in Khartoum wouldn’t allow the plebescite to take place in Abyei, and they never resettled, because they had no support to return after so long. So thousands hunkered down in this Connecticut-size region between North and South Sudan, two historically separate territories that were lumped together at independence in 1956 and whose racial and religious divides have chafed since. Last week the long history of tensions ignited when Khartoum sent its army and allied militias to forcibly occupy the area. The regime engaged in aerial bombing, tank and artillery attacks. Its militias looted and burned villages.
The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has identified Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) equipped with heavy armor and artillery at the El Obeid Barracks, approximately 270 miles from Abyei town, possibly preparing for deployment to southern areas. Based on analysis of available transportation logistics and the formation of the units, SSP has concluded that the forces there are capable of imminent forward movement.
The force includes troop units of at least company size, towable artillery pieces, main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and Heavy Equipment Transports capable of reaching Sudan’s North-South border or Abyei town in less than a day.
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