FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SHERKOLE REFUGEE CAMP, Ethiopia – Sudanese government forces and militias are killing and raping civilians in Blue Nile state, according to refugees who fled the fighting. These alarming new details about the ongoing conflict in Sudan are revealed in a new Enough Project field dispatch based on interviews with refugees along the Ethiopian border.
Nearly 29,000 Sudanese have sought safety in Ethiopia since the conflict broke out, with nearly 5,000 in Sherkole refugee camp alone. In late October, Enough Project researchers Amanda Hsiao and Omer Ismail visited Sherkole refugee camp and the border town of Kurmuk in Ethiopia where they interviewed over a dozen of refugees who fled from Blue Nile state.
“These stories provide only a glimpse into the civilian impact of the war in Blue Nile,” said Hsiao. “They underscore the need for a comprehensive investigation into the alleged atrocities as well as international humanitarian access into the area, especially as ground combat intensifies with the end of the rainy season.”
In early September, the Sudanese government launched a third front in its conflict along the border of South Sudan. The conflict in Blue Nile state follows attacks in South Kordofan and Abyei which in total have displaced over 300,000 people.
“Being there at the border and hearing the shelling and Antonov bombing while talking to the very refugees who fled the violence is quite compelling,” said Ismail. “There is a huge need for a cross-border humanitarian operation to deliver aid to the victims of attacks by the Government of Sudan on its own people in Blue Nile state and South Kordofan.”
Blue Nile residents recounted to Enough their experiences when violence broke out and offered their understanding of why conflict has resumed. The stories of several individuals will be shared in a series of blog posts on the Enough Project web site in the coming weeks.
“Soldiers with small arms were chasing the civilians. They were supported by the Fellata [an ethnic group in Blue Nile], who captured some of the civilians and slaughtered people,” said Asma, who witnessed the outbreak of conflict in the town of Um Darfa. “It’s all because we are black.”
Read the field dispatch from Sherkole refugee camp: Refugees from Blue Nile Recount Atrocities, Government’s Targeting of Civilians.