“They were shooting everyone. Women, men, children, and the old,” said Omer, a 28-year-old refugee from the town of Maganza in the Sudanese state of Blue Nile.
“I was in the market,” he recalled, selling goods harvested from his farm. “I saw the soldiers coming and shooting and I heard the Antonovs.” Immediately, he ran from the market back home to find his family. But in the chaos, Omer left his three-year-old son. “The war was too much,” he said quietly. “There was not time to look for him.”
In June 2011, conflict broke out in South Kordofan state between Sudanese government forces, or SAF, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, over government attempts to disarm SPLM-N forces following disputed state-level elections. Three months later, in September 2011, the fighting spread to Blue Nile state, where SPLM-N soldiers were also stationed. The SPLM-N in South Kordofan and Blue Nile are composed of forces that fought alongside southern rebels during Sudan’s second civil war.