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A rare insight into South Sudan

It's the newest country in the world (only established in 2011) but already confronted with all manner of ills from starvation, internal wars, atrocities, medical issues to political conflict, to name but a few.    It's a country about which we read very little and mostly not "covered" by the mainstream media.    This piece, by Alison Martin, of Oxfam, provides a rare insight.

"When one thinks of war, one imagines a calamity of sound: the blare of gunfire, the clash of combat, the sheer screaming violence of thousands of lives lost.

Here in South Sudan, all of that is true: every day brings reports of new clashes, more people killed or forced from their homes. More than 2 million people have fled the fighting, many of them having to move over and over again, often walking for days, as the war continually shifts its borders and safe places turn into danger zones overnight. Frontlines are forever moving back and forth: tracing and retracing paths across the country in the brutal scarification of conflict.

Aerial View of Mingkaman informal settlement in South Sudan. Credit Oxfam/Luigi Baldelli.

But here in Mingkaman, an informal settlement beside the Nile, the full horror of the war is hushed — children play; women walk, straight-backed and smiling, carrying bundles of firewood or bags of food on their heads. Young men wander along the unpaved road, holding hands and chatting intimately, as is common here. The sounds of everyday life are only occasionally interrupted by the thump of a World Food Programme helicopter arching across the sky. It’s a dusty, peaceful scene. It’s hard to imagine the desperate chaos that drove tens of thousands of people to seek refuge here, when the war spread from the capital Juba across South Sudan sixteen months ago."

Continue reading here.


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