A month ago my colleague Daniel Sullivan and I traveled to Yida refugee camp along the border of Sudan. While at the camp, we heard the harrowing stories of men, women and children who had fled the government attacks in South Kordofan.
One woman, Saleh Kora, had been forced to leave her home in January with her three small children.
Saleh is from the Angolo tribe and lived in a village to the south of South Kordofan’s capital of Kadugli. She told us that the government’s Antonov planes dropped six bombs on her village. When she heard the planes coming she was able to grab her two youngest children. Her older son, who looked to be three years old, just started running since he didn’t know what to do.
Fortunately, her family was not injured in the bombing. Some members of her village were not as lucky. They were killed by shrapnel from the bombs.
Soon after, soldiers from the Sudanese army launched a ground attack. They moved into the village, shooting civilians and burning homes. Saleh started running with her children and saw many people being shot as they fled. The troops did not differentiate between soldiers and civilians. Her family did not have a chance to take any belongings, food or supplies with them. Saleh has not seen her husband since the attack and she does not know where he is or what happened to him.
Her message to the international community was a plea for humanitarian assistance. Saleh’s children are hungry. She was a farmer, but was unable to plant because of Bashir’s bombs. There was not enough food or medical aid. She said that her youngest child was malnourished and she is concerned that despite being over 1 ½ years old, has not started to walk yet.
Even though the fighting in South Kordofan has been going on since June, the international community has yet to act. According to Saleh, she “believes only with her hands” and so far they have been empty.