Shattered Sudan | Drilling for Oil, Hoping for Peace, National Geographic: South Sudanese Hide from North Sudanese Military

South Sudanese Hide from North Sudanese Military

Africans hide in acacia forests from northern forces. They know the acacia forest harbors a flesh-eating parasite that will kill them, but they prefer their chances here rather than on the savannah. It is easier to escape motorized ground troops-the trees slow them down.

Recently, the Government of Sudan (GOS) dropped bombs near here, wiping out an entire village and all of the livestock. They target livestock because they know it is the last resource in times of famine.

From the journal:

The people in these villages are malnourished and living in acacia forests—only because it is easier to escape motorized ground troops—the trees slow them down.  At the same time they all know this same forest harbors a sand flea that carries kalazar—an opportunistic flesh-eating parasite (lechmaniasis) that attacks the immune systems of people and kills them.  Everyone in the village has made a little tent out of bed sheet material but that will not stop the sand flea. It is better to have finally woven mosquito nets and we have brought hundreds of them in from Medicare on our plane, but even those can’t always stop this flea. This cargo plane charter is costing National Geographic about $8,000.  I am paying for the food and I don’t want to show up empty handed.

The basic problem with the northern government of Sudan (G.O.S). is they won’t share basic resources with their own people—along geographic or ideological lines.  George Athoor and other SPLA folks here are more adamant about Christianity vs. Islam than I expected.  But if pressed, they say the primary issue is resources.  GOS not only wants all the oil under their lands, but they want all their water.  They want to drain the swamps and make something called the Jonglei canal—this would completely change these people’s lives.  The machine to make this canal is one of the largest machines in the world and it now lies rusting under vines as this war rages around it.


Buy This Image