It’s hard to get to the Nuba mountains right now. It’s even harder to get out.
Sudanese Armed Forces’ (SAF) Antonov planes have been bombing the area for weeks. Reports of ethnic cleansing have been seeping out of the provincial capital, Kadugli; the UN peace-keepers there seemingly having done nothing to protect the people of South Kordofan. Aid groups have been banned, and journalists forbidden from going there; Al-Jazeera bravely tried, but were stopped. A few Nuba have escaped it to Juba, where colleagues have interviewed them—gathering eye-witness reports—and written their stories.
It started back in May when Ahmed Haroun—wanted by the International Criminal Court for charges of war crimes committed in Darfur—won the provincial elections. The Nuba, the majority people there, claim that the vote was rigged, and that their own candidate, Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, had won. SAF forces moved into the region to disarm Al-Hilu’s followers.
Within half an hour of arriving, we heard the sound of bombs detonating and the whining of a plane overhead. The vehicles hid under the cover of trees, their bodywork smeared with diesel and mud to camoflage them in the bush. And a line of people walked, bags in hand, trying to find a way out.