The announcement of incumbent, Ahmed Haroun, as governor for Sudan's state of South Kordofan in 2011 sparked protest from the Nuba ethnic group, the traditional inhabitants of the province. Amidst claims of poll-rigging in the massively delayed elections, they believe that Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SLPM) nominee Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu should had won. After Sudanese Armed Forces took the state capital, Kadugli, reports of those fleeing the region were of mass killings, amounting to ethnic cleansing.

The region is closed to foreign journalists, yet reports of aerial bombardment of the Nuba mountains region were reinforced by aid agencies and the United Nations. In late June 2011, I crossed into the region, and discovered tales of a terrified people, many having fled their villages to live in caves to avoid the bombs.