100,000 Sudanese flee from Khartoum offensive
One group of between 70,000 and 100,000 people are moving south from three refugee camps known as 'Triple A' after one camp was attacked at night by a gang who killed seven people. Mostly old men, women and children, the refugees left more than a week ago, walking through the dry bush with what they could carry on their heads. They are heading for a new site just north of the Uganda border. The other group of about 30,000 are wandering between Mundri and Mundari after the government captured Mundri from the SPLA last week.
So far there has been no big influx of refugees into Uganda as predicted by United States diplomats in Nairobi last week. UN aid workers in southern Sudan have reported no other movements of large numbers of people.
The Khartoum government, despite denials, seems to be pressing ahead with a three- pronged offensive, clearing the road from Yambio to Juba, pressing down towards the Uganda border from Yambio and advancing from Juba towards Nimule. An expected offensive south-west from Torit does not seem to have materialised yet.
The government holds all the main towns in the south except for Nimule; its forces are now about 80 miles north of the border town. However, the SPLA fighters in the faction led by John Garang move freely and can lay ambushes on the roads. Their main strategy will be to weather the offensive and preserve their few tanks, artillery and ammunition.
Air attacks cause panic but little damage. Bombing has been carried out by Antonov transport planes flying at high altitude. SPLA claims that refugees have been bombed have not been confirmed by aid workers.
A more crucial factor is the tribal make-up of the remains of the SPLA. The fighters now under pressure in the south are mainly Dinka people loyal to John Garang. The refugee camps in northern Uganda are southern Sudanese from other tribes. A recurrent theme in interviews with the refugees is that they are fleeing not from the Khartoum government but from 'the Dinkas'. Many refugees said they had never been attacked by government forces but had fled from pillage and rape by SPLA fighters.
The Dinka homeland is far to the north, but after the SPLA split in 1991, the Dinka faction of the SPLA, the fighters and their families, were driven southwards by the rival SPLA faction and settled in the Triple A camps. The attack on Ame camp 10 days ago that caused the refugees to flee may have been carried out by a group motivated by revenge against the Dinkas. This one brief attack caused more havoc than the entire Khartoum offensive so far because it may have deprived the SPLA of its food supplies.
The Dinka refugees, fed by the UN, give the SPLA fighters their food so they need to be kept as close to the SPLA fighters as possible. It is unlikely that they will cross the border into Uganda. But other non-Dinka refugees may join the estimated 171,000 refugees already in Uganda. As the government offensive pushes south, squeezing the refugees and the SPLA, the whole region on both sides of the border may begin to disintegrate into tribal warfare.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty
Man dies instantly after shooting firework from top of his head
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...