Leaving hot Nairobi only to arrive in the sauna of Juba! After surviving the worst airport in the world (trust me, it can’t get more horrible than in Juba) I was emerged in the heat and humidity of South Sudan’s capital. In no time I was dripping wet. The heat has been blistering and trees look dead, hopefully to be rejuvenated when the rains come in May or June.
Bad news was waiting me. I am supposed to travel onwards to the Nuba Mountains, an area in South Kordofan in Sudan.
The Nuba people, a group of small tribes, living in a magnificent beautiful region are in war with the Sudanese government in Khartoum.
When South Sudan became independent, the Nuba wanted to join their southern comrades with whom they fought decennia of war against Khartoum. But the peace treaty provided an ill-defined popular consultation. Not only the Nuba would be able to vote but all of South Kordofan. That includes people who were on the side of the Sudanese government and would never agree that the Nuba Mountains would become part of South Sudan. It meant civil war.
Recently the Khartoum troops started a new offensive and over Easter it became so volatile that my access into the mountains is (temporarily) closed.
I have a great appreciation for the Nuba people and am disappointed with the delay. But not giving up hope. I will fly to Yida, an awful refugee camp near the border between South Sudan and South Kordofan. Some 70.000 living in a wetland of twelve square kilometer, where humane circumstances have a very different meaning than in many other places in the world.