Our special coverage of the closest race for years
Explore the personal stories of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
09 Aug 2011 14:37 GMT
After years of war, South Sudan is celebrating independence, but the mood is very different in the disputed state of South Kordofan [John D McHugh]
Southern Kordofan lies on the border between the north and South Sudan [John D McHugh]
The border state is strategically and geographically important and has significant reserves of oil [John D McHugh]
Last year the regime of Omar al-Bashir launched an offensive against rebel forces in the area despite the presence of UN peace keepers [John D McHugh]
Fleeing civilians are telling stories of enforced migration, mass executions, families hiding in caves and the indiscriminent bombing of civilian areas by the armed forces of the Khartoum government [John D McHugh]
The Nuba mountains in the heart of Southern Kordofan are home to the Nuba people [John D McHugh]
Religiously mixed, Christian, Muslim and Animist, they have been historically discriminated against by the Arabic regime in Khartoum [John D McHugh]
But many fear this latest campaign is already taking on the character of brutal ethnic cleansing of the resource rich area [John D McHugh]
In the 1990s hundreds of thousands died in a merciless campaign of terror by the government [John D McHugh]
Partly as a result, the Nuba people from that region supported John Garang(***)s Sudan People(***)s Liberation Army (SPLA) in its long civil war with Khartoum, becoming some of his most loyal and affective fighters [John D McHugh]
Once a respected commander in the SPLA under John Garang, Abdel Aziz and his Nuban forces were central to Garang(***)s partial victory in the long and bitter civil war with Khartoum [John D McHugh]
Today, Abdel Aziz and his SPLA rebels in South Kordofan are fighting for a new, restructured central government in Khartoum [John D McHugh]
The Khartoum government is determined to crush any resistance to its rule in the region [John D McHugh]
The area has been declared a no-fly zone and government jet fighters patrol the sky [John D McHugh]
The planes bring in aid and depart with displaced passengers [John D McHugh]
The missiles fired from jet fighters are not the only weapons used against civilians [John D McHugh]
Khartoum(***)s armed forces also use bombs, dropped from Antonov transport planes [John D McHugh]
In South Kordofan(***)s only operating hospital there are many victims of the bombings [John D McHugh]
Large numbers of children have been injured in the attacks and most medical staff were evacuated when the bombings began [John D McHugh]
A 15-year-old girl sustained a serious brain injury [John D McHugh]
While Juba is celebrating independence, the war in South Kordofan is going on - and the determined Nuba fighters under Aziz(***)s control continue to fight against the superior forces of Khartoum(***)s SAF [John D McHugh]
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