South Sudan NEWS PORTAL
Exactly 20 years ago I travelled through South Sudan investigating the link between the emerging oil industry and the ongoing civil war between Sudan and South Sudan.
Travelling by road with a team from Doctors Without Borders, the devastation of the civil war was all too apparent. Khartoum’s helicopters frequently dropped barrel bombs on villages, forcing locals to jump into makeshift bunkers below ground to try and escape the carnage, that included crude bombs which sprayed nails and shrapnel at everything they touched.
There was little development to speak of, and sleeping sickness caused by tsetse flies ravaged villages. The evenings spent in grass huts were punctuated by the sound of funeral services.
The adults in the villages had plenty of stories to tell about Omar al-Bashir’s militias and how they went about implementing their scorched-earth policy against South Sudan’s communities. What that meant in practice was clearing the people off the land by burning their villages to the ground, all to make way for oil exploration by multinational oil companies.
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