Sudan's Nuba refugees protest UN 'inaction'
Publisher: AFP, Agence France Presse
Story date: 17/11/2011
Language: English

Hundreds of refugees displaced by fighting in Sudan demonstrated on Thursday at the lack of UN protection and humanitarian assistance at a camp in South Sudan that was bombed last week.

The large crowd chanted slogans like: "Wake up Ban Ki-moon, we are human just like you!" and called on the United Nations to enforce a no-fly zone to stop the Sudanese army from bombing them in war-torn South Kordofan and over the border in the newly independent south.

"They are calling for the international community ... to pay attention to what happened to Nuba people and innocent people who are just killed by (Sudanese President) Omar al-Bashir's regime without any discrimination," said Mustafa Jamus, the deputy chairman of the camp.

Four bombs fell on Yida on November 10, according to camp residents, who number up to 25,000 people. They are fugitives from the conflict in South Kordofan that first erupted in June between southern-aligned Nuba rebels and the Sudanese Armed Forces.

No one was killed in the air strikes, and the army has denied widespread accusations that it was responsible.

"These people are demonstrating to show to the world that the bombardment was targeting innocent civilians, not military garrisons," Jamus said, as the crowd chanted "Liar, liar, Daffa-Allah Elhag!" in response to claims by Sudan's UN ambassador that the refugee camp was only housing rebels.

The protesters also demanded that Bashir be tried by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, and appealed for humanitarian assistance.

Bashir is the first sitting president indicted by the ICC, which issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

The United Nations and international aid agencies Medair and Care International pulled out after the bomb attack and only a few small US agencies remain.

Humanitarian workers at the camp say medical supplies will run out this week if no more arrive. The added that there is widespread malnutrition and anaemia due to a lack of food since weeks before the bombing, which coincided with the first UN delivery of food aid.

"If there is not any food security for the people, no clean water and no health centres it means that we will not survive alone," said Yussef Ismail Abdelgani, a former civil engineer who fled South Kordofan's Heiban county in July.

South Sudan seceded from the north in July after decades of civil war. Just hours before the bombing, President Salva Kiir warned of a "pending invasion," claiming Sudan wanted to draw the south back into conflict and recapture its land.

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