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Evidence of Forced Displacement
Attacks, bombings, and ethnically motivated killing almost inevitably result in massive displacement. The people of the border areas of Abyei, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile have been forced to flee their homes to avoid persecution, causing internally displaced persons, or IDPs, to leave their homes, and refugee camps to spring up in the surrounding areas. These IDPs and refugees serve as eyewitnesses to the atrocities occurring in their homelands, where foreign observers are often unable to go.
What are Internally Displaced Persons, or IDPs?
"Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border." - 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
When Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, attacked and subsequently invaded Abyei town in May 2011, approximagely 110 thousand Ngok Dinka were forced to flee due to indiscriminate bombardment and organized ransacking and razing led by SAF.
“Civilians shall not be compelled to leave their own territory for reasons connected to the conflict.” – Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions
25,000 to 30,000 Displaced from Abyei
Imagery of artillery build-ups allowed SSP to accurately predicted SAF's invasion of Abyei six weeks before any tanks rolled or troops moved. Within five days of the May 21 invasion, the United Nations estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 civilians were displaced from Abyei town and the surrounding areas. Clear before and after pictures from May 29 show the destruction of the Banton Bridge, just south of Abyei town over the Kiir River. SSP was the first to report out the destruction of this key refugee route out of Abyei, and released the only on-the-ground photos to international media. This bridge is the only connection between Abyei and the rest of then southern Sudan and has yet to be re-built, meaning that thousands IDPs are still unable to return to their homes.
Over 130,000 Displaced from South Kordofan and Blue Nile
Since ethnically motivated attacks began in June 2011 in Kadugli, South Kordofan, and September in Damazin, Blue Nile, Sudan, over 130,000 people have been displaced. The Government of Sudan is actively targeting local populations as punishment for their support of the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North, or SPLA-N, and to flush out any opposition. Many fled over the border to the Yida refugee camp and Guffa area in South Sudan, only to be threatened yet again when SAF bombed the camps on November 8.
An additional estimated 30,000 people have found refuge in neighboring Ethiopia.
Eyes in the Sky
Satellite imagery shows evidence of IDP camps outside the United Nations compound in Kadugli, South Kordofan.