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  • on 28.04.2012
  • at 02:45 PM
  • by Randa Ghazy

Sudan: education under threat in South Kordofan 0

Nuba Students in Yida Refugee Camp Since June 2011 Sudan’s war-ravaged state of South Kordofan has been the scene of flaming conflicts between the Khartoum government forces and rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).

The hostility has since been exacerbated by Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, who asserted that the time for talking is over, leaving only “the language of the gun and ammunition”.

The security and humanitarian situation in the border state has worsened, dealing a blow to the education system, and worse still, schools are shutting down as students seek refuge in neighbouring South Sudan.

About 3500 secondary school students and over 70,000 attending primary schools have been affected by the raging war. Some have made it to South Sudan to seek education in the camps while others remain home stranded, not knowing how they will cover the long distance to the land of sanctuary.

“Three thousand five hundred secondary school students are affected and they have to cross to South Sudan. At least 2000 of them have reached Pariang camp, there are more than 1500 still in the region, who have no choice but to follow”, said Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, the SPLM-N leader in the state. “For the primary school pupils, they are over 70,000 and about 5000 are only lucky to continue since their areas are not targeted but the majorities are still at home. There is no way to continue.”

“Most students in the east of the Nuba Mountains started their journey to the camp in the south since the beginning of August 2011, but very few from the west could manage due to the long distance”, he added.

Al-Hilu recalls that initially, the Khartoum government was fighting against 12 states, 10 states in the south and 2 states in the North which included Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile. The Khartoum forces’ intention was to bombard all the states, he says.

“Soon after the South got its independence, there was intensive air bombardment in the Nuba Mountains which proved difficult to put together children to do their studies because of the high risk and tension. This is why parents sent their children across to South Sudan in Yida camp to have safety to get education.”

Al-Hilu affirmed the importance of education and said that they would want to provide education to their children and whenever possible they want them to cross to the south especially the secondary school students to get better education and for primary school goers they will find safe places where they will put them and teach them.

“We are planning to put up teacher training colleges and bring school materials for them to continue here….. I know there is risk but education is again very essential for the future of our people and the parents are very cooperative.”

According to the residents of Kauda, air bombardments have been targeting schools and crowded residential areas. Sounds of gunfire and shelling could be heard from all corners detonated from the moving planes including bombing by Antonovs and Chinese-made MIG-29s. They say this situation has since paralyzed the operations of the schools in the whole region and the students have vacated the schools, running away for their safety. Some schools that were moved from their locations to purported safer grounds have been closed up due to escalating insecurity.

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