Sudan and South Sudan Inch Toward War

Letter From the Borderlands

Refugees walk toward El Fuj, a crossing point at the border between their war-torn homeland, the Blue Nile state in Sudan, and the new nation of South Sudan. Jérôme Tubiana

From dawn until dusk, they walked the red-earth path between territory controlled by the government of Sudan to that held by the rebels -- small groups of men in jalabiyas, women in colorful clothes, and children on donkeys or their fathers’ shoulders or in baskets on their mothers’ backs. They carried jerricans that were filled with water at the start but were now dry, goats too young to walk, utensils, and weapons -- from nineteenth-century swords to rocket-propelled grenade launchers, sometimes both on one shoulder. Among the civilians walked rebel soldiers who were there to protect against depredation by government militias. The travelers' villages in the Ingessana Hills were four days back down the road and surrounded by government forces. Occasionally, a rebel car would come to pick up stragglers and drive them to the next resting spot. But the very weakest -- the oldest, the blind, those too sick

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