The Sudanese Civil War led to Mende’s abduction, enslavement and the slaughter of her village. She was a young girl at the time, with no knowledge of the war or its pending consequences. Like many other Nuba, they were innocent bystanders who suffered tragically by unfolding events that they had no control over.


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In 1956 Sudan gained independence from Great Britain and Egypt. Since that time the country has been in a constant state of civil war with only a 10 year pause. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The war is also often simplified and explained as a North vs. South war over religious, cultural and racial differences.

The war was extremely intense and atrocities were committed on a large scale. The war spread north into the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile in the early 90s. The civil war and famine-related effects resulted in more than four million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than two million deaths over a period of two decades.

In January 2005, the North and South signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the UN deployed a peacekeeping force in Southern Sudan. The CPA granted the South autonomy for 6 years after which a referendum for secession was scheduled for 2011. The A separate conflict, which broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has displaced nearly two million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. The UN took command of the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union in December 2007.

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