DAR, 22 March 2012 (IRIN) – Driving north across the border from South Sudan into the warring Sudanese state of South Kordofan, the landscape abruptly changes from the swamps and seasonal grasslands into the fertile foothills of the Nuba Mountains, rising gently from the plains. Each hill is topped by a village, with acorn-shaped clusters of huts perched on rocky outcrops.
In the picturesque village of Dar, women in brightly-coloured `taubs’ gather around the communal pump chatting and exchanging gossip in a scene typical across rural Africa. But on closer inspection, none of the houses have roofs: most of the village has been burned to the ground. The area is littered with spent cartridge cases, unexploded ordnance, and several wrecked tanks.
Since fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North (SPLM-N) broke out in June 2011, spreading later to neighbouring Blue Nile State, more than 400,000 people have been displaced.