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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Sudan's forgotten people

Michael Manyok dreams of returning home

Michael Manyok, 7, lives with his family in the Labone refugee camp in a remote corner of southern Sudan. He has been a refugee since he was 2, when his family was forced to flee Wangley in the south's Bor district. Michael's family, like thousands of Dinka people, has fled on countless occasions as fighting flared on various fronts.

This civil unrest is often called "Africa's forgotten war" because Sudan's vast size and remoteness mean that the plight of the Sudanese seldom makes the headlines.

Since 1983 when long-term conflict in Sudan was renewed between the largely Arab, Islamic north and the African, predominantly Christian south, an estimated 1.3 million southern civilians have been killed in fighting or war-induced famine. At the advent of each new dry season, government troops and locally recruited tribal militias advanced into the countryside, burning villages. But in October 1995 when the largely Christian Sudan People's Liberation Army launched a successful counteroffensive, it broke this trend — at least in part — by recapturing a large swath of territory in eastern Equatoria Province.



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