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Monday, May 18, 1998 Published at 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK


Sudan's Nuba mountain rebels celebrate
image: [ The people of Nuba celebrate the anniversary of their rebellion ]
The people of Nuba celebrate the anniversary of their rebellion

The BBC East Africa correspondent, Kathy Jenkins, reports from Sudan's isolated Nuba mountain region on celebrations there to mark the anniversary of a rebellion which marks the start of the current war between North and South Sudan:

BBC's Cathy Jenkins reports from the Nuba mountains (2'53")
Nuba wrestlers fighting inside a square of cheering people was the highlight of a day of celebrations in the Nuba mountains to mark the anniversary of the start of Sudan's war. They are celebrations which have rarely been seen.

For much of the past decade, the Nuba region has been cut off from the outside world with the Khartoum government refusing access to aid organisations because of the Nuba's allegiance to the Southern rebels and their military force, the SPLA. That isolation may be about to change.

[ image: Paul Murphy of CONCERN]
Paul Murphy of CONCERN
Khartoum has given permission to the UN to make an assessment of the needs of the Nuba people. The authorities in the Nuba mountains say that they need immediate food assistance for about 20,000 people who have been displaced, from the fertile valley which they farmed, by government raids.

Paul Murphy of CONCERN: Aid agencies must be sensitive to local groups
But, having been isolated for so long, the Nuba authorities stress that they have developed their own survival mechanisms and would like to see longer-term health, education and medical care.

[ image: The governor of the region, Commander Yusef Kua]
The governor of the region, Commander Yusef Kua
Sandwiched geographically between North and South Sudan, the Nuba people have fought alongside the Southern rebels almost since the war began.

Commander Yusef Kua: We must tolerate differences
The rebel-appointed governor of the region, Yusef Kua, said he is fighting for a unified but decentralised Sudan which respects the diversity of the people.

Fighting to preserve their culture is behind the readiness of the Nuba people to continue the war.

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