In the early morning hours of January 16, 2016, three churches in Yida Refugee Camp were torched. Over six months later, it is still unclear exactly why this crime was committed and who was behind it.
In 2011, the government of Sudan launched a brutal genocidal war against the people living in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Government warplanes have bombed schools, clinics, markets, and homes in an attempt to drive the Nuba people off of their land.
Yida Refugee Camp, where the photos seen below were recently taken, sits right on the international border that divides Sudan and South Sudan. The camp has exploded in size with refugees fleeing from the Nuba Mountains due to widespread government attacks against unarmed communities. In 2011, Yida only numbered several thousand inhabitants. The camp is now home to well over 70,000 people despite the United Nations recently abandoning Yida.
On a normal day, Yida is a relatively quiet place where refugees go about their daily lives. In the early morning hours of January 16, 2016, it was a much different story. Hundreds of Nuba Christians and other nearby camp residents were awakened by cries that their places of worship were burning. Within a few days, it became public knowledge that the churches were torched by a small group of individuals. And today, over six months later, it is still unclear exactly why.