Lost boys of Sudan.
Every military conflict finds its biggest victims in the number of children orphaned and families destroyed. Second Sudanese Civil War, taking place from 1983 until 2005, was no exception.
In the aftermath of the conflict, over 20,000 boys of Dinke and Nuer ethnic background were orphaned and displaced, with their lives destroyed forever. They became known as the lost boys of Sudan and their bitter story serves as a grim warning of what a seemingly obsolete conflict can lead to.
The conflict between Northern and Southern Sudan started when Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1950s. It found its roots in cultural, religious and stark economic differences. The richer north would exploit still rural and traditional south in search of the resources and when the relations became more aggressive, attacks and military conflict followed.
In order to avoid death or the cruelty of the rebel army, thousands of young boys were forced to flee the country and hide in the bushes. Their marched started in Sudan and ended in Kenya and Ethiopia and it was characterized by exhaustion, malnutrition, dehydration and despair. Sadly, the distance and the days travelled cannot be estimated. The time ranged from a few weeks to one or two years, until a group was successfully able to reach the camp.
The heavy conditions of the African heat were not helpful either. Kids often fought pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea and exhaustion, mixed with the attacks of snakes and lions.
Roughly, halve of the children died along the way. Their final destination would mostly be refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Sadly, their needs often exceeded the possibilities of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and it became extremely hard to take a proper care of the newcomers.
Due to the efforts of UNICEF, nearly 1200 boys were reunited with their families. Sadly, the rest of them had to remain in the camps or migrate to the US in search of a better life.
As the result of extensive peace-keeping negotiations and efforts, 2005 marked the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and South Sudan. Because of that, a lot of families could be reunited and return from their forceful migration to their Sudanese homes.