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Five reasons to care about the Sudan - South Sudan conflict

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3. Refugees and lost boys

Recent fighting between South Sudan and Sudan in Heglig area have pushed some 35,000 civilians from their homes, adding to an already bad situation for relief organizations. Even before the latest spate of fighting, there were 115,000 Sudanese relying on foreign assistance within South Sudan, and another 30,000 Sudanese refugees taking refuge in Ethiopia.

Twenty years of fighting between these two countries killed some 2 million Sudanese, and displaced some 4 million others from their homes by 1999. Among the best known of these were the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” those children who were taken from their homes, often to serve as porters or soldiers. An estimated 3,500 Lost Boys made their way to the United States alone, although some have returned to South Sudan after independence in July 2011.

With fighting starting once more – with Sudanese war planes attacking South Sudanese villages, and South Sudanese troops attacking Sudanese towns – the big question will be how to prevent a new generation of Lost Boys from being created.

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