When i heard that there was a refugee camp in Dima, in south Ethiopia, i asked to visit it. I was expecting a cam like you can see on tv, but in fact, it was a real sudanese vilage that i discovered. as Anuak peope live there for years, in Ethiopia, they have rebuilt a traditional village, with huts, potteries on the top, drawings on the walls, etc etc.
Anuaks are all christians, except one guy the people told me! People came there during the civi lwar in Sudan thru Gambella. The sudanese border is only 60km from there.
Anuak people are a ethnic group living on the banks of rivers both in western Ethiopia (maily in the Gambella province) and southeastern Sudan. They are about 100,000 to 150,000. Their lifestyle is based on cattle raising and farming. Their darker skin, their different culture and language (which is a nilo saharan language, different from most of the omotic languages of the other ethiopian ethnic groups), the fact that they are considered as « lowlanders » (in opposition with most of the ethnic groups of Ethiopia considered as « highlanders » make them rather different from most of the other ethiopian ethnic groups they live with. They have to face a strong discriminations, and sometimes are even slaughtered and women raped by the ethiopian soldiers or by members of militias of other ethnic groups that have not accepted the settlement of some Anuak in Ethiopia after they fled from the troubles in Sudan. In december 2003, about 500 Anuak were slaughtered and their crops and houses burnt in Gambella. The persecutions Anuak people have to face are a main concern for NGOs.
© Eric Lafforgue
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