In January, South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for its independence. But millions of oppressed and marginalized people remain in Sudan, including in Eastern Sudan, home of the Beja people who comprise 15% of Sudan’s overall population.
Eastern Sudan possesses gold, oil, and natural gas, and is the site of Sudan’s main port city, Port Sudan, a strategic Red Sea harbor. Successive Sudanese governments have attempted to suppress Beja culture and identity, and barred humanitarian relief organizations from the area. As a result, the Beja suffer severe rates of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, illness, and high infancy and maternal mortality.
Now Khartoum is displacing the indigenous Beja and replacing them with settlers from the Rashaida tribes originally from Saudi Arabia, who were invited to eastern Sudan decades ago. The Rashaida settlers, particularly the Jihadi elements among them, are already notorious for smuggling Iranian weapons to Hamas. Their actions and alliances with terrorists like Hamas and other Jihadists cause a threat to regional and global security.