The 1998 Bahr El Ghazal famine might not have developed had government militia forces of the muraheleen and the Dinka warlord Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, a former SPLA commander, not stripped the land of cattle and grain, causing massive civilian displacement and deprivation, and had government obstruction of humanitarian relief not cut the international safety net for tens of thousands of the hungry. Kerubino=s defection to the SPLA and their attempt to capture Wau and two other towns on January 29, 1998 caused the Dinka and Jur population of these towns to flee to the rural areas already suffering from a food shortage.2 The fighting also caused the government to put in place a punitive flight ban on all relief into Bahr El Ghazal; all contributed significantly to the famine.
2 Southerners frequently refer with all respect to leaders by their first names, unless the first name is a Christian name, in which case the last name is used. Therefore AKerubino@ is used for Kerubino Kuanyin Bol throughout this report, and AGarang@ for John Garang, although SPLA supporters will often refer to him as ADr. John,@ on account of his doctoral degree in agronomics. Southerners even refer to the president of Sudan, Omar El Bashir, as AOmar.@