MABAN COUNTY, South Sudan — Asir, a 49 year-old farmer from Blue Nile in Sudan, had just completed a grueling eight-day trip, walking through tall grass, mud and rain, often at night, leading a group of men, women and children to safety in a sprawling refugee camp in neighboring South Sudan. He had only the clothes on his back.
While the vast majority of Blue Nile residents had previously fled to refugee camps, many thousands stayed behind in government-controlled territory. Far from finding refuge, these communities have endured horrific abuses at the hands of government soldiers and armed militia.
Three years on, a steady stream of civilians is risking the treacherous journey to South Sudan. Asir, whose name was changed for this story, is among them.
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