Famine being used as a weapon of war

NAIROBI, Kenya — There is a famine looming in Sudan, so the aid workers and UN agencies who are paid to keep track of such things tell us.

Unsurprisingly, the places where malnutrition is most likely to reach famine levels are the places where there is ongoing conflict: South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in the border areas between Sudan and South Sudan.

All famines are man-made but this one is more starkly so than most.

More from GlobalPost: Somalia: Famine ends but problems remain

In the northern state of South Kordofan fighting between the government in Khartoum and a rebel group called the SPM-North preceded July's independence celebrations on the south side of the border.

For the most part it was a pretty low-level conflict: Khartoum's Antonovs buzzed overhead and every now and again the aircrew would roll a simple barrel-bomb out the back of the plane to land wherever it would. Sometimes people died, sometimes they were maimed, sometimes the bombs missed.

This tactic didn't kill many people but it did scare them and keep them out of their fields. The population moved into caves in the Nuba Mountains where they were safe from the bombing raids but were unable to plant their crops. The months ticked by and now there is nothing to harvest and next to no aid getting in. The people are hungry and soon they will be starving, to death. The people will die, the rebels will die and Khartoum will barely have to shoot a bullet or roll out another bomb.

It is as efficient as it is inhuman.

If ever there was an example of famine being used as a weapon of war, then this is it.

More from GlobalPost: Richer countries, poorer people in Africa

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.