The young Brits worrying about relatives in Sudan

time:2023-06-05 15:25:25 source:Al Jazeera

Graphic images of the vicious fighting in Sudan have been all over social media for the past two weeks.

You might've seen clips of people sheltering from fighter jets and gunfire as two weeks of fierce clashes have left hundreds dead.

Thousands of British people are still trying to get out the country after the government put on a series of flights.

But what about people in the UK with family stuck in the country who can't just switch off from the conflict?

BBC Newsbeat went to the Easton Community Centre in Bristol to speak to young people whose parents and grandparents won't be able to leave.

Awab Elsharif, 20, and 17-year-old Aya Mohamed say they're both glued to social media as they worry about relatives in the north-east African country.

"It's really tough. You go on Instagram and TikTok and you just see your neighbourhood completely blown to shreds," Awab says.

"I've got family homes that've been toppled over, I've got family members that have been killed, family friends that have been killed."

And they both say worrying about what's going on in Sudan is also affecting their studies.

"I've got my mocks currently. And I'm just constantly sat there in my room, on Instagram, on the TV just watching," Aya, who's at college, says.

Awab, who's a law student at the University of Exeter, adds: "It does impact your work, does impact your focus.

"Not just that, but your social life as well because you don't know if you're going to wake up tomorrow and your grandmother is going to be dead.

"It's quite a dire situation."

The fighting that's erupted in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, and elsewhere in the country, is a direct result of a vicious power struggle between the army and a rival paramilitary group.

Since the clashes began two weeks ago, hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands forced from their homes.

Aya says her dad had to go to Sudan for a family emergency and now has a dilemma about whether to leave or not.

"It's really difficult because my dad's sort of torn between does he leave his family behind and come back here and start worrying about them?" she says.

"Or does he stay with them? And on top of that he doesn't even have his passport and stuff anymore, it all got lost in the war. So it's honestly really difficult."

Aya has managed to speak to her dad but says she's constantly "sitting there not knowing when that contact is going to stop".

"A lot of the houses now don't have any electricity, they don't have any water," she says.

"They don't have any basic supplies and they can't really go out and get them because they have the risk of being shot or being killed."

There are about 3,000 people with a Sudanese heritage in Bristol and lots of them live around the part of the city where the Easton Community Centre is.

Awab has got lots of relatives in Sudan and knows lots of friends who have lost family members in the fighting.

"It's a shame because we don't see no end," he says.

"I haven't been [to Sudan] for nine years and when I went back then it was honestly one of the most beautiful places you could visit.

"This is what's a shame, to see all these videos online about all the killing and all the destruction because Sudan is such a beautiful country and it's such a shame that people don't get to see that side of it."

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