Three months after the armed clash, Sudanese family in Japan wishes for peaceJuly 13 at 17:42
"I never thought that fighting would happen in Sudan, where I had lived peacefully,"
says a Sudanese mother and her two children, who say the armed clashes between the military and paramilitaries have upended their peaceful lives.
She fled Sudan for four days to evacuate to a Japan with her husband. Now the four of us are living in peace, but every day we continue to pray for the safety of our parents and friends who are facing danger in our homeland.
Three months after the sudden battle. We interviewed Izzat's family, who lives in Japan, about his family and his thoughts on peace. (Tottori Broadcasting Station Reporter Kaoru Hijikata)
Every day I am heartbroken by the situation in my homeland
: "The parents and relatives who remained in Sudan are safe now, but we don't know what will happen to them tomorrow.
Izat Tahir (57), a visiting professor at the Arid Land Research Center at Tottori University, said with a worried look.
His wife Umeima (5), son Hamud (54), and daughter Arya (20), who evacuated to Japan at the end of May, are heartbroken to learn about the daily situation in Sudan through social media and phone calls with relatives.
Came to Japan to learn wheat cultivation techniques
Izzat came to Tottori University in 2001 as an international student.
Sudan is located in the northeastern part of Africa and is home to more than 5 million people in a land area about five times the size of Japan. In recent years, the demand for bread, a staple food, has increased due to population growth, but increased production of wheat has been limited due to heat and dryness.
Izat's goal was to develop wheat that can withstand the harsh environment of Sudan and solve the food shortage.
Under the guidance of a professor, I studied cultivation methods and returned to Sudan to put them into practice. He also received his Ph.D. from Tottori University in 2005.
Last fall, I came to Japan again to continue my research, and on April 4, the year changed, big news came from my homeland.
It is an armed clash between the military and paramilitaries.
Battle spreads around the capital
The fighting is spreading mainly in the capital Khartoum, and the humanitarian crisis involving neighboring countries is becoming more serious, with more than 280.<> million people being forced to live as evacuees at home and abroad.
When Izat heard the news of the violence in his homeland, he immediately contacted his wife Umeima and their two children to confirm their safety.
However, from the next day, it became difficult to contact them.
: "Something was happening in the area where my family and relatives lived, but I couldn't get in touch with them, and it was really hard to hear about so many harsh situations there, but I couldn't do anything to protect my family and I was helpless."
Four days spent in the midst of battle
The Izat family lives in a city about 180 kilometers from the capital, Khartoum.
Umeima and the three others happened to be visiting a relative's house in Khartoum on the day of the clashes and witnessed the fighting. Looking back, it was an experience I will never forget.
. Ahmud: "I think it was about 6 or 7 in the morning, and I heard what sounded like a big explosion. I also heard gunshots."
"No one had ever thought that there would be a clash in Khartoum, where we had lived peacefully all our lives. I hid under the bed or wrapped myself in something to get through it."
Four days later, the three were fortunate enough to escape Khartoum and return home.
Decision to leave Tense 16 hours to the airport
After that, the conflict shows no signs of abating, so the three decide to evacuate to the Japan where Izzat isam.
However, there is always danger.
The 3-hour bus ride from my home city to the airport in Port Sudan was also grueling.
"16 hours felt like 60 hours, it was a very hard and long journey."
The bus continued to run on a steep road with almost no stops.
On the way, we also had an accident where the window glass was broken.
Other than that, the soldiers were asked for identification many times, and the tense time continued.
After connecting flights, the three of them met Izat again in Tottori four days after leaving Sudan.
: "When we met again, I had a lot of mixed feelings, and while I was happy to finally see him, I also felt sorry for not being able to be close to my family in this difficult situation."
Izzat patted his chest once at the reunion. There were some things that worried me.
: "As a family of four, we are now together in a safe place, but our mother, father, brothers and sisters are all in Sudan. I'm worried when I think that anything could happen to my loved ones."
Other international students praying for the safety of their families
Izzat and his friends are not the only ones who are spending anxious days praying for the safety of their families at Tottori University.
There are nine Sudanese researchers and international students enrolled at the university, and they all feel the same way.
Amir lives with his wife in Tottori City. The family lives in the Darfur region, west of the capital Khartoum. Heavy fighting is also happening here.
"It's hard to express how I feel right now, so I keep calling every day to pray for my family's safety."
Izat and Amir's inspiration is based on the university's Sudanese community.
In the past, we have supported each other in foreign lands by gathering and talking in between research and going back and forth between each other's homes.
When Amir's wife's relatives died, it was this community that became a major force in supporting the couple.
"After work, everyone came to my house and stayed with me for a while, and I think it was a great support for my wife. You're not alone, we're with you.'"
: "When someone is having a problem, we get together like this to try to ease their feelings a little, and I think it's important to share our feelings with each other."
As a leader after the ceasefire
For Izat and others, the presence of university people is also important.
Professor Hisashi Tsujimoto (Molecular Breeding), who is conducting research with Izat at the Arid Land Research Center of Tottori University, and his colleagues provide information about Sudan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
When Izzat's family evacuated from Sudan to Japan in late May, we helped them arrange airline tickets.
In order to encourage them who were worried, I invited them to a local festival.
Professor Tsujimoto said that he was worried about whether it was okay to talk to him at such a time, but the participants occasionally smiled, which gave him a valuable break.
Professor Hisashi Tsujimoto, Research Center for Dryland Research, Tottori University:
"Although the current situation is difficult, the food sector we are researching here is a very important industry in Sudan.
I want to do my best to rebuild the country
Today, Izat's family is moving into the apartment where Izat originally lived.
Except for Izzat, he can't drive a car, and it is difficult to go out on weekdays.
The children attended university in Sudan before the violence, but now they are basically staying at home.
: "It's very hard to leave Sudan and be separated from your friends, but there's nothing you can do about it. I just keep praying that things will get better."
"I am very worried about my family in Sudan, and I can only hope that everything will be fine and that the situation will improve soon."
As he continues his research, Izzat is determined to rebuild the country.
: "I always wish the conflict was over when I woke up in the morning. First of all, I would like to restore a peaceful life and rebuild the country from there. I want to do everything I can to rebuild it."
Tottori Broadcasting Station reporter
Hijikata Reiwa joined the station for 4 years, mainly in charge of covering cases and accidents assigned
Tottori Bureau in April this year