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WASHINGTON (AP) — George Clooney used his Hollywood celebrity to draw attention Wednesday to the humanitarian crisis in the volatile border between Sudan and South Sudan, offering a firsthand account of the suffering as thousands forced to take refuge in caves because of daily aerial bombardments.
“What you see is a constant drip of fear,” the actor and human rights activist told the packed room of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as his every move was accompanied by the incessant sound of camera shutters clicking.
Just back from an eight-day trip to the region, Clooney described a secret, six-hour trip across the border to the Nuba Mountains, rocket attacks, death and destruction. He recalled how a 9-year-old boy had his hands blown off.
Teamed with John Prendergast, co-founder of the advocacy group the Enough Project, Clooney made a film that captured the images of crimes against humanity.
The four-minute video on two large screens showed refugees in caves, that 9-year-old boy with bloody arms and a woman marked by her wounds. Clooney was the guide throughout, and in the final image, he stood above what appeared to be a dead man splayed on the ground.
“How many more bodies until the Nuba Mountains become the next Darfur?” asked the video, which was released online.
More than two decades of fighting in the region gave way last year to an agreement to create the world’s newest country, South Sudan. It seceded from Sudan last July amid hopes that have deteriorated into border clashes, deadly fighting and a standoff on oil.
Clooney said civilians who have farmed the fields are unable to work for fear of bombs dropping from military planes.