The whole Nuba Mountains region feels like another country altogether from the sandy wastes of northern Sudan. That, of course, is the problem – the Nuba people long fought on the side of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) against the government. After the signing of the peace agreement, parts of the area opened up to intrepid travellers. But with the coming of independence for South Sudan in 2011, the Nuba once again found themselves in the firing line as conflict erupted between the Sudanese armed forces and rebels allied with groups in South Sudan. The SPLA-North still controls much of the countryside in and around the Nuba Mountains, while the Sudanese armed forces control the main towns. Numerous atrocities, including indiscriminate air raids, are reported to have been committed by both sides, there has been a major refugee crisis since South Sudanese independence, and the entire area is still off limits to foreigners.