Thousands of rebels in the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan are refusing to lay down their weapons as government forces loyal to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir attempt to violently crush insurgencies in the area. The Sudanese Army and its allied militias have reportedly bombed several villages, executed elders, burned churches and vowed to shoot down any UN helicopters entering the region. Thousands of people are flooding into a rapidly expanding refugee camp as they flee the violence. Rebels in the area are demanding more political autonomy, just weeks before southern Sudan officially secedes and becomes an independent country. The New York Times reports that there will be many other restive areas in Sudan, even after the south secedes. The areas, which include the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, Blue Nile State and Kasala, are home to mostly non-Arab peoples and have a history of tension with the group of Arabs who govern the country.