Category Archives: Nuba Mountains

Giving Thanks and Seeking Blessings

This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for what we have in our lives and seek to bring blessings into the lives of those who lack them.

As I write this article, Sudanese Armed Forces are amid an offensive against the Sudan Revolutionary Front that has largely been a failure. We are thankful that those who defend themselves against genocide have thus far been able to withstand the offensive. For many thousands of innocent civilians, however, there is no way to withstand the indiscriminate bombing of villages. From November 21-25 alone, nearly 25,000 civilians have become displaced from the intentional bombing of civilian targets. More than 460,000 people have been displaced over the course of this year.

The Khartoum Regime continues its regular campaign of displacement and ethnic cleansing and genocide through bombing huts and fields.

A video was released on November 18 of such a bombing along with a plea from Yassir Arman for help. Here is the plea. The video (graphic and difficult to watch) follows:

This video is what happened yesterday, the 17th of November, in Buram, Nuba Mountains. To all those who continue to appease the Khartoum regime and ignore the solid facts on the ground, the Khartoum regime is targeting civilian populations in Sudan, committing war crimes, and killing the very children who need to be vaccinated. And for the families of these children, the air and ground bombardment of Khartoum is a more visible threat than polio. This is a fact that many in Africa and in international community circles are deliberately ignoring because admitting it would require them to provide civilian protection as per international humanitarian law, and for them, it is better to keep a blind eye when the government of Sudan has denied access of humanitarian assistance for civilian populations for two years and is terrorizing and killing the civilian populations at the same time. We hope this video will make them, for once, tell the truth. The silence of some circles in the international community is providing the environment for General Bashir to continue killing and targeting the civilian populations in the rural and urban areas of Sudan without being questioned by anyone, even by some of those who indicted him. Bashir is being given a blank check by some circles within the international community to kill the people of Sudan, but the Sudanese people will continue to resist him and defend their right to peace, democracy, the respect of human rights, and the right for equal citizenship. We call upon all who value human life and human dignity to wage a campaign for unhindered access for humanitarian assistance in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur as well as a humanitarian cessation of hostilities that addresses the civilian humanitarian needs, as required by humanitarian international law, without conditioning them on a political agenda. Civilian populations should not be punished for political purposes or gain. The right for humanitarian aid and protection is guaranteed by international humanitarian law.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General, SPLM-N
Secretary for External Affairs, SRF
November 18, 2013

South Sudan working with Japan on New Oil Pipeline

According to an article in the Sudan Tribune, Japan and specifically the Toyota Corporation will work with South Sudan to construct and oil pipeline through Kenya. If the project comes to fruition, it would radically alter the dynamic in play now. Sudan faces sanctions and numerous other limits to its income. Transit fees collected from South Sudan for oil shipped through its pipeline to Port Sudan constitute a major source of income that among other things allows the government to pay its security forces and purchase weaponry.

The simple fact is that the more that oil flows through Port Sudan, the more blood will flow in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur.

Fighting, as Sudan does, is expensive and the oil revenue is essential to maintaining the fight. Of course, building the new pipeline will take years, not weeks or months, and the suffering in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Darfur will continue.

Meanwhile, the more that Sudan works with Iran with Iran providing the Khartoum Regime both income and weaponry, the more that other nations will be willing to work with the rebel groups and to support South Sudan in its disputes with the north. With every attempt to subdue the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces that fails and results in both the death of soldiers fighting only for a paycheck and in the capture of additional military assets to be used by the SRF against the state, the situation worsens for Sudan. With every child who dies of starvation in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, the more well motivated and committed rebel troops there will be fighting against the Khartoum Regime. The strategic situation for Sudan is not a good one now and if the oil pipeline is actually developed through Kenya, it may prove to be the coup de grace against the Khartoum Regime.

All of this is yet far off, however. There is much work to do now to save innocents lives threatened by the hands of the genocidaires in Sudan.

Rally December 14 in Washington DC for the Sudanese People Under Attack

Join Help Nuba and USASSCA in Washington DC on December 14

Join Help Nuba and USASSCA in Washington DC on December 14

  • December 14th
  • Washington DC
  • 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Lafayette Square (Directly north of the White House)

The Khartoum regime has increased bombardment and the burning of villages and crops across the Nuba Mountains. It is unimaginable. We want to have this rally as a way to show solidarity with the people of this area and the Blue Nile state. We will also remember people from other regions of Sudan who are suffering including the people of Darfur who have never rested from the brutal Sudan regime since 2003.

The world has blinded itself from what is happening in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Sudan in general. We are calling on you as humanitarian organizations, activists, Sudanese opposition and Diaspora, pro-democracy groups and everyone who cares about Sudan to come out and tell the US government that innocent lives in Sudan must be protected. We need ideas and help with graphics that will help draw attention to the rally and our call for protection. We want everybody to participate.

For more information, you can contact us at 816-200-8824.

The rally is cosponsored by Help Nuba and USASSCA, the United Sudanese And South Sudanese Communities Association, among other organizations.

Thank you very much.

Philip Tutu, Nuba Community

USASSCA Logo

Sudan, Iran, and Gaza

There is now a full blown alliance between Iran, Sudan, and Hamas.  Hamas leaders have publicly thanked Iran in recent days and Sudan’s Bashir has long been a friend of the Iranian Regime. None of this should be surprising. This was clear  in March of 2009 when:

A delegation of senior Middle Eastern leaders has travelled to Sudan to express international support for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who is accused of war crimes in Darfur. Officials from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah joined Syria’s parliament speaker and the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group for talks with al-Bashir in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.

Sudan continues to host Iranian weapons shipments from Iran destined to reach Gaza.  The Times of Israel reports that

Israeli intelligence sources believe that a cargo, loaded a week ago in Bandar Abbas, Iran, would be shipped to Sudan and from there smuggled over land to Gaza. According to the report, the cargo may include Fajr-5 rockets of the likes already fired by Hamas during the recent conflict, and whose stocks were reportedly depleted by Israeli bombings. Also possibly included: components of Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which could be stationed in Sudan and used as a direct threat to Israel.

In other words, Iran is planning on involving Sudan in the next conflict with Israel and firing missiles from Sudan at Israel.

“With a lot of effort, Iran has skillfully built a strategic arm pointing at Israel from the south,” an Israeli source was quoted as saying.

Not that sanity has regularly prevailed in the Middle East, but it would seem that this decision by Sudan runs the risk of promoting significant Israeli and American military involvement in Sudan and military cooperation with South Sudan. It functionally turns the Sudan Revolutionary Forces and the South Sudanese into full blown allies of Israel and America in their conflict with Iran, merging the conflicts into one larger one and escalating the strategic importance of events in Sudan well beyond the level of humanitarian concerns which are generally not highly prioritized.

In other news, Sudan is planning to relocate the Yarmouk Weapons Factory which was recently destroyed in what appears to have been an Israeli airstrike on October 24 to a place “outside of the capital.”

It would seem highly likely at this point that future Israeli military action in Sudanese territory is a virtual certainty, but also that there will be an increasing flow of weaponry and funds from Iran to the Khartoum Regime, enabling it to increase its military operations in the border regions against both the Sudan Revolutionary Forces and South Sudan itself.

We may already be seeing the first stages of this change with recent Sudan Armed Forces strikes crossing the border of Bahr El Ghazal in South Sudan and with attacks against multiple villages in the Nuba Mountains in recent days. The reports from the SPLM-North are heartbreaking, among them that:

On November 16, the NCP forces and its militia lit up the fire in the dry bush and crops around the villages of, Tafrang, Banat, Kumra, Alsamaha, Katraya Almak, Safora, Najar Alhabel, Wadelgeel, Hellat Mohamed Rasheed, Umsediana, Alban Jadeed, Alnugra, and Khor Basheer. The residents of these villages tried to put out the fire, but the NCP forces and its militias forbid them from doing so by force of weapons. The fire burned down the houses and destroyed the crops and garden fields. The fire continued burning until for days.

Since then numerous villages have been bombed by the Khartoum Regime with all targets being civilian. It appears that the Khartoum Regime feels emboldened by its newly strengthened alliance with Iran and we must fear that the level of attacks will continue if not increase in the weeks ahead without outside intercession.

The situation for the peoples of the Nuba Mountains is worsening and the threat of major conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is increasing rapidly.

An Urgent Plea from the Nuba Mountains

November 5, 2012

Dear Leaders of the International Community,

We write to you from inside the Nuba Mountains and on behalf of the men, women and children who have waited in vain for your help. Since June 2011, we have been under constant attack by the Bashir regime. Hundreds of bombs have dropped on us, and missiles as well as attacks by soldiers and militia are a constant threat. In the last two weeks, bombardment by the Khartoum regime has increased intensively. Since Friday, October the 26th, the bombardment has become more brutal and covered more than a dozen of our villages.

Many people have been killed, and livestock and several houses and fields of crops have been burned and destroyed. The intense bombing has begun again this week and it is a daily activity in the area. As it is well known to you, we do not have access to food, medicine, healthcare and other basic necessities. We look around at what is left of our homes and see our family and friends weak from hunger and disease. Everywhere we look, we see children, the elderly and other vulnerable people lying on the ground helpless. The number of people dying from starvation and disease is disturbing and increasing. It is very hard for us to explain to our children what is happening when they ask us, “Does anyone in the world know what we are going through?

Why is it that no one cares about us?”

For 17 months, we have been hearing you talk about us. We’ve heard you say that our situation is critical and that you are gravely
concerned; however, we have almost given up hope that your words mean anything. We are aware of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and the work done by the UN in coordination with the African Union and League of Arab States to secure a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for our area (Nuba Mountains) and Blue Nile. We have heard about the latest AUPSC Communiqué dated October 24, 2012 that we understand will inform your actions on our behalf, and we want you to understand what we have heard and how it makes us feel. Less than 10% of the communiqué addresses what has been described as the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa. The communiqué spells out the priorities of the AU (and therefore the UN), and we are sad to learn that saving our lives – urgently addressing a critical humanitarian crisis – is clearly not a priority.

While UNSC Resolution 2046 demands an end to aerial bombardments and all hostilities, the AUPSC Communiqué fails to acknowledge the conditions we are forced to endure on a daily basis and it fails to acknowledge who is responsible for imposing those conditions on us. The Communiqué does, however, recognize the “difficult circumstances” faced by Bashir and commends him for his courage and statesmanship in reaching agreements with South Sudan and regarding Abyei. This is very difficult for us to understand. We do not understand why a leader who fails to implement existing agreements and therefore requires additional intervention by the international community in order to avoid a war that he would start should be commended. If Bashir is facing difficult circumstances, they are the result of his own making and frankly, we would like him to be in our situation and just test what we are going through for 17 months in the Nuba Mountains. If Bashir lived in the Nuba Mountains, he would understand the meaning of “difficult circumstances.”
We also do not understand why Bashir should be rewarded with financial assistance, debt relief and the lifting of sanctions as outlined in the Communiqué. As stated earlier, Bashir bombed our villages as he was signing agreements. Unlike UNSC Resolution 2046, the Communiqué fails to provide deadlines or outline consequences if Bashir continues to attack us and continues to block humanitarian access. The Communiqué does urge the AUHIP to “undertake a lessons-learnt exercise” and so we respectfully submit the observation based on our own experience and based on Bashir’s behavior since UNSC Resolution 2046 was put into place on May 2, 2012, that Bashir does not comply with agreements. The Communiqué does include a November 10, 2012 deadline for convening negotiations
regarding political negotiations between Bashir and the SPLM-North based on the June 28, 2011 Framework Agreement, but given the
complexity of political negotiations that should encompass the entire country, this deadline will have no impact on our desperate situation.

Deadlines and conditions related to access for humanitarian aid must be separate from the political process and must be prioritized above all else.

While we appreciate your commitment to remain “actively seized on the matter”, we are worried – based on our experience – that your commitment will not save our lives and the lives of our children who have suffered long enough. Our question remains unanswered, why doesn’t anyone care about us? We have a right to be protected from a brutal government and to be rescued from genocide. We have a right to have access to food and medicine like everyone else in the world.

Innocent lives are being taken day and night including children, women, and the elderly right before our eyes and the world’s silence
is unbelievable.

We have much to offer our country, the continent and the world. The Nuba Mountains are beautiful and we are remarkable people. We enjoyed six years of peace after the signing of the CPA, an agreement that was the result of strong Sudanese, African and international leadership. That same combined level of leadership is required today. We welcome the appointment of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and we urge her to visit us this month with a shipment of food and medicine.

Thank you for considering our concerns and we hope you will stand on our behalf and do everything possible – even if Bashir does not allow it – to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid to our areas for our people.

Best regards,

1- Stephevanos Jaralnabi Angalo, Omdorain Locality
2- Alamin Kharif Bari, Delami Locality
3- Jibreel Ismail, Alboram Locality
4- Zaki Khalifa Tawor, Kadugli Locality
5- Ahamed Abaala, Haiban Locality
6- Khamis Soba, Deleng Locality
7- Salieh Alias dalum, Lagawa Locality
8- Nur Aldeen Jumma Almahadi, Abujabiha Locality
9- Adam Alnugra Ahamed, Talodi Locality

A Sickeningly Happy Smile

I don’t know about you, but I feel sick when I look at the picture of Omar Bashir’s beaming smile as he shakes hands with Salva Kiir. Bashir looks like a child who has just been told that if he shakes this man’s hand, he gets to go to Disney World. I can’t help but wonder how either man could smile at the other, much less beaming like that. Bashir is a war criminal.

Then again, looking at the situation in which both men find themselves, if they have made any progress toward an oil transfer agreement, how they can smile might actually be understandable. South Sudan’s economy is in a shambles and is only deteriorating faster as the days pass and oil does not flow. Without oil flowing, right now South Sudan is closer to becoming a failed state than prospering one. Salva Kiir is in jeopardy of becoming the leader who ran South Sudan out of business.

But Sudan is not much better off. It’s economy is in a free fall and subsidies which were essential in placating the masses so that they would not rise up against the Khartoum Regime have had to be removed. There are mass protests in the streets. Foreign governments and investors would not think about investing in Sudan or even loaning it money. In addition to the protests, rebel groups in the west, south, and east all are challenging it and the ones in the south are fighting, fairly successfully, for control over the last oil reserves the nation possesses. Opposition parties have gained enough momentum to publicly challenge the ruling party and there is for the first time in a long time, a reasonable hope for regime change.

Thus, the smile, that sickeningly happy smile.

Peace and a renewed flow of oil solve the major problems that both men face. Sudan needs it badly. South Sudan is probably in as good a negotiating position as it could hope for. Khartoum can’t afford to delay the opening of the spigot. So, a tentative agreement that allows the oil to flow.

“We’ll deal with the border region later. No one attack the other. We both need the money.” That is the obvious discussion. Mutual butt-saving.

In South Sudan, Salva Kiir will be able to fulfill promises for his suffering people and things will dramatically improve. Peace will bring massive investment and growth. The economy in the South could boom. The people will be vastly better off in the short run especially. Kiir’s butt saved.

But this will certainly put a damper on change in Sudan. The Khartoum Regime will strengthen. The inevitable collapse will not merely be delayed for a bit, but perhaps it will no longer be inevitable at all. Bashir’s butt saved.

The return of subsidies will quell demonstrations. In Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan, there will be a newly strengthened Sudanese Armed Forces and police presence. Opposition leaders will suddenly become silent, at least the ones who do not go missing. Things could get a lot worse.

I know that it is a stretch to read to much into the smile of a consummate liar, but I just get the feeling that he’s not lying. Bashir seems genuinely happy. That makes me sick.

All Things Being Equal, There Is No Morality

It is becoming more and more the norm that newspapers and editorials present “both sides” of any and every issue. To be considered unbiased, it seems that one must invariably find fault with each side of a dispute and to present both sides as equally responsible for any problems. The logic is that one side cannot be correct or right. They only have one opinion, one view. The other side’s view must be equally valid or they would agree with the first side. This makes no sense. It is an abdication of journalistic ethics to make no effort to determine right or wrong, truth or lies. Yet it is the new standard.

Ask both sides. Print both views.

The latest in this trend of politically correct moral equivalency may be found in a recent New York Times editorial about Sudan and South Sudan. The Times Editorial Board wrote:

South Sudan, along with Sudan, created this crisis, and they have the means to fix it.

The two sides fought a civil war that killed more than two million people before a peace deal in 2005. In the past year, they barely avoided a return to all-out conflict. Violence continues in Darfur and in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, a rebel-held area where the Khartoum government is trying to bomb and starve the people into submission. Thousands have been displaced.

It is difficult to see how South Sudan created the crisis by stopping the flow of oil that was providing an endless supply of money for Sudan to use to buy weaponry from Iran with which it has been using to bomb the border region, including into South Sudanese territory, and to commit genocide first in Darfur and now in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Was there no conflict ongoing before South Sudan stopped the flow of oil in January, much less when it went into Heglig in March and April? In fact, I think it safe to say that there were many attacks ongoing by the Sudan Armed Forces in the border region prior to South Sudan’s military response in Heglig.

Here’s an article about the Sudan Airforce bombing Jau in Unity State in South Sudan on February 14.

Here’s one about the bombing of Western Bahr-al-Ghazal state in January.

Then of course there is the bombardment of South Sudan friendly civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile which is ongoing, but began long before the flow of oil was shut off from the south or any South Sudanese troops set foot in Heglig. Satellite Sentinel’s report from January of 2012 details similar events for months prior. One could potentially make the argument that defending civilians against genocide is a good reason to conduct military operations, but the international community has made it pretty clear that the people are on their own and that South Sudan cannot offer official help. “Genocide away,” I guess. “Never again” are words for commemorations rather than policies.

But more to the point, how can one forget the bombing of Yida Refugee Camp in Unity State in South Sudan on November 10th, 2011?  The Times must believe that Sudan’s bombing of the refugee camp must have been justified in anticipation by several months of South Sudan’s future military action or else it would be difficult to argue that “South Sudan created this crisis,” even limiting the “crisis” in question to the past year alone. Moral equivalency cannot possibly allow for Sudan to be the obvious aggressor even when its leadership is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court!

This all said, while restoring the flow of oil through Sudan will bring money into the South Sudanese economy, it also will provide Sudan with a much needed influx of capital with which to fund its military and police activities, harming the possibility of regime change in Sudan and prolonging the ongoing crisis of oppression caused by the Khartoum Regime for decades now.