Category Archives: Nuba Mountains

Surgeon to Nuba to evaluate medical needs: Will blog here as often as he can.

Dr. Alan Koslow a Des Moines surgeon will be joining a team to evaluate and organize a newly formed refugee camp.  Three weeks ago a humanitarian disaster of almost unprecedented proportions began to occur.  A new refugee camp has sprung up with 30,000 refugees currently and an expected 40,000 to pass through shortly.  1,000 are joining the camp daily, which has no  sanitation, shelter, safe water, food or medical care. Team Rubicon , an organization of veterans dedicated to international and national disaster relieve, is organizing the mission at the request of International Medical Corps (IMC) .  The goal of the team, as the first NGO on site, will be to evaluate the situation and plan the response to this humanitarian disaster.  There will be sanitation, housing water, food and medical experts on the team.  Dr. Koslow will be responsible for evaluating the actual and potential medical problems and what will be needed to treat and prevent them.

The team will leave Monday June 25, 2012 and return July 15, 2012. The team will be headed by Team Rubicon board member Andrew Stevens.    Andrew Stevens works as the Alaska state planner for critical infrastructure and heads the security vulnerability assessment team for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Prior to this he worked as the community emergency planner for the division. A former U.S. Marine, he acted as an Assistant Operation Chief and react team leader for Tango 5/11 during the initial assault on Iraq in 2003. Dr. Koslow has nine international medical mission under his belt.  This includes Haiti ten days after the earthquake when he did 32 emergency operation but saved over 60 more non-surgical cases.

In addition to poverty South Sudan remains in conflict with Sudan over the border with both armed forces attacking each other’s territory. There are regular of exchanges of rockets and artillery fire between the south Sudan and Sudan armed forces. Sudan has also been accused of aerial bombings of South Sudan territory along the disputed border towns. The refugee camps have not experienced any attack but an out of target bombing incident by the north Sudan cannot be ruled out.

The refugee camp in South Sudan:

Maban, Upper Nile state, South Sudan refugee complex
Introduction:
Hofra refugee camp is located in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan.  It is a transit site (30 km from the disputed Sudan – south Sudan border) was set up in mid May in order to move refugees further away from the Sudan border of El-Fuj site (10 km from south Sudan border) due to security concerns. According to UNHCR, the transit site currently hosts 30,000 refugees who are on transit to other refugee camps of Batil, Doro and Jamam and are composed of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, primarily fleeing from Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. The location is remote, flood prone and lacks adequate water. UNHCR also estimates that an additional 40,000 refugees will be crossing the border via El-Fuj to Hofra in the next few weeks.

The International Medical Corps:

IMC’s Background in South Sudan:
International Medical Corps began implementing programs in South Sudan more than a decade before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. Early programs focused on delivery of primary and secondary health services, as well as the reduction of neglected tropical diseases including River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) and Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis) among others.
International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas focusing on improving immediate and long-term health service provision. Their work in 49 primary and secondary health facilities impacts nine counties across four states on both sides of the Nile River. Through these and other structures, International Medical Corps serves more than 483,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations with a fully integrated package of public health services such as primary health care (including maternal and child health), secondary health care, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, Water/Sanitation, and capacity building programs.
The civil war ended in 2005 with the signing of the CPA giving South Sudan autonomy and its people the right to self-determination through a referendum on independence after six years. The referendum took place in January 2011 and the Republic of South Sudan became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011. However, despite many successes under the CPA, South Sudan remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in the world.

Dr. Koslow will be available in Des Moines until 2 PM Sunday June 24, 2012.  He will also be blogging on his facebook page  http://www.facebook.com/alan.koslow and at the Blog Help Nuba  http://helpnuba.net/.

 

Urgent Appeal from the SPLM-N Leadership

Urgent Appeal from the SPLM-N Leadership
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ARE FACING IMMINENT DEATH IN SUDAN IN FRONT OF THE EYES AND EARS OF THE WORLD
It is now one year since war started by Khartoum in the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. Approximately half a million are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands have become refugees as a result of continuous aerial and ground bombardments for the entire year. Systematic policies by Khartoum and war indicted criminals, headed by General Bashir, use mass starvation as a weapon and genocidal militias, army and aerial bombardments against civil populations. General Bashir ignores the bleeding and the efforts to open access for humanitarian operations; refused the tri-partite proposal that was signed by the SPLM-N, the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League four months ago; and ignores the Security Council Resolution 2046 article 4, which urges him to agree to the tri-partite proposal.
Given the SPLM-N’s consultation in Addis Ababa in the first week of this month with the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the Chair of IGAD and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the US Special Envoy, the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League, it is evidently clear that Khartoum is not for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution that will open access for a humanitarian operation. At the same time, in the last three weeks, more massive displacement is taking place. Thousands of people are starving and thousands are crossing the borders as refugees into the Republic of South Sudan. More than 30,000 crossed the border from Blue Nile into the Republic of South Sudan in the last three weeks, and 500-700 are crossing on a daily basis from the Nuba Mountains to South Sudan. This has been reported by the UN and credible NGOs, the last being MSF.
The “on border operations” have no capacity to respond to this situation. Courageous politicians, human rights activists, journalists, NGOs and notable and prominent personalities from all over the world have voiced their concern and worries on the fate of hundreds of thousands who are facing imminent death by hunger or war crimes. Among them are late Congressman Donald Payne, Congressman Frank Wolf, Congressman Michael Capuano, Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman James McGovern, Congressman John Olver, Congressman Jim Moran, Congressman Al Green, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator John McCain, Senator John Kerry, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Roger Wicker, Baroness Caroline Cox, Martin Luther King III, Nick and George Clooney, Rev. Franklin Graham, Eric Reeves, Mukesh Kapila, John Prendergast, Nicholas Kristof, Greta Susteren, Ken Isaacs, Andrew Natsios, Roger Winter, Pam Omidyar, Tom Andrews, Ryan Boyette, Humanity United, the NAACP, Act for Sudan, American Jewish World Service, Enough Project, and United to End Genocide. These are among many and we regret being unable to mention all strong voices that are giving hope to the Sudanese people and especially the displaced and the refugees.
Access had not been allowed by General Bashir, bombardment is continuing and people are dying from hunger, the rain has started and there is no clear plan to respond to the situation. We appeal and urge the friends of Sudan everywhere to combine their efforts to implement article 4 of the UN Security Council Resolution by contacting the Security Council and by pursuing every possible avenue that will put pressure on General Bashir to agree to the tri-partite proposal and to open access for humanitarian assistance, which is a human right for those who are affected, and failing to allow access is a war crime.
The SPLM-N would like to reiterate its commitment again for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and we indeed submitted our proposal for a roadmap for implementation when we recently met the Chair of the AUHIP, former President Thabo Mbeki, and the Chair of IGAD, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who have been tasked by the Security Council to implement the Resolution. Moreover, we are ready for an immediate cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds to create a conducive environment for a humanitarian operation.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General, SPLM-N
June 14, 2012

SPLM-N Seeks a Humanitarian Ceasefire

The SPLM-N would like to sign a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Of course, the Khartoum Regime will not agree to this because it has been working hard to create the famine in the first place by bombing civilians working in fields and making it impossible to plant crops. The regime in fact, believes that it can force the SPLM-N to disarm by creating such a horrendous famine that the SPLM-N will lay down its arms in the hope of bringing relief to the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Meanwhile, the international community has thus far refused to place enough pressure upon Khartoum to relent and to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered or to work toward sending that aid through South Sudan into the region. Famine and the rainy season are the friends of Khartoum. Those who wish to deliver humanitarian aid to the starving civilians are their enemies.

Blue Nile Situation is Worsening Rapidly

The UN says that it is “alarmed” by the dramatically increasing flow of refugees from Blue Nile into South Sudan.  António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that:

Not only are refugee numbers suddenly much higher, but the condition that many of these people are in is shockingly bad. Some have been eating tree leaves to survive along the way…Despite the rain, this is an area where there’s simply not enough safe drinking water; This, and the security situation, makes it all the more urgent that people are relocated fast to better protected places.

With the world’s attention focused on the talks between Sudan and South Sudan, in recent days, Sudan has expelled NGOs from eastern Sudan, has worsened the situation in Darfur (see a village burned down and acting to worsen the medical situation in Zam Zam camp), and continues to threaten the populations of South Kordofan and Blue Nile where the famine is worsening with each passing day.

Sudan Cannot Continue to Fight

Some time ago, I discussed a rather sober assessment of South Sudan’s economy. It appeared that Sudan would be able to continue fighting and that South Sudan would be unable to do so. However, a new assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers a new perspective. Sudan is facing “daunting challenges.”

The IMF noted that Sudan lost 75% of its oil reserves when South Sudan became a nation. Without the production from Heglig, Sudan would be in catastrophic economic trouble, but it is not in great shape now. In a posting from a couple of weeks ago, I noted something that has become much more significant. I said that:

While having the upper hand, Sudan should be somewhat concerned. Yes, it has substantially more financial resources to commit to war, but it will also have to spend those resources at a much higher rate to prosecute a war, even a defensive one. The difference in the motivation of the soldiers is paramount. The Sudanese soldiers would be fighting for money to support their families. Sudan is going to have to pay its soldiers substantially to motivate them.

If Sudan’s economy is in bad shape, then this dynamic becomes exceedingly important. Sudan will begin to see desertions from its armed forces and certainly from mercenary groups that it supports. People fighting for money will stop fighting when the money stops flowing or if the tide of battle turns against them. One cannot support a family if he dies. Thus, such soldiers are much more likely to abandon the fight if it gets difficult. People fighting for survival and people fighting for freedom will continue to fight. If in South Sudan and perhaps soon after, the SPLA-North, were to put anti-aircraft weaponry in the field of battle, removing the massive advantage of Sudan, the tide of the entire war could change.

In the meantime, regardless of the fighting, there are people starving in South Kordofan and Blue Nile with the rainy season rapidly approaching. That is a battle the people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile cannot afford to lose.

 

Sudan, SPLA-N, and JEM

Sudan is accusing South Sudan of supporting the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North in South Kordofan and the Justice and Equality Movement in southern Darfur. This was obviously going to be the strategy of the government of Sudan when the UNSC made the absence of support part of the proposal. I wrote about this issue for Help Nuba on May 1st. I wrote at that time that:

As for ceasing to harbor or support rebel groups, it will be impossible to confirm compliance. If these groups continue to act on their own, the appropriate governments will be accused of supporting them regardless of whether or not they actually offer material or any other type of support. In addition, remember that the rebel groups in the south of Sudan are fighting for freedom against a genocidal government. The UN as an organization is supposed to support democracy. Yes, I know that this is farcical at this point, but to have an official policy that mandates that people combating genocide are not to be supported is at best wrong and at worst cruel and inhumane.

Nothing has changed in three weeks. Sudan is still trying to slaughter the people of South Kordofan and they are still fighting against the Khartoum regime. Neither side seems like it is going to stop anytime soon.

Sudan reaches out to Arab League

Nabil al-Arabi, Arab League Secretary general was in Khartoum for talks with president Omer Hassan al-Bashir over the weekend. The Khartoum regime is seeking aid from the Arab League to combat potential sanctions applied by the US and United Nations failure to work with South Sudan. They haven’t said that explicitly, but it appears to be the truth. The Arab nations have consistently sided with Sudan against South Sudan and exert influence in the United Nations.

Sudan has reached security and peace agreements in the past few months with Chad, with the Central African Republic, and with the newly Ghaddafi-less Libya. It is certainly not a good thing that the newly freed people of Libya have as one of their first activities embraced Omar al-Bashir.

Meanwhile, the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is being portrayed as one between the Arab world on the one side and South Sudan, Uganda, and Israel on the other. The Sudan Revolutionary Front, the group comprised of people from the Nuba Mountains and Darfur along with others who are persecuted by the Khartoum regime are treated as if they fight for others instead of the truth which is that they are fighting for their own peace, justice, and liberty. This is Sudan’s way of misdirecting the discussion and discouraging western support for the “rebel” groups.

In the meantime, with the focus of attention away from the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile and instead on preventing war between Sudan and South Sudan, the Khartoum regime will be able to continue its efforts to kill or expel the Blue Nile and Nuba peoples, Christians and Muslims, men, women, and children and with the approaching rainy season, the urgency grows rapidly.

Negotiations and Urgency

Thabo Mbeki of the African Union met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir to discuss arranging negotiations with Sudan. South Sudan’s response, “Sure, let’s meet.” Sudan’s response, “No, give us what we want to achieve in the negotiations as preconditions for negotiations and then we’ll negotiate.” You can read more about the meeting between Mbeki and Kiir here.

In other news, the United States has donated $30 million to the UN World Food Program to address food insecurity in South Sudan. The donation will be delivered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). While we have discussed the need to get food aid into the Nuba Mountains before the rainy season hits, there is also a major need to get aid to many regions within South Sudan. According to USAID’s press release:

Due to South Sudan’s poor road network, about 60 percent of the country will become inaccessible during the rainy season. This contribution helps WFP complete prepositioning of much-needed commodities across South Sudan, where roads will soon become impassable.

Meanwhile, Sudan and the UN have grossly differing estimates for the number of refugees from Sudan who are currently in neighboring countries. Sudan’s estimates are less than half of those of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Regardless, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese now reside in neighboring countries because of the inhuman conduct of the Khartoum regime in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, while hundreds of thousands more are internally displaced. Remember that the several hundred thousands Christian former citizens of Sudan have become “South Sudanese” in the eyes of the Khartoum government and are being pressured to leave. In addition, many thousands more in the border region of South Sudan have also been displaced because of Khartoum’s cross border bombing campaign and cross border raids.

Salva Kiir- South Sudan opposes Islamization and Arabization

The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, explained that South Sudan has been fighting against the expansion of Islamization, the combination of Islamic religious views and the enforcement of them using political and military force. Kiir stated in his Sudanese People’s Liberation Army Day speech that:

The government in Khartoum once said we are the obstacle and if they can defeat us they will expand Islamization and Arabization up to South Africa.

What is “Arabization?” In this context, Arabization is the enforcement of Arab Islamic societal and cultural norms while subjugating African ones as inferior and to be abolished. In Darfur, it was Arabization which was opposed by much of the African Muslim population that led to genocide of the African Muslim population there by Arabists. I say “Arabists” because in Darfur, these were racial Africans, not racial Arabs, who were enforcing Arabization under the penalty of death.

In the Nuba Mountains, the government is attempting both to promote Islamization  and Arabization against the African Muslims there while forcing the cultural African Muslims and all of the Christians to flee or die. The SPLM-North is defending them against the Sudanese government while ultimately seeking to create a government that would allow for religious freedom.

Though not speaking about the events in South Kordofan, but about South Sudan, the Sudan Tribune notes that:

Kiir explained that the SPLM manifesto calls for a secular state where “no religion is better than the other” and “no region and tribe should be better than the other” because “religion belongs to God” and the “land belongs to the general population.”

Below you will find videos of the Salva Kiir’s SPLA Day speech which was delivered in Arabic.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir speaking on SPLA Day 2012

Part I

Part 2

Sudan Accepts UNSC Resolution

Sudan has accepted “with reservations” the UNSC resolution seeking an end to hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan. The resolution also requires Sudan to negotiate with the SPLM-North in South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions. The Sudanese parliament rejected the use of the term “disputed” to refer to those territories and others which South Sudan also claims.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ali Karti, seemed to take issue with Omar Bashir’s rhetoric of late, proposing that Bashir’s confrontational language makes South Sudan “appear” to be the victim. The Foreign Minister noted that:

The talk that they [SPLM leaders] are a group that only understands the stick was interpreted to be referring to the poem of [Abu El-Tayib] El-Mutanabi that says “you shall not buy a slave without a stick” and the term insect was likened to the use of the term cockroaches by the Hutu against the Tutsi during the Rwandan massacres.

The Sudan Tribune adds that:

Karti cautioned that Africa was still reeling from “an inferiority complex” that makes its leaders prone to interpreting any statement within certain contexts even if it was well-intentioned.

I am trying to figure out how these terms could be “well-intentioned” coming from a man wanted by the ICC for genocide in Darfur while hearing them in the context of attempted genocide in the Nuba Mountains. Seems to me that it is fairly clear that Bashir’s rhetoric is appropriate for his aim and that the world needs to see Bashir for what he is, a wanted war criminal seeking unashamedly to commit more war crimes.