Tag Archives: South Kordofan

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

Fiddling While Sudan Burns

Furious is the word that best describes the reaction to efforts made by the United Nations, African Union, United States and Europe to improve the economic state of Sudan even as it continues to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching hundreds of thousands of people in the Nuba Mountains. The international community is so focused on prevention of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan that it has chosen to wholly abandon the demand of requiring Sudan to allow humanitarian access into rebel held areas of South Kordofan and is actively counteracting its own sanctions regimes against the genocidal government of Sudan by promoting investment. This insanity must cease!

How is it reasonable to claim to maintain sanctions on the government of Sudan while holding a conference in Vienna that seeks to promote investment in that very nation? How is it reasonable to demand that South Sudan transport oil through Sudan’s pipeline to the tune of billions of dollars worth of income for Sudan, while claiming to maintain sanctions as the United States is currently doing? The answer is that it is not reasonable at all. By doing these actions, the United States, European nations, the United Nations and African Union are all enabling the government of Omar Bashir to continue functioning, to continue to abuse, oppress, and murder the citizens of the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, and Blue Nile.

Whether or not Nero fiddled while Rome burned as the statement goes, concern about Sudan should not be for propping up a faltering genocidal dictator facing a very appropriate rebellion in his nation, but for aiding those who are being harmed by Bashir’s government. The United States and its allies in Europe need to change the tune they are playing on Sudan and play something that uplifts not just the mood of the people but lifts their very lives from the brink of oblivion. We cannot afford to fiddle around. Let’s Help Nuba, the people of Blue Nile, and the people are Darfur put the fire out and let us do it now.

Referendum for Abyei Possible in October 2013

According to an article in the Sudan Tribune, the African Union (AU) is proposing that a referendum take place in October of 2013 in which the people of Abyei will decide to link themselves to South Sudan or to Sudan. The proposal includes provisions for the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka who cross the borders between the nations. The AU suggests a “soft border” which would allow relatively free travel across the national boundaries regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

The proposal includes a provision in which 20% of oil revenues produced in Abyei will be shared with South Kordofan. This makes sense solely with the anticipation that Abyei will become part of South Sudan causing a further loss of oil revenue for Sudan. This all said, it is unlikely that any agreement on Abyei can be achieved until the situation with rebel groups along the border is settled because the agreement on Abyei seems to be dependent upon an ability to allow a soft border to exist.

Sudan Says that It Accepts Humanitarian Access

Sudan today said that it will accept humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile as long as there are observers from the African Union and Arab League to monitor it. The deal requires the immediate cessation of hostilities. Clearly this is the primary aspect of the agreement. The fact is that the regime cannot continue to fight a losing battle against the Sudan Revolutionary Front in South Kordofan while also facing severe economic troubles and protests in the streets.

It may well be necessary for there to be a ceasefire in the south so as to allow humanitarian access to save the tens of thousands of people whose lives are in jeopardy, but it is also clear that Sudan could not in the near term return to full scale combat readiness. The Sudanese government will need to shift finances from military to domestic spending and once that shift takes place, the SAF will be worse off against the SRF than it is today. This is great news if it actually happens, that Sudan lets in humanitarian aid, but even if it does not, the very fact that it is considering doing so is an indication that the resolve and ability of the regime to maintain its previous policies is significantly weakened.

Weak Military Leads to Bombing and Starvation

Sudan’s economic woes coupled with regular losses by its ground forces and the increasing cohesion of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) have led directly to the Khartoum regime’s campaign to defeat the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile through bombing civilians in the midst of harvesting crops, planting them, or working with livestock in an attempt to create a famine. It boggles the mind that United States is allowing Khartoum to pursue this tactic while hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk. The US must act with or without support from the United Nations. Consensus will never come and hundreds of thousands will die. Help Nuba!

Please read the SPLM-North’s urgent appeal if you have not.

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.

Evidence of Iranian Weapons being Used Against Civilians in Sudan

According to Peter Moszynski, who was interviewed by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North (SPLA-N) just captured Toroji and Dar. Moszynski reported that fighters from Darfur, from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), joined the SPLA-N in fighting against the Khartoum government. Moszynki noted that he did not see and Dinka or Nuer fighting along with them which is significant in that it means that the allies from South Sudan, who could help those who are fighting against the genocidal Sudanese regime are not participating in the fighting.

One of the main things that Peter Moszynski did see there were Iranian weapons being deployed by the Khartoum government:

While I was there I saw several destroyed tanks and unburied bodies lying around. The place was littered with ammunition, unexploded tank shells and several churches had been blown up or shelled. The area was heavily mined. I saw a bunch of newly captured boxes of anti-personnel mines with Farsi (Iranian language) on them. We saw what people call « chain bombs » which are cluster munitions. Apparently, one kid had his hand blown off touching one. All the houses in the town were destroyed. The SPLA-N captured over hundred vehicles. A few days later an Iranian drone was shot down.

In the interview, he also notes that the North is using food as a weapon of war and is denying access to aid organizations to South Kordofan precisely for that reason. Moszynski goes on to condemn the international community:

It’s worth pointing out that Khartoum claims that these rebels are terrorists who objected to the peace deal and who are supported by South Sudan. But it’s also worth remembering that the fighting started there in June last year before the South was independent when the government started shelling with artillery the house of the governor, Abdelaziz Al-Hilu, who was the deputy governor and is now the military leader of the SPLA-North. The problem began because they did not implement some points of the peace deal, the CPA [the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, which ended a long north-south civil war]. They didn’t implement the popular consultation; they didn’t fully implement the elections. Obviously the peace deal had not been implemented by the time that South Sudan became independent and it was very tragic watching the international community and the United Nations peacekeeping mission pulling out. Worse was leaving the civilian population there in extremely precarious conditions. When the fighting started in June many people told us they had gathered at the UN base in Kadugli for protection and yet people would be killed in front of the gate when Egyptian peacekeepers would refuse to do anything or let the people come inside. And they didn’t stop the Sudanese security forces from shooting civilians.

The suffering in South Kordofan is not an internal Sudanese issue, but an international humanitarian concern.

Obvious Crimes against Humanity are Happening without Response

Eric Reeves wrote a compelling piece for the South Sudan News Agency in which he details the profound failure of the international community to address the situation in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, the very same reason that I felt compelled to create Help Nuba. No excuse is a good one. The cause of the slaughter in South Kordofan is not the rebellion against the genocidal regime of Omar Bashir in Khartoum. The genocidal regime is the cause of the resistance. Attacks on non-Arab and non-Arabist Africans including  Muslims in the southern part of Sudan have gone on and will go on regardless of whether or not the resistance continues. What will happen should the resistance be unable to continue to combat the regime in Khartoum is that the slaughter will worsen and instead of talking about the possibility of genocide occurring in the Nuba Mountains, we will be mourning in the aftermath of its occurrence.

Aerial Bombing in South Kordofan aimed at Churches

An article by Compass Direct News reports of the intentional aerial bombardment of churches and mosques in South Kordofan in attempts to terrorize the civilian population there:

Humanitarian agencies consider the Islamic government’s targeting of civilians in the Nuba Mountains, which has a large Christian population, an “ethnic cleansing” against non-Arab peoples in the multi-ethnic state, with the added incentive of ridding the area of Christians, he said.

Churches in the Nuba Mountains are holding worship services very early in the morning and late in the evening in order to avoid aerial bombardments that target their churches, he said. Most of the bombings take place during daytime, when visibility is better for pilots of the Russian-made Antonov planes.