Posts Tagged ‘Khartoum’

By Refugees International
The referendum on southern Sudan’s secession from the north took place as scheduled in January of this year, with over 98% of southerners voting for an independent south Sudan. This is seen as a promise of change in the lives of southerners, who suffered through decades of war and the displacement that went with it for millions of them.

The transition to independence in July may not be entirely peaceful, however, as violent clashes continue not only in the transitional area of Abyei territory, coveted by both North and South, but also in several southern states.

Some of the clashes are indigenous disputes over land and cattle between neighboring ethnic groups, sub-groups and clans. In recent years the toll in terms of casualties and displaced is higher due to the exponential growth in the availability of automatic firearms.

Other violence appears at first glance to have nothing to do with Sudan: southern Sudanese in Western and Central Equatoria states suffer from destructive raids by the Lord’s Resistance Army, an armed opposition group from northern Uganda. The LRA now operates in a vast area straddling the borders between Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. Its attacks often involve kidnapping of children to be turned into soldiers and provoke displacement in all three countries. Seemingly an outside actor, the LRA in fact received support during the war from Khartoum, which is strongly suspected of continuing that covert support even today.

In contrast, the Khartoum government is very clear in its intentions concerning Abyei: to maintain control of this oil-rich territory by assisting the cattle-herding Misseriya tribe in their fight to keep Abyei part of Southern Kordofan. Northerners argue that the territory was never part of the south – in the administrative map upon Sudan’s independence in 1956, Abyei fell within the boundaries of Kordofan. Southerners insist that it should nonetheless be consider part of the south because the Ngok Dinka majority of the settled population of Abyei is southern, indeed part of the south’s largest ethnic group.

And then there is the series of rebellions in several southern states. Seemingly based on local grievances against the semi-autonomous government of southern Sudan, the rebellions are strongly suspected of receiving support from elements of the government in Khartoum who – according to the current speculation – want at the very least to ensure that the future Republic of South Sudan is weak and divided and thereby more easily manipulated by Khartoum.

One of the latest of rebellions to spark has been in oil-rich Unity State, the scene of massive displacement and human rights violations during the war. The leader of the supposedly local uprising is none other than Peter Gadet, notorious during the war years for his leadership of a Khartoum-backed militia group that cleared thousands of people out of vast swaths of land to make way for oil installations and the pipeline. Some of the rebel leaders in other states have similarly sordid histories. Hence the impression that despite the six-year-old Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the war is making a comeback in the lives of southern Sudanese.

The U.S. government needs to up the pressure on Khartoum and Juba to complete the CPA process and, more specifically, to make the political compromises necessary to stop the violence.

By Peter Orr, Senior advocate at Refugees International

Khartoum — The ruling National Congress Party NCP on Saturday expressed its dissatisfaction with the voter registration process for the South Sudan referendum in the North saying there were clear violations that undermines the credibility of the process.

Mandoor Al-Mahdi, a senior NCP official, told the government sponsored Sudanese Media Center SMC that the Sudan People Liberation Movement SPLM, in control of the South, is exercising intimidation against potential voters in the capital and also those urging Southerners to register.The official alleged that SPLM members are present at polling stations to persuade Southerners not to register.

He added that these incidents were reported to the South Sudan Referendum Commission SSRC to rectify the situation but no action was taken.The presidential adviser and NCP figure Al-Sheik Beesh told SMC that they will not recognize the outcome of the referendum if the registration process continues in this non-transparent manner.Voter registration began on Monday for the January 2011 referendum on whether oil-producing southern Sudan should secede from the north.

It is widely expected that Southerners will choose independence.In Khartoum, registration centers were empty as many southerners who live in the Sudanese capital made the trip south to enroll or abstained from registering altogether for fear of intimidation by the ruling party in the North.

The presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie toured the registration centers in Khartoum this week and appeared visibly angry on TV saying that the low turnout was a result of SPLM instructions. He has also reportedly clashed with poll workers after they turned away a prospective voter who did not have the required documentation to register.

However, the SPLM made similar accusations to the NCP that it is seeking to pressure Southerners in the North to vote for unity through “citizens’ committees” by collecting the phone numbers of those who registered.

The SPLM’s Atem Garang said southerners were being told: “You must vote for unity when you come and vote next time.”

“It is intimidation. It is against the law,” Garang told a news conference in Khartoum. He also denied that they had asked Southerners in the North to boycott the registration process.

The southern Sudanese, we never urged them not to register because we want them to be free. When we talk about a free and fair referendum, it means when you are going to registration you must be free. We did not to talk to them to boycott the registration,” Garang said.

Around five million southerners, living in both north and south Sudan and abroad, are eligible to sign up for the referendum which could result in the African continent’s largest country being split into two.

For the south to secede in a valid referendum, there must be an absolute majority of a minimum of 50 percent for independence plus one vote, and 60 percent of those eligible must also have cast their ballots.

via allAfrica.com: Sudan: NCP Threatens Not to Recognize the Referendum Outcome.

“A very serious situation and its not a good sign that threats are being made. The north needs to remember they agree’d to split peacefully if the referendum decided separation. I pray this does not re-ignite the situation and bring about more unrest in Southern Sudan” -Freeuganda

NAIROBI (AlertNet)

Written by: Frank Nyakairu

One of Africa’s fiercest rebel organisations, Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army, has denied a report that it has moved into western Sudan’s turbulent Darfur region.

A U.S.-based anti-genocide group, the Enough Project, said Ugandan rebels notorious for mutilating their victims and abducting children had found a safe haven in Darfur. But two senior members of the rebel group’s political wing in the Kenyan capital Nairobi dismissed the claims. “This is part of continued fabrications and guesswork about LRA whereabouts and we would like to dismiss this baseless report with all the contempt it deserves,” Colonel Michael Anywar, who acted as LRA military liaison, told Alertnet in Nairobi.

Led by self proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, the LRA has fought the Ugandan government since 1987. But following the collapsed of a peace process in 2008, the rebels, who were once supported by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, have since sought safe havens in DR Congo, Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan. “It’s true that Khartoum once supported LRA but that kind of support stopped in 2002 after which we chose cut those ties,” said Justine Labeja, who said he is the head of LRA peace delegation.

Analysts say that with political tensions flaring in Sudan, the LRA is likely to strike an alliance with the Khartoum government as a regional mercenary force. The cult-like group, accused of turning boys into child soldiers and girls into sex slaves, seeks to rule Uganda according to the Bible’s Ten Commandments. At the height of Kony’s war, thousands were killed and 2 million Ugandans were forced into precarious camps that dotted northern Uganda and southern Sudan for close to two decades. Both men declined to disclose the whereabouts of LRA leader Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

CALL FOR CEASEFIRE

The rebel representatives also echoed recent calls for peace talks made by a religious leaders’ group from the four countries affected by the LRA activities. “Ugandan forces need to heed to this call for ceasefire so that this war can end once and for all,” said Labeja, who says he coordinates LRA’s external affairs. But the Ugandan army, which has been fighting the LRA in Congo, Sudan and CAR, with little success, insists on a military option. “We gave LRA the best option to talk peace but they decided to squander it,” said Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, a spokesman for Uganda’s military.

He said military intelligence indicated the rebels had bases in CAR and southern Darfur but could not confirm any link between the LRA and its former ally, Khartoum. “They are oscillating between CAR and southern Darfur but we have no information that they are receiving any kind of help from anyone,” said Kaluyigye in a telephone interview from the Ugandan capital. Relations between Kampala and Khartoum have always been fraught as Uganda supported rebels now heading the semi-autonomous government in southern Sudan.

COULD DARFUR CRISIS WORSEN?

Darfur’s conflict surged in 2003 when the rebel groups took up arms against Sudan’s government, accusing it of leaving the mostly desert region underdeveloped. If the LRA joins the complex web of Darfur’s conflict, the scale of human suffering could increase, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) warns. “The LRA has been leaving a trail of devastation from their bases in DRC, South Sudan and CAR. If they go to Darfur, we could seen more displacement there,” said Hassan Yusuf, UNHCR’s regional spokesman based in Nairobi. According to the U.N. refugees agency, the LRA caused most of the displacement in central Africa in 2009 with hundreds of thousands uprooted.

The rebels have looted, killed civilians and abducted children from three countries, forcing many to flee their homes, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. “This is a very unpredictable outfit and it makes it very difficult to plan for humanitarian response,” said Yusuf.

via Reuters AlertNet – Ugandan rebels deny they have moved in to Sudan’s Darfur.

“Calls for ceasefire have been tried and yet the LRA have refused to sign the peace agreements. Kony must realise that now the international conmmunity is involved in this since he spread his war from Northern Uganda to surrounding countries, he will not get the “lifting” of his Warrants by the ICC. The time has come for him to be captured and tried at the hague just like Suddam hussain was tried.

Could Darfur’s crisis worsen? Yes most definately, if the LRA was to gain any support and they choose to stay in the Darfur region, this will likely cause issues, especially with the elections coming to split the nation.  The North will never want to let go of the south and the oil without a fight. This is what it comes down to; power, money and greed. Will the Khartourm give up control of such wealth and power and money? i highly doubt it, i forsee more issues ahead for those of Darfur not only by the LRA but by the political process that will soon take place. ”

Rebecca Fowler – Freeuganda

After reading Peter Eichstaedt: Another year for Kony and the LRA. its just confirmed what i thought to be true about Kony and the Khartoum (possibly) helping him. I said to a few people that if Kony made it to Darfur and was able to regroup the atrocities committed would be explosive.

In recent days reports have been coming through of captures and killings of LRA Rebel forces, but yet Kony still remains at large.  This one man seems to be capable of eluding forces time and time again.

The re-grouping of child soldiers is a violent act and against all human rights. these children are blackmailed, brainwashed and forced to commit atrocities. We need to do more to raise awareness for the plight of all child soldiers.

Through Invisible children over 200 US Congress have co-sponsored the LRA Disarmament and Northern Ugandan Recovery Act 2009, this is campaigning its way to the white house as we speak and they require the help of all the push this bill through. Visit Invisible childrenand check out how you can help end the longest running war in africa.

With the vast improvements in technology these days it is our duty to help those who are less fortunate. Current numbers say only around 5% of northern Uganda has electricity. To live in this century and not have access to electricity, fresh water, medical health and most of all food is atrocious. While westerners throw out tonnes of food each year to waste, over 1 billion* people are going hungry (*via WFP).

I find it hard these days to waste and i refuse to live as though we “have it all” when others have nothing. Poverty is so severe in some places lika Africa, Indonesia, Cambodia and many more, and when i see the amount of waste in my country (australia) it really hits home just how “self centred” our lives have become.

This year i am dedicating some more of my time to be more actively involved in my local community for those less fortunate as well as those abroad in other countries such as Uganda, Congo, Sudan and the like.

People ask me why i centre on Africa and its quite simply because i feel we need to take responsibility for colonilisation of africa. Alot of the issues going on there, all stem back to this time when white man entered and “took over” their countries, pitted northerner’s against southerner’s etc and thus come civil wars and rebel groups, corruption and more. Also, so much goes on in africa it gets very time consuming to spread the area to a vast local (not enough reading time with 3 young children).  A good clip to watch on the colonolisation of Africa is HERE

Each day i read reports of news from all over the world and im determined to make 2010 a year of change for myself, my family, local community and global community, i hope that others can do the same, only with all of us doing this together can we acheive the change we need for the world to survive.

*FreeUganda – Rebecca Fowler