Posts Tagged ‘North Sudan’

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

Inside Story on Aljazeera. 23 May, 2011.

Inside Story, discusses with Rabie Abdul Atti, member of the NCP and advisor to Sudan’s information minister; Eddie Thomas, an author on Sudan; and Barnaba Benjamin, Southern Sudan’s minister of information.

Freeuganda’s Comments:
I watched this Inside Story last night and i must say i was extremely frustrated with the Rabie Abdul Attie and his “skirting the issue” each time he was asked a question. There is no doubt in my mind that the Northern Sudanese Army has forcibly occupied Abeyi with military action for their own gain. This is in breach the CPA signed in 2005. Mr Attie’s words “nobody can tell the Khartoum Govt what to do” just go to show the reality of the situation. They may take on board the international pressure, yet they do nothing in order to change what they are being pressured for. They MUST immediately leave Abeyi and allow the citizens to vote in a free, fair and peaceful election. The international community need to do more than just watch this time. Bashir is wanted by the ICC and the international community must start applying pressure to those countries to whom he visits (such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda) and they allow him to roam free and do not arrest him and have him sent to Hague to face trial. I call upon all people who care about humanity, to take action. Write, Call, Protest (Peacefully) and use your FREEDOM’s to help those who have suffered at the hands of Dictators and Tyrants for decades. I challenge YOU!