Over the past two decades the Nuba people living in South Kordofan, have faced two brutal civil wars by the Islamic regime in Khartoum. The first war took place 1990-2005 in which “Fatwa - an Islamic Decree” and “Jihad war” was declared against the Nuba people by the Sudan armed forces and its allied militia. They initiated a “scorched earth programme” which resulted in tens of thousands of Nuba people being killed. It also resulted in massive internal displacement of people and destruction of Nuba villages and property was carried out.

The present war which broke out on 5th June 2011 in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, is still on going is causin serious “violations of international laws and international humanitarian law that mount to crimes against humanity and war crimes” said  a UN Human Rights Office  Report . It is reported that massive internal displacement of civilians mounting up tp to 400,000 is taking place. This inncludes women, children and elderly people[1]. These violations against international law includes extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, illegal detention, disappearance lootinh of civilian homes and destruction of Nuba properties.[2] 

In addition to this, the government is contantly using indiscriment aerial bombing of civilians and food as a weapon of war, as it denies access to humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance to people who are in desperate need.[3] The situation looks increasingly as ethnic cleansing, which certainly puts the future of the Nuba people in Sudan at greater risk since the regime in Khartoum is poisted for implementing Islamic programme and Arabization in the  entire country and leave no room for diversity. It is going ahead to rewrite the country’s constitution to implement Shariah law[4] in the absence of people in the conflicts regions dening them the right of participation in writing of the constituition to the country.  This Islamic programe of course will deny the Nuba and many other non-Arab groups in Sudan their identity and cultural rights that is against international law.

Despite the important role and the contribution made by the Nuba people to the modern Sudan economically, politically, historically and militarly but it remains one of the most marginalised region in the Sudan. They have experienced long term political, social and economic marginalization as well as ethnic, cultural and religous discrimination and persecustion under all Sudanese regimes seized power in Sudan since 1956.

Given the lack of peace dividends in South Kordofan after the comprehensive peace agreement signed in 2005 which failed to address the root causes of the region’s conflicts

and political tensions, violent conflict still persists in South Kordofan. In order for the conflict to cease, it is vital that the grievances and the aspirations of the Nuba people are addressed as well as the political issues of the three contested areas of the South Kordofan, (Nuba mountains), Southern Blue Nile and Abyei.


Despite the important role Southern Kordofan has played in Sudan’s economic and political history, it remains one of the most marginalized regions of Sudan. The Nuba people have experienced long term political, social and economic marginalisation as well as ethnic, racial and cultural discrimination and persecution under all Sudanese regimes.

The Nuba Mountains region covers some thirty thousands square miles, roughly the area of Scotland and is situated in the geographical centre of Sudan .With large tracts of fertile land and vast wealth in natural resources, South Kordofan has been a major contributor to the national economy through the production of oil seeds, gum Arabic (the second largest export from Sudan) and more recently oil, which has raised millions of dollars in foreign currency.

The Nuba people have suffered from political and economical marginalization under all governments, both civilian and military since independence, including ethnic and cultural discrimination and dispossession of their land. In the face of this marginalization and discrimination, many Nuba resorted to armed struggle in 1985, fighting alongside the SPLA for their collective rights, including the right of self-determination.

Given the Nuba’s alliance with the Southern rebel movement, the Nuba people felt they had a large stake in the ‘Comprehensive Peace Agreement’ (CPA) signed between the SPLA and the Sudan Government in 2005. However, this agreement failed to address the aspirations and claims of the Nuba people.[5]

One of the key stipulations in the CPA was an interim period of six years, during which a federal system of government would be maintained with an autonomous Federal Government in South Sudan.  At the end of this interim period, the Southern people were to vote for or against secession from Sudan, in a referendum.

While the CPA provided political self-determination for the South, it fell far short of addressing the grievances, aspirations and the demands, including the right of self-determination, to the people in the Nuba Mountains region. When South Sudan became independent in 2011, the Nuba Mountains area by default fell under the governance of the Sudan government. Having faced years of discrimination, marginalization and persecution from this very same government, this was a serious threat to the future of the Nuba people.

The CPA stipulated that the government of South Kordofan was to be shared between the governing party - the National Congress Party (NCP) - and the SPLM (each controlling different areas of the state), but from the beginning of the this arrangement, there was a high level of mistrust and a serious lack of cooperation between them.

 The CPA grants the state of South Kordofan /Nuba Mountains a 2% share of the region’s oil revenue. However, this revenue reportedly brought no development or improvements to the region of South Kordofan and instead have been used to put employes on state payroll and in CPA commissions.[6] The region remains isolated, with few roads, high unemployment inadequate health care services, education and little access to clean water.[7] The humanitarian situation is compounded by the expulsion of numerous INGOs in 2008, which brought much needed services to areas where the government did not have the capacity or will not provide them, leaving citizens of South Kordofan in the precarious situation of having worse access to basic services after the war than they had during it.

In addition, according to the CPA, the regional government of South Kordofan, was to undertake a process of ‘popular consultations’ in order to ‘ascertain the will of the people’ on the ‘shortcomings in the constitutional, political and administrative arrangements of the CPA’.[8] According to the CPA the state legislatures were to make their verdict as to whether or not they approve of the CPA arrangements for South Kordofan as they are, or if they should be changed.

These ‘popular consultations’ did not take place[9] and earlier this year, the SPLM-N claimed that the South Kordofan election (which would elect the state legislature that would make the verdict on the popular consultations) was rigged. SPLM-N elements in South Kordofan boycotted the election, refusing to take part in the government headed by Ahmed Haroun-- an ex- commander in Darfur; wanted by the International Criminal Court for the crimes he committed in Darfur.[10] It was not long after the election that the second war broke out in Kadugli and quickly spread to other parts of South Kordofan and the Nuba Mountains region. In order for the conflict to cease in South Kordofan, it is vital that the grievances and the aspirations of the Nuba people are addressed as well as the political issues of the three contested areas of the South Kordofan, (Nuba mountains), Southern Blue Nile and Abyei.

Other sectors of the population of South Kordofan were mobilised by the opposing sides during the North/ South war and, despite the CPA, remained deeply scarred by that conflict and polarised and fragmented along political and tribal lines.  The Misseriya and other Arab tribes were mobilised to fight for the NCP, ruling government party, during the war, but now accuse the NCP of using them during the war and subsequently neglecting them after the CPA. Many from the Misseriya tribe adopted a peaceful approach to resolve their differences with other communities, after smaller outbreaks of conflict in South Kordofan following the CPA.[11]

Given the potential willingness of the local population to find peaceful means to resolve/negotiate grievances over local issues, it is in the interests of all people living in South Kordofan, to find the means to stop the violence in South Kordofan and reach a political settlement which addresses the grievances and needs of the general population, as well as the claims of the Nuba people.


The Nuba people have suffered from political and economical marginalization under all governments, both civilian and military since independence. Thus far, advocacy in regards to the cessation of the recent conflict which broke out on 5th June 2011, has not been successful. Efforts to resuscitate talks between the warring sides have failed since president Al-Bashir reneged on a framework peace agreement signed by negotiators in Addis Ababa in late June to integrate SPLM-N forces into the Sudanese army and recognize the movement as a legal political party in the country.[12]

In order to draw the attention of the key players concerned with finding a political and peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Kordofan, it is of significant importance that a different and targeted approach be pursued. This would entail the design of a strategic campaign, articulating the Nuba cause to key players on peace in Sudan and presenting them with a clear and comprehensive picture of the Nuba Mountains issue.

It is therefore important there is need to set an advocacy project for the Nuba plight which will enable enable Nuba delegation to meet important key players in EU countries, USA, Canada and African countries to explain the predicaments of the Nuba people and the current political dilemma, including the legal and constitutional issues facing the Nuba region in the new northern state of Sudan. In addition, the delegation should be able to draw the attention of the media to the extent of the conflict and the humanitarian situation of civilians in Southern Kordofan since the war broke out in Kadugli on 6th June 2011.


[1] Persecution Project Foundation reported that Official figures from the U.N. are lower, but they do not account for the many thousands of people driven from their homes to the shelter of nearby rocky hills, fleeing from aerial bombings. http://www.nationofchange.org/evidence-mounts-war-crimes-unfolding-south-sudan-1313766537

Nuba leader, Abdelaziz Adam al-Hilu, told African Union (AU) mentions that 400,000-500,000 have been displaced. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/18/sudan-khartoum-displaced-nuba

[2] Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have released statements that Sudan is involved in crimes against humanity.



A leaked UN report obtained by th Enough Project details extrajudicial killings, illegal detention and abductions. http://www.enoughproject.org/blogs/un-report-condemnation-insufficient-south-kordofan-atrocities

[3]  Several news agencies have reported that the SPLM are accusing the GoS of using food as a weapon during the current war. http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/sudan-rebels-say-khartoum-using-food-as-a-weapon/

[4]  http://midnightwatcher.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/sudan-al-bashir-moves-forward-with-rewriting-the-countrys-constitution-to-implement-sharia-law/

[5] The  following report from International Crisi Group details the CPA uncertainties concerning the Nuba Mountains http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/africa/horn-of-africa/sudan/Sudans%20Southern%20Kordofan%20Problem%20The%20Next%20Darfur.pdf

[6] The Nuba Mountains - Central to Sudan's Stability from IKV PAX CHRISTI, http://www.cmi.no/sudan/doc/?id=1320

[7] The Nuba Mountains - Central to Sudan's Stability from IKV PAX CHRISTI, http://www.cmi.no/sudan/doc/?id=1320  

[8] Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2005, p.74 to 83             http://unmis.unmissions.org/Portals/UNMIS/Documents/General/cpa-en.pdf

[9] http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/little-relief-in-sudans-neglected-nuba-mountains/

[10] Thirteenth periodic report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Preliminary report on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan from 5 to 30 June 2011. OHCHR, August 2011. (page 3)

[11] Crisis Group, “Sudan’s Southern Kordofan problem: The next Darfur?” http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/africa/horn-of-africa/sudan/Sudans%20Southern%20Kordofan%20Problem%20The%20Next%20Darfur.pdf

[12] http://www.sudantribune.com/Sudan-rebuffs-US-proposal-on-South,40669