Nuba Survival Foundation
- o. Box 486, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 3JJ, United Kingdom
1st August 2011
Sudan: Upsurge Violence Continues in the Nuba Mountains
Several months prior to South Sudan referendum and South Kordofan election in May 2011 Some international organisations, including United Nations Mission in Sudan, Small Arm Surveys in Geneva and international Crisis Group all expressed their concern over the dangerous and the volatile situation in South Kordofan. They warned about the imminent threat of war because of the heavy government military build up in the area as well as the arming of the local Arab tribal leaders loyal to the government.
Indeed, it was not long enough after the South referendum and the South Kordofan elections the fighting broke out on 5th June 2011 in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, between Sudanese Armed forces and SPLA elements in the North. One of the main underlying cause for this second war in the Nuba Mountains is the outcome of South Kordofan elections, as there have been irregularity in the elections in which the early results for the governor of South Kordofan have shown that SPLA candidate, Cdr. El-Hilo is the winner. However, it is believed that the election commission had changed the result in favour of National Congress Party candidate and declared Ahmed Haroun the winner. Haroun is an indicted man and wanted by ICC for grave crimes he committed in Darfur. He has been imposed on the Nuba by President al-Bashir; yet he is not a Nuba.
The fighting spread very rapidly to engulf most areas in the Nuba Mountains and this is the second time that the Nuba facing the same war by the same government. But this war is very different, as the government armed forces (SAF) resorted to the use of heavy weaponry, including artilleries, helicopter gunships, mage fighters and Russian made antinov bombers.
Report from reliable sources in Kadugli revealed that the heavy artillery, helicopter gunships, and the antinov bombers have been used in the fight and caused enormous damage and destruction to the Nuba properties and the displacement of many hundred thousands of civilians. It is reported that many thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women have been killed in Kadugli, Dilling, Salara, Kauda, Delami, Heiban, Korogo, habila, Umdorain, Katcha, Buram. Reported also mentioned that many dead bodies were seen by witnesses being removed from the centre of Kadugli town and buried near Tellio Secondary school and in Umbatah.
The indiscriminate bombing by Antinovs and the Helicopter gunship have killing many people and caused much horror and fear among civilians in particular the children, as one witness said, ”Nuba are hunted like animals by helicopter gunships( Time Megazine report).
Daniel Howden, an independent observer reported from Nuba Mountains that many children - boys and girls have been killed by indiscriminate bombing. One girl seen by Dr. Cantena with her feet blown off, another with her abdomen sliced open, 15 years old Yussef Abdallah Kuwa lost half of his face and he cannot speak and another 16 years old Jakumo lost his left arm. All these injuries caused by indiscriminate bombing. Dr. Tom Cantena, a German volunteer doctor working in Kauda clinic and eyewitness confirmed that many children were brought to the clinic with horrific injuries and many died. He described what is happening here without a doubt is a war crimes
U.S Satellite Group on July 14 released satellite photos which appear to be of mass graves near Kadugli.
The satellite group said, “ three excavated areas measuring about 26 meters (yards) by 5 meter (yards) are visible near a school in the town of Kadugli. The group said that eye eyewitness reported seeing 100 bodies or more put into one of the pits on June 8. 2
Eric Reeves, a Professor at Smith College in Massachusetts, said, “Reports have been coming out of the Nuba Mountains for weeks of targeted killing”. “The evidence demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that there are mass graves in Kadugli” Reeves said Thursday. “In short , these accounts strongly suggest a carefully orchestrated campaign of ethnically targeted destruction and a follow-up effort to hide the evidence from international community”.
The Un Mission in Sudan, UNMIS Report on Human Rights situation during the violence in Southern Kordofan “confirms the execution of a UN staff member, indiscriminate aerial bombardment s of civilian areas , summary executions of civilians suspected of sympathizing with the south , and mass graves “ , New York Times report on Thursday July 14. This match with a UN contractor testimony who on Jun 22 witnesses northern forces filling a mass grave with corpses in Tillo and using Bulldozer to cover the site.
Some other report from reliable sources in the Nuba Mountains revealed that the SAF are still engaged in indiscriminate bombing, shelling and killing civilian population in Salara near Dilling and Korongo, Daloka near Kadugli and Kauda. In one of several videos taken in Kauda for indiscriminate bombing showed on 27 July Antinov came early morning and you could hear it terrorizing roaring noise coming from long distance and people began to run for hiding places. It came and drop its bomb in an area which has no SPLA soliders at all and killed several people among them a pregnant woman and her body was sliced into small pieces scattered all over the place.
The heavy arterially shelling and indiscriminate aerial bombardments led to more than 73,000 people fled the region (UN report) for fear for their lives. However, the latest independent report showed a higher number than this figure which is 425,000 displaced people. These displaced people are living in appalling conditions, with no shelter, food, water or medical care. Many children and women are among these displaced people. Some of these people, including many children have moved to the mountains, hiding in caves with no humanitarian access at all and their lives are great danger.
In Kadugli, where the fighting started it is reported that the SAF, the PDF and Arab militias have been conducting house - to - house search, looking for Nuba SPLM members and political rivals to NCP. Those found were detained, tortured and killed and their properties were looted before raised to the ground. “More than a hundred littered dead bodies seen in the centre of the town of Kadugli in the first 2days days of the fighting”, said two human right activists who were in Kadugli and arrived in El-Obeid.
It has been reported also that the World Council of Churches “that as many 300,000 civilians are besieged and cut off from relief assistance. Humanitarian conditions have deteriorated badly with critical shortages of water and food”
In addition landmines have been planted around Kadugli areas and on all the main roads leading to the town. Satellite images taken by US Group Satellite showed evidence of churches and children playing in the field bombed and killed. With nearly half a million people forcibly displaced and many thousands were brutally killed this increasingly looks like a systematic ethnic cleansing campaign conducted under the order of President Al- Bashir and Ahmed Mohammed Haroun, the Governor of South Kordofan who previous had committed grave human rights violation in the Nuba Mountains before he went to Darfur to commit another serious one.
The use of chemical weapons has been reported in Dilling area yet it needs to be confirmed. The SPLA reported to have found chemical materials among the weapons they captured from Sudanese army in Umserdebah. The latest reports also revealed that the government is using mercenaries from Somalia, South Sudan (George Attok army) and Iran. We heard that some Iranians mercenaries were captured. All these need to be confirmed.
It remains clear from the inhumane pictures being reported that the government intention is to wipe out the Nuba through ethnic cleanse programme as they tried before but did not succeed. These atrocities being conducted are mean to drive the Nuba people out of their homeland and pave the way for the Arab tribes from northern Kordofan loyal to the government to take over the lands. If this happens the people “will not” be in majority to decide at the popular consultation and if they decide to opt to join South Sudan State! Thus ensuring that the Nuba Mountains/Southern Kordofan region remains within Northern Sudan State. Therefore, the government clear agenda is to have a complete control over South Kordofan and to close its southern borders which has oil fields in Abyei before the South Sudan has it independence.
The people of the Southern Sudan now have their independent state. However, their Separation will have greater ramifications on the whole of Sudan, particularly in the Nuba Mountains. Through decade of war the Nuba have 3
taken up armed struggle alongside the SPLA, both fighting side by side for many years in a war of liberation. Many thousands Nuba have died in this war. They now find hard to believe that their struggle and great sacrifice have come to nothing. President al-Bashir and Ahmed Haroun (both indicted by ICC) are determined to wipe out the Nuba from the face of thee earth through ethnic cleansing programme that is now underway.
In his speech at al-gadarif in eastern Sudan, President al-Bashir at Algadarif told the audience, “If South Sudan secedes he will change the constitution and at that time there will be no free to speak diversity of culture and ethnicity. Sharia Law and Islam will be the main sources for the constitution, Islam is the official religion and Arabic will be the official language”.
In support for Ahmed Haroun’ election last May the President said “We are going to defeat you through the ballot box or through fighting and if not we will mount the horses to go from one mountain to another to get you”. President Bashir words have left little room for the Nuba. If Nuba people survive this ethnic cleansing campaign and remains under Bashir rule they will be officially discriminated against them in terms of, race, culture, language and religion, and become a third class citizen.
The people of Nuba Mountains have suffered enormously from neglect, injustice, discrimination, marginalisation, suppression and exploitation from all central governments since independence in 1956. These are underscore factors that had driven the Nuba to take up armed struggle demanding equal right of power and wealth sharing, peace and justice.
Many Nuba believe that the Protocol for Southern Kordofan stipulated in the CPA did not address their grievances, the aspirations and the demands. Their main claims have been ignored and brushed away by the negotiators who concentrated their sole effort on resolving the South Sudan conflicts, leaving the Nuba and other related issues to drag on to the end of the CPA. Therefore, the implementation came too late, too difficult and too little to solve the problems of massive poverty, widespread hunger, rampant diseases and the lack of development in education, healthcare, public services, wealth and power sharing.
The Popular Consultation stipulated in the CPA for Nuba Mountain and Southern Blue Nile is an ambiguous term which has many interpretations with no clear mechanism of implementation. In fact, this does not lead to anything except it is a recipe for more conflicts, as it is happening now in the Nuba Mountains. In fact Nuba were clearly cheated at Naivasha Peace Talks. Therefore, a new method should be introduced instead of “Popular Consultation” to resolve the political issue of South Kordofan, as “Pular Consultation considered to be dead now.
It is clear that the international community played a significant role for the Impendence of South Sudan! However, there remains some crucial issues that need to be resolved and among these are the security and the political solution for the South Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile. The current fight which broke out in South Kordofan last month was because the Nuba felt that their aspirations and claims have not been met.
The Khartoum government intention is to have an absolute control over South Kordofan which is why it has embarked on ethnic cleansing programme in the Nuba Mountains, as well as clearing the boarder areas of the Nuba. Therefore, the Nuba people believe it is very critical time now for the international community to act swiftly to stop this brutal ethnic cleansing war that is now occurring! It is the second time that the people of the Nuba Mountains have had to face such a genocidal campaign with absolute impunity by the same regime in Khartoum (Facing Genocide: The Nuba of Sudan, July 1995. African Rights).
It is very correct to say that what is happening now in South Kordofan is tantamount to ethnic cleansing and a consequence to this genocide the Nuba because are now becoming more determined to claim their legitimate right of self- determination (as their fundamental human right within the purview of international law). Such claim is not unfounded as they have gone through many years of persistent human rights abuses, suppression, marginalisation, discrimination and persecutions by all Sudanese governments that came to power since independence 1956. The absence of the Nuba voice at the round table peace talks in Naivashsa resulted in that their claims were brushed aside and hence have shamefully been compromised.
Now numerous evidence have been gathered from various reliable and credible sources such as BBC TV, Aljazeera International TV, US Satellite Groups, many testimonies from eyewitnesses, pictures of many dead bodies and satellite images of mass graves confirmed by eyewitnesses all these telling the world that brutal ethnic cleansing is now taking place in the Nuba Mountains. The world at large has seen the brutal genocidal killings of Nuba civilians (including innocent women and children) which they have condemned. The People of the Nuba Mountains call on the International community to take swift actions against the Khartoum regime to halt the ethnic cleansing of the Nuba race. 4
Many Nuba find incomprehensively that such negative reports coming out from UN and from some government Special Envoys for peace in Sudan have water-down the brutal genocidal violence that is occurring in the Nuba Mountains region which mount to ethnic cleansing. The people of the Nuba Mountains would like to know why no action has been taken by the international community to protect the Nuba civilian population when this is not the frist time that such human right violations have taken place by this same regime!
The consequence of inaction will be “very shameful” to all of the free world” if the International Community this time around does not take decisive and swift action against to halt the current “systematic brutal ethnic cleansing campaign” and hold the Khartoum regime responsible for the grave war crimes they are committing in the Nuba Mountains. The Nuba Survival Foundation believes that it is the duty and the responsibility of the international community to step in and protect the Nuba people from mass extermination.
It is for this reason we call upon the International Community to act swiftly and take the following measures:
. All Sudanese armed forces (SAF) must be removed from Southern Kordofan and from the borders of Southern Kordofan borders with the South Sudan State.
. A No-fly-zone needs to be imposed over South Kordofan to stop indiscriminate aerial bombings of civilian population.
. Pressure must be exerted on the Sudan Government to allow access for humanitarian agencies to deliver desperately needed assistance to those in need.
. Immediate security arrangement need to be made by the two parties signatory to the CPA.
. A political solution must be found and negotiated for the Nuba people who want to exercise their fundamental rights, including the right of self-determination.
. Immediate investigations need to be carried out regarding the atrocities that are presently and all individuals found who have found to have committed war crimes need to be brought to justice.
. Deployment of a neutral UN peacekeeping force in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains needs to tak place immediately until a workable peaceful solution can ve found. For this region.
Nuba Survival Foundation
- O. Box 486
Middlesex UB3 3WZ
Tel./fax no: 00+44 (0) 20 8813 5831