Khar­toum ac­cused of ‘eth­nic cleans­ing’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY ASHISH KU­MAR SEN

A se­nior South­ern Su­danese of­fi­cial on June 15 ac­cused north­ern troops of “eth­nic cleans­ing” near the in­ter­nal bor­der be­tween the pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim north and the mostly Chris­tian and an­i­mist south.

North­ern mil­i­tary air­craft have been bomb­ing south­ern sup­port­ers in South­ern Kord­o­fan state north of the bor­der that will di­vide the coun­try in two when the south gets in­de­pen­dence on July 9.

Riek Machar, vice pres­i­dent of the gov­ern­ment of South­ern Su­dan, told The Wash­ing­ton Times in a phone in­ter­view that South­ern Kord­o­fan risks a fate sim­i­lar to Dar­fur, if the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity fails to put pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment in Khar­toum.

Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar Bashir has been in­dicted by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court on charges of geno­cide in Dar­fur in west­ern Su­dan. “I am con­cerned that what is hap­pen­ing in South­ern Kord­o­fan is eth­nic cleans­ing,” Mr. Machar said.

“Peo­ple are dis­ap­pear­ing, and in­tel­lec­tu­als are be­ing ar­rested,” he added.

About 60,000 peo­ple have been forced to flee South­ern Kord­o­fan, and many more are hid­ing in the Nuba Moun­tains, as the aerial bom­bard­ments con­tinue, ac­cord­ing to the U.N. Of­fice for the Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian As­sis­tance. It es­ti­mates that 64 peo­ple have been killed in the air strikes.

Fata­hel­rah­man Ali Mo­hamed, Su­dan´s am­bas­sador to the United States, dis­missed Mr. Machar´s al­le­ga­tions.

He ac­cused the Su­dan Peo­ple´s Lib­er­a­tion Army, a south­ern group, of in­sti­gat­ing the vi­o­lence by at­tack­ing the re­gion with heavy ar­tillery.

“The Su­danese army is com­mit­ted to do­ing its job with­out af­fect­ing civil­ians,” he in­sisted.

South­ern of­fi­cials say the vi­o­lence in South­ern Kord­o­fan could spread to other parts of the coun­try, in­clud­ing the Blue Nile state.

The vi­o­lence in South­ern Ko- rd­o­fan, cou­pled with fight­ing in the dis­puted re­gion of Abyei, which strad­dles the north-south bor­der, has raised con­cerns about the re­gion get­ting en­gulfed in war weeks ahead of South­ern Su­dan´s in­de­pen­dence.

Pres­i­dent Obama on June 14 said the United States is “deeply con­cerned about the cri­sis that is un­fold­ing in Su­dan, in­clud­ing the fight­ing in South­ern Kord­o­fan and the as­saults on in­no­cent civil­ians.”

“The lead­ers of Su­dan and South Su­dan must live up to their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,” he added.

In a mes­sage recorded for Voice of Amer­ica, Mr. Obama called on the Su­danese gov­ern­ment in Khar­toum to pre­vent a fur­ther es­ca­la­tion of the cri­sis by “ceas­ing its mil­i­tary ac­tions im­me­di­ately, in­clud­ing aerial bom­bard­ments, forced dis­place­ments and cam­paigns of in­tim­i­da­tion.”

Mr. Mo­hamed, the Su­danese am­bas­sador, com­plained about Mr. Obama´s de­ci­sion to sin­gle out the north.

“What we see from the U.S., to put pres­sure on one side, that will not help,” he said.

“The U.S. must also hold the other side [the south] ac­count­able for vi­o­la­tions in South­ern Kord­o­fan and Abyei,” he added.

South­ern lead­ers had pre­vi­ously alerted the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to the vi­o­lence in South­ern Kord­o­fan; how­ever, these con­cerns were not taken se­ri­ously un­til Mr. Obama made his com­ments, Mr. Machar said.

“We want two fea­si­ble states to co­ex­ist side by side. This is not pos­si­ble if there is war,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Su­dan Now, a group of anti-geno­cide and hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tions, an un­de­clared war has al­ready be­gun be­tween the north and the south.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A hugh ex­plo­sion erupts near a United Na­tions com­pound in South Kord­o­fan state on June 14. The fight­ing in Abyei comes as air bom­bard­ments have taken place in the north-south bor­der re­gion of South Kord­o­fan. South­ern Su­dan se­cedes from the north on July 9. Vi­o­lence has flared in the runup to the in­de­pen­dence dec­la­ra­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.