Rights ac­tivists warn of ac­tive geno­cide in Su­dan

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY GEOFF HILL

JO­HAN­NES­BURG | Hu­man rights ad­vo­cates are is­su­ing new warn­ings of geno­cide in Su­dan, where Arab armies are ac­cused of killing black African civil­ians in what an Epis­co­pal bishop de­scribed as a “war of dom­i­na­tion and erad­i­ca­tion.”

“Once again, we are fac­ing the night­mare of geno­cide of our peo­ple in a fi­nal at­tempt to erase our cul­ture and so­ci­ety from the face of the earth,” the Right Rev. An­dudu Adam El­nail, the bishop of Kadugli in south­ern Su­dan, said in an open letter pub­lished by the Anglican Com­mu­nion News Ser­vice.

The United Na­tions es­ti­mates that at least 73,000 civil­ians have fled fight­ing in Su­dan’s South Kord­o­fan state since June 5, when the gov­ern­ment in Khar­toum un­leashed ground troops backed by war­planes against a rebel force in the foothills of the Nuba Moun­tains.

Su­dan is ruled by Lt. Gen. Omar Bashir, who is un­der in­dict­ment from the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court in The Hague for geno­cide and war crimes com­mit­ted in the Dar­fur re­gion of Su­dan from 2003 to 2009. The as­sault on Dar­fur, where gov­ern­ment troops and Arab mili- tias killed un­armed blacks, left about 300,000 dead and 3 mil­lion home­less.

The Satel­lite Sen­tinel Pro­ject, an in­de­pen­dent group that mon­i­tors Su­dan through satel­lite anal­y­sis, dis­cov­ered what it de­scribed on July 4 as “an ap­par­ent” Su­danese army con­voy of 80 ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing towed ar tiller y, trav­el­ing through Kadugli, the cap­i­tal of South Kord­o­fan. It ear­lier re­ported ev­i­dence of aerial and ar­tillery bom­bard­ment in the Nuba Moun­tains by the Su­danese mil­i­tary.

Sa­muel Tot­ten, a geno­cide scholar from the Univer­sity of Arkansas, said he is “get­ting re­ports by the hour” from sources in South Kord­o­fan who say that gov­ern­ment troops are tar­get­ing civil­ians.

“There have been aerial bomb­ing raids and the use of heavy ar­tillery against un­armed civil­ians. Homes are be­ing burned, some­times with peo­ple in­side,” said Mr. Tot­ten, who vis­ited the re­gion in Jan­uary to re­search a book.

“The sit­u­a­tion needs at­ten­tion now, not in some in­quiry next year when lead­ers will wring their hands and claim they didn’t know the ex­tent of what was hap­pen­ing.”

Je­hanne Henry, se­nior re- searcher on Su­dan at Hu­man Rights Watch in Wash­ing­ton, said there were signs that Khar­toum forces had “ar­rested, de­tained, tor­tured and killed scores of peo­ple.”

“The scale of these abuses is not known be­cause the gov­ern­ment has ef­fec­tively closed off the area to ex­ter­nal ob­servers and aid work­ers,” Ms. Henry said.

Gre­gory Stan­ton, pres­i­dent of Geno­cide Watch, called on the United States to pres­sure Gen. Bashir to stop the as­sault on the Nuba peo­ple, who in­habit the re­gion.

“The world is good at lament­ing geno­cide and crimes against hu­man­ity af­ter they have taken place, and we see per­pe­tra­tors brought to The Hague,” Mr. Stan­ton said.

“But a thou­sand tri­als af­ter the event won’t save one hu­man life. We need ac­tion now on the Nuba Moun­tains with a strong state­ment from the U.S. Congress, backed up by the sec­re­tary of state and even Pres­i­dent Obama.”

In his open letter June 21, Bishop El­nail com­pared the as­sault in South Kord­o­fan to the at­tack on Dar­fur.

“It is not a war be­tween armies that is be­ing fought in our land, but the ut­ter de­struc­tion of our way of life and our his­tory, as demon­strated by the geno­cide of our neigh­bors and rel­a­tives in Dar­fur,” he said.

“This is a war of dom­i­na­tion and erad­i­ca­tion. At its core, it is a war of ter­ror by the gov­ern­ment of Su­dan against its own peo­ple.”

In Pre­to­ria, South African For­eign Min­is­ter Maite NkoanaMasha­bane said she was “deeply con­cerned for the pre­vail­ing sit­u­a­tion” in South Kord­o­fan.

Mrs. Nkoana-Masha­bane told jour­nal­ists that par­ties from the north and south have agreed to work with Ethiopia, which will send 4,000 troops to de-es­ca­late ten­sions on the bor­der.

When Su­dan achieved in­de­pen­dence in 1956 from joint rule by Bri­tain and Egypt, the largely Chris­tian and black African south was placed un­der the rule of Mus­lim Arabs in the cap­i­tal, Khar­toum.

Af­ter decades of civil war, the south held a ref­er­en­dum in Jan­uary with 98.83 per­cent vot­ing for a sep­a­rate state. The new Repub­lic of South Su­dan be­came Africa’s new­est nation on July 9.

Khar­toum in­sists it is hunt­ing down rebels who have re­fused to ac­cept the peace deal.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lt. Gen. Omar Bashir, Su­dan’s pres­i­dent (third right), talks at the Na­tional Assem­bly in Khar­toum, Su­dan, on July 12. Rights ac­tivists called on the United States to pres­sure Gen. Bashir to stop the as­sault on the Nuba peo­ple.

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