Violence in South Kordofan: What is Being Reported

By Eric Reeves

A compendium of wire reports, newspaper dispatches, press releases, and reports from the ground, with a brief update on Abyei

June 7, 2011 (SSNA) — This compendium is not a narrative of events, but rather a compilation of what has been credibly reported or asserted by a wide range of sources. The facts have yet to be fully determined, and the larger ambitions of Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in South Kordofan and the Nuba Mountains are uncertain. But the possibilities of a major conflagration are so great, and the international response to date so weak, that it seems important to collect what is available about the situation as of mid-afternoon (EST) June 7, 2011 (the Obama administration today declared itself "deeply troubled" by fighting in the tinderbox of South Kordofan and called for an end to fighting). Occasional interpretive or critical remarks are appended to or interpolated within particular dispatches, [in brackets].

A brief update on Abyei concludes this compendium. The UN High Commission for Refugees today estimated that 100,000 people have been displaced by Khartoum’s military invasion of the region ( ); in other UN news, UN correspondent Colum Lynch reports that the original UN report—before being expurgated by senior UN officials to accommodate Khartoum—argued the actions defining this invasion were "tantamount to ethnic cleansing." ( )

[1] [June 7, 1pm EST: John Ashworth, a seasoned expert on Sudan, reports that a "reliable source" has indicated the following from the ground:

"Dear friends and peace makers… With sorrow and sadness I am here to tell you that I have just arrived safely from Kadougli the capital of [S]outh Kordofan where heavy fighting started since Sunday 5th June in Omdorain [also Umm Dorain]. Actually the reason for erupting fighting in Omdorain is not really clear, but this conflict in general followed the stupid declaration that was made by president of Sudan Omar El bashier in his election campaign in Elmujlat [Muglad] where he says they will (NCP) kill the Nubas and follow them up to their karaker (where they live) including the bitterness that still in the heart of many people of [S]outh Kordofan on the cheating of the election and some incidences reported after the announcement of the election result [validated by the Carter Center in a destructively poor assessment of the election, see — ER] such as bombing of the school in Alabo area and random killings reported several times among the civilians."

"The conflict erupted in several places in south Kordofan such as Talodi, Ebradap and Kadougli the centre for the fight. The fight started in Kadougli yesterday at 4:00 pm and continued up to this day 7th June, and the worry is that there is hug[e] number of armies arrived Kadougli this morning in support of NCP army with modern type of weapons and the SPLM has also requested more sold[i]ers from their side to support them."

"Security situation is very bad, citizens of Kadougli town fled their homes to a save places even though hundred of them have nowhere to hide, people have been in door for three days and nights and there is no movement, market has become a battle ground, no food, no water, no fuel for transporting the civilians to where is a bit safer. There is need for an urgent action to stop the conflict and let civilians
access water and food. Even the sick once in the hospital have run a way living their treatment. Humanitarian aid is needed because the conflict is inflaming every hour, urgent call for the NCP and the SPLM to stop fighting immediately."

"There is death and injuring among citizens and the solders only that the statistics is not yet known. Some families in Khartoum started mourning over their dead once, solders or victim citizens, the killing is increasing. If the UN has no mandate to speak to the fighters, we are calling that they should be allowed to intervene and assist the poor civilians have water, people should put in mind that there are children, there are sick persons, there are women in birth labour who cannot sty without water."

"UN has taken all staff with their families to UN station, because the situations is deteriorating and big attach expecting in Kadougli in few hours. With this comes chaos all over, most of the INGOs office was ro[b]bed, windows and doors were broken. Let us pray that God to keep people safe where ever they are." [END]

[2] Another independent source indicates, on the basis of a telephone call to Kadugli, that violence continues and the situation is extremely tense, with more tanks and armor in evidence; looting and killing by Sudan Armed Forces are also reported by this source. The source reports that tens of thousands have fled Kadugli, and that the conduct of the military operations is being directed by Ahmed Haroun (governor of South Sudan and indicted war criminal) and senior officials in Khartoum. There is no way at present to verify any of this information, but it is ominous in the extreme. Certainly if Khartoum plans to invade the Nuba Mountains, a great deal of additional armor, especially tanks, will be required; SAF officers know that this fighting will be extremely bloody, and want all available resources. This source also reports on fighting in the important town of Delling, to the north of Kadugli; if true, this would suggest that fighting is spreading quickly.

[3] Reuters reports, June 7 (dateline: Khartoum), “Residents flee Sudan flashpoint state clashes”:

"Fighting between northern Sudanese forces and armed groups in the tense Southern Kordofan border state for a fourth day Tuesday forced many residents to flee the state capital Kadugli, witnesses said. Sudan’s south is due to secede on July 9 and tensions are high after Khartoum seized the disputed Abyei region on May 21. Two witnesses in Kadugli said they had heard heavy shooting Tuesday and said many residents were fleeing on foot. ‘The sound of gunfire is coming from everywhere,’ one witness said, adding he had seen a large number of tanks and armed forces entering the center of the city."


"Khartoum has threatened to disarm or clear out militias in Southern Kordofan, which borders Abyei and the western Darfur region, where rebel groups are fighting government forces. The southern army says the fighters are not theirs and that it cannot ask them to withdraw south because they are northern. "There is no relation between the government in Juba and the SPLA in the Nuba mountains or anywhere in the north," SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer said. ‘If the north attacks them, it will be another situation like Darfur, with the north attacking their own people.’"

"The north moved tanks and troops into Abyei after an attack on northern soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers blamed on southern forces. Tens of thousands of people fled fighting and looting. Khartoum has since refused to withdraw from Abyei, defying calls from the United Nations, United States and southern officials. It says the land belongs to the north and its troops are there to maintain security until a solution is found. North and south have not yet agreed on issues including oil revenue-sharing and the position of the common boundary."

[4] Agence France-Presse reports, June 7 (dateline: Khartoum):

"Fighting between elements of Sudan’s northern and southern armies in Kadugli, capital of volatile South Kordofan state, has killed six people and forced UN agencies to suspend operations in the town, UN sources said on Tuesday [June 7]. ‘There has been continued gunshots heard in the town itself today… The fighting is between elements from the SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces — the northern army) and the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army — the southern army),’ Hua Jiang, spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), told AFP."

"’At one of the hospitals we visited, we saw six dead bodies, four of whom were government of Sudan police, and the other two civilians… Earlier we saw about 3,000 people taking refuge at the Kadugli police hospital,’ she added. A UN source in Kadugli said that, since Monday, all UN agencies had suspended their operations in the state capital, where the United Nations has a large presence, and withdrawn to the UNMIS peacekeeping base near the airport. ‘Now the situation is a little bit calm, but at any time it can flare up,’ the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity."

"Tensions are escalating in South Kordofan, the north’s only oil-producing state, which borders the south and was a key battleground during the 1983-2005 conflict. The state is awash with weapons and retains strong links to the south, especially among the indigenous Nuba peoples, who fought on the side of the southern rebels even though their homeland lies in the north. ‘The fighters in the SPLA are largely from the Nuba Mountains. Their cause is very far removed from Juba and the independence of the south,’ said a Western analyst based in the southern regional capital, speaking on condition of anonymity."

[5] From Radio Dabanga, June 7, "Fighting erupts in Kadugli, citizens prepare to leave":

"The city of Kadugli witnessed separate conflicts yesterday [June 6] between the forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the government’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). And conflicts within the SAF after a rebel from within SAF disobeyed orders. The citizens of Kadugli live in a state of fear with the dense firing and the office manager of the SPLM in the state, Gamar Elanbiya Kadia, stated that heavy weapons were used in the fighting. He went on to say that he could not give the exact number of the victims of the violent battles."

"Eyewitnesses said that the battles did not go beyond the military areas of the city but the residents of the areas, especially those near military areas, have started preparing to leave the city. The office manager of Abdul Aziz Elhilu (SPLA) revealed that the government of South Kordofan had arrived with the minister of defense and went into an emergency meeting with the secretary-general of the SPLM of the north, Yassir Arman, along with other leaders of the SPLM like General Khamis Jallab and Abdulla Tia to reach an agreement to calm the situation."

[6] Bloomberg News, June 7, "Sudanese Clashes in Oil-Producing Border State Kill Six, UN Says":

"Six people died in clashes between the Sudanese government army and Southern Sudanese forces in the north’s only oil-producing state, the United Nations said. The fighting continued today for a second day, UN spokesman Kouider Zerrouk said by phone from Khartoum, Sudan’s capital. The bodies of four policemen and two civilians were brought to the police hospital in Kadugli, the capital of the border state of Southern Kordofan, he said. The UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan is concerned about the fighting and ‘the deterioration of the security situation in Kadugli,’ he said. The UN has moved international staff from the world body and employees of non-governmental organizations to the UN compound in the city, Zerrouk said."

***"Sudanese army spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khaled did not answer calls seeking comment. Earlier today, he said there was no fighting in the state*** [emphasis added]."

[This continues a theme of SAF mendacity and evasion that appears in all these dispatches.]

[7] Voice of America, June 6:

"A spokesperson for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) says the world body is concerned about new fighting in South Kordofan state. This comes as North Sudan’s government over the weekend rejected a call from the UN Security Council to pull its troops out of the disputed Abyei region, which it has occupied since May 21st. Hua Jiang, UNMIS public information director, says the mission has sent out patrols to verify reports of attacks on two towns in South Kordofan State. "

"’The information I got so far is that there [were] two attacks, one happened in the morning (Sunday [June 5]) and one happened last (Saturday [June 4]) night. The incident last [Saturday] night was that, in the town of Kadugli, the police station was attacked by an unknown group. In a different incident, we heard there were some gunshots fired in a place called Um Dorain. So far, we don’t have much more details about the two incidents, and the UN has sent out ground patrols to verify the situation on the ground,’ she says. Jiang says the world body has heard different versions of stories as to what might have prompted the clashes, but no independent verification."

[One could wish that a more effective force that UNMIS were investigating these incidents. The force, especially in Kadugli (capital of South Kordofan), has a reputation for siding with Khartoum and failing to investigate major violations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the past. The dismal performance of UNMIS in Abyei—for the second time in three years—is rightly the subject of a UN investigation.]

"On Friday [June 3], the [UN Security] Council condemned the north’s occupation of Abyei, describing it as a ‘serious violation’ of the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan’s north-south civil war. The north’s foreign minister, Ali Ahmad Karti, responded late Saturday [June 4], saying the north cannot be asked to withdraw from Abyei because it is Sudanese territory."

[Khartoum’s endless contempt for the UN, including the Security Council, seems not to trouble the organization in any serious way.]

[8] From Agence France-Presse (dateline: Khartoum), June 6:

"Heavy shooting broke out on Monday [June 6] in Kadugli, the capital of Sudan’s volatile oil-producing border state of South Kordofan, amid soaring tensions ahead of southern independence, witnesses and the UN said. ‘The fighting appears to be between elements from the SAF and SPLA,’ said Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesman for the United Nations mission in Sudan (UNMIS), referring to the respective armies of north and south Sudan. He added that the fighting had stopped, but gave no information on casualties."

"Earlier, witnesses described the sound of heavy gunfire coming from different parts of Kadugli, including from the direction of the residence of Ahmed Harun, the state governor wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges who was re-elected in a disputed poll last month. Tensions are escalating in South Kordofan, a former civil war battleground that is awash with weapons and has strong links to south Sudan, which is due to split with the north in just one month. On Sunday [June 5], heavily armed SPLA troops attacked the northern army in Um Dorain, 35 kilometres (22 miles) southeast of Kadugli, killing one and wounding seven, SAF spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said. ‘The armed forces reserve the right to respond fully in the time and place of their choosing,’ he added."

***"Saad’s claim, published by the Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the security services, directly contradicted a statement he made on Sunday, downplaying what happened in Um Dorain as an ‘isolated incident’ that had been brought under control."*** (emphasis added)

[A change in the story line is standard operating procedure for Khartoum’s managing of the news; SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad is notoriously unreliable, and has consistently misrepresented events, both in Darfur and South Sudan, even those that have been publicly reported and confirmed by UN officials, human rights investigators, and journalists. For example, Reuters reported from Khartoum [evening of June 6]:

"Northern military spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khaled said Khartoum’s army was not involved in the shooting, which he said came from southern-allied forces firing randomly from nearby mountains. ‘No clashes occurred between the Sudanese army and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army today,’ he said, referring to the southern military." His change in story line—from an isolated incident to a major attack—may well signal that Khartoum is fashioning a pretext for military incursion into the Nuba Mountains.]

[9] The most recent dispatch from the Sudan Tribune [June 6, but appearing only on June 7], "Sudan army says attacked by SPLA in South Kordofan":

"The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on Monday changed its earlier version about the events that took place in South Kordofan over the weekend saying that it clashed with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad was quoted by Sudan news agency (SUNA) as saying that on Sunday SPLA units carried a wide-scale attack in Umm Dorain about 12km southeast of South Kordofan’s capital state of Kadugli. The military official said that the SAF company in the area ‘bravely carried out their duties’ but were overwhelmed by a large influx of SPLA forces and were thus forced to withdraw to other positions."

"The fighting led to one death and seven injuries from the SAF side, Sa’ad revealed. ‘SAF reserves its full right to respond to that in the suitable time and place,’ he said. Yesterday the Sudanese army downplayed reports of clashes in the state saying it was an isolated incident caused by one soldier but declined to place blame on any side. Multiple sources told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that SAF moved tanks south from el-Obeid and stationed them at Kadugli airport and near the compound of the UN’s World Food Program (WFP). They also established checkpoints on the main road heading north from Kadugli airport. SAF tanks and heavy artillery were stationed in and around the state’s main town of Kadugli while clashes have been reported in surrounding villages, sources added."

"There were widespread fears that SAF was moving to enforce the ultimatum it issued last month to SPLA to move out of the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The SPLM rejected the deadline saying units in the border regions consist of Northern soldiers. A UN official who spoke to Sudan tribune on condition of anonymity said that SPLA forces took over a police station in Kadugli while others moved to control a neighborhood in the city where former deputy governor Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu resides."

"On Monday [June 6] heavy shooting took place in Kadugli close to the residence of South Kordofan governor. Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune by phone that gunshots can be heard all over Kadugli and stressing that the town is in a very tense situation following clashes that erupted on Sunday and continued today [June 6]. They added that SPLA soldiers came down unexpectedly from nearby mountains and started shooting on SAF positions which prompted an intense exchange of fire. The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) confirmed the clashes today [June 6]. ‘The fighting appears to be between elements from the SAF and SPLA,’ said Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesman for UNMIS was cited as saying by Agence France Presse."

"The Secretary general of SPLM in the North Yasir Arman said in a press release that the incidents remain ‘isolated’ and that dialogue is underway to resolve it. He said that the presidency created a joint NCP-SPLM delegation, SAF and security organs which arrived in Kadugli to meet with officials from both sides in a bid to diffuse tensions. Arman said that the delegation established a committee to review the situation and come up with solutions that are acceptable to both sides. He added that Sudan’s 2nd Vice president Ali Osman Taha was in contact with the president of South Sudan Salva Kiir to contain the issue."

"But on Tuesday [June 7] heavy fighting was reported to have resumed in Kadugli."

[It will be critical for UNMIS to investigate the arms flow—particularly armor—from North Sudan to Kadugli. This is the only real basis for assessing Khartoum’s military ambitions in the Nuba Mountains, where any fighting will be extremely bloody.]

[10] In another dispatch from the Sudan Tribune (also June 6, with a Juba dateline):

"Bol Makueng, secretary for information, culture and communication with the SPLM on Monday [June 6] said SAF troops entered Kadugli with tanks and heavy artilleries and have started attacking civil population in the area with intention of re-settling the land with Arab tribes as it has been alleged occurred in Darfur and Abyei. ‘The Sudanese Armed Forces entered Kadugli town yesterday on Sunday 5 June 2011. They entered with tanks and heavy artilleries mounted on vehicles. This is after taking positions at strategic places around Kadugli town, especially at the airport to allow delivery of the military hardware to arm more militias in the area.’"

"’Their mission is to disarm Sudan People’s Liberation Movement component of the Joint Integrated Units in South Kordofan and to clear the area of Nuba in order to settle Arab tribes there as done in Darfur and Abyei. This is a clear violation of the terms of Comprehensive Peace Agreement,’ reads part of the release obtained by Sudan Tribune on Monday by the Secretariat of the SPLM. Arnu Yusuf, a SPLM Secretary General for South Kordofan state confirmed the attack which he said was initiated by ‘hooligans and enemies of peace and democracy.’ ‘Yes, there was an attack by armed criminals on civil population in Umm Dorein and in three other places yesterday on June 5, 2011. There are casualties. Some innocent civilians were killed and others have fled the area,’ said Yusuf."

"Musa Kaka, a senior member of the SPLM in Nuba Mountains denied that the fighting in the area was started by members of the SPLA in Joint Integrated Units (JIU). He claimed the fighting was initiated by the SAF. ‘The Sudan Armed Forces in Umm Dorein and in three other places started the fighting. They entered a camp in which SPLA members of the Joint Integrated Unit lives in Talodi on Sunday [June 5] and started misbehaving,’ said Kaka, denying reports that some SPLM supporters stole money in agriculture bank at Talodi branch."

"’These reports are not correct. The reality has been twisted. No SPLM supporters in the area have entered Agriculture bank to steal. The reality is that bank officials acted in collaboration with some soldiers from the Sudan Armed Forces took the money and claimed the money was taken by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in order to escape from taking responsibility.’ ‘I repeat. There was no citizen from the area who has taken any money from the bank. The money was stolen by bank officials who acted in collaboration with some soldiers from the Sudan Armed Forces. They attack SPLA component of the JIUs in their compound just for covering purposes, explained Kaka.’"

[11] Bloomberg News reports (June 6):

"Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir’s army said last week that southern troops in Southern Kordofan would be ‘legitimate targets’ if they didn’t leave the area by June 1. UN spokesman Zerrouk confirmed that shooting took place on June 5 and said the world body is investigating. SUNA [Khartoum’s state "news" service] quoted [SAF spokesman Al-Sawarmi] Khaled as saying that the Sudanese armed forces reserve the right to respond to the attack at the right time and place."

"The June 5 fighting may have broken out when northern forces tried to disarm members of the Nuba ethnic group in Southern Kordofan state who are in the southern army, said Southern Sudan’s army spokesman, Philip Aguer. Under the peace accord, the northern and southern armies were due to jointly patrol Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states on the northern side of the border and the disputed region of Abyei."

"’We need to clarify this, but it looks like Sudanese Armed Forces tried to disarm the sons of Nuba in the joint integrated units and fighting started,’ Aguer said yesterday by phone from Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan."

[12] The most recent dispatch from the New York Times (June 6, dateline: Juba), "North-South Clashes Break Out in a Center of Sudan Tensions":

"Fighting spread to a city in a heavily militarized part of Sudan on Monday, United Nations officials said, as the northern Sudanese army appeared to be trying to disarm militias and forces aligned with southern Sudan. On Sunday [June 5], members of the southern military raided a police station in the city of Kadugli, looting weapons, United Nations officials said. Clashes broke out Sunday evening between the northern and southern armies about 60 miles away [it is unclear in which direction this account points], they said."

"On Monday [June 6] evening, fighting broke out in Kadugli, with 10 tanks from the northern army stationed throughout the town, said Hua Jiang, a spokeswoman for the United Nations in Sudan. Kadugli is the capital of Southern Kordofan State and the largest city in the subregion of Nuba Mountains, which has become a center of tension between northern- and southern-aligned forces. ‘This is a disarmament process,’ said Rabie A. Atti, a spokesman for the northern government. ‘They are now going ahead.’"

[Atti refers indirectly here to the blunt threat issued by military leaders last month, and reiterated last week, to use violence to expel all Sudan People’s Liberation Army members remaining in the South Kordofan and southern Blue Nile, whether or not these regions are their homes.]

[13] Sudan Tribune, June 5, "Clashes erupt in South Kordofan between SAF and SPLA":

"Sudan Tribune failed to reach [former governor of South Kordofan Abdel Aziz] El-Hilu on Sunday [June 5], but senior SPLM figure Musa Kaka, said that the SAF had been entering Kadugli for some time but only started their operation on Sunday. ‘They started their operation today on Sunday [June 5] at 9:00am. They moved tanks and other machine guns. More than 12 tanks appeared in the town today,’ he said. Eyewitness including sources from the UN confirmed the entry of the SAF to Kadugli and the subsequent eruption of fighting."

"Fighting broke out on Sunday [June 5] in the key northern border state of South Kordofan, just weeks before oil-rich South Sudan is due to separate from the north. Multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that northern tanks and heavy artillery were stationed in and around the state’s main town of Kadugli while clashes have been reported in surrounding villages. Last week the northern Sudanese army issued an ultimatum to soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) to move out of the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which border South Sudan. There were also reports of clashes between the northern Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) of the Khartoum government and the SPLA in Umm Dorain about 12km south east of Kadugli."

"A member of the main opposition party in the state, the northern sector of the SPLM—the SPLM’s southern sector governs South Sudan—told Sudan Tribune that Umm Dorain had been attacked by the SAF as they believed SPLA forces were in the area. The reports of fighting in Umm Dorain were also confirmed by the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). ‘There were two attacks. One happened in Kadugli town itself, where a police station was attacked last night (Saturday [June 4]) by unknown gunmen,’ UNMIS spokeswoman Hua Jiang told Agence France Presse (AFP), adding that there was no information on casualties. ‘We have also had reports of shooting in Um Dorain today. We have sent land and air patrols to the area to investigate,’ she said. But a statement from Sudan’s state news agency (SUNA), quoted the northern army as saying the ‘the incident’ was a case of an individual soldier firing at random."

[Note how significantly Khartoum’s story changes over the course of just three days, from this ‘random incident’ to a major SPLA assault.]

"The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) shut the doors to its compound [in Kadugli] on Sunday [June 5] morning, Sudan Tribune has learnt, as SAF military police with up to 10 vehicles with heavy weaponry positioned themselves outside. UNMIS’s response to the breakout of fighting in Kadugli is likely to be heavily scrutinized after the criticism its peacekeepers received for their inaction when the SAF overran the contested region of Abyei last month."

[14] SPLM press release of June 6: NCP unleashes violence and atrocities on the Nuba people:

"On Sunday yesterday, 5th June, the NCP Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) entered Kadugli with tanks and heavy artillery. The SAF have taken positions around Kadugli and at the Kadugli airport to allow delivery of the military hardware to arm more militias in the area. The mission of SAF is to disarm SPLA in Southern Kordofan, clear the area of Nuba and to settle Arab tribes there as done in Darfur and Abyei."

"The SAF then started attacking civil population in Umm Dorein and other two payams that have strong support to SPLA. There are reports that more SAF tanks have arrived Kadugli in preparation to attack SPLA positions. In line with recent declaration of war by Omer Bashir on the Sudanese people, SAF has intensified the slaughter of Darfur people near Jebel Mara while the international community is theoretically busy on crimes committed against the Abyei people and the ensuing humanitarian crisis."

"Omer Bashir is committing these crimes one after the other because:

•SPLM and SPLA are peaceful. They do not want more Sudanese people to die after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) because Sudan has experienced violence and death of its people for too long. The NCP thinks this is weakness on part of SPLA/M.

•Since the signing of the CPA, NCP has been arming militias to commit atrocities in Darfur, Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Southern Sudan. No legal prosecution has been taken against them and no military confrontation. Again, the NCP counts on this as weakness of the SPLA/M.

•The NCP stole the oil money, refuses to implement CPA vital protocols on referendum in Abyei, popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile. The NCP ignores and defies the call to adhere to the CPA’s protocol on Abyei, the work of the Abyei Border Commission (ABC), the Hague arbitration. NCP has not been brought to task by the CPA guarantors, IGADD countries and the United Nations on this.

•Throughout the CPA implementation, NCP has been caught red handed, distributing arms with a helicopter that was captured and shown to the whole world. The CPA guarantors and the international community made no investigation. There was no condemnation either. It was left to SPLM to handle it alone.

•During referendum for the Southern Sudan early this year, the NCP planes bombed Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Western Bahr el Ghazal states. As usual, the local population suffered loss of lives and material destruction. There was still no challenge to Omer Bashir who has assumed himself the Hitler of Sudan.

•NCP rigged elections to install the most unpopular and an ICC wanted person, Mohammed Haroun, in Southern Kordofan as governor. Again, this crime against democracy and freedom has been left to SPLM alone in Southern Kordofan to challenge it.

•SPLM will continue to maintain peace, although a loner in this endeavour and so there is no going back to war.

The voice that came out from Southern Kordofan is calling on:

•All the peace loving Sudanese and democratic forces in the country to stand up in solidarity with people of Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile and to reject and denounce the NCP’s war monger attitude.

•International community, the CPA guarantors and the IGADD countries to rescue the Abyei protocol, the protocol for Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile, and to stop the NCP from returning the country back to war.

•All organizations and individuals of good will to support victims of the NCP aggression."

Bol Makueng
Secretary for Information, Culture and Communication


[15] Abyei: Dispatch from Associated Press, June 6, UN/New York:

In an absurd display of gullibility, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (now actively campaigning for reappointment for another term) declared:

"Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday [June 6] the Sudanese government has indicated it will create conditions for thousands of residents who fled the disputed Abyei region on the border between north and south Sudan to return. Ban said at a news conference that it was ‘far too early to claim that ethnic cleansing is taking place’ in the contested oil-rich region.’" [But the original, unrevised UN investigative report had found precisely this, that Khartoum’s actions were "tantamount to ethnic cleansing" (tantamount means "equivalent in meaning"); see Colum Lynch, June 6, 2011, at and below]

"But [Ban] acknowledged a confidential report by the UN Mission in Sudan, obtained last Friday [June 3] by The Associated Press, which warned that the invasion of Abyei by Sudan’s military could lead to ‘ethnic cleansing’ if conditions are not created for the return of more than 30,000 Ngok Dinkas who fled their homes."

***"’We are doing our best efforts to prevent such things,’ Ban said. ‘This issue has been brought to the attention of officials of the government of Sudan, who have indicated that they will create the conditions for IDPs (internally displaced persons) to return.’"*** (emphasis added)

This monstrous credulity, this feckless acquiescence comes as the UN High Commission for Refugees has raised its estimate of those displaced by Khartoum’s invasion of Abyei to 100,000—the approximate total population of Abyei (although many civilians in areas near Abyei in the South have also now fled, especially from Agok [Warrab State]). And while the world waits for Khartoum to renege on yet another promise, Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times reports on life as it is lived in Agok by those who have been violently displaced:

"But life for the bargaining chips [in negotiations over Abyei in the wake of Khartoum’s military seizure of the region], meanwhile, has been miserable. For Mary Achol, it has meant eating leaves. On a recent morning in the border town of Agok, Ms. Achol slumped in the meager shade of a thorn tree, her belly rumbling from the nearly toxic mix of wild plants she ingested, a baby sweating profusely in her arms. During the chaotic exodus out of Abyei, Ms. Achol lost two other children. ‘Maybe they died of thirst, maybe they were eaten by lions,’ she said. ‘I don’t have a lot of hope.’" (dateline: Agok)


[16] "Sudan’s Invasion of Abyei: Is It Ethnic Cleansing, or Isn’t It? "
Column Lynch, Turtle Bay, June 6, 2011 ( )

Last week, the U.N.’s human rights office in Sudan produced an internal memo concluding that last month’s Sudanese military "attack and occupation" of the disputed town of Abyei "is tantamount to ethnic cleansing," according to a copy of the confidential memo obtained by Turtle Bay.

The memo said that the nature of the attack and forced displacement of tens of thousands of black ethnic Ngok Dinka, including the destruction of their homes and the seizure of their property by ethnic Arab Misseriya tribes, made the prospects for their return dim. The action, it said, would also complicate international efforts to resolve an ongoing dispute over Abyei’s chances for independence.

"By destroying their homes, looting their properties and inspiring fear and terror, over 30,000 Ngok Dinkas have been forcefully displaced from their ancestral homes, leaving the Abyei area now more or less homogenously occupied by the Misseriya," the report stated. "The likelihood of all the Ngok Dinkas returning to Abyei is limited.… The Government of Sudan must be held accountable."

***But the U.N. has since backed off the claim that ethnic cleansing had occurred. A revised, softened version of the memo, according to a report in the Associated Press, only claimed that the Sudanese Armed Forces’ "occupation" of Abyei might result in ethnic cleansing. "The SAF attack and occupation of Abyei and the resultant displacement of over 30,000 Ngok Dinkas from Abyei could lead to ethnic cleansing, if conditions for the return of the displaced Ngok Dinka residents are not created," according to the report.*** (emphasis added)

The watered-down language followed assurances by Sudan that it would help pave the way for the return of nearly 80,000 Ngok Dinka residents, including 30,000 inside the town of Abyei, according to U.N. officials [emphasis added). There was also a question about whether thousands of nomadic ethnic Arab Misseriya who joined Sudanese forces in looting and burning homes in Abyei really intended to stay in Abyei. Traditionally, the Misseriya have only entered the region temporarily to graze their cattle during the dry season.

Speaking at a press conference at U.N. headquarters today [June 6], U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki moon said that Khartoum pledged to pave the way for thousands of residents to ultimately return to their homes in Abyei. He endorsed the U.N.’s softer line on characterizing the Sudanese attack, saying it is “far too early to claim that ethnic cleansing is taking place."

The five-page memo, which was written by the human rights section of the U.N. Mission in Sudan, said the latest flare-up of violence in Abyei started on May 19 in the town of Dokura, when forces of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) allegedly opened fire on a U.N.-escorted convoy composed of troops from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), killing two Sudanese soldiers and blowing up a U.N. truck.

Fearing reprisals, most of the areas’ civilians, primarily Ngok Dinkas, fled en masse toward the southern town of Agok, leaving behind an unknown number of civilians and groups of armed youth seeking to defend their towns. U.N. ground patrols and aerial surveillance showed that Abyei was "virtually empty and deserted" by the time Sudanese forces seized the town but that "a number of the Abyei residents were killed during the attack as evidenced by dead bodies that were seen lying around in Abyei." In the end, Sudanese forces and their allies burned as many as 20 percent of the homes in Abyei to the ground.

Two days later, the Sudanese army responded with a massive military assault, bombing and shelling SPLA positions in the Abyei region, including the villages of Todach, Tajalei, Noong, Leu, Makir Abior, Awolnom, and Marial Achack. Days later, the Sudanese army blew up the Banton Bridge on the River Kiir, south of Abyei, undermining the ability of most locals who fled south from the violence to return.

"On the night of 21 May 2011, SAF attacked and took control of Abyei, amidst artillery shelling, armored tank firing, mortar shelling, and machine gun fire," according to the memo. "There was heavy fighting, especially around UNMIS compound, presumably between the SAF and South Sudan Police Services (SSPS) and possibly armed Ngok youths. UNMIS was accidentally shelled five times. Four of the shells exploded resulting in minor injuries to 2 Egyptian TCC soldiers and the destruction of one UNWFP vehicle. It took a direct hit and burned."

The following day, pro-Khartoum militia from the Misseriya tribe and forces of the People’s Defense Forces moved into Abyei. "They began moving from tukul [dwelling] to tukul, and allegedly killed residents trapped therein, mostly Ngok Dinkas. An elderly woman who took refuge in the UN camp, in an interview, stated that her 37 year [old] son … was murdered.… Another woman also sheltered at UNMIS claimed that she was raped."

The Sudanese Armed Forces commander, Brig. Gen. Azdeen Osman, prevented U.N. peacekeepers from entering the town of Abyei until nearly four days after the attack began, citing security concerns.

"The Abyei attack, from all indications is not a retaliatory and offensive action occasioned" by the SPLA’s May 19 attack, according to the memo. "Rather, the attack and occupation of Abyei by SAF was part of a deliberate plan by the north conceived long before the Dokura incident."

Eric Reeves has published extensively on Sudan, nationally and internationally, for more than a decade. He is author of A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide.

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