GENOCIDE EMERGENCY: THE NUBA MOUNTAINS of SUDAN

By Genocide Watch, 8 March 2012 

After years of war, as South Sudan celebrates its independence, Sudan's state of South Kordofan is again afflicted by genocide.  South Kordofan is situated in a geopolitical hot spot, bordering northern Sudan and South Sudan.  It is strategically, and geographically important due to the significant oil reserves in the region. Like Darfur, the state of South Kordofan suffers from long-term political and economic marginalization.

In the heart of South Kordofan are the Nuba Mountains, also known as ‘Jibal al-Nuba', home to the Nuba people. Over fifty Nuba tribes live in the Nuba mountains.  They are not united politically.  The Sudanese government's long-term goal is to transform Sudan into an Islamic Arab state.  The Nuba suffered genocidal massacres and were driven into displaced persons camps in the 1990's.  They are again under brutal military attack by Sudanese armed forces.

The  Nuba people have suffered from oppression, discrimination, and genocide. In the early 1980's the Nuba's growing discontent with the government's Arabist policies, drove many Nuba to join the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLM/A.)  The late John Garang's vision of a "new Sudan" in which Sudan would become a secular state, where diversity was respected, resonated well with the Nuba.

In efforts to weaken the SPLM/A, the government in Khartoum launched attacks on the Nuba.  The National Islamic Front initiated a jihadist campaign intended to eradicate the Nuba population.  Government forces, especially the Air Force, along with government-armed militias, committed mass atrocities in the Nuba Mountains.  Under the Genocide Convention, the atrocities committed in 1990's against the Nuba were acts of genocide.

From 1987 to 2001 the Nuba Mountains were a war zone. In 2002, a ceasefire agreement was signed. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement failed to address many of the issues concerning the Nuba. The Nuba were not permitted to vote in the January 2011 referendum on southern secession from Sudan.

State elections in South Kordofan were repeatedly delayed.  In May 2011, elections were held, many anticipated that Abdel Aziz al Hila, a popular former commander of the SPLA would win the election for Governor of South Kordofan.  However, the National Elections Commission appointed by Omar al-Bashir officially announced that Ahmed Haroun won the elections. The SPLM/A has stated that the election outcome was fraudulent.

Haroun is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocities he committed in Darfur.  He is charged with 20 counts of crimes against humanity and 22 counts of war crimes.  The Sudanese government has refused to surrender Haroun.  Instead al-Bashir promoted him from Chairman of the Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC) to Governor of South Kordofan.  It is appalling that a criminal like Haroun has been rewarded for committing acts of genocide. The South Kordofan elections signify the vindictiveness and incompetence of the Sudanese regime, and the elections illustrate the culture of impunity in Sudan.  Haroun lives in Khartoum and is afraid to set foot in South Kordofan.

The National Congress Party issued a letter to SPLA headquarters stating that by 1st of June the SPLA units in the state of South Kordofan must disarm in accordance to the CPA's provision.  On June 5, 2011 under the pretext of "counter - insurgency," the government started supplying Arab -based local militia with arms to murder Nuba civilians.  The Sudan Armed forces (SAF)  along with Arab militia are currently engaging in widespread, systematic attacks on Nuba civilians that are intended to destroy in part the Nuba ethnicity.  These acts constitute genocide and crimes against humanity.

There are innumerable reports of government military units called the "Abu Tiera" rounding up innocent civilians using prepared execution lists, proof of intentional premeditation. The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are using a systematic policy of intimidation, rape, torture, and detention against women and children and the elderly.  Genocide Watch has received reports that populated areas in the Nuba Mountains are subject to aerial bombings by the Sudan Air Force, followed by ground attacks

The Sudan Armed Forces, along with paramilitary groups such as Popular Defence Forces (PDF), the Central Reserve Forces (CRF) and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) are also orchestrating the mass atrocities occurring in South Kordofan.

Many thousands of civilians have been killed; the UN estimates that more than 73,000 people have been displaced.  The military continues to engage in relentless aerial attacks.  A large number of refugees have fled to the Unity State in South Sudan.

The genocidal role played by al-Bashir and Ahmed Haroun in South Kordofan is identical to their role in Darfur.  They are serial genocidists.  President Bashir and Ahmed Haroun have both publicly announced their orders and support of the SAF's military actions in South Kordofan.   As the crisis in the Nuba Mountains worsens, the decimation of the Nuba people continues unabated. Now the Sudanese government's massacres have spread to the Blue Nile state.

Genocide Watch has declared that the massacres in South Kordofan constitute a Genocide Emergency. In accord with our eight stages of genocide, Sudan is ranked at Stage 7 (Extermination) and 8 (Denial).

  • Genocide Watch is deeply concerned about the genocidal massacres occurring in Sudan.
  • Genocide Watch calls on all armed parties to declare an immediate cease-fire.
  • We urge the government of Sudan to allow international humanitarian access in all areas.
  • We urge the UN Security Council to strengthen the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to authorize proactive armed intervention to protect the Nuba and other people.
  • We call upon the government of Sudan to immediately cease all aerial bombardment in South Kordofan. Genocide Watch recommends that a "passive" no fly zone be imposed over South Kordofan, even without UN authorization, in which any planes used by the Sudanese Air Force to bomb or strafe civilians would be destroyed by cruise missiles when they return to their bases at night. Aerial bombardment of South Kordofan by the Sudanese Air Force must be stopped.
  • We urge the UN Human Rights Council to send a Commission of Inquiry to South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states.
  • We call upon the African Union and the League of Arab States, to publicly condemn the serious crimes against humanity violations being perpetrated by the Sudanese government in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.