Genocide Watch for the Nuba Mountains in Sudan (Source: Genocide Watch, June 10, 2011)

GENOCIDE WATCH


THE INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE TO END GENOCIDE

Due to confirmed reports of a military buildup and atrocities by the Sudanese Army in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, Genocide Watch is issuing a Genocide Watch for the area. The people of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordafan again face genocide by the Government of Sudan.

Many people of the Nuba Mountains fought on the side of the southern Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) during the twenty-year civil war. Now that South Sudan has voted for independence, they are afraid of massive retaliation by the northern government. They are stranded in “northern” Sudan but are ethnically considered “black Africans,” like the people of the south, by the Arab government in Khartoum.

As Alex de Waal, an expert on Sudan, wrote in 2006, “The counterinsurgency fought by the Government of Sudan against the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan during the early 1990’s was not only exceptionally violent, but also aimed at depopulating the area of civilians. Not only did the government aim to defeat the SPLA forces but they also intended a wholesale transformation of Nuba society in such a way that its prior identity was destroyed. The campaign was genocidal in intent and at one point, appeared to be on the brink of success….The conflict took on a distinct racial character. The war was notable for attacks on civilian targets with forced displacement, rape and killing.” (http://howgenocidesend.ssrc.org/de_Waal2/)

The people of the Nuba Mountains fear that they will again be dispossessed of their land and herded into displaced persons camps as they were in the 1990’s. They fear re-imposition of Sharia law by President al Bashir. In violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Sudanese Army invaded the oil-rich Abyei area of South Kordofan in May, driving out its Dinka inhabitants, in order to ensure northern victory when Abyei votes on whether to join Sudan or South Sudan. al-Bashir said Abyei belongs to Sudan.

In May elections, Abdel Aziz al Hila, a popular former commander of the SPLA was expected to win the election for Governor of South Kordafan. Instead Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocities perpetrated in Darfur, was declared the winner by Khartoum. The ICC has charged Haroun with 20 counts of crimes against humanity, including persecution, rape and torture, and 22 counts of war crimes, including attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property and outrage upon personal dignity. Haroun was reportedly nearly arrested by SPLA troops this week, but escaped and was immediately evacuated to Khartoum.

Two and a half weeks ago, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir was in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordafan, where he reportedly announced, “If the people here [meaning those in the Nuba Mountains] refuse to honor the results of the [gubernatorial] election, then we will force them back into the mountains and prevent them from having food just as we did before.” Intentional deprivation of food is an act of genocide under Article 2(c) of the Genocide Convention. Open threats such as al-Bashir’s cannot be ignored. Al-Bashir is a serial genocidist with an arrest warrant for genocide in Darfur from the ICC.

Genocide Watch has received confirmed reports of a dramatic increase in the number of heavily armed Government of Sudan troops massing in the Nuba Mountains. According to sources on the ground, over the past three days fighting between government troops and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army have exploded in the Nuba Mountains, at Umm Durein, Toladi, Angaruthu, and Kadugli. An unnamed source reported, “Abdul Aziz al-Hila is back fully in military uniform.” Another reliable source reported over satellite phone, “If Aziz goes down, the entire Nuba Mountains will erupt.”

The open announcement of genocidal intent by al Bashir and the militarization of the Nuba Mountain area are clear early warning signs of imminent genocide and mass atrocities. We urge diplomats at the United Nations and in the African Union to undertake immediate diplomatic action to warn al-Bashir that another genocide in Sudan will not be tolerated.

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