Friday, 22 July 2011
UN warns of war crimes in South Kordofan
A UN report has warned that war crimes may have been committed in Sudan's border state of South Kordofan, according to reports from 18th July.
The report said that both government and rebel forces were guilty of atrocities, but that the army's actions were “especially egregious”, according to the BBC.
The report called for an investigation into the conflict in South Kordofan, which has been ongoing since 5th June, and has displaced some 70,000 people.
The violence started when South Kordofan's newly elected governor, Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in Darfur, order the disarmament of those fighters aligned with South Sudan's ruling party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The fighters, mostly from the Nuba Mountains, resisted and there has been fighting ever since, despite the signing of a peace deal in June.
There have been reports of aerial bombardments and specific targeting of the Nuba, which may amount to ethnic cleansing.
South Kordofan borders South Sudan, which became independent on 9th July, 2011.
Sudan was embroiled in a two-decade long civil war, which ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. While the CPA established the framework which led to the South's independence, little was specified for numerous groups of people in the north – including the Nuba – who fought alongside the SPLM.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has said he would work with Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir to ensure they achieve more rights, but with the number of challenges currently facing the new state of South Sudan, it seems unlikely that the fate of their northern neighbours will be a priority.
Sudan's President al-Bashir, who is also wanted by the ICC for actions in Darfur, has said South Sudan should not interfere with the north's affairs.
Khartoum has recently accused aid agencies of giving logistical support for the rebels in South Kordofan; similar accusations led to Sudan expelling 10 humanitarian organisations from Darfur in 2009.
Despite an African Union-mediated peace agreement being signed in Addis Ababa in June, it appears the ceasefire has not lasted long in South Kordofan, and by 11th July, reports were emerging that Sudan's military had restarted its bombing campaign in the region.
It also appears that rebels in the Nuba Mountains are unwilling to give up the fight, and the northern segment of the SPLA now claims to control much of South Kordofan.
The SPLA-N seized El-Hamra, a government garrison town southeast of the state capital Kadugli, on 1st July, seizing government vehicles and weapons.
It appears that troops from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a leading rebel group in Darfur, have been supporting the rebels in South Kordofan, and Khartoum claimed on Thursday 21st July to have captured JEM's military commander, Brigade-General Al-Toom Toto during clashes in Al-Tais on 17th July.
The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) had previously dismissed reports that JEM forces had participated in the Al-Tais attack.
Sudan's official news agency SUNA quoted Toto as saying he had received logistical support from the Government of South Sudan on his journey from Darfur to South Kordofan.
Sources: AFP, Al-Jazeera, BBC News, Sudan Tribune
For more information, please see the Menas Borders website, here.