Pages: 1 2
The National Islamic Front government made the Nuba Mountains a “no go” area, cutting the Nuba off from the rest of the country and from the world. Like South Sudan, this region, which at 30,000 square miles is slightly larger than Belgium and the Netherlands combined, was attacked from the air by Antonov bombers and from the ground by slave raiders (muharaleen) and SAF troops.
In his scrupulous report for the U.S. Committee on Refugees, Quantifying Genocide in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains: 1983-1998, Dr. Millard Burr writes that from 1989-1991 “scores of villages were burned and thousands of villagers killed in joint army and militia assaults in the Nuba Mountains.” Burr also told how the Sudanese Army purged “Nuba officers and noncommissioned officers,” arrested thousands of educated Nuba, and starved tens of thousands of men, women, and children.
Now Khartoum is coaching the SAF and PDF from the same old playbook. If anything, the attacks are even more virulent than those of the 1990s, since Khartoum wants revenge on those Nuba who sided with the SPLA. Killing crews are burning villages and killing villagers in towns throughout the Nuba Mountains. The small steps towards education and development in the region were wiped out in the first week’s worth of bombing. People’s homes (tukuls), farms, marketplaces, schools, and churches have all been attacked, looted and burned. The scores and scores of people who have been killed — murdered, executed — have not yet been counted.
In the capital city of Kadugli, Khartoum’s troops are searching for suspected members and supporters of the SPLM and are executing them on the spot. This has also taken place in another town, Dilling, where troops are slitting the throats of SPLM members and supporters when they are found. And Christians are also targeted by the Islamists. Clergy have been rounded up and arrested. In some cases, their whereabouts are now unknown. Others are known to have been killed.
It has been reported that Sudan government troops have planted land mines throughout the area. And according to Reeves, “It seems Khartoum intends to starve the Nuba into submission,” just as it tried before. He says that on June 15, Khartoum’s military aircraft completely destroyed the runway in Kauda, a town in the middle of the Nuba Mountains. “Because the Kauda airstrip is critical for humanitarian transport in the region, its destruction works to ensure that the hundreds of thousands already in need will remain cut off from relief,” says Reeves.
As is to be expected, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) serves no purpose, except to exacerbate the situation. In fact, since UNMIS troops were first deployed to the Nuba Mountains following the signing of the North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, the Nuba have warned that the troops, mostly Egyptian Islamists, were siding with Khartoum against the people they were supposed to help. Many reputable sources reported that Egyptian UNMIS soldiers in Kadugli were seen raping local women. And some UNMIS troops even openly declared to the Nuba that they were there to complete the jihad against infidels.
In the present crisis, UNMIS troops are observing the violence and doing nothing to stop it. Some are collaborating with the SAF and PDF. When a crowd sought sanctuary at UNMIS headquarters in Kadugli they were told to leave and go to Dilling, some 120 miles away, leading them directly into the hands of SAF troops and PDF militias. Some sources on the ground have also said that the UN Egyptian “peacekeepers,” since they are able to go wherever they want, are spying on the SPLA and reporting back to the Sudanese Armed Forces. Therefore, if, as some are demanding, the mandate of UNMIS in the area is changed from “Chapter 6” to “Chapter 7,” giving the troops a clear mandate to intervene to protect civilians, then a change in the UNMIS personnel must also be demanded.
Every day in the Nuba Mountains the ethnic cleansing of the Nuba is occurring, and the idea that what is taking place is genocide becomes more and more believable. It might be said that the first genocide took place in South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains because the world lacked knowledge of what was happening. And even if information came out, it was so monstrous and unthinkable that, as Elie Wiesel has said, the enemy knew that it would not be believed. Today, Khartoum doesn’t care if the world knows what it is doing in the Nuba Mountains. The north’s genocidal leadership doesn’t think that anyone really cares. May God have mercy on the Nuba and on us and prove them wrong.
Faith J. H. McDonnell directs The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan, and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).
Pages: 1 2