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“The Government of Sudan has pursued a policy of genocide in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children have been killed in Darfur, and the killing continues to this very day…Washington must respond to the ongoing genocide and the ongoing failure to implement the CPA with consistency and strong consequences.”
– Presidential candidate Barack Obama
The sounds of genocide in Sudan are getting louder and louder, but the White House does not seem to hear them. Like his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, who criticised the Bush administration when a presidential candidate for its lack of “strong consequences” in regards to the Darfur genocide, may be about to experience his own “Rwanda moment.”
Reports continue to filter out of Sudan of attacks by the Arab Khartoum government against the Nuba tribes in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state. The Nuba are black African descendants of Sudan’s original peoples from the old Nubian kingdoms that used to reach to Egypt. The Nuba Mountains, an area about the size of Austria, became their refuge after their last kingdom collapsed in the early 1500s.
“Once again, we are facing the nightmare of genocide of our people in a final attempt to erase our culture and society from the face of the earth,” said the Right Rev. Andulu Adam Elnail, the Anglican Bishop of Kadugli, South Kordorfan’s capital.
The reports of indiscriminate air and artillery attacks against Nuba civilians as well as house-to-house searches targeting sympathisers of the anti-Khartoum resistance, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), are now being backed up by satellite evidence of mass graves. The Satellite Sentinel Project, which was co-founded by actor George Clooney, has released images that show what look like “freshly dug sites” near Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan.
“The DigitalGlobe satellite images contain many of the details and hallmarks of the mass atrocities described by at least three eyewitnesses to the alleged killings,” said Nathaniel A. Raymond of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
The Nuba fought on the side of the southern Sudanese against the Arab North in a civil war that lasted from 1983 until 2005 and ended when President George Bush negotiated the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The black African southern Sudanese and Nuba had risen up against the North’s attempt to Arabise and Islamise under sharia law the whole country. Jihad was declared against them in 1989.
In the savage, genocidal conflict that followed, two million mainly southern Sudanese African people, who are mostly Christian and animist, perished. Tens of thousands of Nuba and southern blacks were enslaved and sold in the Muslim North, while hundreds of their villages were destroyed.
The southern Sudanese were rewarded for their defiance, incredible suffering and heroic efforts in defeating the jihad when South Sudan was declared an independent country only days ago, becoming the world’s newest state. The Nuba, however, did not enjoy the fruits of victory. Possessing no contiguous border with South Sudan, they were left cut off inside of the North with nowhere to go. Even worse, the CPA did not grant them longed-for autonomy but only “consultations” regarding their status. The Khartoum government is currently showing the Nuba its idea of consultations in the form of bombs and artillery shells.
The North’s leader, Omar al-Bashir, is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide in Darfur, where tens of thousands of black African Muslims were massacred by government troops in another civil war that started in 2003 and is still continuing. The land where the Darfur Africans have been ethically cleansed is now often occupied by Arab settlers.
The governor of Darfur at the time of these crimes, Ahmed Haroun, is also under ICC indictment for genocide. In an insult to the international community, Haroun recently became governor of South Kordofan where he is most likely expected to put his unique, genocidal talents to use once again.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t disappointed his superiors in Khartoum in this respect. Haroun ethnically cleansed in May an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 Dinka tribesmen from Abyei, an area of South Kordofan contiguous with South Sudan whose future was to be decided by referendum. Since Haroun has rid Abyei of most Dinka, the referendum can now go Khartoum’s way, and Abyei will become part of North Sudan. Despite the recent African Union-brokered decision to deploy 4,200 Ethiopian troops in Abyei to create a buffer zone between North and South, Bashir has stated “Abyei remains an ‘an integral part’ of the North Sudan.”
Haroun is also tightening the noose on the Nuba. Human Rights Watch reports that thousands of people are fleeing the area with “almost hourly reports from Nuba on the ground and in the diaspora that the number of women and children fleeing into the bush is growing rapidly.
“The World Council of Churches, with close ties to the people of Nuba, reports that as many as 300,000 civilians are besieged and cut off from relief assistance,” states Human Rights Watch. “Humanitarian conditions have deteriorated precipitously, with critical shortages of water and food already reported…Khartoum’s forces have permitted the looting of UN World Health Organization warehouses in Kadugli, which contained critical and other humanitarian supplies.”
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