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Satellite images from the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) show that Khartoum has amassed troops to shut the Nuba off from escape and stop food and medical aid from getting in. Initiated by actor/activist George Clooney in October 2010, SSP’s latest imagery shows “apparent artillery, main battle tanks, and infantry fighting vehicles controlling the main evacuation route for refugees attempting to flee into South Sudan.” Jonathan Hutson, Director of Communications for the Enough Project, says Khartoum “is creating a kill box . . . encircling the Nuba people of the Nuba Mountains, as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign.”
Sadly, this is not unexpected. Speaking at Kadugli, South Kordofan, soon after starting his attack on the Nuba in June 2011, war criminal Bashir threatened those who resisted Khartoum. Through rigging, his fellow ICC-indictee, Ahmed Haroun, Darfur’s genocide implementer, had been “elected” governor of South Kordofan. Resistance to his fraudulent election was met by Khartoum’s already-planned extermination campaign. Bashir declared, “If the people here refuse to honor the results of the election, then we will force them back into the mountains and prevent them from having food just as we did before.”
“Just as we did before” refers to the 1983-2005 Nuba genocide when the Nuba sided with South Sudan during the war. Nuba Muslims live as friends and brothers with Christians and refused to participate in Bashir’s jihad against the South. They were labeled “apostate” in an April 1993 government-sponsored fatwa that said, “An insurgent who was previously a Moslem is now an apostate; and a non-Moslem is a non-believer standing as a bulwark against the spread of Islam, and Islam has granted the freedom of killing both of them.” Tens of thousands of Nuba were killed outright or starved to death through saturation bombing and simultaneously banned international relief flights. Khartoum did “prevent from having food,” the same strategy the regime is now employing.
In 2002, the Sudan Peace Act, passed by Congress and signed into law as Public Law 107-245 by President George W. Bush, displayed understanding of Khartoum’s intentions, finding, “By regularly banning air transport relief flights by the United Nations relief operation OLS, the Government of Sudan has been able to manipulate the receipt of food aid by the Sudanese people from the United States and other donor countries as a devastating weapon of war in the ongoing effort by the Government of Sudan to starve targeted groups and subdue areas of Sudan outside of the Government’s control.” The law directs the President to an action modeled after the Berlin Airlift, to “develop a contingency plan to provide, outside the auspices of the United Nations if necessary, the greatest possible amount of United States Government and privately donated relief to all affected areas in Sudan, including the Nuba Mountains and the Upper Nile and the Blue Nile regions, in the event that the Government of Sudan imposes a total, partial, or incremental ban on OLS air transport relief flights.” It also provides reprogramming authority for the President to redirect “up to 100 percent of the funds” available for the UN operations to non-OLS agencies.
Alternate methods to deliver humanitarian aid, like those described in Public Law 107-245, could mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of people. For this reason, Act for Sudan, an alliance of Sudan activist organizations, is asking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to display the same level of concern for the Nuba and other oppressed peoples in Sudan as she has recently expressed for the Syrian people by protecting innocent Nuba from their own government. In the “Secretary Clinton: They Can’t Wait” campaign, Act for Sudan tells Clinton that the Nuba need protection and aid. The message can be posted on the State Department’s Engaging the Community on Foreign Affairs Facebook page and on Twitter.
For those who would argue that the U.S. cannot afford to pay for humanitarian supplies, the heartbreaking reality is that much of the food and medical aid is already on the ground just over the border in South Sudan, almost within sight of dying Nuba. It is not a matter of funds, but of moral will and the determination to cross borders and deliver the aid for which the Nuba people can’t wait.
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