Geopolitical Research Institute(GRI)/Εταιρεία Γεωπολιτικών Ερευνών(ΕΓΕ)

Δευτέρα, 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

Tensions between North and South Sudan

Last Thursday at 11:00 PM, the joint forces of SAF and the PDF opened fire on a three car SPLM convoy carrying a delegation out of Al Damazein at the town’s southern checkpoint.
By George Okore

 The Sudanese ruling National Congress Party (NCP) moved significant military forces - comprised of Popular Defence Forces (PDF), national security, and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) - with heavy military equipment into Blue Nile state. 

Blue Nile state is one of the contentious “three areas” claimed by both the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) and NCP. It was given special status along with South Kordofan in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that provided for administration of the state to be shared between the two parties until the elections, and for a popular consultation to take place after the elections to assess popular opinions of the administration of the state under the CPA.

Although Blue Nile state is located firmly within Northern Sudan, there remains significant SPLM/A presence and SPLM Northern Sector’s Chairman, Malik Agar, won the race for governor in the April 2010 elections. Coming after recent resurgent fighting between SPLM and NCP in South Kordofan in June, it is feared the fighting will spread to Blue Nile.

“The decision to move military troops and equipment into the state indicates that the government of Sudan is looking to expand the war into Blue Nile state. Forces and equipment have been distributed around the capital town of Al Damazein,” says Osman Hummaida, Executive Director at Afrcain Center for Peace and Justice Studies.

Events from the past three days are worrying. Last Thursday at 11:00 PM, the joint forces of SAF and the PDF opened fire on a three car SPLM convoy carrying a delegation out of Al Damazein at the town’s southern checkpoint. The fire was returned and fighting moved inside the town to the areas of Al Nahda, the crops market, industrial area and nearby NCP military headquarters.

Later the same night, the popular militia, brought from Khartoum by aircraft, attacked the SPLM residential area in Al Mustshareen sector and opened fire on Governor Malik Agar house, killing members of his guards and arresting others. Witnesses say that the Sudanese government forces fired on anyone that appeared to be affiliated with the SPLM and arrested some others.

Heavy military equipment from the North has been distributed inside civilians sectors in the town including in Hai Alganes where witnesses say they saw five tanks and three military landcruisers with doshka guns mounted to them. Witnesses said that around 30 civilians were killed as a result of the fighting and many others were injured.

Both NCP and SPLM have suffered more than 200 fatalities and approximately 500 more were injured in the fighting. Following initial fighting, SPLM controls Albao, Kurmuk and Gisaan and the rest of the state remains under NCP control. The fighting has caused around 50,000 civilians - mostly women, children, and elderly men - to flee Al Damazein and Al Rusairis towns into Sennar state. The Northern military forces have closed the main road linking Blue Nile to Sennar, causing those fleeing the areas of fighting to have to take more difficult roads impacted by the rainy season.

On Friday, Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile and suspended application of interim constitution there. A series of presidential orders were issued, including replacing the elected governor with a military governor. Far from protecting civilians, the state of emergency allows Northern militias and SAF to arrest and try anyone suspected of affiliation with SPLM.  Consequently, it is possible that anyone who is not a member of NCP may be targeted for arrest and summary trial.

The seriousness of situation in Blue Nile and the potential for repetition of serious violations of international law in Southern Kordofan and Darfur require urgent action by the international community. They must necessarily focus on protection of civilians, ensuring humanitarian access, and facilitation of ceasefire negotiations. It will be critical to ensure that Blue Nile citizens have access to humanitarian assistance. The NCP should not be allowed to prevent this access as they have done in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan.

The declaration of the war in Blue Nile, fighting in Darfur and South Kordofan and Abyei stalemate – put many civilians at risk in Sudan. It is worth noting that these regions of Northern Sudan are the ones most populated by persons that identify as having African rather than Arab ethnicity. The international community must therefore monitor the rights of these ethnic groups and take urgent steps to prevent the exacerbation of their situation. The need for monitoring is all the more urgent because constitutional protections have been suspended in the state. Mechanisms like the special court established by Bashir in a Presidential Decree are likely to simply give legal cover to the targeting of members of the SPLM and violate the right of defendants to a fair trial. 
Source : news from africa.org

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου