Cold-blooded Mass Murder in the Nuba Mountains

More proof. What is the U.S. waiting for?

Contact Sudan Special Envoy Princeton Lyman and tell him you know the truth about what is happening despite the Administration’s moral equivalence and moral equivocation. Contact Congress and ask them what they are doing to do about Khartoum’s extermination campaign in the Nuba Mountains.

Reposted from The Sudan Tribune, July 4, 2011

By Samuel Totten

July 3, 2011 — Over the past four weeks, Government of Sudan (GoS) troops and allied militia have carried out a vicious and murderous attack on the people of the Nuba Mountains in the Sudanese state of South Kordafan. This is the very same government that perpetrated genocide in Darfur and continues to carry out devastating attacks on the region. Tellingly, Sudan’s president, Omer Al-Bashir, is already wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for the atrocities perpetrated in Darfur.

MIGs and Antonov bombers have created havoc in the Nuba Mountains; farms, tukuls, and churches have been burned to the ground; close to 100,000 people have been forced from their villages out into the wilderness and up into barren mountains; and untold numbers have been killed.

In Kadugli, the capital of South Kordafan, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have gone door to door in search of suspected members and supporters of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) and executed them on the spot. GoS troops have also planted land mines throughout the area. In Dilling, GoS soldiers carried out their own search for members and supporters of the SPLM and upon locating them slit their throats.

While there are UN troops (United Nations Mission in Sudan or UNMIS) in the Nuba Mountains they have largely served no purpose. If truth be told, they are actually exacerbating the situation. First, they do little more than largely observe the violence and certainly nothing to attempt to halt it. Second, two sources inside the Nuba Mountains, both of whom must remain unnamed, reported that Egyptian soldiers with UNMIS were seen raping local women in Kadugli as the latter sought sanctuary from the surrounding violence. Third, when a massive group of civilians sought assistance at UNMIS headquarters in Kadugli they were purportedly told to leave and go to Dilling, some 120 miles away   —  a horrific journey on foot in the face of the ongoing attacks. Finally, there are reports that UNMIS personnel told people to head north when seeking safety, thus apparently leading them directly into the hands of the GoS troops. It is no wonder that rumors are afloat that those Egyptian soldiers with UNMIS are on the payroll of Khartoum.

Various reasons are aswirl as to why GoS troops attacked the people of the Nuba Mountains. First, some four weeks ago, Al-Bashir threatened that if the people of the region did not readily accept the newly elected Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted by the ICC on over 40 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes for the horrors perpetrated in Darfur, as their governor, they would suffer the consequences. In fact, in a speech in Kadugli, Al-Bashir stated that his soldiers would chase the Nuba people up into the mountains as they did in the 1990s, leaving them without food to starve to death once again. Second, when members of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), who, along with the vast majority of people in the Nuba Mountains, voiced their vast disappointment that Abdel Aziz, a popular and former commander of the SLPA, had been cheated out of the governorship as a result of a rigged election and also refused to take off their uniforms when ordered to do so, GoS troops attacked them. Third, many believe that the real reason behind the attack is that Al-Bashir wants to gain absolute control over South Kordafan and the border area with South Sudan in order to strengthen his hand in negotiations over Abeyi, a oil rich region straddling the border between the north and the south. Finally, there are rumors that Al-Bashir wishes to gain control of as much land as possible along the border, an area that is poorly demarcated, as he also prepares for future negotiations with the new state of South Sudan.

Al-Bashir’s propensity for killing those with whom he disagrees, who question his authority and/or policies, who challenge his dictates, whose land he desires, and/or who he looks upon with distain and wants gone is well documented. He’s done it previously in the Nuba Mountains (in the 1990s when he carried out genocidal acts and virtually starved people to death), in Darfur between 2003 and today during which over 400,000 blacks Africans perished, and he is back at it once again in the Nuba Mountains. And the world should never forget or overlook the fact that just because the Comprehensive Peace Agreement has been signed by the north and south, Al-Bashir, as president of Sudan, oversaw a large part of the north-south war that resulted in some two million deaths.

Clearly, Al-Bashir specializes in perpetrating crimes against humanity, genocidal actions, and genocide, and he does so whenever he wishes in the belief that he can do so with impunity  —  the ICC or any other court or tribunal be damned.

For the sake of the people of the Nuba Mountains, for the sake of civilization, for the sake of our own decency, we, and the rest of the world, must show Omar Al-Bashir that he is wrong  — and that impunity does not reign.

Samuel Totten is a genocide scholar based at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He served as one of the 24 investigators with the U.S. Atrocities Documentation Project in eastern Chad. His most recent book is An Oral and Documentary History of the Darfur Genocide (Praeger Security International, 2010). He was last in the Nuba Mountains in January 2011 conducting research for a new book, Genocidal Actions Against the Nuba Mountains People: Interviews with Survivors of Mass Starvation and Other Atrocities.

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