Call for Action! Sudan Alert!

Emergency National Call-In Day to the White House on Sudan               Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Free South Sudan Media Center is endorsing the Genocide Intervention/Save Darfur organized Emergency Call-In Day to President Obama on Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 22, please dial 1-800-GENOCIDE, connect to the White House, and:

  • Say your name.                                 
  • Say what state you are from.
  • Ask the president to impose serious consequences on the Government of Sudan, freeze assets of its leaders and their businesses,  expand war crimes investigations, and ask the President to consider protecting the Sudanese people from their own government as he did the Libyans.
  • IRD suggests additionally saying that we do not expect our government to treat the murderers and their victims and defenders with moral equivalency!

The Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan State in central Sudan) have been under attack by Khartoum’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and affiliated Popular Defense Forces (PDF) militia since Sunday, June 5. Daily aerial bombardment has taken place, while on the ground the Khartoum forces are conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Nuba people, the indigenous black African people of the Nuba Mountains. People have been dragged from their homes or vehicles and slaughtered on the spot. Churches and schools have been looted and burned to the ground, and Christian clergy, as well as any supporters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have been targeted. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Save Darfur adds, “On Sunday, Sudanese president Al-Bashir threatened a repeat of Abyei and South Kordofan ‘lessons.’”

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Testimony of The Honorable Roger P. Winter on Sudan, June 15, 2011

“many Ngok I know, when I saw them in January this year, literally had tears in their eyes, believing with cause that the U.S. had abandoned them.

The following is the excellent statement by former Special Representative on Sudan for the U.S. State Department, the Honorable Roger P. Winter.  Winter has worked on Sudan humanitarian issues and advocacy for over 30 years. He was the Executive Director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees from 1981 to 2001. In 2001, he was appointed as the Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID, and in 2005 he was made the Special Representative of the Deputy Secretary of State for Sudan.  

Statement of
Roger P. Winter
Former Special Representative on Sudan
Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights
June 16, 2011

Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Payne and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify on this important issue. I have appeared before this Subcommittee or its predecessors many times over more than two decades, primarily discussing conflict in Sudan. It is my greatest wish that peace will prevail in all of what is now Sudan. However, I believe the widely‐shared aspiration for peace in Sudan is at risk, primarily because of the actions of the Khartoum government.

Having begun my work in and on Sudan in 1981, I was fortunate, first as the Executive Director of the nonprofit U.S. Committee for Refugees, then as Assistant Administrator of USAID and subsequently as the State Department’s Special Representative on Sudan, to be a member from 2001 to 2006 of the U.S. team that worked on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the failed Darfur Peace Agreement. As a result, I have seen the effects on the people of Sudan of the brutal, self‐serving, violence‐prone Bashir
government for more than two decades. From these experiences, I would like to make a few key observations on the South, the so‐called ‘Three Areas’ (Abyei, South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains, and southern Blue Nile), and our and diplomacy on Sudan.

Two weeks from today, June 30, 2011, will be the twenty‐second anniversary of the coup that brought the National Islamic Front, now called the National Congress Party, to power. Since then, President Bashir and his cronies have presided over the needless death of nearly three million Sudanese, in the South, in Darfur, in Abyei, in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains, in Southern Blue Nile, in Beja and, in fact, throughout its territory. Mega‐death in Sudan, however, has never precipitated an effective justice response. The unnecessary civilian death goes on unimpeded today. UN peacekeeping efforts, unlike the indispensable UN humanitarian initiatives, are often largely ineffective in protecting Sudanese civilians.
The International Criminal Court has proven to be largely irrelevant to the victims. Protective diplomacy since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in general has been for the most part ineffective. Khartoum sees these efforts to protect Sudanese civilians from political violence as bluster, not genuine protective initiatives of substance. History seems to have proven Khartoum right on that point.

As the CPA process lurched forward over the last six and one half years, it may have seemed to many that it was too long a process and would never end. However, in twenty‐three days, South Sudan will become an independent country. Last January, in a political exercise without equal, virtually all the people of South Sudan voted for independence. I have been an observer in numerous elections in Africa and have worked in elections here in the U.S. I have never seen a more orderly, more dignified exercise than ‘The Referendum’ in South Sudan. It was quiet, efficient, unchallengeable and essentially
unanimous. While I fully expect the Southern peoples’ choice of independence will in fact occur on July 9, I believe the actions of Khartoum in Abyei, the Nuba Mountains(South Kordofan state), and potentially Southern Blue Nile are like huge flashing red lights. They are signaling that over the next few weeks, and during the post‐Independence period, relations between Khartoum and the South will likely be poisonous at best, despite the fact that all these critical areas are not actually in South Sudan.

Historically, the borders between North and South Sudan have been changed numerous times. There are half a dozen currently‐contested border situations that present major issues between the CPA signatories that, ideally, need to be negotiated between the parties before Independence. The situation of Abyei is the most controversial and its history should be better understood, even in an abbreviated way, to get the picture.

In 1905, the homeland of the Ngok Dinka, i.e. Abyei, was transferred by the British colonial authorities from South Sudan to North Sudan for administrative purposes. Over a half century the Ngok developed a strong sentiment to return to the South where their physical and cultural heritage would not be an issue. These aspirations, along with other grievances of other Southerners, became the basis for the first phase of civil war in Sudan, starting just before independence from Britain on January 1, 1956. In the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement ending that war, the Ngok were promised a referendum on whether Abyei should be in North or South Sudan. In fact, Khartoum never allowed that referendum. Key Ngok leaders subsequently became key leaders in the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) when it ‘went to the bush’ in 1983, triggering the 22 year war that the CPA ended. The two warring parties, Khartoum and the SPLM, ultimately agreed in 2004 to the Abyei Protocol, which was drafted by the United States; it was the last major piece of the CPA to be signed. Khartoum never implemented any of the key
element of the Abyei Protocol and the U.S. and others never made a major issue of that failure. As a result, there was virtually no functional governance or services for the abandoned population in Abyei for years.

The Misseriya are a neighboring pastoralist population whose large traditional home area lies to the north of Abyei with Muglad as its principal town. The Misseriya, along with another group, constituted the so‐called Murahaleen, that in the 1980s were active in raiding Dinka communities for capturing and selling slaves. President Bashir has frequently mobilized Misseriya elements for military purposes in his Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). He has often mobilized Misseriya for his legions by publically promising them that he would get all of Abyei for them, virtually a commitment
to a policy of ethnic cleansing. These promises and his payoffs fueled high levels of tension between Misseriya and Ngok Dinka. This had strong implications for the Misseriya way of life. For several dry months of each year, by long‐standing agreements with the Ngok, the Misseriya need to bring their animals into Abyei and even further into South Sudan for water and pasture, a necessity that Bashir’s inflammatory actions could threaten.

In May, 2008 the 31st brigade and other Misseriya elements of the Sudan government’s military attacked Abyei and burned most of it to the ground, displacing the entire Ngok population. The UN protective force in Abyei hunkered down in their fort and did not venture out for days. I was there with several others to document the destruction by photograph and video. There was little if any reaction from the U.S. to Abyei’s travail. In the aftermath of Abyei’s destruction, the SPLM and the Khartoum government went to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. The Court defined the territory of Abyei,
which was in dispute; both the SPLM and the Khartoum government promised to implement the PCA decision, though Khartoum ultimately failed to do so.

Specifically, Khartoum sought to undermine the Protocol’s intentions: the Protocol clearly sought to provide the basis for a self‐determination referendum in which the voters would be members of the Ngok Dinka community and other Sudanese who are residents. In a illegitimate effort to takeover Abyei Khartoum began to move nomad Misseriya into Abyei in order to claim residency. (The equivalent of Khartoum’s proposal would be if I, a resident and voter who lived in Maryland ten months a year, could also claim at the same time to be a resident of and vote in Delaware by virtue of spending my summers
on Delaware’s ocean beaches.) Consequently, the NCP and SPLM could not agree on who would be able to vote in the Abyei referendum and, thus, that referendum has never been held, enraging and terrifying the Abyei population. U.S. Special Envoy Scott Gration essentially threw gasoline on the situation by suggesting, as he approached the end of his tenure, that a sizeable chunk of northern Abyei should be jointly administered by both Ngok and Misseriya, a proposal that would not even come close to improving the livelihood situation the Misseriya could have by having a constructive relationship with the Ngok. Rather, it would help Khartoum. Because of Gration’s intervention, many Ngok I know, when I saw them in January this year, literally had tears in their eyes, believing with cause that the U.S. had abandoned them.

After the Southern Referendum vote on January 9, 2011, Khartoum escalated the pressure on Abyei, and last month (May 21) stormed it militarily. Once again, the Ngok had to run for their lives and become homeless paupers; their homes destroyed and looted, their dreams dashed again. Letting Khartoum get away with this kind of repetitive destruction and dislocation makes a sick mockery of the so‐called ‘right to return’. On June 8 the Associated Press reported that a confidential UN report dated May 29 expressed concern about ‘ethnic cleansing ‘ in Abyei. Juba appealed the takeover to the international community, making no military threats, at least for now.

Some observers suggest that Khartoum ‘took’ Abyei as a bargaining chip to maximize its leverage in negotiating a final North‐South agreement on oil revenues: Khartoum, it was thought by some, would compromise on Abyei if their oil share was big enough. Others suggest the SPLM is holding off any military response until after July 9. Either could be right. What is clear is that additional violent possibilities are likely to be in Abyei’s future, with unknown implications for the North‐South relationship after July 9. It is clear U.S. diplomacy on Abyei under two Administrations has failed miserably on one of the most predictably explosive elements in the CPA, a failure that may violently ricochet through the region for decades to come.

The only way to ultimately protect the horribly and continuously abused residents of Abyei who have suffered more than almost any community anywhere in this world, is to move Abyei and its residents to the independent South Sudan.

South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile (SBN)
These two areas are in located in Northern Sudan, just above the north‐south border. During the war that the CPA ended, many thousands of the people in these areas joined and fought for the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army. They were attracted by the SPLM’s vision of a ‘New Sudan’ in which people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, could benefit equally. Most recruits were of African heritage. Religiously they included both Muslims and Christians. The Deputy Governor of South Kordofan is SPLM General Abdul Aziz Al‐Hilu, a heroic figure who led the first SPLA forces into Darfur in the 1990s to protect the people from the ethnic cleansing actions of Khartoum; he is targeted now for
death by Kharoum’s forces.

For many years, there was a fatwa by Islamic leaders in Khartoum against the people of the Nuba Mountains in what is now South Kordofan State. As a result they lived remotely in the mountains for security. I remember very well in August 1995 going to Nuba, which had essentially been a ‘no go’ area for years. There was no transport capacity anywhere at the time so I walked, passing burned out churches on the way. After meeting with a group of Nuba Christian leaders for several hours trying to understand their tribulations at the hand of the Khartoum government, I then went directly into a similar meeting with the Nuba Muslim leadership. Those two communities get on well in Nuba, but the Muslim Nuba leaders insisted to me that Khartoum treats them worse than it does the Christian Nuba because Khartoum views the Nuba Muslims as “not the right kind of Muslims”. The genocide in Nuba was real and documented by African Rights, Alex de Waal and many others. Nuba were often just shot on sight by Khartoum forces, no questions asked. Today, again, Nuba are positioned for liquidation by Khartoum forces.

South Kordofan’s governor is a fugitive wanted by the International Criminal Court and under his leadership all hell has broken loose in the state‐literally. The underlying issue is implementation of the CPA requirements on redeployment of combatants. For the Khartoum forces, this process was simpler than for the SPLA. The SAF elements in the South were overwhelmingly northerners who could return to the North. Southerners who fought on Khartoum’s side were generally in Southern militia groups, most of whom were integrated into the SPLA when their units were disbanded. However, in the large SPLA
forces in South Kordofan and in Southern Blue Nile, the fighters were overwhelmingly residents of South Kordofan and SBN, i.e. SPLA northerners. While many have been demobilized or otherwise integrated, many have not. Like the ‘Popular Consultation’ provisions of the CPA, which have been seriously delayed and are in fact controversial, so too has the demobilization or redeployment process been running behind schedule, though the deadline is the end of the transition period plus 90 days.

Rather than negotiating a realistic solution, Khartoum sought first to try to force all those not yet redeployed or demobilized SPLA soldiers to go to South Sudan, unsuccessfully seeking to compel these Northerners to move to the South. On June 5, fighting between SAF and these SPLA Nuba forces started, quickly turning into a broader attack on local opponents and Christians. Quickly senior northern SPLM and NCP leaders flew to Kadugli. The SPLM proposed and the two sides negotiated and signed a ceasefire agreement and returned to Khartoum. Two hours after the delegation left, Khartoum forces attacked Abdu Aziz’s residence as well as civilians; large‐scale violence exploded. Throughout South
Kordofan reports of gratuitous violence by SAF and their allies are now the norm. In Kadugli, Christian civilians and clerics have been attacked; 100 Christians were tear‐gassed out of a church compound. Advanced Mig 29s are bombing in numerous locations. People are being dragged out of their living space and killed. In Kadugli the Church of Christ was burned. Reputable eyewitnesses saw people, presumed to be SPLA sympathizers, dragged out of the UNMIS compound in Kadugli and executed in front of UNMIS personnel, who did not intervene. And so on. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is reporting that 140,000 people have already been displaced. John Ashworth, an internationally recognized authority on Sudan, and others explains that ‘ethnic Nubans are being targeted by the northern military and Arab militias…they are being hunted down for their ethnicity’. Other reports, not just from Kadugli, but in Dilling, Kauda and a dozen other locations, people thought to be supporters of the SPLM had their throats cut. The sky is full of airplanes‐Migs, Antinovs, even a Hercules, doing their deadly work but humanitarian flights into SK have been denied since June 5. As one friend on the
humanitarian front line told me, “We are losing access from the south and have had none from the north. Nuba needs help! NUBA NEEDS HELP!” What little humanitarian capacity exists is draining away quickly.

The southern part of Blue Nile state also is required under the CPA to redeploy SPLA forces, including those in the Joint Integrated Units, and is also subject to the CPA provision that demobilization would happen by the end of the transition period plus 90 days. While no violence has been reported in SBN, Khartoum’s massive violence in South Kordofan could well erupt in SBN.

American Diplomacy: The CPA and its implementation‐Some Thoughts

It is my view that the American initiative, in partnership with Kenya, Britain, Norway and others, which produced the CPA was a truly noteworthy American diplomatic success. President Bush deserves significant credit for that achievement. However, producing it and seeing that it was implemented are two very different processes. In my view, the ultimate flaw in the implementation phase that we now face was the inattention or the misguided attention that was paid by the U.S. to the volatile issues beyond those of South Sudan itself. I am referring to the so‐called ‘Three Areas’, all three of which then were potential time bombs, and two of which have exploded in massive violence just as the CPA comes
to its close. In my view, Abyei was almost totally ignored by the Bush administration after the CPA was signed. Even when it was destroyed in 2008, Abyei remained ‘a lost ball in the tall grass’.

One complication is the many very unique aspects of the Three Areas. These range from location, visibility, history, political importance, political allegiances, and many others. The location factor is key. When Dr. John Garang before his death would make his case for a ‘New Sudan’, a broad swath of Sudanese as individuals and as a people could visualize the attractions of a ‘new’ and better Sudan. After the shock of his death, a revitalized National Islamic Front/National Congress Party, having been threatened by Dr. John’s vision of a New Sudan, took the low road of selective implementation of CPA provisions. They slow‐rolled boundary demarcation, assured no Abyei referendum occurred and seriously undermined any genuine NCP‐SPLM partnership, all with explosive implications.

Yes, it is a good thing that Khartoum allowed the Southern Referendum to be held; but Khartoum allowed this to occur only because of the threat posed by the local and international consequences. But destroying Abyei in May, 2008 and invading Abyei several weeks ago, destroying opposition populations in South Kordofan and perhaps elsewhere‐‐‐these kinds of actions are achievable by the NCP and, they think, strengthen them for the future. And unfortunately for the populations at risk, they are all in the
North: Khartoum may attack and expect only a neutered international reaction.

I believe the more than two years of the Obama administration’s approach to Sudan made matters worse, emboldening Khartoum, and setting the stage for Abyei’s and South Kordofan’s current horrors. Perhaps the eccentricities of General Gration’s approach to being Special Envoy for Sudan are related to the Administration’s commitment to ‘reach out’ to the Arab and Islamic world. His seemingly intimate relationship with the NCP leadership led to his many public references to that leadership as ‘my friends’, a penchant that was always noticed by observers, including the NCP’s victims, North and South. How
does one justify friendship with men who are responsible for three million civilian deaths? Another of his very harmful legacies is the subtle implantation in the U.S.G. system of the characterization of Khartoum and the SPLM as moral equals, a distortion some journalists have picked‐up. My greatest issue, though, was General Gration’s highly biased approach to Abyei.

General Gration and I one afternoon had an extended discussion about Abyei. I tried to convey my views on Abyei based on fifteen years of studying and visiting Abyei. Periodically he would say, speaking of Abyei residency, “I have to be fair to the Misseriya”. I would say “Of course you need to be fair to the Misseriya but which Misseriya are you talking about? Do you mean those that are actual residents living in Abyei or are you referring to others? “ In the course of our discussion, he repeated that mantra a half
dozen times without ever answering my question. Unfortunately his blind commitment surely underpinned his proposal to give the Misseriya a role in administering northern Abyei thereby emboldening the latest SAF invasion and occupation of Abyei. In my view this misguided approach to Abyei reveals far too much of the Administration’s Sudan policies of the past two and a half years.

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The Last of the Nuba? Don’t Let It Happen!

The following is an article by musician and Sudan activist Slater Armstrong, who has spent a lot of time in the Nuba Mountains, recording the worship music of the church there, just as he did in South Sudan for his CD, Even in Sorrow. Armstrong is now the co-founder of ENGAGE (End Nuba Genocide: A Global Effort).

Armstrong reveals the history of this ancient people of Kush. “The current political situation must be viewed with the backdrop of this historical context to fully appreciate the threat of complete annihilation of the Nuba at hand. The United Nations is in the compromised position of catering to the designs of it’s powerful Arab bloc, as well as the most powerful business partners of Sudan on the Security Council, China and Russia,” says Armstrong.

The Last Of The Nuba – Slater Armstrong

Sunday, June 12, 2011

“The last of the ancient Nuba people died in the genocide today!” is a potential headline if something drastic and decisive is not done soon to prevent the genocidal regime of Khartoum, Sudan from their stated goal to eradicate the noble, “pure people” of the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.

Across the continent of Africa, in the distant new lands of America, we are literally a world away, and have no context to process the tragedy unfolding in this most remote, most devastated place. Without this context, they are just another tragedy in the land of Africa where “those people” are killing each other again. In a world on fire with natural calamities too numerous to list, and the “Arab Spring” moving into an “Arab Summer,” how can we hear another story of someone else’s pain that has no connection to our
own? But is there a connection?

Children of the Nuba Mountains. Who knows if they are still alive now. (Photo by Slater Armstrong)

Please grant these most desperate children of the ancient Nubian Kingdoms of Kush a moment of your time to hear the swan song of their final cry. The people of Kush, modern day Sudan, have a story as deep and as long as the great Nile River that runs through it, as immovable as the Nuba Mountains that bear their names. This article cannot begin to express the myriad of stories their history tells. Here are a few brief highlights:

They were host to some of the world’s earliest recorded civilizations. They were the Black Pharaohs of Egypt, who fought alongside Israel to prevent their annihilation by Assyria. The biblical story of Phillip and the “Ethiopian eunuch” records the Christian baptism of the Jewish official from the court of the Queen of the South, the Candace (pronounced “kan-da-ke”), ruler of the lands of Kush in the 8th century of the dynasty of Meroe. They were Christian Kingdoms from the 6th century AD until the 15th century AD when they
were finally subjugated by the Arab-Islamic slave trade.

At the end of the 19th century, in an attempt to abolish the slave trade in Sudan, the British defeated the Mahdi (Islamic “messiah”), and established a British-Egyptian condominium rule that lasted from roughly 1898 until 1956. When Sudan was granted their independence, the “keys to the kingdom” of Sudan (Arabic for “land of the black slave”) were handed to the elite Arab merchants (“Jellaba”), and they have been in “civil war” ever since.

Here is a typical Nuba Mountains "school," while children in Northern Sudan have modern, Western-building schools. (Photo by Slater Armstrong)

The problem with the term “civil war” is the equivocation between the two parties in conflict, that diminishes the rightful cause of the one party to defend themselves as a people from the genocidal ambitions of the other. For centuries the genocide took the form of forced Arabization and Islamization as tools of subjugation. Through rape and sex
slavery an army of “black Arab” tribes was cultivated to do the dirty work of “harvesting” the valuable commodity of chattel slaves in the Sudan. It is these very same Arabized tribes that have been employed by the Islamist regimes of Sudan, trained by the very first Al Qaeda training camps (“janjaweed” and “mujahadeen”), who have been unleashed to finish the job of complete eradication, “solving the Nuba problem” finally!

Hope Primary School of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, Diocese of Kadugli and Nuba Mountains. What is left after Khartoum's war on the Nuba? (Photo by Slater Armstrong)

The current political situation must be viewed with the backdrop of this historical context to fully appreciate the threat of complete annihilation of the Nuba at hand. The United Nations is in the compromised position of catering to the designs of it’s powerful Arab bloc, as well as the  most powerful business partners of Sudan on the Security Council, China and Russia. Of course the power brokers in all of this are those extracting the most
valuable world commodity of oil, clawing at the purse strings and defining conversation on this crisis. The talk is all about the “oil rich district of Abyei” being contested by the North and the new South Sudan. Until recently, when the state of South Kordofan is mentioned it is merely in terms that cast the beleaguered SPLA of the Nuba as a side story with little relevance to the bigger picture, sore losers who can’t seem to just move on.

What is being under reported and seemingly left out of the equation by the international community is the fact that the Omer Bashir-Ahmed Haroun genocide team has clearly stated, for all the world to hear, the releasing of their hordes of hell with a “free hand” to “remove the rebels who remain” and chase them all the way into the caves and mountains where the civilians seek refuge. This is the resumption of the program implemented prior
to the CPA as stated in Roger Winter’s monumental report on landmines in the Nuba, “Landmines and recovery in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains” (Africa Today Vol. 55,
No. 3 (2009) – “Under the Islamist regime of Brigadier Omar Hassan Al-Bashir (30
June 1989 to present), some officials in the national government of Sudan went further and repeatedly expressed overt intentions at exterminating the Nuba people and in the process resorted to all means, including the use of Baggara militias, to achieve a “final solution” to the “Nuba problem” (Africa Watch 1992; Rahhal 2001).



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Front Page: The Islamist Proxy War in South Sudan

Originally published on Front Page Magazine

Sunday, June 5, the National Congress Party (aka the National Islamic Front) regime began waging war in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. But even as the northern government stronghold of Khartoum brazenly is attacking the Nuba Mountains (Kordofan to the Arabs) as well as other north/south border areas, such as the oil rich region of Abyei, it also continues to violate the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that it signed with the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) by attacking South Sudan.

In attacking the South, Khartoum is not as brazen. Thinking that, in spite of the world’s track record of indifference, someone might actually hold it accountable for such an obvious CPA violation, Khartoum is using proxy militias to do its dirty work in the South. Attacks by these proxy militias are intended to destabilize the South, which is set to become Africa’s 54th nation less than a month from now on July 9, 2011.

One such proxy group creating havoc and misery in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State is the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is a Northern Ugandan rebel group led by the now-middle-aged madman Joseph Kony. For over twenty-five years it has been abducting children, and so brutalizing them that they become mindless killing machines. It has used these children to kill hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in Northern Uganda, Southern Sudan, and more recently, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. By 2006, the LRA had abducted over 50,000 children to make child soldiers and sex slaves.

Most of the girls abducted by the LRA become child mothers. (Photo by Sarita Hartz Hendrickson, founder of Zion Project, a home for these child mothers and their children.)

The Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment project warns “there remains no firm evidence of Sudanese government support for the group.” Maybe no “firm” evidence, but there is little doubt that it is Khartoum using the LRA to try to create a “failed state” in South Sudan. Escaped child soldiers and other LRA abductees frequently have reported seeing Sudan Armed Forces trucks during their time in captivity. The trucks were delivering food, weapons, and uniforms to LRA commanders. And in recent days, the LRA has teamed up with the Janjaweed, the killers in Darfur, receiving training and weapons at
Islamic camps that have been set up there. For although some (usually secular elites, hostile to Christianity) refer to Kony as a “Christian,” his current belief system is a combination of the demonic and Islam. A New York Times reporter, C.J. Chivers, told
of the various “spirits” that take possession of Kony.

Make Way Partners, a ministry to orphans and former child soldiers, last week reported that the LRA had attacked a village near their home for children on the South Sudan/Uganda border on Wednesday, June 1. Although they could not yet confirm hard numbers after receiving the news in a June 3 phone call, they knew that many had been
wounded, some had been killed, and others had been captured. And they knew the
details of horrific acts that have been repeated in villages all over East Africa since Kony began taking children in 1986, to ensure himself an ever-replenished army of boys and girls, some as young as five or six years old.

According to a Make Way Partners report, in this most recent of numerous LRA attacks, the rebels gathered all the children together and started killing people right in front of their eyes. They forced the children to kill their own parents. After the slaughter, the boys had to carry large metal barrels, and the girls had to fetch water to fill the barrels. They built fires around the barrels, and while the water was heating up, the children were forced to hack up their parents and fellow children’s bodies and throw their dismembered parts in the boiling water. After some time, the children were then made to eat the
flesh. In this way the LRA commanders knew that the children were so traumatized
that they would do anything. They would not try to run away because there was
nowhere and no one left to which to run.

One South Sudanese official from Western Equatoria confirms that Khartoum is using the LRA to destabilize South Sudan. He says that they are targeting Western Equatoria State, which borders Uganda, because it is so fertile, and has the potential to be the breadbasket for the region. If it is destabilized, it will affect the food supply of the country, as well as lessening the possibilities of profitable commercial agriculture. Khartoum’s proxy militia is
also targeting it because it is a strong Christian community.

In addition, ongoing LRA attacks would have a terrible impact on the people of Western Equatoria who have always been extremely self-sufficient. Even now people are abandoning their homes and attempting to find shelter in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. This was what happened to the Acholi people in Northern Uganda, fleeing from LRA attacks. Almost 90% of the entire population of Acholi ended up deserting their farms, living in miserable IDP camps where they were still not adequately protected from LRA attacks.

The Equatorians do not want to be dependent on NGOs and the U.N. for their existence. At present they are trying to provide their own security with “arrow boys,” young men armed with nothing but homemade bows and arrows who protect against the well-armed LRA. They want the government to supply them with real arms, but there is little chance of that taking place if only for the reason that the Government of South Sudan is well aware that it is under scrutiny by the global community, and it is always held to a higher standard than the Islamists in Khartoum.

What is really needed to help the people of Western Equatoria State as Khartoum wages its proxy war against them via the LRA is the full implementation of U.S. law found in the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act” of 2010. In this legislation, which was heartily supported on both sides of the aisle, Congress required the U.S. government to develop a regional strategy supporting multilateral efforts to stop the LRA. The President was to report on the creation of that strategy within six months of the act’s passage.

In November 2010, the Obama administration presented its strategy. The four major objectives were: protect civilians, apprehend Kony and senior commanders, promote the defection and disarmament of LRA fighters (remember these were abducted children), and increase humanitarian access to the region. But according to the young activists of The
, an advocacy organization working to end Kony’s reign of terror in East Africa and help rebuild the affected communities, the administration’s performance has been poor. Resolve recently published a report card, giving President Obama a B, two Cs, and two Ds for the implementation of the strategy.

In days in which the Republicans are striving to bring fiscal sanity to the United States and to cut the budget, this act may seem doomed. But many of the most fiscally conservative members of Congress are supporters, understanding that in addition to any moral imperative to act, our own security and the security of East Africa are intertwined more than most people think. Ending Khartoum’s proxy war on South Sudan would cost far less than our continual bombing of Libya, or our largess to President Mubarak’s successors in Egypt, or our unending jizya to the Palestinian Authority. And in this case, we actually would know that in helping the people of South Sudan we were helping true friends and allies in the fight for secular democracy and religious freedom.

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U.N. Pulls Staff from Sudanese City

From The New York Times, June 12, 2011:

U.N. Pulls Staff from Sudanese City

The United Nations has begun pulling nonessential staff members from the restive Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan, even as it sends more peacekeepers there to protect civilians, officials said Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, met with his southern counterpart, Salva Kiir, in Ethiopia, alongside Ethiopia’s president and Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa, to begin talks aimed at resolving the border dispute.

Heavy fighting erupted in Kadugli, the capital of Southern Kordofan, a week ago, one of two border areas where the northern Sudanese government has deployed troops in recent weeks ahead of a planned split of north and south into separate countries next month.

Humanitarian officials said Sunday that the situation in Kadugli was deteriorating.

“The troop capacity is stretched to the limit,” said Hua Jiang, a spokeswoman for the United Nations in Sudan. “The troops that we have there are not enough to secure the whole area.”

She said a contingent of Bangladeshi peacekeepers had been brought to the region from elsewhere in the country.

The United Nations compound in Kadugli seemed to be at risk. A United Nations humanitarian official said that the compound had five days of food rations left, and a security report issued Saturday said the peacekeeping force “can no longer guarantee the safety of some of its national staff.”

The report said that up to 60 staff members were stranded in central Kadugli, and the local government had not allowed the United Nations to take them to its compound on the city’s outskirts.

Thousands of city residents have crowded a displaced persons camp near the compound. At least 6,000 were believed to be there on Sunday, and the protection was said to be spotty.

United Nations officials said they could not rule out reports that people had been abducted from the camp.

>>> More

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Fighting ramps up in Sudan border regions

From Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2011:

Fears of another civil war are playing out in Sudan as troops led by President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir have overrun towns and attacked tribesmen loyal to the south around a contested border region of oil reserves and well-armed militias.

Bloodshed and streams of refugees are a dangerous prelude to July 9, when southern Sudan, after decades of conflict that left more than 2 million dead, gains independence. The south will inherit the bulk of the nation’s oil supplies and the incursions by northern forces appear to be part of Bashir’s strategy to press the south for last-minute concessions.

 The north’s economy is struggling and Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region, is loath to let billions of dollars in oil revenue slip away. U.S. and other Western officials worry, however, that Khartoum’s attacks along the border and in a neighboring northern state could tip the country into war and upset a volatile stretch of East Africa.

Northern troops and tanks captured the contested Abyei border region last month, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. Holding Abyei would give Bashir a larger share of oil or allow him to negotiate money from the south in return for withdrawing his soldiers. The north and south have yet to agree on boundaries or a formula to share oil revenue.

The northern-controlled oil state of South Kordofan has also turned volatile. The state is filled with militants who battled the north in the civil war that ended with a 2005 peace agreement. Bashir sent his army into the area last week when tension rose after a northern-backed candidate, who was also wanted by the International Criminal Court, was elected governor.

The United Nations says fighting between southern and northern elements has forced at least 40,000 people to flee Southern Kordofan’s capital, Kadugli. The north claims the Southern People’s Liberation Movement, or SPLM, which runs the southern government, is instigating trouble. The south contends the north has invented that pretext to harden its grip across the Nuba Mountains and increase pressure on the border.

“The government in Khartoum seems to have taken a more belligerent and proactive military approach to the situation, perhaps thinking this gives them some advantages in the negotiations, first by the military takeover in Abyei and then by sending forces into South Kordofan,” said Princeton N. Lyman, U.S. envoy to Sudan, in an interview with Voice of America. “I’m not sure why the government chose in the last few weeks to turn to this kind of a policy, but it is very, very threatening to the whole negotiating process.”

Bashir and SPLM President Salva Kiir met Sunday for talks in Ethiopia, with the Sudanese media reporting that Bashir has agreed to pull back his troops from Abyei before July 9 and replace them with Ethiopian peacekeepers under the United Nations flag. The report could not be independently confirmed. Bashir has reneged on previous promises.

In Southern Kordofan, the Bashir government denied reports by an SPLM spokesman that the south had shot down two northern warplanes amid heavy fighting. Khartoum has indicated it will not back down until militants loyal to the south are disarmed and routed.

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Peers Call for Khartoum to be referred to International Criminal Court for Crimes Against Humanity

Two members of the British House of Lords have long stood out as staunch defenders of global human rights and religious freedom. Caroline Cox, Baroness Cox of Queensbury, and David Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool, have spoken out for people from Burma to

Caroline, The Baroness Cox, on one of her many trips to Sudan.

North Korea, from Pakistan to Ngorno Karabakh. And both are very well acquainted with Sudan, and loved by Sudan’s marginalized people across the country.

Lord Alton, founder of Jubilee Campaign in Parliament

Responding to the ongoing attack on the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan by the National Islamist Front regime in Khartoum (a.k.a. National Congress Party), they, along with their colleague and fellow human rights advocate, Eric Lubbock, 4th Baron Avebury, dismiss  the sort of moral equivalency that always finds it way into statements from the White House and the State Department. In their joint

Lord Avebury

letter to the British Government, they note that “respected partners on the ground. . . have starkly described the situation as ‘ethnic cleansing.'” Lord Alton has posted the entire exchange, including a House of Lords Questions for Written Answer in which he asks if Her Majesty’s Government will ask the United Nations Security Council “to consider extending the  inquiry of the  International Criminal Court into Field Marshall Omar al Bashir and his indictment in respect of crimes against humanity elsewhere  in Sudan to cover current events in Abyei and Southern Kordofan (Nuba Mountains).”


The Rt. Hon. William Hague
Minister of State
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Cc The Lord
Howell of Guildford, Henry Bellingham MP, Douglas Alexander MP, Andrew Mitchell
MP, The Baroness Verma,  The Baroness Kinnock.

June 10th

We are writing to you to ask for your urgent response to the
rapidly deteriorating situation in Southern Kordofan and Abyie. Latest reports
from respected partners on the ground – NGOs, including many well-recognised
charities – have starkly described the situation as ‘ethnic

Yesterday, we met a senior official from the interim
Government of Southern Sudan who estimates the number of recently displaced
people as between 200,000 and a quarter of a million. With the oncoming rainy
season, this is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making, reminiscent of

The aerial bombardment of civilians is a crime against
humanity; the ethnic cleansing could soon become genocide. We would urge you to
take immediately the following steps:

(i) To raise the issue at the UN
Security Council;

(ii) To call for the ICC to extend its enquiries and
remit from Darfur to include these regions of Abyie and Southern

(iii) To establish whether UNMIS is merely acting as a passive
observer as the horrors unfold; and, if so, to call for an extension of its
remit to fulfil the requirement of a ‘duty to protect’;

(iv) With Andrew Mitchell to respond urgently to the severe and escalating humanitarian crisis in both Abyie and Southern Kordofan;

(v) As I write this letter, we are receiving reports of aerial bombardment of Unity State in Southern Sudan; if
this is happening, to consider the implications of this extension of hostilities and its implications for the destabilisation of Southern Sudan with the forthcoming declaration of Independence on July 9th; and to offer the interim Government of Southern Sudan all appropriate support to maintain its preparations for Independence.

Baroness Cox of Queensbury, Lord Alton
of Liverpool and Lord


of Lords Questions for Written Answer :  Abyei and Southern

Tabled June 9th            ;

Lord Alton of
Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of events in
Abyei and Southern Kordofan they will ask the United Nations Security Council to
consider extending the  inquiry of the  International Criminal Court into Field
Marshall Omar al Bashir and his indictment in respect of crimes against humanity
elsewhere  in Sudan to cover current events in Abyei and Southern Kordofan

House of Lords
Questions for Written Answer :  Abyei and Southern Kordofan

Tabled on 8
June and due for answer by 22 June.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her
Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of who has been responsible
for the fighting in Kadugli, the Sudanese capital of Southern Kordofan; of the
number of people who have been displaced; of the role of the United Nations
mission; and of the humanitarian and security implications.   HL9782

Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether recent events in
Abyei and South Kordofan will affect the United Kingdom’s intention to grant
official recognition to the Republic of South Sudan on 9 July.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what
action they are taking to persuade the government of Sudan to seek a negotiated
future for the 75,000 Sudan People’s Liberation Army soldiers in Joint
Integrated Units in South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions of Sudan.

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether
the displacement of the Ngok Dinka people from Abyei, Sudan, and the attempt to
prevent supplies from reaching them by closing the border, constitutes a policy
of ethnic cleansing; and whether they will provide extra assistance so that the
Dinka Ngok people can survive in areas of Northern Warrap, and are not forced to
move further South away from Abyei.   HL9785

Lord Alton of Liverpool to
ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the number of people
displaced from Abyei, Sudan.   HL9786

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her
Majesty’s Government what is the impact on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of
recent events in Abyei and South Kordofan, Sudan.   HL9787

Alton of Liverpool to ask her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have
made of reports on June 10th 2011 that between 30,000 and 40,000 people have
fled fighting in Kadugli, Southern Kordofan, and of reports, also on June 10th,
of  aerial bombardment of Parieng County of South Sudan’s Unity

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government why
UNMIS forces  in Southern Kordofan have played no active part in preventing the
displacement of 200,000 people; to set out the terms of the UNMIS mandate; and
to state whether HMG believes that a passive by-standing role accords with the
UN doctrine of a “duty to protect.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask her
Majesty’s Government to set out what events have to occur in a territory before
they call for an investigation into crime against humanity  and before they
designate such acts as aggression as ethnic cleansing; and whether current
events in Southern Kordofan and Abyei meet these criteria.

Let’s hope, for the sake of the Nuba people, that the British government answers the call of these great humanitarian Peers.

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Clashes in Sudan Intensify and Thousands Flee, United Nations Says

From the New York Times:

NAIROBI, Kenya — The northern Sudanese military is going on a “house-to-house” hunt for opposition forces in the embattled city of Kadugli, near Sudan’s disputed internal border, as intensifying clashes are forcing tens of thousands of people to flee, United Nations officials said Friday.

Recent aggression by the government in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, has “put into grave jeopardy” the possibility of normalized relations with the United States, a top American official said.

Heavy fighting in Kadugli, the capital of Southern Kordofan — a northern Sudanese state with a large southern Sudanese-aligned population — erupted Sunday, just weeks before the scheduled separation on July 9 of southern Sudan from the north.

Many of the soldiers who fought alongside the south during the decades-long civil war with the north are from Southern Kordofan, particularly the Nuba Mountains area, and the state was due to hold vaguely defined “popular consultations” on its political future this year.

But last week the northern military deployed tanks and thousands of soldiers to Kadugli to forcibly disarm the southern-allied soldiers there, and fighting soon broke out in a number of locations and has since continued to spread.

Many analysts believe that the sudden flurry of military activity — northern forces occupied the contested region of Abyei last month in overwhelming numbers and a few days later sent a letter to southern Sudan saying it was going to do the same in two more politically-volatile states, including Southern Kordofan — is part of a calculated, hard-knuckled negotiating strategy to pressure the south into conceding more oil or money to the north as Sudan prepares to split into two.

While the south holds roughly 75 percent of Sudan’s oil reserves, the north has the refineries and pipelines; conventional wisdom argues that the two sides need each other for their economies to survive.

United Nations officials’ reports of house-to-house searches in Kadugli were corroborated by church groups in the Nuba Mountains. The United Nations also said the northern Sudanese military conducted aerial bombardments on four locations in the area on Thursday.

While the United Nations has said it would try to protect civilians in the area, there have also been reports that northern Sudanese forces were abducting civilians from a displaced-person camp adjacent to a United Nations peacekeeping base in Kadugli.

“The S.A.F. are trying to consolidate their grip over the town,” said Hua Jiang, a spokeswoman for the United Nations in Sudan, referring the northern Sudanese army.

“The fighting has been ongoing,” Ms. Jiang said. “Looting is ongoing, and some of the U.N. agencies’ warehouses and offices have been ransacked.”

“This is a very serious situation,” she added.

The United Nations also said that the northern army bombed a southern Sudanese military base along the border between the north and south on Thursday. One United Nation’s official, speaking on condition of anonymity, warned that if negotiations over the next week between northern and southern officials failed, the tensions could “blow.”

The southern Sudanese military on Friday said that the bombing had occurred 12 miles into southern Sudanese territory, but that the army would not retaliate.

“Definitely it is an attack on southern Sudan, and we are expecting more attacks,” said Colonel Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the southern Sudanese military, adding that he feared that northern land forces were advancing toward southern territory.

“The borders have not been demarcated,” Col. Aguer said, “and they are occupying what they think the border should be.”

Northern Sudan has agreed to honor the independence of the south in part because the United States, which helped brokered a 2005 peace agreement between the two sides, indicated that it was willing to lift sanctions on the north and normalize diplomatic relations, if the government in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, met certain conditions.

But Susan E. Rice, the American diplomat to the United Nations, said the recent northern aggression, especially in Abyei, was not helping Khartoum’s case.

“They have put into grave jeopardy the implementation of the roadmap,” she said. “Because they have not only not fulfilled their obligations; they are doing the opposite.”

“But if they were to pull out and withdraw their forces, and allow for a neutral peacekeeping presence” in Abyei, Ms. Rice said, “it’s not necessarily too late. But they have to hurry. The world is watching and waiting.”

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Sudan launches air strikes ‘to control oil fields’

Via YahooNews:

JUBA, Sudan (AFP) – The Sudanese army has launched repeated air strikes on southern army positions in Unity state, less than a month ahead of the south’s independence, in a bid to seize the state’s oil fields, a southern army spokesman charged on Friday.

“SAF aircraft bombed the area of Yau, in Unity state, many times on Thursday,” Philip Aguer told AFP, referring to the north’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).

“This area is deep inside south Sudan and is a move by Khartoum to control the area and create a de facto border to control our oil fields,” added the spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army of the south.

Aguer said the SPLA was on “maximum alert” and strengthening its defensive positions, fearing the start of an invasion to seize the oil fields.

A Sudanese army spokesman was not immediately available for comment but the spokesman for a southern rebel group in Unity state, which has battled with the SPLA in recent months, confirmed the air strikes.

“The bombing was of SPLA positions, sending the SPLA running from South Kordofan,” Bol Gatouth Kol said, while denying his group was involved in the fighting.

Heavy clashes between SAF troops and northern members of the former southern rebel army first erupted in South Kordofan, the adjacent state north of the border, on Sunday.

The heavily armed state retains strong links to the south, especially among the indigenous Nuba peoples who fought on the side of the southern rebels, even though their homeland, the Nuba Mountains, lies in the north.

The United Nations earlier warned that the fighting had spread right across the volatile border state, raising the prospect of direct conflict between north and south Sudan just ahead of southern independence on July 9.

The UN office for humanitarian affairs said in Geneva on Friday that up to 40,000 people are now estimated to have fled the fighting just in the state capital Kadugli.

South Kordofan is north Sudan’s only oil-producing state.

It accounts for around 25 percent of Sudan’s total output of around 480,000 barrels per day, meaning Khartoum will see a sharp fall in its vital oil revenues when the south secedes, unless an amicable revenue-sharing agreement is reached.

That now seems unlikely.

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UN reports ‘extremely worrying’ attacks on civilians in Southern Kordofan

From the UN News Centre:

10 June 2011 –
The United Nations human rights office today said it had received “extremely worrying” reports of civilian casualties and massive displacement of people, amid deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan, where forces of the northern and southern governments are engaged in fighting.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to immediately stop the indiscriminate shelling, refrain from attacks on civilians and provide safe corridors for the safe passage of civilians, in line with international humanitarian and human rights law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The northern army known as the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) is reported to be engaged in fighting with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of Southern Sudan, the semi-autonomous region that is due to become an independent State next month. Clashes have taken place in the Southern Kordofan capital of Kadugli and surrounding areas.

Mr. Colville said OHCHR officers have been in touch with doctors and a priest in the region who confirmed a number of civilian injuries and deaths in Um Durein village and Talodi town, as well as house-to-house searches west of Kadugli.

Roadblocks have been erected preventing medical and humanitarian access, and a number of civilians have been killed while trying to retrieve food from their homes. The Kadugli Catholic Church, where a number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought refuge, has also come under attack.

“To give one example of the types of reports we have been receiving, a 25-year-old man from the Hagar Alnar neighbourhood told human rights officers that he and his eight siblings decided to revisit their home on Wednesday morning to retrieve food and other items, but they were confronted by police forces who shot and killed two of his brothers. The fate of the other six is unknown. Eyewitnesses confirmed the incident,” said Mr. Colville.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that between 30,000 and 40,000 people, out of an estimated 60,000 inhabitants of Kadugli, are believed to have fled the town. Dilling town and a number of villages in the areas around Kadugli are also reported to be deserted, according to the OCHA spokesperson in Geneva, Elisabeth Byrs.

Some civilians have arrived in El Obeid, in Northern Kordofan state, some 250 kilometres north of Kadugli, in vehicles, while others are reportedly moving further north. Others are headed southwards towards the Nuba Mountains on foot.

Some IDPs, as well as local and international non-governmental organisations and UN staff, have taken refuge outside the compound of the UN peacekeeping mission (UNMIS) on the outskirts of Kadugli. The number of displaced people along the main road between the UNMIS compound and the airport is estimated at between 6,000 and 10,000 people, according to OCHA.

UNMIS has erected six tents with the capacity to accommodate 400 people and has distributed water to the IDPs around the compound. A delegation of UN officials, including Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier, visited Kadugli yesterday and met with the governor in a bid to persuade authorities to protect civilians and humanitarian assets.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) planned to begin food distributions tomorrow for up to 10,000 IDPs near the UNMIS compound in Kadugli, and about 7,000 others in villages around Kauda, according to spokesperson Emilia Casella.

The distributions will, however, depend on the security situation, she added. The agency was, until now, unable to distribute food due to insecurity and a lack of access to the warehouse in Kadugli.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said that the Kadugli hospital was not functioning, but the medical officer in charge of the hospital was providing services to IDPs near the UNMIS compound.

The agency, in partnership with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, has also started providing medical services to the displaced population there, Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesperson told reporters in Geneva.

WHO will in the next two days ship an additional 30 basic health kits to Southern Kordofan, enough to cover the needs of 30,000 people for three months. Over the past three weeks essential drugs and medical supplies had been pre-positioned in seven primary health care centres in anticipation of a possible spill-over of the conflict in the disputed area of Abyei into Kadugli.

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