Timeline of events relating to South Sudan and offered at: http://southsudaninfo.net
Created by chesterrhoder on Nov 17, 2009
Last updated: 07/21/11 at 01:51 PM
Tags: South Sudan Sudan CPA SPLM NCP Juba Khartoum peace civil war elections Darfur referendum
(SudanVotes) As Southern Sudan engages in the complex process of state building, free media seems to be one aspect the government needs to allocate more attention to. The Citizen, the only newspaper printed in the South, was subject to a police raid last Sunday.
With Southern Sudan soon to become an independent country, the main pillars of state building are now going through a process of revision and readjustment. Media in Sudan has known, under the rule of Khartoum, a series of abuses and sometimes violent instances of censorship. Free media is one of the pillars the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) claims to be committed to, as part of its transition towards democratic rule.
The latest police raid on Sunday 20 February against 'The Citizen', the only newspaper with a printing press in Southern Sudan, triggers concern over the future of free media in the region. The raid has been described as an "isolated incident" by Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the Southern Sudan Information and Broadcasting Minister, in a report by AFP. The raid is not to compromise the basis of freedom upon which all media houses were and will be established in Southern Sudan, he further explained in the same report.
The Chairman of the Editorial Board of 'The Citizen', Nhial Bol, guessed the raid to be caused by an article published in the newspaper, criticizing police management in the soon to become independent state. Establishing a printing press in the South was partially due to the high level of censorship exercised by the Khartoum government in the North, particularly against Southern media journalists. However, the freedom of media promised by the Southern government is now under scrutiny, as the North's repressive methods against freedom of expression could be adopted in the South.
While the government promises a law guaranteeing the rights of journalists to be passed, media managers from other media outlets and activists like David De Dau, the head of South Sudan's Agency for Independent Media (AIM), express concern and hope for the media bill to be passed shortly. Marvis Birungi brings this report from Juba, describing different aspects of this raid:
by Marvis Birungi
(SudanVotes) Al-Masir (the Destiny) is the newest newspaper to be published in Southern Sudan after the vote on secession. It is as well the first Arabic-language newspaper to be ever published by Southerners in the South.
What is the idea behind behind publishing the first arabic-language newspaper in the South, especially giving the sensitivities towards all that is Arab in this region? This question, among many others, were answered by Al-Masir's editor-in-chief Atem Simon.
Q: Mr. Atem, doesn't the idea of a newspaper in Arabic in the South seem strange, especially after the separation has been decided?
A: There is nothing strange about Al-Masir being an Arabic-speaking newspaper for many reasons. The first of which is the entire new generation of Southerners, who grew up and were educated in the North, and thus speak and read Arabic. This has an undeniable impact on culture.
The other more important reason is that we need to have an Arabic newspaper which reflects the realities of the South and communicates a true image against the distorted one propagated by the North. We want and we need to modify this image, and hence become the reference of all information and analysis about our own country.
Finally, language must contribute to open Southern Sudan to the world. Consequently, our media discourse must be influential in the Middle East as well. We are trying to print copies of the newspaper in Cairo, and we are as well thinking of a copy for the Arabian Gulf.
Q: What is your message to the Arabian Gulf?
A: We seek to present our countries to all other states, with all that we have to offer from resources, such as oil, to investment opportunities. The existence of the press means its contribution to the processes of state building and constitutional dialogue. Our greater ambition is to establish a TV channel and multimedia centre.
Q: Newspapers in the South are all English speaking and Al-Masir alone is different. Will you be able to withstand the pressure?
A: Other Arabic-language newspapers will be published in the coming days in the South. The Ministry of Information has granted licenses to 'Al-Istiqlal' (The Independence) newspaper, which was founded by Southern journalists.
There is no wonder in these developments, as the South Sudan TV is both in Arabic and English, as is the case of the South Sudan Radio and news agency too. The previous standpoint concerning the Arabic language was politically, socially and historically justified.
Q: Al-Masir newspaper was recently published, but was not distributed in the North. Why?
A: I suppose the reasons to be related to the restricted freedom of expression. There are topics which cannot be covered in the North, and I suspect that the obsession of authorities with issues concerning Darfur and the hidden facets of the North-South conflict played a great role in prohibiting the distribution of Al-Masir there.
Q: It is widely known that Northern newspapers are distributed in the South. Could there be any countermeasures, prohibiting the distribution of these newspapers in the South, as a retribution for preventing the distribution of Al-Masir in the North?
A: We will not take any steps to prevent the distribution of Northern newspapers in the South, although there are voices calling for this move. We will only demand the distribution of Southern newspapers in the North. This is only one of the many outstanding issues yet to be resolved.
Q: Al-Masir was accused of speaking on behalf of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). How accurate is this accusation?
A: (He laughingly replied): The SPLM has the ability to publish a newspaper speaking for them. I think that a newspaper which speaks for one party is not serving its interests nor those of the party. For us, the highest goal is to serve South Sudan as a country.
In addition, the political equations are different now after the referendum. The reality is different and the SPLM does not need a newspaper and it cannot have the whole Southern media speaking on its behalf. In addition, the South needs an independent and free press, representing the citizens and their aspirations.
Q: One view expressed frequently says that most of the staff currently employed in the Southern press have little practical journalistic experience, inclusive of yourself, and you are the editor-in-chief of the newspaper?
A: Journalistic practice is tied to the ability and conviction of the staff about the field they work in. There has to be a genuine desire to be a journalist with all the meanings the word holds. In Al-Masir, we have brought along a group of trained youths in addition to a group of experienced young journalists.
We have an experienced editorial assistant, the journalist Ajok Awadallah joined our team as well as the press advisor Gabriel Joseph. These three have considerable experience in journalism. We have as well the intention of training journalists so as to have a spirit of continuation, allowing us to benefit from experienced members in our team.
Q: Society in Southern Sudan is organised along tribal lines and is now experiencing many complexities. What message do you send to this society?
A: Social development in Southern Sudan suffered from the complete absence of state institutions, thus creating an empty space. Tribes filled that space by taking care of their members and managing relations between different societal entities.
We need a strong civil society and political parties which present ideas uniting people. As a newspaper, we see our role as a contributor to building a civil society, which is aware, connected and united around issues of concern to all.
by Hassan Farouk
photo: The logo of Al-Masir (the Destiny) newspaper. © Al-Masir
(Reuters) - Sudan's south has erupted in deadly clashes between the army and many militias centered in oil-rich areas, killing hundreds this year and sparking fears of instability ahead of the region's expected independence in July.
The U.N. Security Council on Monday held a closed-door meeting on the violence and the disputed Abyei region, where clashes have threatened a 2005 north-south peace deal.
Here are some questions and answers on the recent violence.
WHO ARE THE MILITIA?
George Athor, a senior southern army (SPLA) commander who broke away after disputing April 2010 elections, says he is coordinating fighters in the oil-producing states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei where he is based. He says the soldiers left the SPLA, disillusioned with its democratic credentials. Other militias are vigilante forces formed to protect local communities in the south's rural security vacuum, where civilians are heavily armed after decades of civil war. The south's dominant party, the SPLM, says the fighters are armed by the north.
Southerners voted overwhelmingly in a January referendum for secession from the rest of Sudan, but the SPLM says Khartoum wants to destabilize the south ahead of independence to keep it weak and under the thumb of the more developed north. Some 75 percent of Sudan's 500,000 barrels per day of oil comes from southern wells. Khartoum denies any support for militias. Critics of the SPLM say an amnesty it granted for rebels last year was only to ensure the January secession referendum went smoothly. Some of the militias had gathered in locations designated by the army as a prelude to integrating them into official forces.
"In all these instances of fighting, without exception, the SPLA attacked. You gave someone a designated place and then you attack them -- why would you do that?" said southern opposition politician Lam Akol.
Two diplomatic sources in Khartoum told Reuters the SPLA had decided to rout the armed groups militarily rather than talk.
COULD THE VIOLENCE SPARK FRESH CIVIL WAR?
Khartoum exploited existing ethnic southern tensions, arming proxy militias during the north-south civil war that ended in a 2005 peace deal. While the SPLM says Khartoum has renewed this policy and it has documents to prove it, the north denies this. The violence has hardened positions on talks on the mechanics of secession -- the two sides are far apart on agreeing a joint border, sharing oil, and on the status of the disputed Abyei region where satellite images have shown troops massing from both sides. While neither side can afford a return to all-out war given their dependence on oil revenues, Abyei is still a major bone of contention which could reignite localized conflict.
WILL THE VIOLENCE THREATEN THE NEW STATE?
South Sudan has little infrastructure and a heavily armed population prone to ethnic tensions. The government has failed to extend control to rural areas, leaving security vacuums.
The dense forests are conducive to guerrilla warfare, so the SPLM is unlikely to successfully resolve rebellions militarily.
If it does not adopt an inclusive approach to south-south dialogue the new state could become unstable, discouraging investment and even donor aid, which it will desperately need to develop state institutions.
WHAT ABOUT ABYEI?
Abyei's disputed status has the potential to derail peace and the U.N. Security Council promised this in Monday's talks.
Abyei's referendum on whether to join the north or south is unlikely to happen as the former foes cannot agree on who will vote. The region lies along the north-south border near Sudan's largest oil fields.
Neither side looks willing to compromise, troops have amassed from both sides and, if emotions rise, logic could go out of the window and spark a wider conflict. The international community wants a solution before the south's secession takes place in July.
By Opheera McDoom
(Bloomberg) Sudanese militia fighters killed five people in an attack on a village in Abyei, a region claimed by both northern and southern Sudan, said the chief administrator for the area, Deng Arop.
The attack occurred when the northern government’s Popular Defense Forces militia attacked the village of Dungop east of Abyei town at 2 a.m. local time, Arop said by phone. Hua Jiang, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in Sudan, confirmed the killings.
Southern Sudan’s army spokesman, Philip Aguer, said that only three people were killed in the attack. Two soldiers from the region’s army who were visiting the area were wounded, he said. Sudanese army spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khaled did not answer calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.
Oil-rich Southern Sudan voted in January to secede from the rest of Sudan and will become independent in July. Abyei was supposed to vote at the same time to decide whether to be part of the north or south. The plebiscite, part of the 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan’s two-decade civil war, was postponed because of disputes over who is eligible to vote.
Fighting in the region in January, which claimed more than 60 lives, ended after northern-backed ethnic Misseriya leaders agreed in principle that they should pay compensation for killings in 2010, while the Ngok Dinka, who are supported by Southern Sudan’s government, would allow the Misseriya to bring their cattle to the region in their annual seasonal migration in search of water.
The Ngok Dinka said they alone should be allowed to vote in the region’s referendum. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, in a 2009 ruling, set Abyei’s borders to the area around Ngok Dinka settlements, largely excluding the Misseriya.
The Misseriya, supported by President Umar al-Bashir’s government in Khartoum, say that as seasonal inhabitants of Abyei they should also have the right to vote in the referendum. The north-south peace agreement gave Abyei “special administrative status” and its residents citizenship in both the north and south.
Clashes in the area three years ago between the armies of northern and southern Sudan killed 89 people and forced more than 90,000 people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration, in its ruling, set key oil fields, including Heglig and Bamboo, outside of the Abyei region. Those fields and Diffra in Abyei are run by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co., which is 40 percent owned by Beijing-based China National Petroleum Corp.
Abyei accounts for less than 2,500 barrels a day, according to Sudan’s Oil Ministry.
Sudan’s army dropped several bombs from an Antonov plane close to two villages in the Southern Sudanese state of Western Bahr el-Ghazal, close to the border with the north, at 10 a.m. yesterday, Aguer said. There were no reports of casualties, he said.
by By Matt Richmond
(SudanVotes) According to David Gressly, the failure to reintegrate militia groups into the SPLA intensifies the instability across Southern Sudan.
Since the referendum in January, Southern Sudan has witnessed growing instability, largely attributed to militias who are allegedly dissatisfied with the ongoing democratic transition in the country and therefore refuse to be integrated into the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Many states across the South and along the border areas with the North have been attacked by rebels displacing thousands and killing hundreds.
Marvis Birungi spoke to David Gressly, UNMIS Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan, about the current security situation in the region:
by Marvis Birungi
photo: David Gressly (at podium), UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan.
© UN Photo/Tim McKulka
(UPI) Six years after the end of a ruinous civil war in Sudan, war clouds are gathering over the ravaged East African region again amid a string of deadly clashes that threaten the emergence of an independent state in the south scheduled for July.
In recent weeks, hundreds of people have been reported killed in clashes, largely between the southern government led by former rebel general Salva Kiir and renegade militias allegedly bankrolled by the Khartoum government of President Omar al-Bashir in the north.
Southerners voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession in a Jan. 9-15 referendum. That was a cornerstone of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army, the main rebel force, that ended decades of the civil war.
Leaders of the Christian and animist south accuse Bashir's Arab Muslim regime, and the ruling National Congress Party, of arming renegade southern militias and directing them to destabilize the south.
"The NCP is not interested in peace, it's not interested in cooperation. It's only interested in destabilizing South Sudan," declared Pagan Amum, secretary-general of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
That's the political arm of the rebel forces that fought Khartoum for all but 11 years since Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1956.
On March 12, Kiir suspended negotiations with the north over how to divide the oil industry and the national debt and demarcate the north-south border, a strategic issue since most of the oil reserves straddle the current unofficial boundary.
With a plethora of vital issues far from resolved between the two sides, the breakdown in talks could greatly inflame the spiraling crisis as partition looms closer.
Khartoum denied allegations it is plotting to overthrow Kiir's struggling administration and install a "puppet government" in Juba, the south's flyblown capital.
Amum produced Arabic-language documents he said proved Juba's accusations. Although the authenticity of the documents couldn't be independently verified, they purport to show how the northern regime supplied weapons to southern renegades.
They supposedly show that Bashir started arming a militia commanded by George Athor, a former chief of staff of the southern rebel forces, in May 2010.
That was a month after he lost a state gubernatorial election in the south and took up arms against his former comrades, claiming Kiir had rigged the polling to keep him from winning office.
Athor has been blamed for massacres in which some 300 southern civilians were killed in February and March.
One document dated May 18, 2010, and signed by a military commander in the northern city of Kosti, purports that arms and ammunition were handed over to one of Athor's agents.
Another document dated Sept. 22, 2010, was purportedly written by a senior intelligence official seeking permission to arm Lam Akol, another southern renegade, and other "friendly forces." This was apparently granted.
Claire McEvoy of Geneva's Small Arms Survey, which has monitored the Sudan bloodletting in which some 2 million people died, mainly from famine and disease, said that over the years the north has consistently sought to subvert the southern rebels by backing breakaway factions.
"There's a long history of dissenters in the south being backed by military intelligence in the north as a means of destabilizing it, and the potential for this remains," she cautioned.
The region is already one of the most impoverished and underdeveloped places on the planet. Wracked by disease, famine, drought and illiteracy, it has less than 50 miles of paved road. It's riddled with corruption and tribal rivalries that the feeble SPLM government is unable to control.
This makes the region fertile ground for a sustained destabilization campaign by the north, which is reluctant to relinquish the bulk of Sudan's oil reserves in the south.
Southern Sudan is to formally gain independence July 9 and take control of about three-quarters of Sudan's current oil production of around 500,000 barrels a day.
This is pumped primarily by the China National Petroleum Corp., Petroliam Nasional of Malaysia and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Sudan has proven reserves estimated at 5 billion barrels.
Most of the oil-producing fields are in the border states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei and these have become flash points between rival forces.
(StillSudan) Apparently the secession talks between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) arrived at a stage that necessitated realignment beyond the negotiation table, what does not equate to a dead end but rather signifies a bottleneck.
In quite a dramatic twist, the SPLM’s Secretary General, Pagan Amum, declared in Khartoum on 12 March the suspension of talks with the NCP on the grounds that Khartoum was plotting to overthrow the SPLM government through its presumed proxies, Athor, Oliny, the rebels of Jonglei and Upper Nile, and Lam Akol the master conniver. Back in Juba on 14 March Amum produced documents to back his claim that the intelligence branch of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) was busy providing the Southern militias with arms and training. President Bashir, whom Amum accused of overseeing the whole episode, caricatured the allegation during his address to an NCP function marking the disengagement of the ruling party’s Southern Sector with the phrase “if somebody just coughs in Juba they [the SPLM] point fingers at the NCP”. In his polemic against Khartoum Amum employed the terms ‘genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ to tag the supposed SAF masterplan in the North-South border zone, reference being to the recent waves of violence in Abyei.
Now, the same Amum stated in his Juba press conference that the SPLM and the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) were ready and willing to offer the Khartoum government a generous grant to ease the pain of the loss of oil revenues upon the declaration of partition on 9 July. The day before, 13 March, President Bashir announced the formation of a committee headed by the minister of oil, Lual Deng, from the SPLM, and joining the auditor general of the Khartoum government, and the auditor of the GoSS, mandated with the selection of a foreign firm to review the oil production figures of the last 5 years, a measure that Bashir declared was necessary to refute the accusations of foul play in the oil revenue sharing arrangements between the North and the South. A weak earlier a Khartoum newspaper quoting Pagan Amum reported that the NCP had demanded the extension of the CPA oil sharing formula between Khartoum and Juba for another 7 years, a request to which the SPLM responded with a resonant no.
It would be naive to assume that the military intelligence, acting with or without a political cover, would shy away from leaking arms to old or new acquaintances in the South, if not by recent design at least as a matter of habit. However, from that level of involvement to a plot targeting power in Juba there is a wide terrain, one which the military intelligence even if it wanted would find difficult to cross. Otherwise, how did it lose the war in the South in the first place? In a sense, Pagan Amum, similar to Bashir, caricatured a situation he knows better. Both were not funny.
What is being played out is the screaming stage of a hard bargain. Amum, I presume, was crying out to the Prendergastian gaze, particularly that the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army has lately landed in front of the humanitarian muzzle for bullying the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) acting under the Chapter VII element of its mandate, the protection of civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, in case it dares trespass into the combat zones of Jonglei.
Adding an evil twist, what could be the future of Pagan Amum in the new South, with the likes of Lam Akol equally anxious to capitalize on the Shilluk constituency, Amum's prospective power base now that the liberation phase has passed, and seek a return to the Juba scene through constitutional means, Lam Akol the democrat this time.
BY MAGDI EL GIZOULI
photo: Pagan Amum
(SudanVotes) Many intellectuals see Darfur as an erupting volcano that might revert to a dormant state after the independence of South Sudan in July 2011. The future of Darfur is interlinked with the nature of the relations between the North and the South.
Darfur is situated in the western part of Sudan and is known for its long and complex political and humanitarian crises. The International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for various crimes allegedly committed in Darfur: War crimes and crimes against humanity. Looking at Northern and Southern Sudan as two independent countries, which interests have been interlinked for long, the question is: will the Darfur crisis have a negative impact on the relations between the two countries after 9 July 2011?
Prof. Bari A. Wanji is a veteran member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), hailing from Central Equatoria. The 74-year-old, like Dr John Garang De Mabior, has left historical marks during the South’s struggle period. He was "Foreign Affairs Minister" of the Anyanya rebels and rejected the Addis Ababa Agreement signed in 1972 which granted Southern Sudan an independent but semi-autonomous government.
Currently a Member of Parliament in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Bari speaks in an official interview about the implications of the Darfur crisis, if it remains unresolved before the interim period ends, on both Southern and Northern Sudan:
Q: What could be the implications of the Darfur crisis on Southern and Northern Sudan if it is not resolved before the end of the interim period? And can you trace some historical political landmarks of the Darfur crisis?
A: The history of Darfur has been well documented. As you might know, Darfur was incorporated by the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan only in 1916. Before that, Darfur was an independent Sultanate. The second important fact is that Darfur is an African land belonging to African people. Most of them are Muslim and very attached to their African cultures. The Afro-culture precedes and is the foundation upon which the Islamic conversion spread. So Darfuris cannot be assimilated into the Arab culture in Sudan. They are an African people.
If the Darfur question is not resolved before the end of the interim period, it will create a complicated situation. This will arise with the fact that the ruling group in Khartoum is not prepared to recognise their (Darfuris') right to self-determination which they (Darfuris) are entitled to. It took the South many years and many lives for Khartoum to concede to the South's right for self-determination. So why should that same right not be granted to Darfur?
Of course, the difference between the South and Darfur is the majority of non-muslims in the South, but historically, the people of Darfur and Southern Sudanese are the same. It is only that the Darfuris have been 'arabised' to some extent in terms of religion, Islamic culture et cetera. But basically, the most important factor is that the Darfuris are politically and historically entitled to exercise self-determination either to remain in the Arab Sudan or separate to form their own state.
The South is going to become an independent state. We will observe certain international laws. For example, from now on we will not be able to interfere openly in the Darfur issue, hence we cannot send our armies to fight along with the Darfuris. But everybody knows that the sympathy of the South lies on the side of Darfuris, because their case is genuine. After all, we went as well through all the stages the Darfuris are going through now.
If you go to Wau, the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, there is a very large settlement of Darfuris. They have been able to influence the people of the South. Not only that, a good number of Darfuris joined our army. So indeed they have been able to win the sympathy of many Southerners. But as I said, of course we will not interfere in the internal affairs of Sudan. Sympathy does not mean that you have to participate in their (Darfuris') liberation war, as we will be bound to observe international law.
Another point concerns ethnicity. If we go back to history, we see that the Darfuris, Nubians and the people of Blue Nile made a mistake by fighting against us from 1955 to 1972. This was because they were politically unconscious. So now, they have discovered that the issue was not religious but ethnic. The South holds no grudge and we will continue to advocate for the self-determination of the Darfuris internationally. Support for their self-determination is not a crime and the South will have every legitimate right to support the Darfuris' cause.
Q: It is not the first time that the Darfur rebels are coming to a round table with the Khartoum government. Do you see these on-going negotiations as potentially yielding a successful resolution of the Darfur crises?
A: Looking at the history of the struggle in the South, the Sudanese government should understand that they will eventually have to give in. The North will try to keep Darfur as long as possible, but with the Darfuris gaining experience in warfare, I believe they will ultimately win. Their cause is not about fighting to dominate the Arabs, it is about liberation. As for the negotiations in Doha, I have already referred to the reluctance of the Northerns to reach an agreement. If they (Northerners) do not cooperate, they will be defeated. The Sudanese government will not bring Arabs to fight Darfuris.
Q: Why do you think the Darfuris will win?
A: Because the world has changed. Darfur will have its own sympathisers. I am not talking about the South, there are other African states supporting the cause of the Darfuris.
Q: What would be the factors prolonging the negotiations to reach final successful agreements between the two parties? Could it be because of the factions in Darfur or because Khartoum is still fighting South Sudan?
A. Even in the South, we have many factions. It is in the nature of liberation wars. The enemies exploit these differences, I think you know our history. So to me, the factions have their differences but at the end it is the wish of the people of Darfur that will win.
The crises in Darfur require real commitment from all parties for a real and honest resolution to begin. Dichotomous visions, blame games and personal interests seem however to still be the main lines along which the problems of Darfur are dealt with. The soon to come independence of Southern Sudan is bound to change the political make-up of the region. With the North and the South both independent and sovereign states, the degree of involvement of each will surely depend on the national and security interests of each party. In the midst of political, military and diplomatic plots, the fate of the people of Darfur must be paramount before any peaceful processes start in the region.
by Boboya Simon Wudu
photo: Prof. Bari Wanji.
© Boboya Simon Wudu
(ST) The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), which became the official opposition political party in South Sudan following elections in April last year, denied on Monday that it is linked to any armed militia groups in the region.
The statement comes in response to accusations made by senior members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the region’s governing party, that the armed militia which attacked Malakal town on Friday and Saturday was linked to the party.
SPLM-DC split from the SPLM in 2009, led by Sudan’s former foreign minister Lam Akol. The SPLM, which have governed the south since a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum, have previously accused Akol and the SPLM-DC of being backed by Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party.
The SPLM’s secretary general Pagan Amum said on Monday that the fighting, which involved the use of heavy artillery and other modern military weapons mounted to trucks, was carried out by militia belonging to the SPLM-DC.
However, on Monday Lam Akol in a press release obtained by Sudan Tribune said SPLM-DC was purely a political party and that it has no connection with any armed militia group operating in South Sudan.
"This is not the first time that leading elements in the SPLM especially the Secretary General, allege that our party owns militia around Malakal town. We have affirmed time and again that we are purely a political party that does not have any armed formations of any sort", said Akol.
He also accused the SPLM of hoping that by repeating the accusation, which he described as a lie, often enough it would start to be believed.
"On this serious allegation which is tantamount to sedition, we deposited a law suit against the SPLM Secretary General and the national Ministry of Justice sent a letter to the President of the Government of Southern Sudan requesting the lifting of immunity of this person so that he is investigated on this serious allegation but, up to the moment of this release, the authorities in the Government of Southern Sudan did not act on that".
"Therefore, if the Secretary General was serious in his allegations, what we simply ask him to do is to expedite the lifting of the immunity to prove his claims. Otherwise, nobody will take him seriously and his allegations shall remain nothing but cheap material for political consumption of the credulous", explained Akol.
Both Akol and the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum are members of the Shilluk ethnic group but have long political differences, which emerged during Sudan’s second North-South civil war (1983-2005). Akol was one of a group of generals from the southern rebels the SPLA, which acrimoniously split from the movement in 1991, before rejoining the SPLA/M before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005.
The SPLM-DC leader accused Amum, who is also the minister of Peace and CPA implementation in the government of South Sudan, and the SPLM of trying to destroy his party. During the election of April 2010 SPLM-DC candidates claimed they experienced harassment and their campaigning was restricted.
Akol’s press release said that the SPLM was preparing legislation that would make it impossible for his party to register as a political party. He claimed that on 9 November 2009, the president of the government of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, issued a directive to all governors of the ten Southern States not to allow SPLM-DC to practice political work.
"The order did not specify the reasons for that drastic action. Our party deposited on 25/11/2009 a law suit before the Constitutional Court challenging the order. We expected the SPLM/GOSS to prove before the Court their oft-repeated allegations that SPLM-DC has armed formations. Nothing of the sort took place and the Constitutional Court ruled on 17/1/2010 that the order was null and void. This decision of the Constitutional Court did not please the SPLM which tried hard to ignore it".
"But, the circumstances of the General Elections forced them to recognize the court’s decision although they continued placing hurdles against the party. Our members were arrested and tortured and our offices forcefully closed down and we were prevented from campaigning in the states of Bahr el Ghazal. We all still remember the SPLM’s attempt to unseat the elected members of the SPLM-DC in the SSLA", he explained.
Akol further claimed that the SPLM intended to control the work of political parties in the South and planned to control “briefcase” parties. He said that “the first target of the SPLM for deregistration is SPLM-DC.”
“They think it is much easier to do so if they persist on linking the party to armed groups. The SPLM is intent on establishing a one-party system in the nascent Republic of South Sudan. For sure, they are swimming against the current of this century", said Akol.
South Sudan will become independent in July following a referendum in January, which saw an overwhelming vote for secession.
Peter Adwok Nyaba, minister of higher education in the federal government of Sudan and who is a member of the Shilluk ethnic group, on Monday in an Interview with Sudan Tribune said he has sufficient evidence that Akol had supported the attack on Malakal. The minister said he has information the group planned to oust Upper Nile state governor Simon Kun Puoc.
"This is not a joke. I have sufficient evidence", said Adwok. "One of the militia groups who attacked Malakal on Friday night and Saturday morning, approached and confided to my sister in law their plan to launch an attack so that she accumulate enough food for her survival.”
Adwok said that his sister in-law was told that the militia had been instructed to kill him and his wife. He also said that they would have attempted to shoot down Pagan Amum’s plane had he flown into Malakal.
The education minister also claimed that the militia intended to kill Upper Nile governor Simon Kun Puoch and break into the town’s bank.
He said the armed youth from his tribe led by Oliny, which he described as the Chollo or Shilluk Land Defense Forces, are indeed a militia group supported and armed by what he called enemies of the people of South Sudan. The SPLM have accused Khartoum’s NCP of backing the SPLM-DC and Southern militia against the SPLM led government.
Adwok denied that the recent fighting in Shilluk areas was a territorial dispute claiming it was part of an attempt by some militia, apparently under the umbrella of renegade SPLA general George Athor, to take power in Juba.
By Ngor Arol Garang
photo: Lam Akol, Sudan’s former foreign minister and founding leader of SPLM-DC
(SudanVotes) Post-referendum negotiations between SPLM and NCP have been suspended, the SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum has announced. Listen to this radio reportage:
Speaking to journalists at Juba International Airport after his arrival from Khartoum on Sunday morning, 13 March 2011, Pagan Amum Okech, the secretary general of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), accused the National Congress Party (NCP) of supporting, training and arming militia groups to destabilise Southern Sudan.
The accusations of the South's ruling party against the dominant party of the national government followed renewed clashes in Malakal on Saturday, but were dismissed by authorities in the North.
The town is the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile State. Amum himself hails from Malakal.
Among the groups allegedly supported by the North is Dr. Lam Akol's Sudan People's Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), one of the major opposition parties in the South. The SPLM-DC Chairperson of the opposition members of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, however insists that the SPLM-DC is a political party only and has no armed militia group.
The suspension of talks and the violent clashes in Abyei, Jonglei State and Upper Nile State raise fears ahead of South Sudan's independence on 9 July 2011. Southerners have overwhelmingly opted for secession in January's referendum. Pascal Ladu reports from Juba:
by Pascal Ladu
photo: Pagan Amum, SPLM secretary general.
© Pascal Ladu
(SudanVotes) Fresh fighting has erupted in the early morning of 12 March 2011 in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State in Southern Sudan. The number of casualties and displaced people is up to now unknown.
The Minister of Information in Upper Nile State, Peter Lam Both, said that the fighting broke between soldiers of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and militias of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC). He claimed: “At 3:00 am a fight broke out inside Malakal town between the SPLA and SPLM-DC militia. It is still going on. We know there are people who are killed, but we still don’t know how many were killed.”
However, news outlets such as Reuters and Sudan Tribune stated that the fighting occurred between the forces of renegade Lieutenant General George Athor Deng Dot and the SPLA. Athor, himself a co-founder of the SPLA, turned against it after he lost the gubernatorial election of April 2010 in oil-rich Jonglei State, which neighbours Upper Nile. He had run as an independent candidate against Kuol Manyang from the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The former deputy chief-of-staff of the SPLA claimed that the polls were rigged by the SPLM. Hence he set up a rebel force of his own in Jonglei, the most populous state of the South. According to Reuters, one of Athor's deputies, known only as Captain Oliny or Olony, had launched the assault to seize weapons and to strike back after a series of army offensives against his men.
Lam Both said that the state government is still assessing and monitoring the security situation. The minister claimed the militias are currently taking cover north of Malakal. He assumes that the militias have planned to capture the town as they started fighting the SPLA in the capital.
The Minister further explained that the militia group, which is - according to him - comprising of youths associated with the SPLM-DC, were urged late last year to reintegrate into the SPLA but refused. The SPLA then attacked them and they took cover. Lam Both said that over the past weeks, the militia started coming back into the town as civilians. However, after realising they have come in a good number, they decided to launch their mission. "They will not succeed", Lam Both assured.
The SPLM-DC, led by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, is the leading opposition party in Southern Sudan and was founded two years back in 2009. Lam Akol was one of the senior members of the SPLM before breaking away to establish the SPLM-DC. He has a long track record of switching sides.
The SPLM-DC leader at the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, confirmed in an interview that fighting has broken out in Malakal town but he denied the statement from the State Minister of Information that the fighting is between the SPLA and a SPLM-DC militia group.
Onyoti described the statement as baseless allegations: “I take it as accusations because SPLM-DC has no militia. The statement is unfounded. We are not involved in that.” He explained that even before the SPLM-DC was founded in 2009, there were several clashes in Upper Nile. In many occasions, young men from the Shilluk tribe clashed with young men from the Dinka tribe, as the Dinkas have allegedly grabbed their land.
Onyoti further said that, according to a United Nations report, the clashes in Malakal are not fuelled by SPLM-DC. According to the report these are tribal clashes that the SPLM has failed to address and now tries to attribute to the SPLM-DC party.
In a statement to the media this morning, SPLA Spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer Panyang confirmed the ongoing fighting in Malakal but could not reveal any details of the incident. He said SPLA forces are in control of the situation on ground.
Insecurity remained a constant challenge in Upper Nile State since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. Addressing the press in Juba late last month, the State Governor Simon Kun said the priority in his state is to ensure security for the people.
In 2006 Gabriel Tang, an SPLA General, decided to break away and to join the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). This caused fierce fighting in Malakal which led to the loss of over 150 lives, both soldiers and civilians. Tang, also known under his nickname Tang-Ginye, returned to Upper Nile in 2009 and waged similar attacks in Malakal killing many and displacing hundreds of families.
by Boboya Simon Wudu
photo: Brigadier Simon Kun Puoch, Upper Nile State Governor, addressing his citizens in Juba. © Boboya Simon Wudu
Today on the 8th of March, International Women's Day, Radio Dabanga launches its newest radio programme especially for women. The programme called Al-Jubraka which means the vegetable garden, is a women magazine on the Radio made by women and produced especially for women.
The programme that will be broadcast every Tuesday at 19.30 o'clock in Darfur focuses on challenges of women in IDP camps in Sudan and refugee camps in Chad. Besides the challenges women are facing, the programme will also cover all other issues women want to raise themselves. The name is not coincidentally chosen because the vegetable garden is something specially reserved for the women in Darfur.
The first programme that will be broadcasted later today pays attention to the following issues: Education for women in the Camps; International Women Day; Health advices for women in Darfur; Successful women in Darfur; The role of the Grandmother in Darfuri culture; and the programme ends with the artist of the week: Mubarak Mansuri.
VOA News Sudan's government has approved the creation of two new states in Darfur, increasing the number of states in the war-torn region to five.
The pro-government newspaper Sudan Vision reports the new states will be Central Darfur, with Zalingei as its capital, and Eastern Darfur, with El-Daein as its capital.
Map "Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin."
A high-level committee on Darfur, chaired by President Omar al-Bashir, adopted a recommendation to establish the two states.
The Reuters news agency quotes a representative from the rebel Sudan Liberation Army as rejecting the plan.
He says the plan is an effort by the government to divide Darfur along tribal lines and break up rebel strongholds.
Sudan's government has not released maps or described the borders of the new states.
The vast Darfur region is currently divided into three states known as North, South, and West Darfur.
Darfur rebels took up arms against the government in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting their region.
Fighting has continued for eight years with little progress in peace talks between Sudan's government and rebel groups.
The United Nations says more than 300,000 people have been killed in the Darfur conflict, and 2.7 million others displaced. Sudan's government puts the death toll at 10,000.
The International Criminal Court has indicted President al-Bashir for alleged war crimes in the region.
(Reuters) - More than 20 people were killed when south Sudan's army attacked renegade militia fighters Monday, forcing them to abandon one of their bases, the military said.
South Sudan's army has started a new offensive against forces loyal to rebel leader George Athor hiding out in the south's Jonglei oil state, a diplomatic source told Reuters on Monday.
The region has been hit by a wave of mass killings in the past month, casting a shadow over preparations for the independence of the south, due to take place on July 9.
Just short of 99 percent of southern voters chose independence in a January referendum, promised in a 2005 peace accord that ended decades of civil war with the north.
The civil war, fought over oil, ideology and religion also saw fighting between rival southern militias.
Analysts say there are fears the region's bitter divisions may be re-emerging. Southern leaders have regularly accused Khartoum of backing Athor and other militias to destabilize the region ahead of its split, an accusation dismissed by Khartoum.
"He (Athor) was planning another attack. So the SPLA (the southern army) launched a pre-emptive attack on three places," said SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer.
Aguer said 14 of Athor's men and seven southern soldiers were killed in one attack and he was still waiting for details from the other two. He added Athor's men were forced to abandon one base in Korwac.
Athor, speaking over satellite phone, told Reuters 176 southern soldiers died in the fighting and he lost just 19 men. He said he had been forced out of one base. There was no independent confirmation of any of the figures.
The former senior officer in south Sudan's army rebelled last year after saying he was cheated out of the governorship of Jonglei in national elections.
Athor said he was keen to negotiate a settlement with the southern army but "they keep attacking us. In their mind they want to crush us. But I don't think a guerrilla force can be crushed."
The southern army accused Athor of breaking an earlier ceasefire by massacring more than 200 people in the Fangak area of Jonglei mid February.
French oil group Total leads a consortium controlling a largely unexplored oil concession in Jonglei.
(Reporting by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Matthew Jones)
Southern Sudan’s army captured the headquarters of a rebel group in Jonglei state, leaving an unknown number of casualties, army spokesman Philip Aguer said.
The clash with forces loyal to renegade general George Athor took place yesterday in Kurwuai village, Aguer said today by phone from Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan. Athor, a former chief of staff in Southern Sudan’s army, took up arms against the government after losing a state election in April.
“Athor has been breaking the cease-fire, and he has been expanding his territories,” Aguer said. “We will get the numbers of the casualties by tomorrow.”
Fighting on Feb. 9-10 between the army and Athor’s rebels killed 197 people in Jonglei, according to Southern Sudan’s ruling party. The government of oil-rich Southern Sudan, which is due to become independent in July, signed a cease-fire agreement with Athor’s forces on Jan. 5.
Paris-based Total SA (FP), which owns 32.5 percent of a 118,000 square-kilometer (46,000 square-mile) concession in Jonglei and Lakes states, hasn’t started exploration due in part to security conditions in the region.
At independence, Southern Sudan will assume control of about three-quarters of Sudan’s current oil production of 490,000 barrels a day, pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. Sudan had five billion barrels of proven oil reserves as of January 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Almost 99 percent of Southern Sudanese voters chose independence in a January referendum that was the centerpiece of a peace agreement ending a two-decade civil war with the north.
To contact the reporter on this story: Maram Mazen in Khartoum at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Maram Mazen
(SudanVotes) Oil exploration in Sudan continues despite major political changes. In Bentiu, one of the oil companies jumped on the euphoria train, celebrating the referendum outcome with Southerners, promising better life standards in the region.
The White Nile Petroleum Operating Company (WNPOC) organised an event on Thursday 3 March 2011, celebrating the overwhelming vote for the independence of Southern Sudan during January's referendum on secession. The celebrations took place at the company's main oil field Tharjath in Koch County, south of Bentiu, under the guiding theme “Together We Deliver”. The oil company promised to build a strong partnership with Southern Sudan, aiming at peace and development.
Farouk Gatkuoth, the Deputy Chairman of WNPOC said: "We cannot stand aside as a company operating in Southern Sudan, seeing the people celebrating the creation of a new nation. We want to celebrate together with the people of Southern Sudan, that is the main idea. We are very happy today that we have transformed this into reality."
The company WNPOC began operating in early 2001, well before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. WNPOC is mainly owned by Petronas, a Malaysian state-owned company. Petronas bought the company from Lundin, a Swedish company. During Lundin’s time, tens of thousands of people in the oil block south of Bentiu were driven from their homes by government forces and militias loyal to Major General Paulino Matip Nhial, who is now the deputy commander-in-chief of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Many returned to their homes after the CPA was signed and now complain that the oil waste water is polluting the area’s drinking water. They also say that almost none of the oil wealth has been used to develop their destroyed homeland.
During the celebration WNPOC promised to deliver services and development to the local people, particularly for the citizens of Unity State. "We will be there to support the state. We will add to all what we have done so far, increasing our energy and efforts for more production and community development”, Farouk Gatkuoth promised.
Mr. Kamis Hassan, a senior expert advisor for WNPOC from Malaysia, said that "there was doubt of violence erupting during the referendum exercise". In view of the peaceful referendum, he stressed that WNPOC will be sharing skills with both, northern and southern Sudanese.
The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), represented by Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai, promised to keep strong relations with the Khartoum government. Taban Deng said that oil is now what binds the two sides together. "We will have future relations. There can be no Northern Sudan without Southern Sudan and vice-versa. We have a lot in common and one commonality is the oil, which is very central to both nations. Oil will continue to guide us and unite us serving the interest of both nations", he said.
The governor called upon young Southerners, who studied geology or oil production, to consider working in the South’s oil industry. He said that the government would reverse the policy from Khartoum requiring all oil employees to come from the North. The governor added that those Northerners currently employed by the oil companies will not lose their jobs, because their experience would assist the young new employees from the South.
by Bonifacio Taban
photo: Governor Taban (front right) and Foruok Gatkuoth, the Deputy Chairman of WNPOC (left), during the celebrations.
© Bonifacio Taban
(Reuters) - More than 1,000 Sudanese protesters blocked one of the capital's main roads for several hours on Thursday in a sign of growing impatience with the government's promises of reform and development.
Sudan has broken up dozens of small anti-government protests throughout the north this year inspired by popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. But the movement to topple the government has failed to attract wider support. Dozens of activists remain in jail without charge.
Riot police and plain-clothed security men surrounded the demonstration, the largest yet, which stopped all movement on the capital's main goods route for most of the working day.
A full gas tanker in the middle of the protesters stopped police firing their teargas canisters, Reuters witnesses said.
"Liars, liars," the protesters shouted at government officials.
Residents in the area had demanded speed restrictions on the new highway and the protest followed a fatal accident on Thursday. Residents said 10 people had been killed on the road this year. Ruling party supporters joined the protest.
Sudan has built numerous highways through the capital but with little enforcement of road laws, traffic is chaotic and there are few pedestrian crossings. Hundreds die on the roads every year.
"This highway cuts through two residential areas and it should not even come through the capital at all," said Rami Youssef, 25, one of the protesters.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has promised to step down at the next election in four years, after 26 years in power. His party took over in a 1989 bloodless coup.
But growing voices of dissent, even from within his ruling party, are calling for more immediate action to prevent the kind of popular uprising that toppled long-serving leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and has spread to other nations including Libya.
After the road was blocked for most of the day, government officials brought in trucks to start work on traffic lights.
"This shows how quickly things can get done," said Yousssef.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Opheera McDoom)
(CSM) A South Sudanese man who was sent to Cuba to receive a communist education is back in South Sudan, reaping the benefits of a booming economy.
Cashing in on an oil and aid boom was probably not what his Cuban professors of communist economics had in mind for Bona Bol Bol. He has made a small fortune selling sport utility vehicles to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the former rebel army-turned-government in this nascent nation.
In the mid-1980s, at the invitation of Fidel Castro, the SPLM sent about 600 children to Cuba to be educated, with the aim that they would one day return and help develop a communist southern Sudan. As a 14-year-old, Mr. Bol was plucked from a refugee camp in Ethiopia and deposited on Isla de Juventud (Isle of Youth), where Castro’s government had built a school for about 25,000 students.
Bol says he is grateful to Cuba for the opportunity, and he has fond memories of families who hosted him on weekends and holidays. “I like the way people there were very social,” he says. “We started eating and dancing like them. It was easy because we were young.”
The students’ repatriation was delayed as the war in Sudan stretched on, eclipsing the global fall of communism. But many of them finally returned after a peace agreement was signed in 2005, which led to last month’s independence referendum.
Bol said peace has brought a flood of business opportunities as the SPLM struggles to build a state from the ground up, financed by oil revenues and international aid. “What I did in Cuba in economics is different than what I am doing now,” he says with a smile.
Although it may not be in the way envisioned by his communist professors, he is literally helping to build his country: Tapping Juba’s lucrative real estate market, Bol is now constructing and selling apartment blocks.
By Jared Ferrie
(VOA) On July ninth, South Sudan becomes the world's one hundred ninety-third nation. Almost ninety-nine percent of voters last month chose independence from the north.
South Sudan will also be one of the world's least developed nations. This follows years of war and neglect by the Sudanese government in Khartoum.
South Sudan is about the size of France. Yet it has only fifty kilometers of good roads and almost no public electrical power or other basic systems.
Illiteracy rates are high. There are estimates that more than eighty percent of the population cannot read or write.
There are five universities. Three of them moved their operations to the north during the war. The southern government has brought most of the students back.
Officials estimate that about twenty-five thousand students have registered at the five universities. Classes were supposed to start in April. But the Ministry for Higher Education in the south has now moved the opening date to the middle of May.
The government pays for food and provides housing for students. But higher education minister Joseph Ukel says finding enough space was one reason for the delay.
Another issue is money. The government in Khartoum will pay for the schools until July. Mr. Ukel says the southern government’s proposed budget for this year does not include any money for the universities.
Then there is the problem of teachers. Almost seventy-five percent of the lecturers are from the north. They are not likely to travel to the south to continue teaching for their schools.
Mr. Ukel says his ministry has asked southern Sudanese teachers outside the country to return.
JOSEPH UKEL: "Their problem was, what do you give us by way of carry-away salaries? That became our problem."
William Deng heads a commission supervising the return of ninety thousand former fighters to civilian life. He says most of the soldiers who have come out of the southern army need education and training.
WILLIAM DENG: "The skill they only know is soldiering. Now, you must train them with life skills, such as carpentry, making bricks and also small agriculture, or micro-financing."
Only four percent of good land in South Sudan is being farmed. Millions of people need food aid to survive. The head of Juba University, Aggrey Abate, says his school can play a big part in training agricultural specialists.
AGGREY ABATE: "Agriculture is a very important area. And we, as an institution, will have the role of producing those who will come out and work in the agricultural sector, in terms of the necessary interventions that need to be made to improve our food security."
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. I'm Bob Doughty.
download audio: http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/learningenglish/2011_02/se-ed-south-sudan-24feb11.mp3
by Scott Bobb and Matt Richmond
photo: A girl holds a South Sudan flag on January 30 during the announcement of the preliminary results of voting on independence/Reuters
Sudanese parliament terminated membership of Southern Sudanese representatives and endorsed an amended interim constitution after the removal of all the articles related to the South.
The vote of the two chambers of the Sudanese parliament, which angered the Southern MPs, occurred after the formal adoption of the final results of Southern Sudan referendum in which voters chose overwhelmingly to secede from the North.
The Speaker of the National Legislature Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir stated on Monday that Members of Parliament (MPS) from the southern Sudan ruling party ,SPLM, will not participate in the parliamentary session to be held next April.
"The southern seats in parliament will no longer exist from April and the parliament will continue with 351 seats instead of 450 until the end of its mandate," said Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir, who is also leading figure of the ruling National Congress Party.
The speaker said a list of the deputies deprived of their membership would be published within two weeks adding that SPLM's MPs from Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan are not affected by this decision.
The head of the SPLM caucus in the parliament Thomas Wani said they were surprised by the decision adding they are only keen to remain in Khartoum to contribute to the ongoing discussions of Border demarcation and Abyei.
Yasir Arman the leader of the SPLM's northern sector told Reuters that "What happened is a coup from the NCP against the constitution," adding "The constitution should govern the period until July 9 and more surprisingly the NCP did not consult the SPLM."
The Sudanese presidency decided recently that the participation of Southerners in the national government and other organs will continue to the end of the interim period on 9 July 2011. The SPLM officials warned that their exclusion from the national institutions means they will also stop the sharing of oil revenue before July.
Atem Garang the deputy speaker of the National Assembly threatened to stop the wealth sharing adding "It seems that we from now on wards we will rent Port Sudan and the pipeline and will not give any other portion (of oil income) to the north".
The minister of presidential affairs Bakri Hassan Saleh informed formally the extra-ordinary session of the upper house, the Council of States and a lower house, the National Assembly of the results of the referendum. He also told them that the presidency decided in a meeting held on 7 February to recognize this result which was in afvor of the secession.
(NYT) President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, who has been in power for more than 20 years and faces international charges of genocide, will not run for office again after his current term ends in four years, a Sudanese government spokesman said Monday.
Mr. Bashir seized power in 1989 in a military coup and has ruled with an iron fist ever since, crushing or trying to crush numerous rebellions across Sudan. But now, Mr. Bashir “has no will to be a president again,” said the spokesman, Rabie A. Atti.
“He said the chance should be given to the next generation,” Mr. Rabie said. “He will work to establish a real democratic system in our country.”
Mr. Rabie said the decision — and timing — had “nothing, nothing at all” to do with the popular revolts against longstanding autocrats now erupting across the Arab world, which have inspired relatively small but spirited protests in Sudan as well.
“In Egypt, there was a gap between the rulers and the people, but not in our country,” Mr. Rabie said. In Sudan, he said, the rulers “live with the people.”
Many Sudanese would disagree with that claim. Mouysar Hassan, a 22-year-old student who had joined recent demonstrations, dismissed the announcement as “just an attempt to anesthetize the street.”
Mr. Bashir won a presidential election last year that outside observers said was tainted by fraud, intimidation and bribery, and his term expires in 2015.
He has been a lightning rod of a leader, lionized by some within his country for delivering a modicum of development to certain parts of northern Sudan but vilified by Western leaders and human rights groups — and many of his own people — for devising repressive and often brutal policies, including the counterinsurgency campaign in Darfur.
The International Criminal Court has charged Mr. Bashir with crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with the bloodshed in Darfur, a sprawling desert region on Sudan’s western flank.
Al-Tayeb Zein al-Abideen, a political science professor at the University of Khartoum, said that despite the denials from the Sudanese government, this announcement is “an immediate response to what is happening in the region.”
The professor had his doubts about whether Mr. Bashir was even serious about stepping down, saying that if Mr. Bashir really intended to give up power, he or someone else close to him would make a major address, not task a government spokesman to deliver such news.
“In the Arab world, we have become accustomed to rulers staying in power until they die,” he said.
Many analysts consider Mr. Bashir a wily pragmatist. Last month, when it was clear that the people in southern Sudan would vote overwhelmingly to separate from the northern part of the country in a historic independence referendum, Mr. Bashir got on board, vowing to help the south, even though he had waged an intense war against southern rebels for years — and would stand to lose billions of dollars in oil profits if the south split off.
It is not clear who will succeed him. Some seasoned Sudanese opposition leaders have voiced fears of trying to force him out abruptly, saying the country could fragment into a violent, Somalia-like situation if his government suddenly fell.
Still, thousands of young Sudanese, inspired by the events in other parts of the Arab world, have been calling for his departure. In the past month, protests have broken out across northern Sudan, many organized through Facebook, much like the movements in Egypt and Tunisia that drove out the leaders of those countries. Scores of Sudanese students have been beaten by the police or arrested — one student was killed — and now some opposition parties seem to want to push it further.
“We have the rich experience of two popular uprisings,” said Faruq Abu Issa, a spokesman for a coalition of opposition parties, referring to popular uprisings in Sudan in 1964 and 1985, which brought down the governments of their day. He said his colleagues were “preparing ourselves, like Tunisia and Egypt.”
by JEFFREY GETTLEMAN & Isma’il Kushkush
photo: Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, waving in the dark suit, at a rally in Omdurman last week. He "has no will to be a president again," a spokesman said. Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters
(ST) The chairperson of the Southern Sudan Land Commission Robert Ladu Luki on Friday handed over the land draft policy to the government of South Sudan’s ministry of legal affairs for review.
Ladu told Sudan Tribune from Juba on Friday that the land policy was designed in regards to the new policy frame work and new guidelines that was developed with the African Union.
However, before the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, all land belonged to the government. But after the peace accord, which ended over two decades of North-South conflict, the southern government has looked to transfer land rights to the community.
Ladu explained that, the Southern Sudan Land Commission has drawn-up the policy after a series of consultations with relevant land experts, like the chiefs, local authorities, traditional authorities and civil society groups and representatives from the ten states of South Sudan.
“We in the commission have got various discussions by all the traditional leaders starting from the county level upon the state level to interact about the land policy daft so that it should not be one sided”, he said.
He said that, he has handed to the draft to the ministry of legal affairs on Friday so that it can be passed to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly for consideration.
Ladu told Sudan Tribune that land issues in South Sudan have turned to crisis. Land grabs by some communities and individuals have led to violence, instability and loss of life in some areas, the land chief said.
In the same meeting, the chairperson of the committee for natural resource in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), Pascal Landid, added that the draft land policy will be amended with the current land policy act review.
He said the land policy act had been passed without any policy in place, hence “by this current drafted land policy it will perceptibly yield a fruit”.
The committee chairperson stressed that the draft land policy will be officially reviewed by the government of southern Sudan’s ministry of legal affairs without fear or favoritism.
Landid said the policy was drafted with the interest of people from all the ten states in mind. He said, he hopes that it will be passed by the regional assembly to become law so that there will be no more violations of land act.
Status of House Bill that Cuts Sudan Aid
Earlier this week, we raised the alarm about cuts to humanitarian aid that would drastically impact life-saving assistance to Sudan and Darfur. Based on expenditures made to support humanitarian operations last fiscal year, we have calculated that the proposed cuts could put more than $200 million of aid for Darfur and Sudan on the chopping block. The reductions were made by the House of Representatives through House Bill 1 (H.R.1), which is still being debated on the floor today.
This afternoon House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) promised a vote on H.R.1 before the chamber adjourns for the week-long Presidents Day recess. The vote could come late this evening or even move into Saturday morning. If you haven’t already, you can still take action to support life-saving money for Sudan by urging your representative to vote NO on H.R.1 unless humanitarian aid is restored.
The Next Stage in the Fight to Restore Aid
Given the reality that the current spending bill will run out on March 4, the House is determined to pass a bill to provide funding for the rest of the fiscal year before next week’s recess. Then the fight will continue in the Senate where leaders are pushing for a short-term extension to give Congress more time to reach agreement between the two chambers. Both the House and Senate are set to return from recess on February 28 and–given the drastic differences in funding priorities between the House and Senate–it is unlikely that a bill could be passed in the Senate and the two versions reconciled by the end of the week. If an extension isn’t passed or a reconciled bill isn’t agreed upon by both the House and Senate there will be a government shutdown.
We will be following the latest developments over the next couple of weeks as we fight for the restoration of humanitarian aid and will keep you updated.
by Allyson Neville-Morgan
IT IS a measure of just how uncomfortable Sudan’s awful president, Omar al-Bashir, must be feeling right now that a few days ago he promised his impoverished and downtrodden people that he would give them all "internet, computers and Facebook". I doubt Mr Bashir has ever set eyes on a Facebook page—but he certainly knows that whatever it is, it is something to be reckoned with, given recent events in neighbouring Egypt.
Whereas Muammar Qaddafi has tried to ban the pesky revolutionary networking site in Libya, Mr Bashir seems to be trying the opposite tactic in Sudan. I doubt it will help him very much—and if his past promises are anything to go by, we can be pretty certain that almost no one will get a broadband connection, let alone ever get to see Facebook.
Of all the ageing dictators in north Africa and the Middle East, Mr Bashir certainly knows the most about the potent threats of people power and popular uprisings—he has lived through two of them in Sudan. The first took place in 1964: the so-called "October revolution" ousted newly independent Sudan’s first military dictator, General Aboub. The second occurred in 1985 and toppled another military dictator, Jafar Numeiri, who had come to power in a coup in 1969. It is this uprising that will be preying on Mr Bashir’s mind today.
Last year I sat down for a chat with the man who inadvertently became the leader of that revolt, an amiable and mild-mannered lawyer called Omer Abdel Ati. He explained to me what happened. Events unfolded in a remarkably similar fashion to what has just happened in Egypt. Tens of thousands of people spontaneously gathered in central Khartoum for days of protests, their numbers swelling as the uprising gathered steam. Like in Egypt, nothing was planned, and there were no specific leaders or political parties provoking the revolution. Mr Ati ended up as the figurehead for the revolt merely by virtue of the fact that he happened to be head of the Sudanese Bar Association at the time, and many of the middle-class trade unions were in the vanguard of the revolution—lawyers, doctors, bankers, academics and the like.
The reasons that so many people took to the streets will also be familiar. The economy was in dire straits; decades of economic mismanagement had left thousands of young people unemployed and disillusioned. There was a full-blown famine in the western province of Darfur; starving refugees wandered the streets of Khartoum. On top of this years of political repression had left the middle classes angry and resentful, hence the very active involvement of otherwise respectable professionals. Numeiri, like Mubarak, had relied on the army to keep a lid on things, helped along by large amounts of American aid money. But, faced by the size and determination of the 1985 uprising, the generals caved in, ironically while Numeiri was on a visit to Washington to see his great supporter Ronald Reagan. They declared an interim government, which paved the way for democratic elections the following year.
After Mr Bashir and the Muslim Brotherhood launched their own coup in 1989, they spent the first few years of their rule specifically trying to eradicate those people and organisations that had risen up so effectively in 1985. Thus the middle-class trade associations and unions were closed down; many doctors and lawyers fled overseas. Student unions were closed and academics sacked. The new secret police tortured and killed many of those who had participated in the 1985 revolt.
However much Mr Bashir thinks he can control things, the idea of a popular uprising still exercises a powerful hold on the Sudanese imagination. In 2005 the shanty-towns on the fringes of Khartoum rose up in days of rioting and looting after the death in a helicopter crash of the southern Sudanese rebel leader, John Garang. The following year there were sporadic riots in the capital over rising food prices; in 2008 one of the Darfur rebel groups launched an audacious attack on Omdurman, next to Khartoum, in the hope that it would spark a more general revolt against Mr Bashir’s regime.
In the last week or so there have been occasional protests, involving no more than a few thousand people, but clearly modelled on the recent Egyptian and Tunisian experiences. The secret police acted swiftly, detaining student leaders, and even some opposition politicians, for short amounts of time. Even in the good times, Khartoum was closely monitored to prevent another 1985; all bridges have two "technicals" at either end with loaded machine-guns ready to fire on any protesters, and the main bridge from Khartoum to Omdurman has three tanks permanently stationed at the Omdurman end. I have not been there this year, but I would imagine this security has been beefed up.
However, Mr Bashir knows he is vulnerable. An election victory last year was certainly no measure of his popularity; the polls were comprehensively rigged and the main opposition parties boycotted the whole process. Although an influx of oil money has benefited the president and the ruling elite, most north Sudanese, let alone Darfuris, are probably as poor and disadvantaged as when Mr Bashir came to power 22 years ago. Importantly, Mr Bashir has also just lost the south of his country to an overwhelming rejection of his rule, diminishing his reputation among his own supporters. Oh, and he’s also wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
The circumstances, therefore, are certainly there for another 1985-style revolt, even if the regime long ago took plenty of precautions against just such an eventuality. It would be wonderful if it did happen; Sudan, perhaps even more than Egypt, desperately needs a new beginning. One of the most talented and creative peoples of Africa deserves it.
ZURICH (Dow Jones)--The Swiss National Bank and the country's Department of Foreign Affairs are helping the soon-to-be-independent state of South Sudan establish a central bank authority.
Banking and financial officials from South Sudan, an oil-rich area but still one of the least-developed regions ...
How Egypt’s uprising could cause the utter disintegration of its neighbor.
As protests inspired by the Egyptian uprising spread throughout the Middle East, there has been a lot of speculation about what government might fall next. Could it be Bahrain? Or Libya? Or Yemen? In fact, one of the governments that might, over the long run, be most vulnerable isn’t really on anyone’s radar at the moment. I am referring to the government of Sudan.
But here’s the catch: While the events in Egypt could very well start a chain reaction that would lead to the downfall of the current Sudanese regime, it won’t happen in the obvious way—with protesters massing in the streets and demanding the ouster of a longtime dictator. Instead, the events in Egypt are likely to accelerate a process that is taking place anyway: the ongoing fracturing of northern Sudanese society—a fracturing that could be a prelude to civil war.
To understand how this might happen, you first have to grasp the complicated politics of northern Sudan (the southern part of the country is soon to be under the rule of an entirely different government, having recently voted for independence). At the most basic level, the north is divided into two camps. On one side are Islamists and Arab nationalists; on the other are an array of secularists, socialists, African Sudanese, and democratic progressives who demand that the Northern Nile River elites share power in a secular democratic state.
But within the Islamist and Arab nationalist camp, there is a further split: between the National Congress Party, led by current President Omar Al Bashir; and the more strident Islamists, who follow Hasan Al Turabi, one of the founders of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood. Originally, Bashir and Turabi were allies. They came to power together in a 1989 coup. Bashir became the head of government, though Turabi had been the coup’s mastermind. Together, the two men established the first Sunni Islamist state; extended Sharia law (first imposed by the former Sudanese dictator Numayri) through a new Islamist court system; Islamized the financial and banking systems; and prosecuted a brutal war in the Christian, non-Arab south in which more than two million people died. They also invited virtually every violent Islamist group in the world to base their operations and training camps in Sudan. Six months after taking power, Turabi orchestrated a long-term alliance between Iran and Sudan; they remain among each other’s closest allies. It was Turabi who invited Osama bin Laden to live and work in Sudan during the 1990s. Bin Laden married Turabi’s niece, and went into business with Turabi’s son, trading in Arabian horses.
Gradually, however, Bashir and his party, the National Congress Party (NCP), moved away from Turabi’s radicalism. While Turabi was a true militant, it soon became clear that the only thing the NCP is militant about is their own survival. In 1995, an offshoot of the Muslim Brothers, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Mubarak at an Organization for African Unity conference in Addis Ababa. Egyptian intelligence believed the plot was orchestrated by Turabi. Sudan and Egypt nearly went to war over the incident, but ultimately Bashir decided to de-escalate tensions with Mubarak and distance himself from Turabi. A year later, bin Laden was expelled from Sudan because of pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia, and Turabi was forced to find a home for his friend in Afghanistan. By 1999, Sudan’s two major political figures were locked in a raw power struggle: Turabi, as speaker of the National Assembly, attempted to reduce Bashir’s constitutional powers and increase his own, causing a bitter rift between the two men, which led to Turabi’s ouster. Since 2000, Turabi has been repeatedly imprisoned whenever he threatened or attacked the Bashir government. Turabi’s purge healed the breach between Sudan and Egypt, and Mubarak’s government vowed that it would never allow Turabi to rule Sudan again.
To this day, the quarrel between Turabi and Bashir continues to divide Sudan’s Islamist movement. The Bashir government fears Turabi and his acolytes more than any other domestic opposition group, probably because they share the same base of support. Turabi claims the loyalty of perhaps half of the officer corps of the Sudanese army, and his supporters are the best organized among the country’s opposition. In May 2008, a Darfuri Islamist rebel group led by Khalil Ibrahim—who in the past has called Turabi his political godfather and has had a warm relationship with him, although he now disavows any link—drove 800 miles across the desert from the Chad border, with 2,000 troops and heavy weapons, to attack Khartoum and attempt to overthrow Bashir and his party. Ibrahim’s men fought their way to the Nile River Bridge near the presidential palace, where they were turned back by internal security forces in heavy street-to-street fighting—the first in Khartoum since 1973. Bashir was shaken by the incident and promptly arrested Turabi, who he believed was behind the attack.
At the same time that Bashir has struggled to keep Turabi and his other erstwhile allies at bay, he has also had to deal with the non-Islamist, non-Arab opposition inside Sudan. Even with the secession of the African and Christian South, 45 percent of the new northern Sudanese state remains non-Arab and resents the domination of the country by the Northern Nile River Arabs and Islamism. Although most of the north is Muslim, the Sufist Islamic tradition—which opposes or remains ambivalent about an Islamist state—claims the devotion of a much larger portion of the population than Salafist Islam. Turabi’s political party, which grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, never received more than 18 percent of the vote in national elections.
So, for the past few decades, Bashir has navigated uneasily between these two powerful constituencies: his fellow Islamists and the opposition. Now, however, two recent events may prompt Bashir to abandon this careful balancing act. The first was south Sudanese succession. Under the terms of a North-South peace agreement brokered by the United States, Bashir agreed to let southern Sudanese voters choose whether they wanted to separate from the north in a January 2011 referendum. (On February 7, it was announced that 98 percent of southerners had voted for secession.) Alongside rising food prices, a heavy debt burden, and a major reduction of oil revenues (75 percent of Sudanese oil reserves and production are in the south), this alienated Bashir’s Islamist base, which attacked him for acquiescing to the referendum. Probably in response, Bashir vowed three weeks before the vote that, should the South secede, he would amend the constitution to declare northern Sudan an Arab Islamic state.
The second event is the fall of Mubarak. Egyptian hostility to Turabi and his brand of Islam forced Bashir and his party to distance themselves from the radical Islamist agenda. Bashir remains determined to marginalize Turabi (whom he recently put in prison again) and to win the struggle for the Islamist base. For years, his alliance with Mubarak provided one of the main breaks on just how far he could go in appeasing the Islamists. Now that constraint is gone. And, if the Muslim Brotherhood gains significant power in Egypt, that could provide even more reason for Bashir to tip further toward Islamism.
While such a strategy might preserve Bashir’s power in the short term, it could lead to disaster in the long term. By trying to secure his Islamist and Arab base, Bashir will only be setting the stage for a new civil war in the north. The Beja people to the east, the tribes of the Nuba Mountains, the Ngok Dinka in Abyei, the Funj in Blue Nile province, and the rebellious Darfur tribes do not want Sharia law or an Islamist state in Sudan, whether it is led by Turabi or Bashir. And they will go to war to prevent it, even if it means the dissolution of the new northern Sudan state.
by Andrew Natsios
Via Roving Bandit, a purported model of the new capital city of South Sudan:
Just when you thought the garden city movement was dead, there comes this. Replacing Kurtz with Le Corbusier? Not a good plan.
While we are shipping Death and Life of Great American Cities, we should also be sure to include Jim Scott’s Seeing Like A State. (Incidentally, if you work in policy and have not read these books, put them at the top of your pile.)
Of course, it could be worse. Earlier plans called for this to be the new capital design:
Poetically, the head is zoned for government, the bum is the bus station, and the crotch is “rural socialized housing”.
by Chris Blattman
After years of conflict, Southern Sudan overwhelmingly opted to secede from the country's north. Many challenges lie ahead as the newly independent state negotiates the rocky path towards independence. We believe that access to high-quality, up-to-date and locally relevant maps will assist humanitarian organizations working in the region.
We are encouraging users to add their local knowledge to this mapping effort through a campaign to build a better map of Sudan. Recent satellite imagery is key to building up-to-date maps, and we are continuously acquiring fresh and historical imagery of Sudan. Our latest imagery update is now live on Google Map Maker, Google Earth, and Google Maps, with nearly fifty percent of the UN priority areas over Southern Sudan covered with high resolution imagery. Thanks to our satellite partner GeoEye, we will continue to acquire and publish high resolution imagery of the remaining UN priority areas, as well as to refresh areas that we have previously covered as the need arises. This new imagery, such as the one over Melut, will directly benefit the many organizations working in Sudan and ultimately support the building of a solid basemap of Sudan to achieve long-term socioeconomic objectives.
Town of Melut (before 2/16/2004, after 1/30/2011). In Melut, there is a humanitarian hub where many services are delivered to at risk populations, including food, water, health care, education, and more. Given the varying needs of each of these services, maps can provide a variety of planning benefits for expansion, staff safety, and emergency procedures.
Google is also contributing to various humanitarian efforts, including the Satellite Sentinel project, by helping to build an active and self-sustained Sudanese mapping community -- locally and among the Sudanese diaspora. This community will help improve maps of Sudan by using Google Map Maker, a product that combines the power of mapping with community engagement.
Dedicated mappers have started building the foundation for a Sudan mapping community, resulting in high quality maps of Sudan. But this is a long term process that requires deep commitment from various stakeholders and community groups. To join the Sudan mapping efforts, and offer feedback, please join our Sudan community mailing list or visit our team site.
by France Lamy
by Heather J. Sharkey
Civil wars ravaged Sudan in the mid-to-late twentieth century. Most fighting occurred between government armies and southern “rebel” forces during two stretches of conflict, often called the “first civil war”, waged between 1955 and 1971, and the “second civil war”, waged after 1983. Southern Sudanese civilians bore the brunt of the suffering. By 1998, the U.S. Committee for Refugees was estimating that, after 1983, some two million southerners had died from war-related causes and more than eighty percent of the southern population had been displaced at some time. Greater Khartoum alone hosted some 1.8 million refugees from the war zones. This second civil war appeared to end in 2005, when the Government of Sudan (representing the regime in Khartoum) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM, representing southern interests) met in Naivasha, Kenya to sign a “Comprehensive Peace Agreement” (CPA). After so many years of strife, southern Sudanese people – both in Sudan and the diaspora – drew hope from the CPA’s claim that, following a transitional period of government partnership, southerners would have the chance to vote in a referendum on national unity in 2011.
At the start, there were reasons to doubt whether the 2005 Agreement would either occur or live up to its promises. After all, it entailed a “Protocol on Power Sharing” and an “Agreement of Wealth Sharing” (with the latter mostly applying to oil revenues), but Southerners had heard similar promises before. Notably, in 1972, the country’s then-dictator, Ja’far Numayri (r. 1969-85), signed the Addis Ababa Accord ending the first civil war, and made vows about sharing that the central government ultimately failed to fulfill. Another reason for skepticism in 2005 was that the CPA appeared to end the North-South civil war even as a new civil war was raging in the western (but still “northern”) Sudanese region of Darfur. At the time, some analysts suggested that the westward shift of conflict towards Darfur was no accident, insofar as the Khartoum regime was using war as a machine for survival. War, after all, kept the government’s armies busy and provided a means for co-opting potentially restless groups (like the Arab marauders, known as the Janjaweed, who came to double as the regime’s counter-insurgency forces). Then, too, there was the problem of President Omar Beshir himself. Beshir had seized power in a military coup in 1989, in an alliance with Islamist ideologues. His regime was highly repressive. Yet he held a worldview that has been common among Muslim Arabophone nationalists in postcolonial Sudan, insofar as he believed that the one, big Sudan had a supreme Arabic-Islamic culture, and that Arabic language and Islamic religion could bind the country’s diverse peoples together. Of course, what Beshir and his shrinking body of supporters in Khartoum regarded as an Arabo-Islamic “civilizing mission” for Sudan looked like plain colonialism to much of the rest of the country.
Considering these doubts, observers were wondering over the past six years whether the southern referendum would actually happen, according to the CPA’s stipulation, or more accurately, whether the Beshir regime would allow it to happen. Few doubted that southerners, given the chance, would reject national unity. In this regard, the 2005-2011 transitional period looked like a stall tactic.
Yet, remarkably, the referendum proceeded, and southerners ran, elated, to the polls. From January 9th through January 15th, 2011, some ninety-eight percent of eligible voters, living in Sudan and in eight countries abroad, turned out to vote. At a ceremony in Juba, the southern capital, on January 30, 2011, officials announced preliminary results: nearly 99% of voters had opted for secession, including 99.57% of those who had voted within southern Sudan itself. If all goes according to plan, southern Sudan – with a name yet to be chosen – will become independent on July 9th, 2011.
Again, the results of the poll are unsurprising in themselves. For southerners, the past half-century of Sudanese unity has been so grim that few will grieve over a break-up. Nevertheless, when historians look back on the events that transpired, they will undoubtedly confront a lingering question, namely: Did this vote have to happen? Was divorce avoidable? The familial term of “divorce” seems appropriate here, because Sudanese peoples have formed certain bonds in spite of the violence, for example, by coming to share the capital, Khartoum, as a domicile.
As the referendum was proceeding, BBC News Africa Online suggested that a vote to split the country was obvious and inevitable. Using annotated maps to explain the referendum, its website noted that, “The great divide across Sudan is visible even from space, as this NASA satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. Southern Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.”
But was Sudan indeed doomed to split by geography, or alternatively doomed, as the BBC also suggested, by colonial borders that paid little heed “to cultural realities on the ground”? The answer is no: the approaching split was not preordained despite the country’s inherent diversity. To succeed, a nation-state need not be homogeneous, though it must cultivate a spirit of mutual belonging. In Sudan, political choices over many years – not just geography or even culture – conspired to undermine the possibility of national unity. British rulers in the colonial period (1898-1956), followed by northern Sudanese rulers thereafter, treated southern Sudan with disdain and starved the region of opportunities. In the postcolonial period, successive regimes went farther by trying to plunder the southern region’s natural resources. These battles over natural resources featured strongly in the second civil war, and involved first, Nile waters (and a project known as the Jonglei Canal), and second, oil, which Sudan first exported in 1999.
Relative to northern Sudan, southern Sudan today is acutely underdeveloped. Once again, BBC News Africa online developed a series of maps to explain this phenomenon – maps plotting such things as educational distribution (the percentage of children who have attended primary school) and food insecurity (the percentage of households with “poor” access to food). “These maps,” the website explains, “show the extent to which Sudan is already two nations – a richer, Arabic-speaking Muslim north and a poorer south devastated by years of conflict and neglect.” Secession, it implies, would only confirm this de facto division.
John Garang (1945-2005), who defected from the Sudanese national army to lead the southern resistance when civil war resumed in 1983, died in a helicopter crash in July 2005, just months after signing the peace agreement at Naivasha. His vision for Sudan will undoubtedly inform any southern Sudanese republic that emerges from secession. Along with other southern Sudanese intellectuals, Garang called for a Sudan that would be pluralistic, not monocultural – a Sudan that would recognize linguistic and religious diversity in contrast to the Arabo-Islamism proclaimed by successive postcolonial Khartoum regimes. Certainly the new southern Sudanese state will be more inclined to look towards the African interior than towards Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
What now? Should we be celebrating southern secession as a delayed chapter in African decolonization, as some have suggested? It would be wise to let caution temper jubilation. Consider, for example, that the southern Sudanese referendum coincided with the fifty-year anniversary of the murder of Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961), who was apparently killed with the support of CIA agents, in the newborn Republic of Congo. This “jubilee” year of Lumumba’s killing offers a reminder and warning of how outside interference, in tandem with internal divisions, thwarted the process of state-formation for many of Africa’s newly decolonized states in the mid-twentieth century. Such factors may yet destabilize southern Sudan. In short, could southern Sudan go the way of the Congo? It is not a happy thought.
Indeed, for southern Sudan, major challenges are looming. Most of Sudan’s oil comes from the southern region, but the pipeline goes through the North and up to the coast at Port Sudan. Khartoum elites have enjoyed the oil wealth of the past decade and will be loath to lose it. Complicating the scenario is China, which has a large stake in Sudanese oil. China has proven itself willing in the recent past to overlook (or abet) human rights abuses in the southern oil zones. Access to water – that is, hydropolitics – remains an issue as well, and Egypt will be sure to intervene to protect its own interests. Meanwhile, there is still Omar Beshir, deeply unpopular throughout Sudan, who has vowed to respond to a southern secession by making the North more “truly” Islamic. Reports suggest that southern people who came to northern cities as refugees during the 1980s and 1990s are now feeling rather uneasy. Many of these people are Christians, and certain Khartoum churches are said to be emptying or closing as some of them leave and head southward. The motives for their migration are unclear. Are former refugees going “home” (wherever that may now be)? Or are they fleeing as religious minorities who worry about life in a northern Sudanese state that may become ever more Islamized? Finally, there is the serious question of southern Sudan’s own ethnic and political factions, and the record of internecine fighting that marred the second civil war. Consider the Bor Massacre of 1991, when soldiers of an SPLA offshoot faction, loyal to the ethnic Nuer leader, Riek Machar (b. 1952), massacred an estimated 2,000 ethnic Dinka civilians. Can southerners hold fast to their goals and ideals in the face of all these pressures?
Southern Sudanese people are now living in a moment of great hope and excitement. They have much to celebrate, including their own perseverance and survival. But the road ahead will be bumpy.
 U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 1998 (Washington, D.C: Immigration & Refugee Services of America, 1998), pp. 95-96.
 Xan Rice, “Nearly All Southern Sudanese Voted for Secession,” The Guardian, January 30, 2011, (Accessed February 7, 2011).
 “Sudan: One Country or Two?”, BBC News Africa, (Accessed January 15, 2011).
 “Q & A: Southern Sudan Referendum,” BBC News Africa, (Accessed January 15, 2011).
 On the former, see Robert O. Collins, The Waters of the Nile: Hydropolitics and the Jonglei Canal (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1996).
 “Sudan: One Country or Two,” BBC News Africa, (Accessed January 15, 2011).
 Human Rights Watch, Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights, November 24, 2003, (Accessed February 6, 2011).
 “Fears Grow for Minorities in North Sudan If South Votes to Secede,” The Guardian, January 8, 2011, (Accessed February 6, 2011).
 Fredrick Nzwili, “Churches Closing in North Sudan after Referendum,” Ecumenical News International, February 3, 2011, (Accessed February 6, 2011).
 Jemera Rone, John Prendergast, & Karen Sorenson, Civilian Devastation: Abuses by All Parties in the War in Southern Sudan (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994), p. 99.
(ST) The new state of South Sudan that is expected to officially become the world’s newest state in July, has no intention of continuing to split the proceeds from oil revenue, an official in the South’s ruling party said on Tuesday.
The secretary general of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) Pagan Amum told reporters today that the South will only pay a fee for using the pipelines that transport the oil to Port Sudan.
"The notion of sharing wealth will not be there. There is no continuation, whether 50 percent or anything," Amum said according to Reuters.
Most of Sudan’s proven daily output of 500,000 oil barrel is extracted from oilfields in the South whereas the pipelines infrastructure and refineries are based in the North. Both sides need to maintain cooperation on oil after secession to sustain their economies which depend greatly on oil revenues.
"There’s going to be an agreement on the South continuing exporting its oil through the pipeline in Northern Sudan and to Port Sudan, and the South will be paying pipeline fees for transportation," said Amum.
"We may be paying a transit fee because now Northern Sudan is going to be a different independent state from the south," he added.
Amum’s statements run contrary to those made last year by Southern officials in which they suggested that sharing oil revenue will continue even after the South secedes.
“Our concern is the economic viability ... and the unity of the North, which, I think, will make us even see whether we can continue with the same arrangement that we have,” SPLM leading figure Luka Biong told the Financial Times in an interview.
“For the time being, it is true oil can be used for a soft landing and making economic stability and co-operating with the North,” he said. “But in the long run, this one may not be viable.”
“It is in the interest of the south not to see the Northern economy collapsing,” he added.
Even U.S. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton hinted that the North and South should continue the oil-sharing formula put in place by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
"What happens to the oil revenues?" Clinton said. "And if you’re in the North and all of a sudden you think a line’s going to be drawn and you’re going to lose 80 percent of the oil revenues, you’re not a very enthusiastic participant. What are the deals that can possibly be made that will limit the potential of violence?"
North Sudan is currently in economic crisis that manifests itself in soaring inflation and hard currency shortage, which forced the government to implement unpopular austerity measures such as cutting subsidies on sugar and petroleum products.
While officials in the North said that they have alternatives such as new oil discoveries and gold mining to compensate for lost revenue, analysts are skeptical whether this would constitute an immediate remedy.
photo: Pagan Amum, Secretary General of the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (Reuters)
(SudanVotes) Southern Sudan’s just-concluded referendum - in which nearly 99% of voters opted in favour of independence - has received huge international attention. But in the midst of this momentous development, the fate of street children has gone unnoticed.
"The one that I get is the one that I eat. Some times Samaritans can give me one Pound or two and I use it," 12-year-old Khalil Safir says. Khalil is one of hundreds of children who wander the streets of Ed Damazine, the capital of Blue Nile State in Sudan. He does not know the whereabouts of his parents. Like many of his peers, he survives largely on leftovers collected from hotels' rubbish piles.
Struggling with disease, extreme heat, dust and dirt, some of these children nonetheless plan admirably for a better life. Jafar Sayid, who is 14 years old, tries to raise money by polishing shoes, in a bid to cover school fees. But the one Sudanese Pound (less than 30 cents in euro terms) he earns per pair will never be enough to provide for a brighter future. Living with a group of four other children, Jafar and his friends try to cope with their feelings of abandonment.
In Sudan, the lack of basic mechanisms to deal with extreme poverty and the millions of adults killed and displaced during the over two decade civil war condemned a large number of children to the street.
According to Mohamed Abdulsafir, Director General of the Blue Nile State Ministry of Child and Social Welfare, many street children resort to stealing and prostitution for survival. He estimates that there are about 1,000 street children in Ed Damazine. "Our survey shows that 80% are partial and 20% are completely street children - mainly boys", he explains.
Ed Damazine is no exception, as children in many other towns, both in the South and the North, live in similarly cruel conditions. Local authorities, in a joint effort with non-governmental-organisations, try to address this devastating reality.
Fadlallah Mohamed, Director General for Child Protection in the Blue Nile State’s Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) Commission, one of the partners dealing with the protection of the rights of vulnerable children, outlines some of the obstacles facing these efforts. "There is no clear system in the State to take responsibility for these children,” he says. In addition, the lack of funds is limiting the required assistance. "The government is active in awareness but they cannot give money. The role [providing funds] only depends on UNICEF [the United Nations Children’s Fund], which is not enough", according to Fadlallah.
Despite being an employee of the DDR Commission, Fadlallah is not happy with the system put in place to assist street children in the State. He stresses that the limited funds allocated to addressing this issue get diluted in the structures providing support for the children. Solving the root causes of this issue, rather than just focusing on its symptoms, is what makes improving the children's conditions a matter of long-term commitment, he believes.
Complicating matters locally, Blue Nile state officially lies just outside of the semi-autonomous territories of Southern Sudan, but people in the state are largely aligned with the south. Southern Sudan last month held a popular referendum on independence from Sudan as a whole and nearly 99% of voters opted in favour of secession. However, the status of Blue Nile is uncertain - a popular consultation is meant to resolve its political status post-secession, but it is unclear how that will play out.
With these political challenges and question marks over responsibility for - and co-ordination of - social policy, the future of Khalil, Jafar and other street children looks set to remain bleak for some time to come.
by Boboya Simon Wudu
Besides the traditional violence that has triggered regime change in Tunisia (and soon Egypt), Africa's latest contribution to international politics is the birth of the earth's youngest nation — South Sudan.
This does not only change the map of the world, but more importantly highlights the need for traditional players in Sudan and the rest of African to accommodate this reality.
The stakes in Sudan have been high for Canada like the rest of the western world. The genocidal civil war that has characterized relations between North and South Sudan for more than two decades has only been rivalled by a similar scenario of butchery in Sudan's western region of Darfur.
Being a stakeholder in Sudan, Canada has watched developments in this country with very keen interest, especially since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in 2005 which ended the protracted civil war between the North and the South.
Since the signing of the CPA, Canada has offered more than $800 million in aid to Sudan, including Darfur, while about 430 Canadian military and civilian peace keeping personal have served in UN missions in Sudan.
However, humanitarian issues and concerns over democracy are only secondary factors in understanding western attitudes toward Sudan.
Within the context of international politics, the most important factor is Sudan's oil wealth, which has attracted another oil-thirsty giant — China — whose presence remains worrisome especially to Canada's superpower neighbour, the United States.
It was for this reason the United States welcomed the independence of the oil-rich South Sudan even before the outcome of the referendum that was to decide the fate of the country.
"If as is expected" said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "southern Sudan votes to have its own country, then I hope we in this border region, and certainly the United States, will help."
Unlike the U.S. however, Canada prefers to deal with Sudan within the context of fragile or failed states. It is this philosophy that inspired strategists in Ottawa to handle the Sudan situation with extreme caution, especially because of the fragility of the new state and the evident potential for renewed violence.
Former Canadian ambassador to Sudan John Schram sounded this view when he warned, "There is no guarantee that all these guys in the south of Sudan will continue to work together" he said. "They have been enemies in the past."
The recent assassination of Jerry Lemi, South Sudan`s minister for rural development, has proven ambassador Schram right.
Glen Pearson, another Canadian observer during the referendum, openly criticised the U.S. position on Sudan, insisting Canada should not follow in America's footsteps.
"I do believe if the results are credible, the U.S. has said that they are willing at that point to recognize southern Sudan" she said, "but I think that should not be done by Canada."
Despite these calls for restraint, the reality on the ground appears very different.
No amount of caution can reduce pressure mounting on Ottawa to respond to this historical development in Africa. The liaison office of the new government of south Sudan in Ottawa has been busy wooing Canada to take advantage of the enormous opportunities available in their new country especially oil.
"We have a lot of resources" said deputy principal liaison officer Morris Batali. "We need to build refineries for our oil production. We need Canada's technology to help in that sector."
The humanitarian challenges in this new country also provide a busy workplace for development and relief agencies like CIDA which has already left an impressive mark in Sudan.
The birth of Africa's newest nation comes at a time when Ottawa is shifting attention from the continent to other foreign policy commitments like Haiti and Afghanistan.
But there is no doubt that southern Sudan is another opportunity for Canada to write its name in Africa's history like it did in Rwanda.
Tongkeh Joseph Fowale is a Cameroonian writer living in Belleville, a political analyst and a researcher on African International Relations. He can be contacted at email@example.com
By Tongkeh Joseph Fowale
(BBC) More than 100 people are now said to have died in fighting in south Sudan after rebels attacked the army, officials say.
Earlier reports said this week's fighting had killed 16 people.
Some 39 of those killed were civilians, a south Sudan army spokesman said.
The clashes between fighters loyal to George Athor and south Sudan's army come as the region prepare for independence from the north following last month's referendum.
Some 99% of people voted to secede from the north, according to official results announced this week.
The UN refugee agency says it expects some 800,000 people to move from north to south Sudan this year.
The UNHCR said this would put pressure on the already fragile situation in the south, which is insecure and lacks basic services.
Mr Athor took up arms last year, alleging fraud in state elections, but signed a ceasefire last month just before the historic vote.
Twenty members of Southern Sudan's security forces were killed, along with 30 rebels, taking the new death toll to 105, southern army spokesman Philip Aguer said.
During the clashes, two army trucks were blown up by land mines near the town of Fangak in Jonglei state, he said.
He said Mr Athor's men attacked on Wednesday afternoon and clashes continued on Thursday.
Jonglei is the south's most populous state.
When Mr Athor took up arms last April, the south accused him of being used by the north to stir up trouble and derail the referendum - charges denied at the time by northern officials.
He agreed to the ceasefire deal with the SPLA days before the referendum vote began - although he did not attend the signing ceremony in person.
Mr Athor has blamed the SPLA for attacking his forces, but said that he was open to new talks.
"If the other side is willing, we can continue talks but if they are not willing, then I would say this is the end of the peace agreement between us and them," he told the Reuters news agency via satellite phone on Thursday.
The BBC's Peter Martell in the southern capital, Juba, says the fighting is another sign of the challenges the south faces in bringing its people together and improving security.
The week-long referendum vote itself passed off peacefully, but tension remains high in parts of the oil-rich area which straddles the north and south. Fifty-four people were killed over the weekend in fighting in Southern Sudan's Upper Nile state.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has promised to accept the outcome of the referendum.
On Wednesday, Sudan's UN ambassador hinted that the International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Mr Bashir should be withdrawn as a "reward" for him accepting the south's independence.
Mr Bashir is accused of links to war crimes in a separate conflict in the western region of Darfur.
Southern Sudan is to become the world's newest independent state on 9 July.
* Violence breaks ceasefire with renegade commander
* South Sudan minister killed in office a day earlier
* Instability follows southern vote for independence
At least 16 people died in clashes between a renegade militia and south Sudan's army, the military said on Thursday, raising fears for stability of the oil-producing south as it prepares to declare independence.
The fighting with forces loyal to George Athor in south Sudan's Jonglei state on Wednesday and Thursday broke a shaky ceasefire with the southern government and followed the killing of a south Sudan minister inside his office, underlining insecurity even in the region's capital Juba.
The violence, which ended a period of relative calm in the underdeveloped and divided territory, comes at a particularly sensitive time for the south.
On Monday, final results showed that around 99 percent of southerners voted to separate from the north of Sudan in a referendum held under a 2005 peace deal which ended decades of north-south civil war.
That conflict killed an estimated 2 million people and was also marked by violence between rival southern militias. There have been fears that old divisions could re-surface during the build-up to secession, which is due to take place on July 9.
"George Athor's forces attacked an SPLA (the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army) base in Jonglei state. Four SPLA soldiers were killed and 12 of Athor's men," said SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer. "This is a violation of the ceasefire agreement. Not only has he attacked SPLA, he has been planting landmines as well."
Aguer said Athor's men launched the attack in the Jonglei community of Door on Wednesday morning.
Athor's militia also staged two assaults near the settlement of Fangak on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, and two vehicles carrying SPLA soldiers hit a landmine on Wednesday, Aguer added. He could give no casualty figures.
Athor, who was a senior officer in the southern army, rebelled after saying he was cheated out of the governorship of Jonglei state in April 2010 elections.
Athor blamed the SPLA for attacking his forces first, but said that he was open to talks.
"If the other side is willing, we can continue talks but if they are not wiling then I would say this is the end of the peace agreement between us and them," he told Reuters via satellite phone from his jungle hideaway.
Athor agreed the ceasefire with the southern army in January, just before voting started in the referendum.
Southern leaders accused Khartoum of backing Athor when he first rebelled but did not repeat the accusations on Thursday. "We call on George Athor to look at this great moment in our history and make a logical decision for peace," said Aguer.
Adding to unrest in the south, southern soldiers in a northern army unit in neighbouring Upper Nile state mutinied last week after refusing to redeploy north as part of a separation of forces before the south's independence.
The southern army said on Thursday that the death count from those clashes had climbed to 60.
Sudan's north-south war was fuelled by differences over ethnicity, ideology, religion and oil, and left the south flooded with guns and other munitions.
by Jeremy Clarke
(BBC) At least 16 people have been killed after rebels attacked south Sudan's army, shattering a ceasefire, officials say.
Forces loyal to George Athor blew up two army trucks near the town of Fangak in Jonglei state, a southern military spokesman said.
Mr Athor took up arms last year, alleging fraud in state elections, but signed a ceasefire last month.
The clashes come as Southern Sudan prepares to secede from the north.
Some 99% of southerners voted for independence in last month's referendum, according to official results announced this week.
Southern army spokesman Philip Aguer said four soldiers and 12 rebels were killed but he feared that many more people had died.
"We are still waiting for full details of the casualties," he said.
Two sites in Jonglei state, including Fangak town, were targeted on Wednesday afternoon by Mr Athor's men, who had also been planting land mines, he said.
Fresh fighting broke out on Thursday morning in the Fangak area, but the gunmen fled after the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) fought back.
Jonglei is the south's most populous state.
When Mr Athor took up arms last April, the south accused him of being used by the north to stir up trouble and derail the referendum - charges denied at the time by northern officials.
He agreed to the ceasefire deal with the SPLA days before the referendum vote began - although he did not attend the signing ceremony in person.
"Indeed, we were surprised by the attack, because the SPLA were busy transporting food to the sites of assembly, where the men of Athor are due to gather under the terms of the agreement," Col Aguer told AFP news agency.
Mr Athor has blamed the SPLA for attacking his forces, but said that he was open to new talks.
"If the other side is willing, we can continue talks but if they are not willing, then I would say this is the end of the peace agreement between us and them," he told the Reuters news agency via satellite phone.
The BBC's Peter Martell in the southern capital, Juba, says the fighting is another sign of the challenges the south faces in bringing its people together and improving security.
The week-long referendum vote itself passed off peacefully, but tension remains high in parts of the oil-rich area which straddles the north and south. Fifty-four people were killed over the weekend in fighting in Southern Sudan's Upper Nile state.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has promised to accept the outcome of the referendum.
On Wednesday, Sudan's UN ambassador hinted that the International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Mr Bashir should be withdrawn as a "reward" for him accepting the south's independence.
Mr Bashir is accused of links to war crimes in a separate conflict in the western region of Darfur.
Southern Sudan is to become the world's newest independent state on 9 July.
photo: George Athor did not attend the January signing ceremony (AP)
(GlobalVoices) Southern Sudan has officially become Africa's newest nation after Southern Sudanese voted for secession from the north. Official referendum figures released on Monday showed that 98.83 per cent of voters from the south chose to secede from the north. This is a roundup of reaction to referendum results.
Pascal Ladu posts a podcast capturing the historical moment when the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission declared the official preliminary referendum results in Juba:
A large crowd of Southern Sudanese gathered at the Mausoleum of Dr. John Garang in Juba to celebrate the announcement of the official preliminary referendum results on Sunday. The results showed almost unanimous support for secession throughout Southern Sudan. The colourful occasion was marked with singing, dancing, blowing of horns and beating of drums. The results, announced by the Chairperson of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission and his Deputy, were met with thunderous applause from the crowd.
As'ad questions America's double standard:
Compare the speed in which the US government has recognized the Southern Sudan state and the treatment of Palestine by the US government.
Law Hawk says that Southern Sudan will need to rely on its northern neighbor:
Still, South Sudan will need to rely on its northern neighbor as the main oil pipeline from the Southern oil fields must travel through Sudan to generate much of the income needed by the country to get off its feet.
How will Southern Sudan attract investors?:
In Sudan , or Ex-Sudan; we had lots of politicians.. Maturity is rare.. However said, should refer to benchmarks.. not actions..!
Without benchmarking, any action might be called wonderful..!! while it is a slip to hill..!!
I don't mean to question any officials or representatives, but the Bell Syndrome tells that only 2% (on any level) would be able visualize the big picture.. You need to learn all lessons around, to smooth your way forward without glow, fake or deformed interests..
If you would trust a “Darfurese” knowledge-based expert..
Ok, let's meet the facts without those nicely said words..
With almost 80% illiteracy, 0.5% graduates, 0% infrastructure, 50% political unrest and 99% tribal mind-set.. This is not a recipe for IFDs or PPPs, but only for UN/Gov Aid..
Unless you draw your own realistic visions on government (what Singapore did), on Capacity building (i.e, Balkan), on governance (i.e, S Africa); South Sudan will unlikely attract investors..! They are greedy and cautious..
Kizzie is very jealous of Southern Sudanese:
A good friend of mine said that Northerners are upset about the South Sudan referendum because they are jealous that the Southerners have the chance to vote and every Southern vote makes a difference, we have nothing.
Yes, I have to admit..I'm very jealous. I registered to vote in April's elections, but my candidate of choice withdrew from the race and I was left wondering whether my voice would have made a difference in the first place.
Sudanese Optimist is happy for Southern Sudan but…:
Although I am very happy for South Sudan to finally gain their independence from the condescending haters in the North, I am truly sad to see that we’ve lost such a vibrant part of ‘our’ Sudanese culture. Perhaps out of watching all the crazy politics lately, the most thing that stuck with me is the Prayer of Saint Francis read yesterday during the secession announcement. Perhaps it is because I have been in never ending zen state for the past few months, but it just seems that all the political news were noise, and the minute I heard this, I can finally hear humanity speak, not politics…and I sure like that
Lodiong Morris reports that the North and the South have resolved the issue of citizenship status:
According to the Minister, the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) and the National Government agreed that those Southerners who wish to remain in the North can become citizens of the North if they so wish. Northerners in the South can equally be granted Southern citizenship rights if they so choose: “We have agreed that Northerners in the South and Southerners in the North will have their rights respected and be given citizenship if they choose, after the declaration of the results”.
by Ndesanjo Macha
photo: Two sons of southern Sudan freedom fighter, Gordon Muortat Mayen Mabor, hold his pictures while waiting to cast their votes in the South Sudan independence referendum in London, UK. Photo by P Nutt, copyright © Demotix (09/01/2010).
(Huffington) A nation is like a marriage, or so Lenin imagined it to be, with each partner or province having a right to get out if things go horribly wrong. The Soviet constitution of 1918 provided this right to each of the republics. It wasn't an innovation that many other countries followed. And yet, constitutional provisions or not, the S word -- secession -- has occasionally brought nations to the brink of dissolution.
Sometimes these separations are amicable. Drawing a line down the middle of its name and its territory, Czechoslovakia dissolved its union without much fuss. Yugoslavia, on the other hand, was a very ugly divorce indeed.
Generally, "secession" is a very bad word in international relations. During the Cold War, many peoples -- Biafrans, Basques, Kurds -- uttered the word only to be severely punished for their transgressions. Bangladesh managed to break off from West Pakistan to form a new country - but probably only because a thousand miles of Indian territory already separated the two. After the Cold War, secession briefly became more popular, as the Soviet republics tipped their hat to Lenin as they went their separate ways. Elsewhere, Eritrea severed relations with Ethiopia, Namibia split from South Africa, and East Timor broke away from Indonesia. Yugoslavia was more than 15 years in the unmaking.
With so many post-Cold War precedents, you'd think secession wouldn't be dirty word today. For some, that's certainly the case. When voters went to the polls last month in Southern Sudan, nearly 99 percent opted for independence. The government in Khartoum has given its okay, so in July, Africa's largest country will formally split in two. Of course, this separation comes only after a 22-year-long civil war that left two million dead and four million displaced. That's an enormous price to pay. But many peoples in the world make comparable sacrifices and never get their own state.
Consider Chechnya. It fought two wars against Russia, lost 75,000 civilians, suffered through kidnappings and torture and the leveling of the capital Grozny. Not only have they not achieved independence, the Chechens must now put up with a Russian-installed dictator, Ramzan Kadyrov. A few years ago, one of Kadyrov's bodyguards ran away to Europe and testified about his employer's propensity for abduction and torture. At the beginning of 2009, in a botched kidnapping, several of Kadyrov's lackeys shot the whistleblower to death in Vienna.
In Chechnya's north Caucasus neighbors -- Dagestan, Ingushetia -- there's more talk about exiting Russia. The recent suicide bombing at the Moscow airport was organized by one of the factions pushing for independence. Putin has vowed to eliminate the "nest of bandits" responsible for the crime.
For every successful South Sudan, there are several suppressed Chechnyas. And every leader like Putin who aspires to crush secessionist movements has been looking with awe at Sri Lanka and its leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
In May 2009, Rajapaksa orchestrated the eradication of the movement for Tamil independence, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This terrifying culmination of a three-year offensive, according to the former UN spokesperson in Colombo, left as many as 40,000 civilians dead. A number of countries denounced the actions of the Sri Lankan military, and the UN Human Rights Council, with U.S. support, began to look into war crimes. The government has denied the allegations. "I will not allow any investigation by the United Nations or any other country," said Rajapaksa's brother, who also happens to be the defense minister.
The official condemnations from governments contrast rather sharply with the reactions of military personnel involved in counter-terrorism operations. They've treated Sri Lankan military leaders like rock stars. The New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson attended a recent conference on maritime security in Sri Lanka, where the formal agenda included discussions of piracy and other matters. "But mostly the conference was an opportunity for Sri Lanka's military leaders to boast to their colleagues about beating the Tigers," he writes. "The foreign speakers congratulated them on their achievement, and asked eagerly about the techniques they had used. Brigadier General Stanley Osserman, of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Command, said, 'Sri Lanka has a lot to offer in the field of terrorism prevention and maritime security.'"
The Sri Lankan "solution" of massive firepower and unrestrained ruthlessness was nothing particularly new. The Sri Lankan military might even have picked up some pointers from General William Tecumseh Sherman, who cut a swath to the sea in 1864 in a bid to make sure that the American south would never utter the S-word again. What made the campaign against the LTTE unusual was that it took place in the Internet age. Other countries are studying the Sri Lankan case not so much for how they did it, but how they got away with it.
Of course a third possibility lies between the success of Sudan and the failure of the Tamil Tigers, the Chechens, and most everyone else. Many states exist in a kind of limbo. Taiwan functions like an independent country and can stay that way as long as it doesn't make any formal declarations that would irk Mainland China. Kosovo has been recognized by 75 countries and last July the International Court of Justice upheld its declaration of independence. But Russia, China, and Spain -- which have their own problems with the S word -- have still barred entrance to the club of independent countries.
But Taiwan and Kosovo are still pretty lucky. They at least have gotten some recognition. Somaliland seceded from Somalia back in 1991. Yet no other country has recognized it. That's like throwing a party, inviting the world, and then sitting all night by yourself with all the chips and punch.
Last month, another section of Somalia filed for divorce. Puntland, like Somaliland, has been relatively stable, at least compared to the rest of the troubled country. Puntland's uttering of the S-word may simply be tactical, however. "It is willing to be part of a federal Somalia, so its secession is not irrevocable," writes Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) contributor Hussein Yusuf in Puntland Splits. "Rather, it made its declaration as a kind of wake-up call to the international community. It wanted to call attention to the TFG leadership's inability and unwillingness to cooperate with the rest of Somalia."
The fate of these would-be countries is being closely watched. Many Walloons, Basques, Corsicans, Western Saharans, Acehnese, Naga, Karen, Tibetans, Kurds, Baluchis, Vermonters, and many, many others are wondering whether they will be able to say the S word and see it happen. With South Sudan leading the way, divorce might become a great deal more popular in the near future. They might just have to knock down some walls in the UN General Assembly to accommodate all the new seats.
by John Feffer
(AFP) – Canada will recognize southern Sudan as an independent state later this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday as he praised its landmark independence referendum.
The referendum was "a historic moment for the country" and a "critical step" toward peace, said Harper, adding: "Canada is prepared to recognize southern Sudan when it becomes an independent state in July of this year."
Final results announced Monday showed that 98.83 percent of southern Sudanese had voted to secede from the north, paving the way for the declaration of a new state in July.
The January referendum was the centrepiece of a 2005 peace deal that ended a devastating 22-year conflict between the largely African Christian south and mainly Arab Muslim north.
Harper said Canada, which so far contributed 800 million dollars for humanitarian assistance, development and peace-building in Sudan, stands ready to assist the parties "in charting their post-referendum future."
photo: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, shown here in 2010, said Canada will recognize southern Sudan as an independent state later this year as he praised its landmark independence referendum. (AFP/DDP/File/Michael Gottschalk)
(AlJazeera) Southern Sudan's President Salva Kiir has returned home promising to work with his northern counterpart, Omar Al Bashir. On Monday, the final results of the country's landmark referendum showed the South had voted overwhelmingly for secession from the North. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Juba
(UN) United Nations peacekeepers have positioned armoured personnel carriers and are patrolling an area in Sudan where units made up of Northern and Southern Sudanese troops clashed last week, killing 54 soldiers and wounding 85 others.
"The United Nations urges the parties to remain calm and exercise caution," spokesman Martin Nesirky told a news briefing in New York today, referring to the outbreak of violence in Malakal in Sudan's Upper Nile State between 3 and 5 February.
All movement restrictions at the Malakal airport, which was closed after the clashes, have been lifted, and it is now open for regular traffic, he said, adding that the situation is now relatively calm.
The clashes erupted before yesterday's announcement of the official results of January's independence referendum in South Sudan, showing that an overwhelming majority opted for secession from what until now has been Africa's largest country.
In a joint statement issued today, the UN joined a dozen signatories in hailing the official results, a culminating point of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending two decades of civil war between the North and the South that killed some 2 million people and drove an estimated 4.5 million others from their homes.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the panel he appointed to monitor the vote did yesterday, they called on both sides to reach lasting post-referendum arrangements on such issues as border security, citizenship, wealth-sharing, frontier demarcation, and popular consultations in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Also still to be decided is the issue of Abyei, an area straddling northern and southern Sudan, that was due to have voted in a separate but simultaneous referendum on which side it would join. But a referendum commission has yet to be established there, and there is still no agreement on who would be eligible to vote.
"We emphasize our commitment to the establishment of long-term peace, security and prosperity for all of the people of Sudan," the co-signatories said in the statement. "As witnesses to the CPA, we recognize the critical importance of continued close cooperation between the Northern and Southern Sudan and we underline our willingness to continue to provide international support."
The other signers were the African Union, Egypt, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Kenya, Italy, the Arab League, Netherlands, Norway, Uganda, United Kingdom and United States.
From January 9 through January 15, 2011, the people of Southern Sudan held a referendum to determine whether to remain part of a united Sudan or to form a new independent nation. On February 7, the Chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announced that nearly 99 percent of southerners voted for the split. According to news reports, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir has stated his commitment to the results and said he will accept them. If all goes according to plan, Southern Sudan is currently slated to become the world's newest nation on July 9, 2011.
In recognition of Southern Sudan's new political standing, the Society's Map Policy Committee examined how this region should be portrayed on our maps.
As Southern Sudan has yet to gain its independence, and following the Society's principles for recognizing such territories, it has been decided that this region should be designated on our maps as an "Area of Special Status." Where scale permits, our maps will now show Southern Sudan in a gray boundary band or gray fill. Juba, the region's administrative center, will be identified by a special symbol (See accompanying map). Upon gaining its independence, National Geographic cartographers will proceed to designate a map color fill for Africa's newest nation.
Additionally, and where scale permits, the Sudanese region of Abyei will be recognized. Although its borders were left undefined in a 2005 peace deal, in July 2009 the Abyei Tribunal redrew this region's borders. The redrawn borders left most, but not all, of the region's Muslim population residing outside its boundaries, making it more likely that the majority of its population would vote to join the south. This region will, for now, be identified by a simple red boundary treatment and the use of the following note: 2009 Abyei Tribunal Decision Line.
Juan José Valdés
Director of Editorial and Research
National Geographic Maps
(CSM) South Sudanese voted overwhelming in January for independence. Now, they face the reality of building the world's newest nation – from printing new currency to collecting taxes.
After 22 years of civil war – Africa's longest conflict – in which 2 million people were killed and 4 million displaced, semiautonomous South Sudan is now on the brink of full independence from the Arab-dominated north.
But as the euphoria from January's historic vote, for which 99 percent of voters in the south turned out to vote virtually unanimously for separation, to secede begins to fade, the reality of building the world's newest nation from scratch will come into focus.
Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.
When South Sudan officially becomes independent in July, the to-do list will be daunting. While creating a government administration; printing new currency; building roads, schools, and hospitals; and collecting taxes in one of the world's least developed areas; the country must also prepare to demarcate a disputed, oil-rich border region with its historic enemies to the north and guarantee its security.
Building the capacity of government workers to handle these challenges will be a top priority, and one helped by the return of refugees who've gained skills during exile in developed countries. Thankfully for the fledgling country, it will have at least a few skilled administrators like Malul Ayom Dor on hand.
"We don't dream of fighting in the bush anymore. We have had enough," says Brig. Gen. Dor, one of the most highly educated men in the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, the military wing of the South's ruling party.
"Of course fighting is still relevant. We avoid war by preparing for it and we will continue to do that, but we also have to branch out. Now we need conventional skills, too, like how to sit in offices and make things function."
The future of an independent South Sudan will depend both on the leadership of men like Dor and on the hard work of its citizens. Blessed with crude oil reserves, nearly 70 percent of the former Sudan's total reserves, South Sudan will have potential wealth, but as a landlocked country, it will still need to cooperate with the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum to get the oil to market through the North's pipelines.
"The first challenge is to manage the high expectations that the [Southern People's Liberation Movement] has created by campaigning for independence in the referendum," says Fouad Hikmat, senior researcher and Sudan expert for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.
The good news, he says, is that it seems the South realizes that they have to "continue negotiations with the party of the North. They will not relapse to violence – peace is a win-win situation for both sides as far as oil is concerned; nobody wants to risk losing that income."
Transition in Sudan
As the relatively peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union shows, there is often a 10-year transition period from independence to sustainable nationhood that can take longer for countries that lack vision or leadership.
"When I was in Juba, there was a lot of pride, and justifiably so, for the three or four paved roads they had," says Simon Freemantle, Africa economist for Standard Bank in Johannesburg, South Africa. "So the first priority for this country to start unlocking sustained economic growth is to focus on building infrastructure."
Much of that infrastructure growth will probably be directed down south to the nations of East Africa, including Kenya with its port access, as well as to Uganda and Ethiopia. South Sudan knows that it will have to maintain a good working relationship with Khartoum, and perhaps continue its current 50/50 oil-revenue sharing agreement with the North for the next five years or so, Mr. Freemantle says, because it has no other way of getting its oil out to markets without Khartoum.
But while South Sudan will certainly have its challenges, it may have an advantage over other African countries that gained independence in the early 1960s. It will have a lot more choices of economic partners to choose from, including India, China, and Malaysia, and "they are able to bargain from a better place now that there is some competition for the goods that they have to sell."
Building up a proper skills base among its low-, medium-, and upper-level government officials will have to be another major priority, Freemantle says, and southern Sudanese authorities are quick to point out the number of skilled administrators they already have.
Two hundred and four southerners served as diplomats in the foreign service of the Republic of Sudan, among them 24 ambassadors, says Deng Alor, the highest ranking of the bunch – and the man slated to become South Sudan's first foreign minister.
"So far we are dealing with returning diplomats, and the question of who owns embassies and other Sudanese property abroad," says Mr. Alor. "But most importantly, in the interim period we will develop our foreign policy, and decide with whom to forge relations, and on what terms."
Encouraging Sudan's expats to come home
One way to start filling up the vacuum of skills in South Sudan would be to encourage expatriate Sudanese to return. Twenty-two years of civil war – which ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement hammered out between the north and south in 2005 – left a generation of Sudanese undereducated, but it propelled thousands of others into exile. Many of these went on to higher degrees, started their own businesses, raised families, and set down roots in their adopted countries.
Bringing even a few of them back will go far, Alor says, in helping South Sudan take ownership of its own development.
"These returnees can be very helpful to us today," says Alor. "They bring back ideas and investment and language. They are an asset." All refugees are welcome here, says Alor – even northerners, including Darfuris, who cannot return to their own regions.
One man who did come back is Subek David, and the route he took to get back home is worthy of Odysseus.
The outbreak of war in the mid-1980s pushed him out of Sudan into a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From there he moved to Uganda to attend missionary school; then to Russia on an academic scholarship; then to Libya to learn how to fly helicopters; then to Malta to seek asylum; and finally to Australia, a country that accepted his asylum application.
"Coming here is a sacrifice for people. It is hard to start fresh," admits Mr. David, who returned to Juba last year to work in security at the airport. "You can eat and sleep well in Australia. But I was always longing for my home. It feels different being here. It is home. Now we just need to put it in order."
Elijah Meen, a civil servant in Juba, says the returnees "have a lot to offer us."
Last month, Mr. Meen picked up his younger brother Gordon at the airport, reuniting for the first time in 18 years.
"We were wishing he could come home with knowledge of school," Elijah says of his brother. "But even without [education], these people have seen the world. They have been exposed. Even if they don't know how to build a road, at least they have seen what building a road looks like. They have seen good houses and good bridges and they can now help us here."
By Scott Baldauf, Staff Writer, Danna Harman, Correspondent
photo: Boys sat in a tea shop in Abyei, Sudan, Jan. 14. The independence referendum for Abyei – which straddles the disputed border between North and South Sudan – complicated voting here. Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday the United States intends to recognize South Sudan as a sovereign country in July, as Washington began the process of removing Sudan from a terrorism blacklist.
"After decades of conflict, the images of millions of southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the world and another step forward in Africa's long journey toward justice and democracy," Obama said in a statement.
"Now, all parties have a responsibility to ensure that this historic moment of promise becomes a moment of lasting progress," he said.
The people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to declare independence in final results of a referendum announced on Monday, opening the door to Africa's newest state and a fresh period of uncertainty for the fractured region.
Obama said a peace agreement must be implemented fully.
"At the same time, there must be an end to attacks on civilians in Darfur and a definitive end to that conflict," he said.
The United States would work with the governments of Sudan and Southern Sudan to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition to independence, he said.
"For those who meet all of their obligations, there is a path to greater prosperity and normal relations with the United States, including examining Sudan's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism," he said.
"And while the road ahead will be difficult, those who seek a future of dignity and peace can be assured that they will have a steady partner and friend in the United States."
Presence on the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list bars a country from receiving U.S. arms exports, controls sales of items with military and civilian applications, limits U.S. aid and requires Washington to vote against loans to the country from international financial institutions.
The U.S. State Department said it is initiating the process to remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list but stressed it would only be dropped if it met all criteria under U.S. law.
"Removal of the state sponsor of terrorism designation will take place if and when Sudan meets all criteria spelled out in U.S. law, including not supporting international terrorism for the preceding six months and providing assurance it will not support such acts in the future, and fully implements the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including reaching a political solution on Abyei and key post-referendum arrangements," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Arshad Mohammed)
(BBC) The speakers were crackly and the outdoor cinema screen flickered in Southern Sudan's capital, Juba.
Those at the back in the dark of the giant thousand-strong crowd could hardly make out what was being said.
But for the southerners gathered to watch the results of their historic independence referendum, only one message mattered: the confirmation that the south will become a nation of its own.
As the result was confirmed, that 98.83% of the voters had backed independence, those at the front leapt up, waving flags and cheering.
Those at the back, hearing the shouts of delight, began to dance.
"We are free, we have won our independence!" shouted former soldier William Machar.
"This is our moment in history, when we watch our baby-nation being born."
Juba residents flocked to the grave of former rebel leader John Garang, the first president of the south, to hear the results broadcast live from Sudan's capital, Khartoum.
Hundreds sat on plastic chairs, craning their heads forward to hear the historic words.
The atmosphere was electric.
One woman, like hundreds of others, waved a southern flag.
"This is the symbol of the 193rd country in the world," she shouted, followed by an ear-splitting ululation.
One group of young men came with candles rammed into plastic drink bottles, pre-emptively welcoming in the birth of the new nation.
"Happy birthday our country, happy birthday Southern Sudan," they sang, arms draped around each other in celebration.
The south is not due to declare formal independence until 9 July.
"I was born in war, and I grew up as a soldier," said Robert Duk, a student. "So for me to see this day, something I dreamed of but never could believe, is something I find hard to put into words."
Despite the excitement following the result, people quickly sat down to listen to the next speech, intent on hearing all that was said.
"This is what happens when you oppress and marginalise a people for over 50 years," said Puok Dieu, who fought in the civil war. "One day those people will rise up and say: 'It is enough.'"
"The results of the referendum mean I am free today," said Abiong Nyok, a housewife. "Now I am a first-class citizen in my own country."
The crowd was in a mood to party.
"We are going to take to the streets and celebrate until dawn," said Peter Deng, a youth leader. "All us here grew up during the war, so we are so happy to be celebrating our freedom in peace."
But away from the live screening in the centre, Juba seemed quiet.
Many in the south have already privately been celebrating the results, which have filtered out in recent days.
"We in the south never had any doubt what the results would be," said Alfred Juma, a teacher.
"But it is a great relief to hear it confirmed, and to hear that the north have accepted it too."
Others however were more reflective.
"We will celebrate at home," said Mary Akoch, a widow whose husband died in the two-decades of conflict.
"The young will go to the bars, but there are many like me who will remember the cost of this achievement, the deaths of so many of our people, so many of those who we loved."
By Peter Martell
photo: As the result was confirmed, crowds in Juba began dancing and cheering (AFP)
(Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Monday it is initiating the process to remove Sudan from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list but stressed it would only be dropped if it met all criteria under U.S. law.
(AlJazeera) Sudan's president says he accepts south's choice of independence after official results show 98.83 per cent in favour.
Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, has said he accepts the results of a January referendum that show a landslide vote for independence in the country's south.
Official figures released on Monday showed that 98.83 per cent of voters from the south chose to secede from the north.
The results, displayed at an announcement ceremony in Khartoum, revealed that out of 3,837,406 valid ballots cast, only 44,888 votes, or 1.17 per cent, favoured the status quo of unity with the north.
The ceremony in the Sudanese capital was attended by al-Bashir and Salva Kiir, the southern leader.
"Today we received these results and we accept and welcome these results because they represent the will of the southern people," al-Bashir said on state television.
"But we are committed to the links between the north and the south, and we are committed to good relations based on co-operation."
His comments reflect the economic dependence between the two: southern Sudan, which is rich in oil, cannot export its oil resources without using a pipeline that runs through the north.
The January 9-15 vote came six years after north and south Sudan ended a civil war spanning more than two decades, which left at least two million people dead.
It has been seen as the climax of the 2005 peace deal, which set out to reunite the country and instil democracy.
Kiir welcomed al-Bashir's comments, saying he and the president's National Congress Party "deserve a reward".
Al-Bashir, who campaigned against secession, has surprised many commentators with a series of positive remarks about the south in recent weeks.
In Juba, the southern capital, small celebrations have been taking place.
"This is our day for freedom. We are ready to celebrate all night long," Santino Machar, a student, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
"Today I don't fear war anymore, it is the past ... Our leaders have made friends with the north, but for me, I can never forgive them for what I have seen," Riak Maker, 29, told the Reuters news agency.
"I don't hate them now, but I never want to see them again."
Despite the celebratory mood, uncertainties remain over the north and south's economic and political stability.
Sudan is almost entirely dependent on oil revenues and has struggled to find other sources of incomes.
Al-Bashir is still being sought by the International Criminal Court over charges he orchestrated genocide in Darfur.
photo: Bashir said he welcomed the results of the referendum in an address on state television [Reuters/Sudan television]
(Zenit) Bishop Warns Against Islamization in North
YAMBIO, Sudan, FEB. 7, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A 37-year-old nun is just one victim among many of recent killings and abductions in the Sudan, threatening the efforts of the newest African nation, reported the bishop of Tombura-Yambio.
Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala issued an open letter calling for an end to the violence being perpetrated to the "Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA) and its guerilla commander, Joseph Kony, Aid to the Church in Need reported.
The prelate told the aid agency today that "the threat of violence widening could stress any new government in South Sudan, ruining the resources of a young nation as it fights to protect its citizens and prevent others from being drawn into the struggle."
Today it was announced that 98% of voters in a referendum in Southern Sudan chose to become independent from the north.
Khartoum-based President Omar al Bashir of Sudan stated that he accepts the official outcome of the vote.
Thus, in July, Southern Sudan will become the 54th independent African state, six years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the Sudanese Civil War.
However, the prelate expressed concern that the violence will have "devastating consequences" on the region's efforts to become an independent nation.
"Each day that goes by without a solution to the problem of the LRA is another day of terror and pain for those of us living under constant threat of renewed attacks," he said.
Bishop Kussala asserted, "The LRA problem in our communities will not be solved until Joseph Kony and the other senior leaders are made to leave the forest."
He reported: "Many of our children are still in the hands of the LRA. We do not know if they are alive or dead.
"Those who have managed to escape the LRA bear the physical and mental scars of what they have suffered and will never be the same again."
The prelate told the aid agency that the known murder victims include Sister Angelina of the local St. Augustine Institute, who was killed Jan. 17 while traveling to provide medical aid to refugees from South Sudan.
He added that nine people were killed, seven wounded, and 17 abducted during LRA attacks in his diocese from Dec. 22 to Dec. 25.
From that moment, the violence has continued, the bishop stated, and on Saturday eight people were found tortured to death in a village 130 miles from Tombura.
Aid to the Church in Need reported that in North Sudan, Christians in particular are experiencing threats due to the political changes in that region.
Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok of Khartoum warned that the region will soon become less tolerant to non-Muslims.
"The statement of President [al Bashir] some weeks ago that after the secession [of the south] the north will become Islamic in religion and Arabic in culture is a progressive plan," he said.
The prelate continued, "Until now, the northern government has been lenient in enforcing this policy for fear that the south will break away but now I do not think anything can stop them."
He reported: "In some places now [Christians and other] people are asked as to why they are still here in the north.
"People who go in search of jobs in agriculture production have reported mistreatment by the farm owners. They are not properly paid their wages and at times they are threatened with guns if they complain."
The bishop said that many Christians have already fled for the south, and that in his pastoral region of Kosti, Mass attendance has dropped from 1,000 to 100.
(BBC) At least 13 people, including two children, have been killed in clashes between soldiers in the volatile south Sudan town of Malakal, doctors say.
Battles broke out on Thursday between rival northern troops, some of whom want to stay in the south. Malakal has previously seen north-south clashes.
The fighting comes as Southern Sudan is waiting for confirmation of the result of its independence referendum.
Provisional results say 99% of voters opted to secede from the north.
A local official said many more people may have been killed.
"We don't know how many bodies will be found at the site of the fighting," Upper Nile state spokesman Bartholomew Pakwan Abwol told the Reuters news agency.
He said that southerners who joined the northern army did not want to move.
"They think they will have no rights in the north," he said.
Another of the dead was a United Nations driver caught in crossfire, a UN spokesman said.
The southern army, the SPLA, has not become involved in the fighting.
It has previously clashed with northern militia in the town on the River Nile, leaving hundreds dead in 2006 and 2009.
It is still seen as one of the potential flashpoints along the north-south border.
Southern Sudan is set to become the world's newest nation on 9 July 2011.
Its referendum was part of a deal to end decades of conflicts between north and south, driven by religious and ethnic divides.
photo: Malakal, on the River Nile, is seen as a potential north-south flashpoint (AFP)
(Reuters) – Police beat and tear gassed students protesting in Sudan's Sennar state, the latest in a series of short-lived demonstrations partly inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, witnesses said.
Around 200 students, protesting against price rises and calling for change, tried to rally outside Sennar university on Thursday afternoon, before officers moved in with batons and then surrounded the compound, witnesses told Reuters.
Sudan has used armed riot police to disperse a series of demonstrations by young Sudanese across the north of the country in recent weeks.
Protests earlier last month focused on food prices and human rights abuses and broadened to include calls for political change after images of massed protests in Cairo, Tunis and other cities were broadcast across the world.
The protests, many around universities, have so far not been supported by wider parts of the population and have failed to gain momentum.
Also Thursday police arrested dozens of people near the scene of a planned protest in the capital's Khartoum North suburb, said witnesses. The demonstration, which had been publicized on the internet, did not take place.
Police set up road blocks in and around Khartoum to search cars and lorries overnight. A Reuters witness saw officers even checking inside bags of vegetables in one vehicle on the road from Khartoum to the town of Kosti.
As part of a wider crackdown on opposition voices, officers arresting 10 journalists from Sudan's Communist Party newspaper Wednesday and detained opposition Islamist Hassan al-Turabi and 12 of his party officials last month.
A police spokesman said there was no official comment on the reports Friday, the start of the weekend in Sudan.
Sudan is facing an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation. It is also vulnerable politically after the south of the country -- the source of most of its oil -- voted overwhelmingly to secede last month.
(Writing by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Maria Golovnina)
photo: Heavily armed police patrol Khartoum's main streets, January 30, 2011.… REUTERS/Stringer
(ST) Sudanese youth have called for a mass demonstration on Sunday, inspired by the thousands of protesters who have defied authorities in Tunisia and Egypt by calling for their leaders to step down.
Emails, text messages and posts on social networking website Facebook have encouraged Sudanese to take to the streets of Khartoum to challenge the government.
On Friday, thousands of protesters in Cairo ignored a curfew imposed by state authorities to continue demonstrations, which began on Tuesday. The anti-government rallies, on a scale never seen before in Egypt, led to clashes between protesters and security forces.
Echoing the uprising in Tunisia, which saw President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flee the country, tens of thousands of Egyptian's in many of cities went to the streets after Friday prayers calling for the removal of long serving President Hosni Mubarak.
Mubarak has rejected the calls for him to step down and instead instructed the army to try and restore order. He later announced that he would appoint a new government on Saturday to address the demands made by the protesters.
Analysts say that events in Tunisia and Egypt over the last weeks have emboldened citizens and opposition leaders across the Arab world.
One of the images used by organisers and supporters of the planned demonstration in Khartoum on Sunday 30 January.
An email seen on Friday, which Sudan Tribune has paraphrased due to spelling errors, called for mass demonstrations in Khartoum on Sunday saying it was the 'right time to rise against oppression and despair'.
'Everyone could do something positive' the email said, 'we shall rise and leave behind passiveness... We have to do this, for our children to live with dignity... for us to live the life that every human deserves.'
'If the Egyptians can break the fear barrier... so can we. WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR!!!'
The email, also posted on the internet, went on to note that previous Sudanese governments have been overthrown by popular uprisings.
Tunisia's protests are being widely reported as the first time an Arab leader has been ousted by a popular uprising. However, Sudan, a member of the Arabic league, despite its significant non-Arab and non-Islamic groups has seen two leaders deposed by popular uprisings.
In 1964 the October Revolution saw the end of General Abboud's military regime and in 1985 when Jaafar Nimeiri was deposed by the military after another popular uprising.
One of the images used by organisers and supporters of the planned demonstration in Khartoum on Sunday 30 January.
The email said the place and time for the planned demonstrations would be announced on facebook and encouraged people to 'send it to your phone contacts..print it and give it to your neighbors.. in transport and n the streets ...bring other sectors along.. professions.. doctors.. workers .. start the fire'.
The organizers in Khartoum, say they suspect that Facebook may be blocked by the government and have established various other websites to host information about the protests. The Tunisian government blocked Facebook and the twitter another networking website to try and stop the protests there two weeks ago.
The messaged received when trying to access website tinyurl.com, a website used to shorten websites so than can be used with the social media website twitter.com, from inside Sudan.
For the last three days tinyurl.com, a website that makes website addresses smaller so that they can fit into the 140 characters allowed on social-networking-tool twitter, has been blocked by the Sudanese National Telecommunications Cooperation. Compared to Facebook, twitter is not as popular in Sudan and it is unclear why the site has been blocked or if it is related to events in Tunisia and Egypt.
Organizers have also provided instructions on how to deal with tear gas if it is used by security forces.
The posting on Facebook said that the protest would be held at various locations in Khartoum and across the Nile in the city of Omdurman.
Like the protests in Tunisia and Egypt the organizers of the planned protests on Sunday present themselves as not being backed by any single political party but rather a mobilization of people with common grievances through word of mouth, mobile phones and social media.
The demands of the proposed Khartoum protests mirror those elsewhere, in that they call for action to be taken to address unemployment, price rises, lack of democracy and apparent dissatisfaction with a long serving president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir who has been in power since a 1989 coup.
However, Sudan's situation differs from the regional tensions as the events in North Africa come at a time that is already extremely politically sensitive for Sudan's northern government. As well as rising food prices aggravated by an acute shortage of foreign currency reserves and a decline in the value of the Sudanese pound, the north is poised to lose the oil-rich south of the country through a recently conducted referendum.
* East Africa
* North Africa
The poll was agreed as part of a 2005 peace deal between rebels from Sudan's south, where Christianity and traditional African beliefs are most common, and Bashir's National Congress Party in the Islamic and Arab dominated north.
In recent weeks the jubilation of being at the cusp of independence in Sudan's south has been in stark contrast to the mood in the north, where many see the separation of the south as huge loss.
As of Saturday morning over 8,000 people have said they will attend Sunday's protests in Khartoum, according the events Facebook page.
Facebook users have also shown their support for the campaign to changing the image that accompanies their account to won with the number 30, indicating the date of the planned protests.
On Friday evening police in some areas of Khartoum began searching vehicles traveling after midnight.
photo: There is tight security outside universities in Khartoum, Reuters