Home | News    Tuesday 23 August 2011

Bashir declares truce in South Kordofan, refuses foreign NGOs

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August 23, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir has announced a temporary ceasefire in the country’s war-stricken state of South Kordofan, two days after talks with the rebels Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) dissolved in disagreement.

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (Getty Images)

Al-Bashir, who was addressing a conference on civil administration, according to the country’s official news agency SUNA, said that the ceasefire would last for two weeks during which the situation will be re-assessed and SPLM-N’s reaction observed.

The announcement comes two days after a meeting held in Khartoum between Al-Bashir and SPLM-N leader Malik Aggar failed to revive efforts seeking a negotiated solution to the crisis.

According to the SPLM-N, the meeting failed because Al-Bashir insisted that any talks between his ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM must be conducted directly and without the involvement of a third party.

Al-Bashir said that the announcement stems from the government’s keenness on peace. “We will seek an end to the war and peace in South Kordofan.”

Fighting between Sudan’s army and SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan erupted in early June after Al-Bashir ordered the forcible disbarment of SPLM-N fighters following the secession of South Sudan with which the rebels were previously aligned.

The UN estimates that at least 200,000 people in South Kordofan have been killed, injured or forced to flee their homes and land since the fighting erupted.

Sudan this week announced through its UN envoy that the government will let six UN agencies access South Kordofan under the supervision of the country’s humanitarian coordinator to assess the situation.

However, Al-Bashir today appeared to contradict his country’s acceptance, saying he had ordered the authorities not to allow a single foreign agency into South Kordofan. He added that the government would carry out aid operations through the Sudanese Red Crescent.

Sudanese officials vowed not to allow South Kordofan to become “a new Darfur,” in reference to the country’s western region where conflict forced millions from their homes into displacement camps.

(ST)

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  • 23 August 2011 16:59, by Waucity

    Wow Bashir, you think you can kill people whenever you want and stop whenever you want...So you called stopping war that kill people a temporary ceasefire!!!..I thought after everybody has been kind to you and continue to just sit in Sudan because people didn’t want you in the hand of foreigners, you are still playing like a desert boy in a sands.

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  • 23 August 2011 17:13, by peace

    waw waw Nanabuk,son of Awoman, distructive man being drive by evil people inside his Government,why did he contradict his decision,he normally reverse what he has decide,good thing will never happen in sudan if this man is not topple like the rest of Arab world leaders,he is a dictator,aman who has no future for others’people children,he is using the Arab children as A weapon,

    Dear Northerness open your eye this man will finish your children Halahwait(God)because he doesn’t want peace because none from his tribe will not died,
    can you go to sudan history seen he took power how many children from his clan/tribe died/or close relative,probably the answer must be no one,
    so!
    he allow UN to carry out attrocities but now he refuse again,he knows that crime against innocent Nubian civiliance will be prove
    Norh open your eye,he is with greedy people,he blindpool them with money,but the Bible said’don’t love money so much money are the source of devil and the fruit of devil is sin and the result of sin is death and that is why whever BASHIR TAKE ADECISION THERE SOME IDIOT ADVISERS THAT REVERS HIS DECISION,THAY IS WHY HE CHANGE HIS MIND ALWAYS,EG ADISABABA AGREEMENT WAS BREAK,who will be blame,Hime

    Long live two countries,
    By INNOCENT MAN AWAYNHOM.
    TAKECARE WHERE U R.

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  • 23 August 2011 20:42, by Sam.Eto

    *JUBA, Aug 23, 2011 (IPS) - Thousands of women and children are being abducted and over 1,000 people have died this year as communities in oil-rich South Sudan war over a precious commodity – cattle.*

    In the newly independent country, which produces about 385,000 barrels of oil a day, inter-ethnic clashes over cattle have long prevailed. Here, owning many cattle is a sign of wealth. However, in recent times the cattle raids have become more frequent and deadly. 

    There are growing calls for the South Sudanese government to address the underlying causes of these clashes. Many are concerned that unless the issues behind the violence are resolved, insecurity will continue to hinder stability and development in the new country. 

    The conflict is being attributed to the easy availability of arms and cultural norms that portray the ownership of cattle as a sign of success. 

    Following the end of the country’s 21-year civil war in 2005, the value of cattle has rapidly risen as many men now hope to marry. It is common for people to pay a bride price or dowry in cattle. 

    James Amuor, a youth from Jonglei state, told IPS that a bride could cost as much as 100 heads of cattle. "Some youth are involved in cattle rustling because they want to marry and they don’t have the required cattle. They have to go and raid cattle to raise a dowry to marry the girl of their choice," Amuor explained. In the Dinka community, the taller the bride is, the higher the bride price. The same applies for an educated woman. 

    In the most recent attack, which took place on Aug.18 in Uror County in Jonglei state, 640 people were killed, 761 wounded, 258 children abducted, 38,000 heads of cattle were stolen and 8,924 houses were burnt down. 

    The entire county, which is the equivalent of a district in other countries, was attacked. The Commissioner of Uror County Tut Puok Nyang said the attackers were estimated to be between 2,000 and 2,500 youth suspected of being from neighbouring Pibor County. Others estimate the attackers were nearer 3,000 to 5,000 people and were "armed like a regular army." 

    A United Nations worker who spoke to IPS on the condition of anonymity said the attackers had several types of weapons including machine guns, AK-47s (a Russian assault rifle also known as a Kalashnikov), anti-aircraft guns and grenades. 

    The attack was in retaliation of the one the Lou Nuer community from Uror County launched on the Murle community of Pibor County in June. Over 400 people were killed, women and children were captured, and hundreds of cattle were stolen in that attack. 

    When women and children are captured during these attacks, the women are taken as "wives" and the children are assimilated into the new culture of their abductors and become their children. In both incidents the U.N. Mission in Sudan, which is mandated to protect civilians, and the country’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), did not intervene citing a lack of capacity. There have been increasing calls for government to deploy security forces to prevent a repeat of such attacks. 

    But Jonglei state Minister of Law Enforcement Gabriel Duop Lam said it was difficult to prevent the attacks "because civilians who possess arms (outnumber) the law enforcement officers." 

    South Sudan’s Minister of Internal Affairs Gier Chuang Aluong agreed with Lam and added that poor infrastructure in South Sudan made policing efforts difficult. 

    "The police and the SPLA do not have the capacity to rapidly respond to such incidents of communal violence. Due to the lack of roads, it could take the army 72 hours to arrive (at) a place where there is insecurity. By the time they get there it (is too) late to apprehend the attackers," Aluong said. 

    Aluong recently accused South Sudan’s "enemies" of arming civilians to destabilise the country. During the country’s north-south civil war many people acquired arms. However, there have been reports that the cattle raiders possess new guns, which government believes come from Sudan. 

    Government claims it has evidence that the government of Sudan supplied weapons to militia groups to destabilise South Sudan, before and after the independence referendum. This is when South Sudan, which has 85 percent of the oil reserves from the two countries combined, voted to cede from Sudan. "Our people do not manufacture weapons in South Sudan. That means someone is deliberately giving them arms and encouraging them to kill each other," said Aluong. 

    But many here have blamed the escalating violence on government’s failure to disarm civilians. Nyang said he believed that comprehensive civilian disarmament was the only solution to ending the deadly raids and insecurity in Jonglei state and South Sudan in general. 

    Ahmed Thurbil lost his relatives in the Aug. 18 attack and criticised government for not disarming civilians after the country’s civil war ended. 

    "All along the government knew that many civilians are armed but it did not care to disarm them in all these six years. What do you expect idle youth to do? It is obvious that they would be tempted to go and raid cattle," he said. 

    Thurbil alleged that the communal violence in Jonglei state and South Sudan has been downplayed by both the state and central government. 

    Moses Opio, of the U.N.’s Foundation Better World Campaign, told IPS that he believed the failure to disarm civilians was one of the reasons why inter-ethnic clashes would continue to claim innocent lives. 

    "There has to be systematic disarmament. Anybody who is not authorised to carry a gun should be disarmed without discrimination," he said. In South Sudan people need a licence to own a gun. However, it is easy to buy a gun without one. 

    Opio added that the country’s porous borders were also to blame as it is easy to bring guns into the country. 

    Jonglei state Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Gabriel Gai Riem, who visited the attacked villages of Jokrial, Guanchaat, Pulchuol, Pieri, Tongnyang and Matot, told IPS that he believed the violence could only be prevented through dialogue but said there was a possibility of more revenge attacks. 

    "It is very difficult to convince people not to (take) revenge after they have lost all these people and cattle," he said. "But only dialogue will stop (the) violence among communities. We are going to hold a peace conference and several meetings to reconcile the communities." 

    Chol Tong, the governor of South Sudan’s Lakes state, which is also plagued by cattle rustling, said communal attacks were rampant because people still clung to their culture, which believes that owning many cattle is "prestigious". 

    "People think if they attack other communities and raid cattle they can become prominent," said Tong. Tong said in order to stop the violence they needed to educate the youth and "show them that you don’t have to have many herds of cattle to be rich." 

    He said he would attract investors "to show the local communities that you can still have a few cattle and sell them for beef or process the milk and (become) rich." 

    Currently communities in South Sudan do not slaughter cattle, unless they are very old. The only time they ‘use’ their cattle is when they have to pay a bride price. 

    "This way we will reduce the urge to accumulate many cattle and reduce the motivation to go on cattle raids," he said. 

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    • 24 August 2011 02:07, by Deng E. Manyuon

      Sam Eto

      I wounder, are you reporting or commenting on the article?

      On the other hand, insulting us as primitive because we opted to break away will not justify war waged by Al Bashir in Darfur and South Kordofan. Be realistic!!! We can accept we are primitive .... but what about you the civilzed North? How far have you gone with civilzation in the North?

      Deng

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    • 24 August 2011 04:01, by BATNA

      Sam Eto

      I think you are out of topic,however, you need to rethink before resuming the site because, no one deny you access but your comments look more irrelevant to the subject matter and in addition, this show us that, you still possess primitive signs that’s why you can’t define the problem surrounded your dictator (Bashir).

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    • 24 August 2011 04:16, by Waucity

      Sam.Eto, if bashir is capable of stopping war for few weeks, then he is also capable of stopping war forever...This is a matter that is killing people and Bashir can not just decide whenever he wants too...

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