August 13, 2010 (JUBA) – The people of Nuba Mountains should carry out the exercise of self-determination similar to the exercise on independence by the people of Southern Sudan, says a leading figure in the Nuba Mountains.
Mariam Koshaib, the organizing chairperson of Ideal Strategic work in the region was quoted on Friday by the Sudan Tribune Daily newspaper as publicly saying that her people should conduct similar exercise like the southerners in the referendum.
Earlier on, the Chairman of the Ideal and Strategic work at the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Nuba Mountain Sector, Dr. Yousif Karam Allah Abdul Samad, has criticized that the popular consultation provided for in the CPA for the region would not achieve the people’s aspiration for development and equality.
In a related development, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has also had demanded self-determination for Kordofan and Darfur states. This was revealed by the SPLM Chairman for South Kordofan state, Abdul Aziz Adam Al Helow, who is also member of the party’s Political Bureau.
The top party leader in the region said his people had the right to choose self-determination especially if they failed to coexist with the people of the North in case of secession between the North and the South.
The statement confirmed previous remarks by the official spokesman of the Darfur rebel, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Ahmed Hussein, who said his people would be left with no other option but to demand self-determination for their region.
"Our people need hope; they have the right to live under state of citizenship, freedom, democracy, equality and rule of law. We cannot accept this indefinite state of status-quo," said Ahmed Hussein who is the official spokesperson of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
"There is an ongoing genocide in Darfur which is entering a new phase. The [Khartoum] regime is working towards having a forcible return by dismantling the IDPs camps, using food as weapon, expelling and intimidating aid groups through abduction, assassinating IDP leaders, assaulting peacekeepers," Hussein added.
This is the first time JEM, considered to be the Darfur’s most powerful rebel group, makes such a call for self-determination. The Sudanese government has flatly rejected this demand saying this not even a topic for negotiations.
Last year, the spokesperson of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur who resides in exile in France, issued a statement demanding the right of self determination though it was later downplayed by its leader. However, Al-Nur dismissed the claim reaffirming his commitment to the unity of the country.
The JEM official emphasized that the Sudanese government is deploying these tactics "to liquidate the cause of our people" adding that the shift of international focus from Darfur to South Sudan encouraged Khartoum to execute this plan.
"Under these circumstances, JEM will be left with no other choice than to call for self-determination for Darfur as well as Kordofan. We must remember that Darfur was an independent Sultanate until 1916, exercising sovereignty and conducting its own foreign relations," Hussein said.