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May-21-2010 15:41printcomments

South Sudan's Revolving Nightmare

Mounting problems need to be addressed.

The reality of South Suda
The reality of South Sudan. Courtesy: militaryimages.net

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - According to Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, the number of Sudanese displaced has reached 4.9 Million. Yet, the US government watches in silence as Al-Bashir’s inauguration is scheduled for May 27, 2010.

Khartoum has continued with business as usual, while many have repeatedly protested the outcome of the recent elections. Darfur and South Sudan has seen a substantial increase in violence leaving several hundred dead.

Hassan Al Turabi, the previous dictator whom has seen the inside of a Khartoum jail cell many times was arrested in his home, May 15. Protests rang out against the abuse, this landing again amongst the deaf ears of the government of Sudan (GoS).

Al-Rai Al-Shaab newspaper and its Editor and Chief, both affiliated to Al Turabi were arrested and shut down as well on Saturday. A photographer in Western Bahr el-Ghazal, was severely beaten his belongings and camera confiscated. Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services moved against two newspapers on Wednesday night, Ajras Al Huriya and Al Sahafa. The officers censored three whole pages from each paper[1].

These violations are seen as an effort by the Khartoum Government to censor freedom of press and stop the movement of information leaving Sudan.

Darfur

Chaos and violence has engulfed Darfur increasing the need for those fleeing to refugee camps. The Kubum IDP camp in West Darfur lack food and aid for the many that live there, a recent influx of 600 Misseriya families that fled the fighting are an unwelcome site to those already struggling to survive.

Seven members of the Sa’ada tribe were killed while traveling in an area north of Nyala. The attack marks the latest episode of bitter violence between the Abbala Rizeigat and Sa’ada tribes. Last month at least 100 were killed and 11 villages were burnt in clashes between the two Arab tribes. [2]

On May 18 in South Darfur, three aid workers from Samaritan’s Purse were abducted; one American and two Sudanese. The same day outside Nyala, two workers in a UNAMID vehicle were taken. The details are still unclear.

Sources have told Salem-News.com, Yes, tensions are high but we are ready for anything. GOS has been showing its power in EL Fashir for the past couple of weeks- I think they will announce martial law again this week, as people are so angry and more weapons are appearing.*

Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader, Khalil Ibrahim was detained at the Chadian Airport for over 19 hours, resulting in a very tense standoff. He was sent back to Libya and all Chadian passports confiscated. It is reported that many are angry and resent the treatment given “their leader”. GoS has admitted to sending letters, asking neighbors not to accept the JEM leader into their country.

South Sudan

The South has seen over two decades of brutality and marginalization by the North. In 1983 a rapid escalation in the violence soon turned into a vicious civil war. Twenty two years of conflict led to over two million dead and four million fleeing as refugees. Both parties stood at a continued stale mate continuously killing each side, 2005 the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. Within this agreement were stipulations on power, wealth and resource sharing; elections and the referendum. Five years later it appears that the only agreement that has held is a rigged and fraudulent election.

During those 22 years the South lay prey to the massive plundering of its people; killing, kidnapping and starvation. The Dinka Tribe was a key target and suffered tremendously, families were taken and sold as slaves; the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) used young boys to fight their war. Per the CPA the families of these stolen children and relatives were to welcome them home to begin again; none have yet to return.

Southern Sudan is said to be size of France and Belgium combined and there is less than 3,000km of paved roads[3].

There is very little infrastructure, no hospitals or schools in a majority of the Southern states. The marginalized South was to receive an incursion of wealth after signing the CPA in 2005; none has been received.

Child soldier say many fear a return to civil war; specifically those in the south that have seen the violence escalate in many of the states protesting the election results. The lack of schools, parents, and food or money will again make easy prey of the young children.

A looming South to South conflict, rumblings of another North South conflict and the continued battle in Darfur will inevitably lead to uncontrolled pandemonium. In a region this size and the cohesiveness of the relationship of neighboring countries, Egypt, Ethiopia and Chad as active participants; DRC and Uganda also in chaos, the impact on this continent would be catastrophic.

William Deng said, "Rigging the election results brought problems to our State (North Bahr El Ghazal) and South Sudan as whole. President of South Sudan has given the election to his close friend Gen.Paul Malong Awan and Gen.Dau Aturjong Nyuol who won the election has been threatened, he did exile his home State after election results. We have the right to denounce Kiir and his endorsee. The government of Southern Sudan is fighting against their own brothers and sisters."

North Bahr El Ghazal (NBG) and Jonglei areas have seen a majority of the unrest both during and post elections, other states include Central Equatoria, Lake Unity and Upper Nile. It has been reported that many Independent candidates have gone into hiding or have been arrested under the direct authority of President Salva Kiir.

Prior to the elections, the people of NBG endured massive intimidations, threats and beatings; post elections brought imprisonment and some murdered as well as weeks of armed clashes.

In the Jonglei region General, Gorge Athor Deng began his rebellion several weeks ago; he is demanding the cancellation of the election results both locally and nationally (South) and a new intermediary government for the referendum. Impending war is his warning, stating specifically his state’s capital Bor would be next attacked; he has already begun to recruit forces from neighboring states. Many are willing, they are angry with the results of the elections and their lack of voice and democracy within the Government of South Sudan (GoSS).

"As the Government of Southern [Sudan], it’s decided that this issue should be addressed militarily. The position of the caretaker Government of southern Sudan since day one has been that this thing should be addressed militarily" Minister Makuei (GoSS) [4]

William Deng said, "In the wake of the recent clashes the GoSS has begun collecting weapons in Lake State and many other surrounding regions, this leaves many communities vulnerable to assault. South Sudan has taken many weapons. The Government is afraid of its position; this is intimidation and manipulation, another way to control the people."

In Western Equatoria three are said to be dead due to a recent attack by the Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA). This regime from Uganda is known to be vicious in their attacks and many fear their return to Sudan and do not believe that their government can protect them. An on-ground source confirmed their belief that the LRA were hired by the Northern government to go after the SPLA, they will target the civilians first. “They move everywhere; you never know where they are or where they are going to be”.

President Kiir warned the closure of airports and borders should war erupt again. Many inside Sudan interrupt this as another sign of on an oncoming dictator. The Southern Sudanese feel the message is that they cannot leave; many are scared and fear they will not be able to flee into exile or go as refugees.

April was a time of great joy and hope for many inside South Sudan, they dreamt of democracy and the chance to build their homes and futures. Twenty two years were spent fighting the oppression that is Al-Bahir’s government. Their dream has quickly turned into a nightmare and fear of a repeated history with a new face.

[1] 195.190.28.213/node/1024

[2] 195.190.28.213/node/948

[3] blogs.aljazeera.net/africa/2010/04/06/south-sudanese-get-voting-lessons

[4] sudantribune.com/spip.php?page=imprimable&id_article=35070

_________________________________

Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: alyshann78@comcast.net




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