Showing posts with label Sudan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sudan. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Desperate EU Emboldens Murderous Sudan

This post provides extra detail on the EU-Sudan deal mentioned in Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 360, “SUDAN: War and Famine, Impunity and EU Funding”, by Elizabeth Kendal, 8 June 2016.

Desperate EU Emboldens Murderous Sudan.
By Religious Liberty Analyst, Elizabeth Kendal, 8 June 2016.

Humanitarian organisations, Christian ministries and compassionate individuals that have long supported the persecuted church and other victims of Khartoum’s murderous Islamist regime – through the second civil war (1983-2005), the first Nuba Genocide (1990-1993), and now into the third civil war and second Nuba Genocide (from May-June 2011 to the present day) – will be horrified to learn that the murderous Government of Sudan (GoS) will soon be in receipt of funds from the desperate European Union (EU).

As the Sudan Tribune reports: “Sudan has been under EU sanctions since the 1989 coup d’état and didn’t receive any development aid from Europe. . . However, the European body reconsidered its position following the weaves of illegal migrants from Syria, Iraq, and Horn of Africa countries.”

On 23 March 2016, the ambassadors of the EU’s 28 member states attended a secret meeting in which they agreed to work together with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to stop the flow of refugees to Europe.

According to Germany’s Der Spiegel, “the leading diplomats that day discussed a plan that the EU member states had agreed to: They would work together with dictatorships around the Horn of Africa in order to stop the refugee flows to Europe -- under Germany’s leadership.

“. . . The EU's new action plan for the Horn of Africa provides the first concrete outlines: For three years, €40 million ($45 million) is to be paid out to eight African countries from the Emergency Trust Fund, including Sudan.” [Also includes Eritrea.]

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, laughing, 12 May 2016.
Photo: Edward Echwalu/Reuters
As the main focus of the project is border protection, “equipment is to be provided to the countries in question.”

The EU will send “cameras, scanners and servers for registering refugees” to Sudan, despite the fact that the GoS is profoundly repressive and a known sponsor of international terrorism; and despite the fact that Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) is a confirmed human rights abuser known to torture prisoners.

The EU will also help train Sudanese border police and assist with “the construction of two camps with detention rooms for migrants”, despite knowing that GoS officials and military personnel are known to be deeply involved in the human trafficking business, including the selling of Eritrean refugees – many of whom are Christians fleeing religious persecution – to those who transport them to the Sinai where they are tortured for ransom.

According to Der Spiegel, “The German development agency GIZ [a government enterprise] is expected to coordinate the project.”

Mark Kersten reports for The Washington Post: “Sudanese officials have apparently told their German counterparts that migrants who are put into the camps will stay there indefinitely, insisting that ‘[t]he goal is that the refugees won’t leave the new camps’.”

In other words, desperate Germany will help criminal Khartoum build what are essentially two concentration camps for refugees and migrants, despite the fact that Khartoum’s government-administered “peace camps” (as the camps for displaced are called) have traditionally made receipt of food conditional upon conversion to Islam. 

Further to this, on 5 April, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, visited Khartoum to formally announce a €100 million ($112 million) aid package to Sudan. The official EU press release reads:  

“During a visit to Sudan today [5 April], EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica will discuss increased EU cooperation with Sudan on issues of common interest.  He will also announce a €100 million Special Measure for the country, to be implemented under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. . .

“The new funding will focus on reducing poverty, promoting peace and good governance, supporting the creation of jobs and improving the delivery of basic services (such as education and health) in areas affected by insecurity and experiencing large migratory flows. It will target the peripheral and conflict-affected areas such as Darfur, East Sudan and the Transitional Areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.”

So Khartoum will receive a $112 million aid package to “address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement” in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, despite the fact that Khartoum IS the root cause of irregular migration and forced displacement from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The EU will expect Khartoum to curb migration from these conflict areas by means of reducing poverty, promoting peace, creating jobs and delivering services, despite the fact that Khartoum is actively engaged in and committed to ethnic cleansing.

Children shelter in a bunker in Kauda,
Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan.
Photo: Peter Moszynski
source: "Amnesty International says Sudanese army
committed 'war crimes' in South Kordofan"
Sudan Tribune 4 Aug 2015
Commissioner Mimica’s statement reads like a fantasy: “Our new support of €100 million will essentially focus on improving the living conditions for those who call Sudan home, helping returnees to the country to reintegrate back into society. . .” 

It is as Magnus Taylor, Horn of Africa analyst with the International Crisis Group, explained to IRIN: “Sudan is not only important as a major transit route north to Europe, it is also a producer of migrants. But if your job is to stop people arriving in Europe and to come up with a deal to reduce those numbers, then your interest in the internal politics of Sudan may be secondary.”

This desperate EU deal will embolden the murderous Islamist regime in Khartoum, which will see the deal as a green light to escalate war, jihad, aerial bombardments and the engineering of famine, along with human trafficking, forced conversions and all manner of racial and religious hatred-inspired abuse and persecution.

Some key reports:

Questionable Deal: EU to Work with African Despot to Keep Refugees Out
By Jürgen Dahlkamp and Maximilian Popp, Der Spiegel, 13 May 2016.

In Attempt to Manage Refugee Crisis, E.U. Seeks to Work With Repressive African Gov’ts
By James Carstensen, CNSnews, 17 May 2016

Why the EU migration deal with Sudan is so dodgy
By Nanjala Nyabola and Obi Anyadike, IRIN, 26 May 2016

Sudan’s president was indicted. Why isn’t he paying any price?
By Mark Kersten, The Washington Post, 26 May 2016

EU considering working with Sudan and Eritrea to stem migration
By Jennifer Rankin in Brussels, and Patrick Kingsley in Istanbul, The Guardian, 7 June 2016

** The international embrace of Khartoum’s genocidal regime **
     By Eric Reeves, Sudan Tribune, 26 May 2016

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat.
http://www.turnbackthebattle.com/thebook.html

Elizabeth Kendal’s new book, After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East, is presently being published by Wipf and Stock (Eugene, OR, USA) and will be available shortly.

Monday, May 23, 2016

SUDAN: Massacre in Heiban as Nuba Genocide enters its Sixth Year.


By Religious Liberty Analyst, Elizabeth Kendal, 23 May 2016

Photos emerging from Heiban in South Kordofan’s conflict-wracked Nuba Mountains provide fresh evidence that the Government of Sudan continues to perpetrate crimes against humanity.

Nuba Reports
At 6 p.m. on 1 May, two Sudanese Air Force MiG fighter jets attacked residential areas within Heiban town in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, killing six children, three from one family: Nidal Abdolrahman Ibrahim (12), Ibrahim Abdolrahman Ibrahim (10), Jihan Abdolrahman Ibrahim (5), Hafez Mahmud (10) Kuku Dawli (4), and Yusif Yagoub (4). Having seen the photos, I can tell you, that the heads and limbs of these small children were literally shredded.

What is most important to understand is that the “Heiban Massacre” is not an isolated incident. To the contrary, it is but one episode in the Government of Sudan’s genocidal jihad against the non-Arab and mostly non-Muslim peoples of Sudan’s “New South” – Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile – a campaign that has just entered its sixth year. For the Christians of the Nuba Mountains, it is the second genocide in a generation.

BACKGROUND

click on map to enlarge
On 9 January 2005, the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending more than 20 years of civil war and Islamic jihad. The CPA gave the GoS seven years in which to “make unity attractive”. After that time, South Sudan would be entitled to hold a referendum on self-determination; and the three contested non-Arab and SPLM-aligned regions would determine their own futures: Abyei (which straddles the North-South border) was supposed to get a referendum; while South Kordofan and Blue Nile states (both in the north) would be entitled to popular consultations.

As the seven year interim period drew to a close, the GoS realised that, having failed spectacularly to “make unity attractive”, it was on the verge of losing 25 percent of its land mass, 80 percent of its forests and 75 percent of its oil.

On 27 April 1993, at the height of the preceding Nuba Genocide, clerics at the El-Obeid Mosque, North Kordofan, issued the now infamous fatwa:

“An insurgent who was previously a Moslem is now an apostate [simply by virtue of his political opposition]; and a non-Moslem is a non-believer standing as a bulwark against the spread of Islam, and Islam has granted the freedom of killing both of them.”

To the Arab-supremacist Islamists in Khartoum, the secession of South Sudan would make this fatwa and this genocide more urgent than ever.

click on map to enlarge
As the 9 July 2011 referendum on southern secession loomed, the GoS moved pre-emptively to seize control of the three contested regions: oil-rich Abyei and South Kordofan, and Blue Nile which has gold, water and which generates hydro-electric power.

GoS bombing of Abyei commenced on 19 May 2011, followed by a military invasion that sent Abyei's remnant 20,000 mostly-Christian, Dinka Ngok residents fleeing south. [It has subsequently been estimated that up to 150,000 mostly-Christian, Dinka Ngok residents were ethnically cleansed from Abyei.]

The assault on South Kordofan started on 5 June 2011 with door-to-door “sweeping” operations in the capital, Kadugli, designed to “decapitate” the Christian community. These were followed by aerial bombardments, scorched earth warfare and the closure of the region to all humanitarian aid: an act designed to facilitate mass starvation.

On 9 July 2011, South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to secede from Sudan; and on 28 August 2011, GoS forces flooded into Blue Nile.

For more background see:
“SUDAN: Nuba Genocide Resumes”,
by Religious Liberty Analyst Elizabeth Kendal, 24 June 2011.
“SUDAN: war spreads across ‘new south’ into Blue Nile”
By Religious Liberty Analyst Elizabeth Kendal, 13 Sept 2011.

GENOCIDE NO SECRET

On 31 August 2014, Sudan’s most senior military and security officials met in the National Defense College, Khartoum, for a Military and Security Committee Meeting to discuss the “Management of Military Activities”. The minutes of that meeting were leaked to long-time Sudan expert Eric Reeves, who had them translated and verified as authentic. The minutes reveal an official policy of genocide by means of mass starvation – and not only across the New South, but in the refugee camps in South Sudan's oil-rich Unity and Upper Nile states, which Khartoum wants closed.

Complete text: minutes for the August 31, 2014 meeting of senior NCP security/military officials. Eric Reeves, 29 Sept 2014.

See also: “Sudan Exposed: 'Starve them', 'empty the camps'”
By  Religious Liberty Analyst Elizabeth Kendal, 12 Nov 2014
AND "On the move again; 70,000 refugees compelled to leave [Yida] Camp." Nuba Reports, 18 Dec 2015.

In November 2015, Sudan’s Defence Minister Awad Ibnauf assured the federal parliament that all areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) “will be liberated through a massive military operation”.

In early February 2016 observers reported seeing massive columns of troops (army and paramilitary – including foreign jihadists) moving into South Kordofan along with heavy weapons in preparation for this year’s dry season offensive.

See: "SUDAN: Nuba brace for more jihad"
By Religious Liberty Analyst, Elizabeth Kendal, 17 Feb 2016.

Having encircled the Nuba Mountains, the GoS is now bombing and strafing civilian areas, as evidenced by the 1 May 2016 attack on Heiban.

Though massively outnumbered and out-gunned, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) is holding its ground.

Latest reports:"Nuba Conflict Intensifies as Rains Arrive"
Nuba Reports, 20 May 2016
"The Shrapnel Finds Us Wherever We Hide"
By Tom Rhodes and Musa John, Foreign Policy, 19 May 2016
"'Thousands' fled bombing in Sudan's Blue Nile this month"
Dabanga, 23 May 2016

Meanwhile in Khartoum, hundreds of Sudanese political and civic actors, as well as individuals have signed a petition condemning and expressing their horror at the 1 May 2016 “Heiban Massacre”. Signatories include 29 heads of all the major opposition parties in Sudan, 30 representatives of civil society, along with hundreds of individuals.

The signatories “call for the reawakening of the Sudanese national consciousness and for individuals and organisations to take campaign actions in response to this crime.” They also “call upon the regional and international actors . . . to exert pressure on the Sudanese Government to end this violence and make Heiban the last aerial bombardment against civilians.”

For full list of signatories, see: “The Massacre of the Children of Heiban: Make it the Last Crime of the Sudanese Government’s Aerial Bombardments.” 
Eric Reeves, 13 May 2016.

These opposition voices need and deserve all the support they can get. So too do the imperilled forgotten peoples of Sudan’s New South. The Nuba are Christians, the legacy of Australian pioneer missionaries. As they face their second genocide in a generation, one is left to wonder, “Why?”

Why, as the Nuba face the existential threat posed by greed-fuelled, state sanctioned, genocidal racism and Islamic jihad, they are abandoned to their fate?

Why is their plight of such little interest to the West?

Are they too black?

Is their plight too politically incorrect?

Are they too Christian at a time when Western “progressives” are dreaming of a post-Christian age?

One thing is certain, this genocide will continue until either the Government of Sudan achieves its aim of repopulating the resource-rich “New South” with Arab Muslims loyal to Khartoum, OR,  nations of conscience act together, with conviction and commitment, to force Khartoum to stop the killings, open the regions, and start the hard work of finding sustainable solutions.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks toChristians Today (Deror Books, Dec 2012), which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat.

Her second book, ‘After Saturday Comes Sunday’: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East, is being published by Wipf and Stock (Eugene, OR, USA), due for release in the coming months.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sudan: Khartoum's rulings are totally consistent with Islam

Daniel & Meriam

By Elizabeth Kendal

The Case of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag

Professing Christians, Daniel Wani (a South Sudanese US citizen) and Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag were married in Khartoum, Sudan, in 2012.

In August or September 2013, a man claiming to be Meriam's Muslim brother, lodged a criminal complaint against her in Halat Kuku Court of Khartoum North, claiming that Meriam was a Muslim and therefore illegally cohabiting with a Christian man. Meriam was charged with adultery under article 146 of the Sudan Criminal Code while Daniel was accused of proselytising a Muslim.

While Daniel was found to be innocent of proselytising, Daniel and Meriam's marriage was deemed null and void on the grounds that it is illegal for a Muslim woman to marry a Christian man. Meriam (27) was subsequently charged with adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes. When she countered the adultery charge by insisting that she was a Christian, the charge of apostasy was added, and on 17 February the now pregnant Meriam was imprisoned in Omdurman Federal Women's Prison along with her first-born son, Martin Ibrahim (now 20 months).

On 11 May, the court informed Meriam that she would be given three days to recant and return to Islam, warning her that if she failed to comply she would be found guilty of apostasy and sentenced to death by hanging.

At her sentencing on Thursday 15 May, a Muslim cleric asked her again to return to Islam. After Meriam replied, "I am Christian not apostate", the judge sentenced her to death by hanging. According to the Sudan Tribune, "[Meriam] Ibrahim for her part, didn't show any reaction to the judge’s ruling" (i.e. she understood the consequences of her choice and was fully prepared and unsurprised). The 100 lashes for adultery will be delivered once Meriam has recovered from giving birth. The death sentence will be delivered in two years time, after Meriam has finished nursing the infant.

Now 8-months pregnant, Meriam's health has deteriorated in prison, as has Martin's, and Daniel is deeply concerned about the conditions under which she will give birth.

Despite being found innocent of the charge of proselytising, Daniel still stands to lose everything he loves. As he explains: "The revoking of this marriage means that my son is no longer my son and the one coming is not my son too, will not be my son - so this innocence means nothing and I will appeal for myself and I will appeal for my wife."

According to reports, Daniel's appeals to the US Embassy in Khartoum, went unheeded for far too long.  He told Al-Jazeera, "Considering I am an American citizen, I am disappointed with the American Embassy's position from the beginning of the whole case. At the start of the issue, I reported it to them but they didn't take much interest, particularly the consulate. They said they didn't have time. In fact last time, they said they didn't care much about the case. They came late - they intervened when they saw the issue was getting press attention - but the intervention was late."

Rattled by the international outcry, Sudanese authorities have opened an escape hatch. Speaking on Radio Omdurman on Friday 16 May, Sudan's parliamentary speaker, al-Fatih Izz Al-Din, downplayed the ruling, noting that the death sentence was a preliminary ruling which could be appealed in the various stages of the judicial process. Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abu-Bakr Al-Sideeg assured Reuters that Sudan is committed to human rights and religious freedom.

Eut even if Meriam is acquitted on appeal or released on compassionate grounds, this family will remain gravely imperilled, at risk of Islamists prepared to take the law into their own hands, sparing no effort to ensure Islam and Sharia are not mocked. This family needs to be rescued from Sudan.

Khartoum's rulings are totally consistent with Islam

Islam is a political and material religion, advancing political goals (the imposition of Sharia, the constitution of Islam) and promising material rewards (as the call to prayer states, twice: "hasten to success").  Ultimately everyone will submit to Islam and Sharia, either willing or by compulsion / force. "And to Allah prostrates whoever is within the heavens and the earth, willingly or by compulsion, and their shadows [as well] in the mornings and the afternoons." (Qur'an, Sura 13:15) As such, Islam knows no separation of religion and politics. Islam is a political religion.

According to the Qur'an, fitna -- that is anything that "averts people from the way of Allah"; anything that "causes disbelief" and therefore chaos -- is to be regarded as the greatest of all evils. Fitna is worse than killing (i.e. killing is the lesser of the two evils) -- and fitna must be purged (Sura 2:217). Be assured, nothing generates fitna like the presence of joyful, thriving apostates. Furthermore, apostasy is regarded as a betrayal of the Muslim nation akin to treason. According to Islam and Sharia, the penalty for apostasy is death. This is backed up by the famous Hadith (saying of Muhammad): "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him" (Sahih Bukhari vol 9, book 84, number 57).

Concerning Men: All schools of Sharia (Islamic law) agree that an adult male convicted of apostasy must be killed (unless he is not of sound mind), and that boys convicted of apostasy must be imprisoned until they are of age and then, if they persist in their apostasy, they must be killed.

Concerning Women: Three of the four main Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence -- the Hanbali, Maliki and Shafi'i schools -- teach that women apostates must likewise be executed. Only the Hanafi (from Kufa, Sth Iraq) and Shia schools teach that women apostates should be imprisoned until they recant. [This is essentially because they view women as so insignificant that they are actually incapable of generating fitna, and therefore do not require elimination.]

Sudanese Islamic jurisprudence follows the Shafi'i school.

Generally, scholars interpret Sura 4:137 as grounds for a Muslim having three chances or three days to repent / recant before forgiveness is denied.

For an excellent study on apostasy in Islam, see:
Political and Legal Status of Apostates in Islam
BY Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (published Dec 2013)

Unlike Christianity, where religious identity is a matter of personal faith, in Islam, religious identity is a political matter, a matter for the Islamic state or nation.

In Islam, a child inherits their religion from their father and is registered as such from birth. Consequently, Muslim men are free to marry Christian women; in fact in some quarters, Muslim men are actually encouraged to marry Christians -- sometimes they are even financially rewarded for marrying Christian women -- for this not only removes child-bearers from the Christian community, it also ensures the children of Christian women are deemed Muslim from birth.

Conversely, Islamic law bans Muslim women from marrying Christian men. Any Christian man who wants to marry a Muslim woman must first convert to Islam to ensure her children are born Muslim.

When a Muslim parent abandons Islam, they automatically lose custody of their children because it is imperative that the children be raised Muslim.

When a nominal-Christian father converts to Islam in order to take a Muslim woman as a second wife, his Christian children are deemed and registered Muslim upon his conversion. From that point, his forcibly converted daughters are obliged by law to marry Muslim men and bear Muslim children, while his forcibly converted sons, even though free to marry Christian women, will produce Muslim children that must be raised as Muslims following Islam and Sharia.

Add to all this, the fact that Muslims are captives for whom leaving is forbidden upon penalty of death, and you have a truly brilliant  (albeit insidious) strategy for permanent exponential growth of the Muslim community; growth that is guaranteed not only at the expense of other religious communities, but even in the virtual absence of religious conversions. 

Clearly, anyone who says the rulings in Khartoum are a "blatant violation . . . of Islam and Sharia" (WEA RLC, 16 May) is either misinformed or is seeking to misinform.

"Most Muslims believe the Qur'an is about justice, which is also the purpose of Sharia," says WEA RLC's Godfrey Yogarajah.

Well, maybe it's time for "most Muslims" to wake up! Doubtless there are just as many Qur'anically illiterate Muslims who have no idea what Allah demands, as there are Biblically illiterate Christians who have no idea what the God of the Bible demands. There is a lot of ignorance, fantasy and wishful thinking all around.

Islam underpins not only these rulings out of Khartoum, but much Islamic violence, much Islamic repression and many thousands of honour killings committed annually along with the impunity afforded the perpetrators.

According to Islam and Sharia (as distinct from individual Muslims), Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag  is a Muslim because she was born to a Muslim father. According to Islam and Sharia, Daniel Wani should have converted to Islam before marrying Meriam in 2012. Had Daniel complied, submitting to Sharia, then the marriage would have been legal, the children would be Muslim, and Muslims and the state would be happy. While Daniel may have failed in his responsibilities according to Islam and Sharia, the Islamic state will ensure that wrongs will be set right by denying Daniel custody of his own children and ensuring they are raised as Muslims.

Let the debate begin

Some sources are at pains to point out that Meriam was raised as a Christian by an Ethiopian Christian mother, making the ruling unfair and unjust as she never apostasised because she was never a believing Muslim. Others say Meriam was raised Muslim by a Muslim mother from a Muslim tribe and that she disappeared for several years before turning up again professing Christ and married to a Christian man.

The details however are totally irrelevant and must not be allowed to become a distraction. Every human being -- no matter how or where they were raised and irrespective of their occupation or status -- must be free to seek after God.

The debate must be about Islam's total lack of liberty, its inherent inhumanity and its gross unreasonableness in suggesting that a good God would compel people to worship and serve him against their heart and conscience.

-------------------------------

for suggest prayer points: see
SUDAN: Christian woman faces death for apostasy
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 261 | Wed 21 May 2014

--------------------------------

Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Central African Republic (CAR): Violence linked to Sudan and Iran


-- revelations bode ill for Christians in CAR
By Elizabeth Kendal

'The seeds are present for a genocide,' warns UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow upon her return from a week-long visit to CAR (14 Nov 2013).

Her words echo those of Adama Dieng, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide. As Martin Plaut reports in an article entitled, Why the threat of genocide hangs over the Central African Republic (New Statesman, 4 Nov 2013):

"The word genocide does not easily trip off the tongue of senior United Nations staff. But now it's been used by Adama Dieng, the UN special official with special responsibility to advise the UN on the prevention of genocide.  He warned that the Central African Republic (CAR) – a byword for human rights abuses for decades – is slipping towards a bloodbath. 

"'We are seeing armed groups killing people under the guise of their religion,' Dieng told reporters briefing the UN Security Council on Friday [1 Nov]. 'My feeling is that this will end with Christian communities, Muslim communities killing each other which means that if we don't act now and decisively I will not exclude the possibility of a genocide occurring.'"

Fuse Lit Under Sectarian Tinderbox

Central African Republic has been spiralling into total anarchy ever since 24 March 2013, when Seleka -- an alliance of well-armed local and foreign Islamic militias -- seized control of the capital Bangui. 

For background see:

Religious Liberty Monitoring (RLM), label: Central African Republic (CAR).
(RLM always gives special attention to religious dimension and impact)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) 18 September 2013
“I Can Still Smell the Dead”
The Forgotten Human Rights Crisis in the Central African Republic

Amnesty International (AI) 29 October 2013
Central African Republic: Violence of security forces now out of control
The Seleka coalition of [Islamic] armed groups has committed human rights violations on an unprecedented scale

Excerpt from the AI report can be found here: AllAfrica.com (29 Oct)
photo: Jovachi Mongonou, 9, had both legs amputated after he suffered severe shrapnel wounds when Seleka soldiers shelled a church in Bangui in April 2013.

Contrary to reports, Seleka does not rape, loot and kill indiscriminately. Rather, Seleka attacks Christians and spares Muslims. Consequently, Seleka terror has caused traditional community trust to evaporate, creating a sectarian tinderbox.

After months of terror, with no relief in sight, an organised armed response is emerging out of the mostly Christian communities of northern CAR. Most villages have long had defence militias to protect residents from bandits. Known as anti-balaka (literally anti-machete) these groups, now large and angry, are out to avenge Seleka crimes. Armed with home-made weapons and adorned with colourful fetishes / juju (occult charms), these anti-balaka militias have begun attacking not just Seleka bases, but local Muslim communities. Muslims (includes Seleka) in turn enact reprisals on Christian communities.

Seleka might be responsible for turning CAR into a sectarian tinderbox, but by attacking local Muslims -- just because they are Muslims -- the anti-balaka militias have lit a fuse. Unless the flame is quickly stamped out, then a wildfire -- i.e. genocide -- is all but guaranteed. 

The violence that engulfed Ouham prefecture in September, where some 170,000 people have been displaced, is but a foretaste of what could engulf the nation if action is not taken.

Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, spent early November travelling the region with photographer Marcus Bleasdale. Bouckaert writes: 'In the early morning of Sept. 6, anti-balaka forces working with military elements loyal to [ousted president] Bozizé carried out a series of brutal surprise and near-simultaneous attacks on Seleka bases and Muslim communities in several villages around Bossangoa, killing dozens. Muslim males, regardless of age, faced death.'

The BBC reports that on 9 September, Moustapha Mohamed's father, a village chief in nearby Bouce, was killed by a 'Christian' militia that was attacking local Muslims. Mohamed praises his Christian neighbours who alerted many Muslims that armed groups were coming after them. Subsequently, however, on the same day, Muslims organised reprisal attacks against Christians. By the time the violence had finished, at least 14 were dead (three Muslims) and some 485 homes had been burned.  Aukin Nountabaye, a priest in the Bouca diocese, narrowly escaped when Muslims stormed his church. He fled Bouca, walking for four days to reach Bangui. 

Bouckaert writes that around Bossangoa, Ouham's capital, it is possible to drive for hours without seeing a single person, on roads that are littered with bundles of belongings dropped by those fleeing for their lives. At one point Bouckaert and Bleasdale stop to tend to a crying toddler who has been separated from his parents in the chaos of flight. Fortunately his terrified and distraught parents emerge from the bush to find him.

Even in the bush it is not safe -- grave are everywhere for the displaced are stalked by infection and malaria, enemies just as merciless as Seleka.

'Those who have made it to Bossangoa,' writes Bouckaert, 'live in desperate conditions: Every structure and inch of space around the town's Catholic church -- its seminary, guest house, school, library, storage rooms, soccer pitch, and the surrounding fields -- have been taken over by displaced people, all Christians.'

On 25 October, the UNHCR put the number sheltering in the Catholic Mission at 37,000. A further 2,700 are sheltering in the hospital and 728 Muslims are holed-up in a local school. Around 1000 ethnic Fula (Muslims) have been occupying the airstrip without access to shelter, clean water, food and sanitation.

Recommended reading/viewing:

'We Live and Die Here Like Animals'
The Central African Republic has suffered a horrific collapse. But is the worst violence between the country's Muslims and Christians yet to come?
BY PETER BOUCKAERT | NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Running from Rebels (Photo essay)
A look inside the war-ravaged Central African Republic.
PHOTOS BY MARCUS BLEASDALE | NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Central African Republic: Religious tinderbox
BBC, 4 Nov 2013
includes video: The BBC's Laeila Adjovi reports from Bossangoa, where Christians have fled their homes.

'Risk of Genocide' in Central African Republic
CBN: video interview with correspondent George Thomas, 8 Nov 2013  

NEW: Unspeakable horrors in a country on the verge of genocide
Militias in the Central African Republic are slitting children's throats, razing villages and throwing young men to the crocodiles. What needs to happen before the world intervenes?
By David Smith in Bossangoa
The Guardian, Saturday 23 November 2013

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VIOLENCE LINKED TO SUDAN AND IRAN
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In July 2013, Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy (7, 2013) published a report by terrorism analyst Yossef Bodansky entitled: Iran and Sudan Begin Moves to Dominate Central and Western Africa.

The full report can be found here (World Tribune) and here (ISPSW Strategy Series - pdf).

For your convenience, I have republished (below) the portion that relates specifically to CAR. 

Bodansky reveals that the situation in CAR is not merely the result of a local power grab. Rather, it is a regional issue central to Sudan and Iran's plot to dominate the region and exploit its riches. The link between CAR's self-appointed president Michel Djotodia and Khartoum is strong, and Seleka includes a large contingent of Sudanese janjaweed from Darfur, Sudan, where Djotodia was radicalised. According to Bodansky, weapons for this surge into Central and Western African come from Iran, via Sudan.

Clearly there will be no quick fixes, no easy solutions. 

Furthermore, the conflict has begun to spill into Cameroon, which opens out to the gas and oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.

Tensions grow between CAR and Cameroon
By Konye Obaji Ori, The Africa Report, 19 Nov 2013
Cameroon tightens borders after CAR rebels kill two
Business Ghana, 18 Nov 2013
Cameroon says army repulses attack from Central African Republic
Defenceweb - Reuters, 18 Nov 2013

France's decision not to support the French-speaking Christian majority in CAR, but to literally stand aside as local and foreign Arabic-speaking Islamic rebels seized power in a violent coup, will prove to have been extremely short-sighted and misguided indeed -- a strategic mega-blunder for which CAR's Christians will pay a terrible price.

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Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy

Analysis by Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, July 2013

Iran and Sudan Plan and Begin to Execute Moves to Dominate Central and Western Africa


The Central African Republic has become a key player, working under Sudanese and Iranian direction, in jihadist action, geared to take advantage of the West's declining influence in Western and Central Africa, even if it challenges the interests of their traditional ally, the People's Republic of China.

Extract (to END):

The governments of Iran and Sudan are preparing for a major strategic surge into western Africa, into both the Sahel and the shores of the Gulf of Guinea.

The moves have already gained momentum and challenge Iran’s and Sudan’s major sponsor, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), as well as the declining West.

The ultimate objective of this surge is to consolidate control and/or influence over this extensive region and its considerable oil, gas, uranium, and other minerals (rare metals and rare earth) reserves.
[. . .]
Meanwhile, hectic preparations were, by late June 2013, taking place in Khartoum for the escalation of the surge into western Africa. Both Iran and Sudan consider the Central African Republic (CAR) a crucial venue because the CAR permits movement westward around the chaos in Darfur and the French presence in N’Djamena. Moreover, Bangui provides quick access to the Gulf of Guinea, as well as to the sub-Sahelian east-west roadway which passes through the region’s main capitals — those which Khartoum has been recently courting — all the way to Dakar.

On June 17, President Omar Bashir of Sudan and President Michel Djotodia of the Central African Republic oversaw in Khartoum a series of secret multi-national discussions which would now facilitate a dramatic break-out westward for Sudan, Iran, the CAR and their allies.

Djotodia is the first Muslim to lead the CAR, significant since only 15 percent of the population is Muslim and most of them practice tribally-influenced offshoots of Islam. Djotodia, in contrast, was a councilor in the CAR Embassy in Sudan but based in Darfur where he was converted to Islamism-jihadism by his Sudanese hosts. He is convinced in the Sudanese tenet that a strong jihadist kernel is indispensable to ensuring the loyalty and cohesion of any revolutionary movement irrespective of its openly declared ideology or policy.

Indeed, the key internal security and intelligence positions in Djotodia’s Seleka coalition are held by fellow jihadists and their own stalwart tribal-jihadist militias. Hence, Djotodia is convinced he is beholden to Bashir’s Sudan for his own ascent to power. Little wonder that the CAR’s Christian majority fear that Djotodia and his Muslim allies from the north intend to impose an Islamist regime on the nation.

Back in early 2013, Khartoum convinced Djotodia to renege on his understandings with Paris and Bangui: the January 2013 Libreville Agreement. The Seleka coalition launched a new offensive which culminated in their occupation of Bangui on March 24, 2013, and the overthrow of then-President François Bozizé. During the offensive, the Seleka forces also attacked the AU forces, killing several South African and Ugandan troops.

Djotodia did not forget Khartoum, and soon after assuming power in Bangui started sending quantities of CAR diamonds to his friends in the Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias in Darfur to help fund their genocidal struggle.

Subsequently, Djotodia moved quickly to transform the CAR into a “grey zone” at the heart of Africa.

The CAR is being transformed from a de facto haven for various armed groups, due to lack of governance in the remote areas, into a willing and active sponsor and facilitator of revolutionary groups and criminal networks in order to further undermine regional stability. Thus, while Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) groups of varying size were tolerated in parts of the CAR since 2008, the growing cooperation between Bashir and Djotodia changed the importance and rôle of the LRA. In late April 2013, Joseph Kony was invited to Sudan and promised supplies and shelter in return for military cooperation in both the CAR and Uganda.

The CAR is thus becoming a hub of subversion in the heart of the Africa with geopolitical ramifications extending far beyond the borders and capabilities of the CAR itself.

Thus, the June 17-18, 2013, visit to Khartoum by Djotodia and his delegation constituted a major upgrade of the CAR’s role in, and contribution to, the Iran-Sudan alliance. In their first private meeting, Bashir assured Djotodia of Sudan’s commitment to supporting and economically sustaining the CAR in return for the CAR’s playing a greater role in the continental designs of Iran and Sudan. Djotodia agreed wholeheartedly, setting the tone for the subsequent discussions between numerous senior officials.

Sudanese and Central African senior intelligence officials discussed how to better utilize the LRA in order to force the Ugandan forces out of the CAR.

Sudan’s ultimate objective is to use LRA forces based in the CAR in order to destabilize the Republic of South Sudan, and then use its territory to have LRA forces reach and destabilize Uganda. Kony has already committed to pursuing Sudan’s strategy. Sudan and the CAR agreed in Khartoum that the first step in this endeavor would be flying LRA forces currently being sheltered, trained and equipped in Sudan to Tambura (in the eastern CAR, off Tumbura, South Sudan).

The Sudanese and Central African Republic senior intelligence officials also met in Khartoum with counterparts from Chad in order to upgrade and refine the tripartite security cooperation deal between their countries. Back in 2012, the three countries agreed to form a joint force in order to monitor their common borders and ostensibly “prevent rebel attacks”. As amended and refined in Khartoum, the tripartite security cooperation deal between Sudan, Chad, and the CAR now regiments and facilitates the flow of convoys with military aid and supplies westward shielded and secured from Western forces and their local allies.

Most important is the groundbreaking regional security agreement discussed and committed to on June 17 by a large group of senior officials co-chaired by Bashir and Djotodia. The Sudanese delegation was led by Defense Minister Abdelraheem Muhammad Hussein, Presidential assistant and veteran intelligence senior official Nafie Ali Nafie, and National Intelligence and Security Services chief Mohamed Atta al-Mawla Abbas. Also around the table were delegations of senior intelligence and security forces officials from the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Mali, and Mauritania.

The delegations discussed and agreed on close strategic cooperation to restore Arab-Muslim preeminence to the entire region of West Africa. The representatives committed to the consolidation of mutually loyal and supportive regimes, as well as to assisting other regional countries to establish Muslim-dominated governments and to have them join their alliance. The senior officials discussed practical modalities for jointly breaking away from stifling Western influence and demands for reforms. They agreed on cooperation in resolving security and economic crises and suppressing democratic opposition forces.

Significantly, all countries present also committed to helping Egypt and Sudan in their “sacred struggle” to sustain the Arab rights to and dominance over the Nile waters.

Thus, the June 17 agreement constituted a major and strategically profound shift in the regional posture and assertiveness. If implemented, West Africa will not be the same.

Thus, as the West — led by the U.S. and France — is contemplating the surge into the Sahel in order to contain AQIM and other jihadist and tribal insurrections, the real challenge will be the Iranian-Sudanese surge aimed to transform the entire West Africa and deny it to the West. Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the other insurgencies will be but instruments of a grand strategic design and surge.

END
--------------------------------------------

Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sudan: a campaign of systematic persecution; laws being drafted

The following is a translation of an article that appeared on the Sudan news site Al-Rakoba on 7 Feb 2013. After examining the evidence the writer concludes that the attacks on churches and Christians now escalating in Sudan are not isolated events, but part of a systematic campaign. This, he says, raises concerns about the status of Christians in the new Sudan.

Christian Sudanese: isolated events or systematic attack?
by Abdel-Qadir Mohamed,  7 Feb 2013 (in Arabic)

On a near daily basis, the newspapers are circulating news about the detention of Sudanese and foreign Christians. The last was the report in Al-Mijhar Newspaper on the arrest last week of a Sudanese Christian who owns and runs a factory in the city of Shendi. He was arrested by Criminal Investigation agents who accused him of abducting a Muslim woman. The source [for Al-Mijhar] also expressed concerns that the young woman might have been "Christianised".

Another report, brought by Al-Qarar Newspaper last week, claimed that the Security Panel has stopped an international missionary network run by a Canadian woman in co-operation with foreigners of various nationalities. A similar story circulated by the media in early January telling that a young Muslim woman studying at a University in Khartoum had disappeared in mysterious circumstances, though later it was discovered that she had converted to Christianity and migrated to Egypt with the help of undisclosed parties. At the same time the AFP quoted an official in the Coptic Church, without revealing his identity, who confirmed, 'The Sudanese Authorities have arrested two church priests after they baptised a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity'. In the meantime, a group calling itself Al-Qaeda in the Nilien States issued a statement in which they threatened Sudanese Copts with reprisal unless they released the woman they claim had been kidnapped and Christianised. [For more detail see RLPB 198]

In addition to the news circulating in the media, a parallel message surfaced from the Imams of the mosques. The speaker of "Mugamaa Al-Nour Al-Islami", Mr. Essam Ahmed Al-Bashir, claimed that "organisations and agents, at home and abroad, are working to deviate the youth". He advocated "fighting the dens that spreads vice, by the means of taking control". Though he did not mention any particular organisation, he stressed that there are "organisations working unregulated at christianising people". It is known that Sudan, until recent times, had a law known as the Missionary Institutions Law which restricted the movements of Christians and their religious freedom, but the law was abolished in 1994. It seems that Essam Al-Basir and other mosque Imams have began asking the government, which they are part of, to activate "laws" in the face what they have called Christianisation. It seems that a new law, addressing this matter, is presently cooking on low heat away from sight.

The rising wave of media attacks against Sudanese Christians has attracted attention, especially since mid 2012, but also a little before that, specifically in April last year when the wave reached its highest and Islamist extremists set fire in the evangelical church at Gerief West before demolishing it with a bulldozer. A church was also destroyed in Al-Haj-Youssif and yet no statement was issued by any official government body regarding the two events. Meanwhile, some of the activists said that the extremists who burned the church at Gerief had received their instructions from an extremist religious leader who is an Imam in a mosque at Gerief West and a member of the Institute of Sudanese scholars.

In related developments, the security authorities in Khartoum state have launched a campaign aimed at closing schools and colleges owned and run by Christians. Life College for teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers was closed on 15 January and the college director, who is a Christian Egyptian, was given 72 hours to leave the country. College property was confiscated and all its foreign students were given 48 hours to leave the country. Also closed was Kreedo Collage in Haj-Youssif where English language and Computer Sciences were taught. The college, which is owned and run by an American Christian, serves mostly Christian students who come from many different regions of Sudan. At the same time the authorities closed the Nile Valley Academy and Aslan Collage for teaching English and Computer Sciences. In most cases, the Government authorities have not provided any explanation for the closure of these institutes. According to trusted sources inside those institutes - all the institutes which have been closed and had their properties confiscated had the necessary permits and legal status qualifying them to operate.

The other side of the attack, which completes it, is the media coverage on the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity -- the thing the newspapers have called Christianisation. The biased coverage has brought unjustified violence and has failed to take into consideration the slightest respect for the people who adhere to the Christian religion or to their religious feelings.

Needless to say that the media coverage by the majority of the newspapers condemns Christianisation and wants it punished as the Sudanese criminal law provides: "Whoever abuses publicly or insults, in any manner, any of the religions, or its rituals, or its beliefs, or its sanctities, or incites contempt or humiliation to its adherents is to be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months or by fine or by flogging that shall not not exceed 40 lashes." (Article 125 - the Sudanese Criminal Law).

It is apparent - from the hostile tone of the pro-government newspapers and Imams - that the matter constitutes a systematic attack and not isolated or unrelated events unconnected to each other, giving rise to concerns about the status of Sudanese Christians and their exposure to a new wave of persecution.

Christians have suffered more than others under the current government which has called for jihad and religious war against rebel movements that were simply demanding their natural right to development.

The suffering of Sudanese Christians has continued from the transitional period until this day; Christians are not allowed to build a new church in Sudan today, and according to Christian sources, the last church built in the north of Sudan was built 23 years ago!!

The Sudanese Government should remember that "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." (Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 18)

Also, the Government should remember that it is under international obligation to ensure and protect the right to freedom of religion in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees this right.

END TRANSLATION
-------------------------------------------

Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SUDAN: war spreads across 'new south' into Blue Nile

by Elizabeth Kendal

The Arab-supremacist, Islamist regime of President Omar el-Bashir has long systematically marginalised (politically and economically) all Sudan's non-Arabs and violently persecuted all those who dare resist Islamisation. Black African Muslims who oppose the racist regime are labeled apostate and targeted for elimination along with the infidels. Consequently, Khartoum has long been at war not only with the predominantly-Christian South, but with the entire non-Arab periphery. In fact anyone -- including Arabs -- who advocates religious liberty and ethnic diversity over Sharia and Arabisation is treated as an enemy. The most significant opposition has long been the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

Consequently, the secession of South Sudan was never going to bring peace to the Republic of Sudan, for while the South seceded, the problem -- the regime in Khartoum -- remained. As was inevitable, the secession of the South has only made Khartoum more determined to entrench its power and exert total control over coveted lands and resources.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) mandated that three regions -- Abyei (straddling the North-South border) along with South Kordofan and Blue Nile states (both in the north) -- be entitled to "popular consultations" through which the predominantly black African, largely-Christian, SPLM-allied tribes could determine their own futures. However, in total defiance of the CPA, the Government of Sudan (GoS) seized and ethnically cleansed Abyei in May 2011, before launching, on 5 June, an ethnic cleansing campaign in South Kordofan. As is their regular strategy, Khartoum is engineering famine in South Kordofan by means of aerial bombardments and denial of humanitarian aid, in order to use starvation as a weapon of mass destruction.
SEE
Sudan: Nuba genocide resumes, 24June 2011.
AND
Nuba Genocide: US House Committee hears testimony, 9 Aug 2011.

In June, as war raged in South Kordofan, President el-Bashir postponed Blue Nile's "popular consultations", prompting Blue Nile's elected governor, SPLM-North chairman Malik Aggar, to warn that war may indeed be imminent. For just as in neighbouring South Kordofan, the people of Blue Nile have no desire for Arab domination or Islamisation. In Blue Nile, just as in South Kordofan, the SPLA-North -- which has long defended the peoples of Blue Nile and South Kordofan from Khartoum's aggression -- is refusing to disarm, and Khartoum is labeling this refusal an act of rebellion justifying military intervention in the name of defending national unity.

[NOTE: This is exactly the same as the situation in Burma, where the Burman-supremacist Buddhist junta is demanding the disarmament of the long-persecuted ethnic-religious minorities, and citing their refusal as justification for war. (NOTE: in both cases -- Burma and Sudan -- the demand was preceded by fraudulent elections, rigged to deliver a majority in parliament and to give the impression of a popular mandate.)
see: http://rlprayerbulletin.blogspot.com/search/label/Burma ]

On 28 and 29 August, the GoS moved "significant military forces – comprised of Popular Defence Forces (PDF) [Arab militias] national security, and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) – with heavy equipment into Blue Nile state." (source: Reeves / African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies)

On 1 September 2011, GoS forces attacked the home of Governor Malik Aggar in Al-Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile State before launching a full-scale assault on SPLA positions. Heavy military equipment has been deployed inside civilian areas.

On 2 September, President Bashir declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile and, in what is being described as a "political and military coup", dismissed Governor Aggar, installing Major General Yahya Mohamed Khair as military ruler in his place.

Reports abound of massive GoS troop deployments, aerial bombardments and wide-scale displacement across the Blue Nile state. An estimated 50,000 people have been displaced, with some 16,000 having crossed the border into Ethiopia. Furthermore, as in South Kordofan, the GoS is refusing to allow humanitarian aid groups access to the region. As food supplies run out, starvation will set in and we will witness yet another GoS-engineered humanitarian crisis.

Not only is the GoS moving to secure valuable resources (oil in Sth Kordofan and water and hydroelectric power in Blue Nile), the GoS is doubtless acting preemptively to hamstring the SPLM-North.

Now that South Sudan has seceded, Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile have become the "new south". Today conflict is raging right across this "new south" as well as in Darfur in the west. Should Sudan's other marginalised and persecuted peoples decided to fight -- such as the Nubia in the far North and the Beja in the east -- Sudan may well disintegrate.

Khartoum takes aim at the GoSS


Further to this, Khartoum has accused the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) of supporting rebel movements in the north. SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman, however, categorically denies that the GoSS is supporting the SPLA-North. (NOTE: As long-time civil war allies, soldiers of the SPLA-North carry weapons that have come from the South.)

GoS moves against the SPLM-North


The GoS has banned the SPLM-North, seized its offices and is arresting its members, not only in Khartoum but in all states across the North.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) reports
that perceived SPLM-North supporters are being arrested throughout Sudan. The ACJPS report provides a list of dozens known to have been arrested.

SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman has slammed the GoS for carrying out "arbitrary arrests" of SPLM-N members across the country and for the "closure of its offices and confiscation of vehicles and properties". He also scoffed at the GoS, saying its plan to crush the SPLM-N was little more than "wishful thinking" and an "impossible mission".

As Arman notes, the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile started long before the separation of South Sudan. "The current conflict," says Arman, "is a creation of [President Bashir's] NCP [National Congress Party] in that they sowed the seed of the problem when they voluntarily destroyed the CPA; attempted to disarm the SPLA/N and rejected the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement. The SPLM/N and other resistance movements and democratic forces are determined to put an end the illusive NCP program of the second Islamic Republic (see RLPB 117 ), a Taliban Republic that is based on heavy human cost and loss, denial of diversity, ethnic cleansing, genocide and terrorism."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nuba Genocide: US House Committee hears testimony

On Thursday 4 August 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights held an emergency hearing on Sudan to receive testimony on the Nuba genocide.

(For background on the Nuba genocide, see:
Sudan: Nuba Genocide Resumes.
By Elizabeth Kendal for Religious Liberty Monitoring, 24 June 2011.)

The emergency hearing, entitled "Southern Kordofan: Ethnic Cleansing and Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan", was called by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ).

As noted in Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 120, (10 Aug 2011), for some two months now the Sudanese army has being carrying out mass killings of civilians in Kadugli and a sustained aerial bombing campaign targeting Nuba populations across the Nuba Mountains. On top of this, Khartoum has closed the area off to humanitarian aid so as to engineer a famine.

This is not the first time that Khartoum has chosen to use starvation as a weapon of mass destruction. Khartoum has used this tactic before: in the early 1990s in the Nuba Mountains, in 1998 in Bhar el Ghazal (South Sudan), and more recently in Darfur. Now, as then, Khartoum will deliberately starve its own people while receiving food aid, exporting food and sending famine relief abroad.

For more on the Government of Sudan's use of starvation as a weapon of mass destruction see:
Why is Akobo hungry?
By Elizabeth Kendal for Religious Liberty Monitoring, 9 April 2010.

The three witnesses who spoke to the US House Committee were:

* Mr Bradford Phillips, the founder and president of Persecution Project Foundation and Sudan country director for Voice of the Martyrs. Mr Phillips, who has recently returned from 12 days in the Nuba Mountains, is an eye-witness to the devastation and terror. He expressed grave concern over the looming humanitarian crisis and gave chilling testimony of Christian pastors being targeted for arrest, horrific torture and execution as enemies of the state.

* Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, the Anglican Bishop of Kadugli, South Kordofan, Sudan. He was in the US receiving medical treatment when conflict erupted on 5 June. His "flock" at the now ransacked, looted and torched Cathedral has been totally shattered.

* Dr Luka Biong Deng, president of Kush Inc. a Sudanese NGO working on peace and security issues in Abyei and the border regions.

A video recording of the 2 hour hearing is available on the CSPAN website.

Transcripts of testimonies are also available:
Brad Phillips
Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail
Dr Luka Biong Deng

Further to this, CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) interviewed Brad Phillips on 6 August. That 7 minute interview can be accessed here:
Crisis in Sudan Threatens Christian Community
Tracy Winborn, CBN News Producer, 6 Aug 2011

A call for action.

Like other Sudan advocates, Brad Phillips is calling for military action that would see Khartoum's Antonov bombers neutralised / destroyed. Phillips says, "We know where the planes are that are bombing civilians . . . they're in El Abed. It wouldn't take much to solve that problem and it would cost a whole lot less than what we've done in Libya."

This is also the position of Sudan analyst Eric Reeves, who wrote on 22 July: "Khartoum should be put on notice that any aircraft implicated in attacks on civilian or humanitarian targets will be destroyed on the ground, by cruise missiles or drone attack aircraft. This minimizes the chances for collateral damage, and provides a steady ratcheting up of pressure on Khartoum. Some of its aircraft, e.g., MiG-29s, are very expensive, running to $30 million each. But the ageing Antonov 'bombers' should be the first target, since they are doing the most damage to civilian lives and livelihoods in the Nuba.

"The call for an Iraq-style 'No Fly Zone', while understandable, is impracticable on a number of counts, given the geography of South Kordofan; and it would be hugely resource-consumptive. Threatening to destroy culpable aircraft on the ground would soon have the effect of creating a NFZ, but very simply and at low cost."

As Phillips says, we (the US) should at least be "siding with the victims" and "demanding that the UN declare an emergency so that humanitarian access is allowed".

Congressman Frank R Wolf, (R-Va.) gave a powerful and impassioned 7 minute appeal during the closing moments (from 1:44:30). "The UN has failed!" he raged. "China is the problem. . . You have to remove Bashir. . . This has been going on for over 21 years! They are war criminals. . . It is time for our government to do something about it."

As Reeves notes, "The alternative is to accept the continuing, indeed accelerating ethnically targeted human destruction of the Nuba people. This is not a morally intelligible alternative."

Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, "Behold, we did not know this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,

and will he not repay man according to his work?

(Proverbs 24:11-12 ESV)


Friday, June 24, 2011

SUDAN: NUBA GENOCIDE RESUMES

ALSO:
- Abyei seized
- Unity State bombed

By Elizabeth Kendal

The Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan are populated by some 50 African tribes collectively known as Nuba. A marginalised and long-suffering mostly Christian people, the Nuba only narrowly survived a genocidal assault in the early 1990s. Today, as Southern secession looms, it appears that the genocidal regime of indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir may be set on completing the genocide it did not quite manage to effect during the civil war.

"Once again," laments the Rt. Rev. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli, "we are facing the nightmare of genocide of our people, a final attempt to erase our culture and society from the face of the earth."

When Vision Dies

Despite his best efforts when negotiating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), South Sudan's visionary leader, Dr John Garang, had not been able to get the Government of Sudan (GoS) to agree to a referendum on self-determination for the Nuba. Garang, however, assured the Nuba that if the CPA was implemented then the racist, Islamist regime would be finished and a "New Sudan" would emerge. And so the Nuba signed the CPA despite their immense dissatisfaction at the lack of a referendum on Nuba self-determination.

When Dr John Garang signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 9 January 2005 on behalf of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), he never intended that Southern secession should be the outcome. In fact Dr Garang regarded the disintegration of Sudan as "something at all costs we must avoid".

See: TEXT: Garang’s speech at the signing ceremony of S. Sudan peace deal
Sudan Tribune, Monday 10 January 2005

The CPA's provision of a referendum on Southern self-determination was included primarily as a confidence measure to help the traumatised, jihad-ravage Southerners support the CPA. Secession was never part of Dr Garang's vision, for Garang was acutely aware that all Sudan's non-Arabs and non-Muslims -- not just those residing in the South -- needed an end to the crippling racial and religious discrimination and violent persecution they were suffering: they all needed a New Sudan. Doubtless after oil was discovered in the south, Garang would also have realised that the North would never let the South just walk away with 80 percent of the state's oil reserves.

Dr Garang saw Sudan as home to some 500 different ethnic groups speaking more than 130 different languages; an ancient land with a 5,000 year history of diversity and flux. He believed that at the root of all Sudan's troubles were the regime's efforts to create a monolithic Arab-Islamist State. According to Garang, Sudan's problems could only be solved by Sudanese accepting their history, embracing their diversity, and committing themselves to the establishment of an all-inclusive New Sudan; a state "in which all Sudanese are equally stakeholders irrespective of their religion, irrespective of their race, tribe or gender". "Sudan", he said, "belongs equally to all the peoples that now inhabit the country and its history, its diversity and richness [are] the common heritage of all Sudanese."

Garang proposed a devolution of power to the various regions, and free and fair democratic elections through which a truly representative National Assembly could be formed. He believed that if these could be achieved, then unity would become attractive and a nightmarish war of disintegration could be averted to the benefit of all. The CPA provided a window of six years -- from 9 Jan 2005 (CPA) to 9 Jan 2011(referendum on Southern self-determination). Of course Garang could not do this alone: such a feat would require oppositional unity and Khartoum's cooperation to ensure full CPA implementation.

But tragically Dr John Garang (born on 23 June 1945) died in a helicopter crash on 30 July 2005. He had led the SPLM/A for 22 years. From that point onwards the National Congress Party (NCP, formerly the National Islamic Front (NIF)) regime of President Omar al-Bashir did everything in its power to frustrate the implementation of the CPA.

See: Southern Sudan: On the path to war
Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC. 3 Oct 2007
and
Sudan's elections: already totally compromised.
Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring, 8 April 2010

During these years, it was profoundly unfortunate that the "international community" chose to do little more than equivocate and appease the NCP/NIF regime. Ultimately however, it was supremely unfortunate that the SPLM -- under the leadership of Salva Kiir and long-time pro-secessionist Riek Machar -- succumbed to the "divide and conquer" strategy of the duplicitous al-Bashir. On the eve of the April 2010 elections, Kiir and Machar struck a deal with al-Bashir: the SPLM would pull their presidential candidate and guarantee al-Bashir the presidency in exchange for guarantees from al-Bashir -- a brutal dictator who is driven by racial and religious hatred, who lies compulsively and is an indicted war criminal -- that the referendum on Southern self-determination would proceed peacefully. This was a profound strategic blunder, a moral travesty and a failure of faith: a "covenant with death" indeed!

See: SPLM - NCP alliance: a "covenant with death".
Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring, 14 May 2010

Now, with the South due to secede on 9 July 2011, the regime in Khartoum is doing exactly what dedicated Sudan-watchers feared it would do. It has invaded, ethnically cleansed, occupied and annexed the contested, traditionally Dinka Ngok-populated border region of Abyei. It has recommenced its genocidal war against the African, predominantly Christian tribes of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan (North Sudan), and it is bombing SPLA positions in the oil fields of Unity State (South Sudan), doubtless ahead of an invasion.

ABYEI SEIZED

The hotly contested, fertile and oil-rich province of Abyei, straddles the north-south divide. Traditionally, northern pro-Khartoum Misseriya Arabs drive their cattle through the southern Dinka Ngok-populated regions of Abyei annually. The CPA mandated that Abyei should get its own referendum to determine whether it would be part of the south or the north after secession.

In July 2009, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that Abyei be delineated in such a fashion as to reduce its size (most notably in the east). The ruling put the highly productive Heglig and Bamboo oil fields in the North, under GoS (Khartoum) control. Naturally the GoS welcomed the fact "that the oilfields are now excluded from the Abyei area". While the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) was disappointed, it accepted the ruling as "final and binding". The ruling left the new, redefined Abyei even more predominantly populated by Dinka Ngok. Despite all this, the GoS continued to frustrate the formation of a referendum commission, while insisting that northern Misseriya Arab nomads be granted voting rights in Abyei, despite the fact that they are not residents. Ultimately the referendum did not take place.

Speaking on Wednesday 27 April 2011, to a rally of mostly Misseriya Arabs in neighbouring Southern Kordofan (North Sudan), President Omar al-Bashir rendered a referendum void declaring: "Abyei is located in North Sudan and will remain in north Sudan."

On Thursday 19 May, Khartoum accused the Southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) of attacking a convoy of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Dokura north of Abyei town. While the SPLA denied responsibility, the government responded with force.

After several hours of bombing and shelling, SPLA troops retreated and Abyei's remnant 20,000 southern Dinka Ngok residents fled south as SAF tanks and thousands of troops moved in -- their numbers having been built up weeks in advance. The MSF hospital in Agok, 40 km (24 miles) south of Abyei, had received 42 wounded by early Saturday morning. By Sunday it was being reported that Khartoum had seized and annexed Abyei.

Southern Sudanese leaders have accused the north of "an act of war", something Khartoum denies, saying it was merely removing illegal elements so as to improve security and ensure peace and stability. Abyei, now under the control of Khartoum, has since been thoroughly looted and torched.

Meanwhile, though Abyei has clearly and obviously been violently ethnically cleansed, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said it was too early to call it ethnic cleansing. According to Ban Ki-moon, ethnic cleansing can only be said to have occurred if the Dinka Ngok do not return.

See: Sudan's invasion of Abyei: Is it ethnic cleansing or isn't it?
By Colum Lynch for Foreign Policy. 6 June 2011

See ALSO: Eric Reeves.
An Abyei Timeline: The Long Road to Khartoum’s Military Invasion


NUBA GENOCIDE
-- Khartoum's final solution?


North Sudan's South Kordofan state is defined by the Nuba Mountains. While the plains of South Kordofan are populated by pro-Khartoum Arab Misseriya Baggara nomads, the Nuba Mountains are populated by some 50 non-Arab, predominantly non-Muslim African tribes collectively known as Nuba. Long isolated, the Nuba are famous for their unique culture.

In 1968, Khartoum started acquiring large tracts of land for mechanised farming. As the Baggara nomads gradually lost more and more of their traditional pastures, they started grazing their cattle on Nuba land, destroying crops and occupying wells in the process. Tensions soared, exacerbated through the 1970s by drought. By 1983, the Baggara were raiding the Nuba at will and with impunity.

Meanwhile, Dr John Garang had united South Sudan's various rebel forces to form the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). In June '83 the SPLM published its Manifesto calling for a united, secular, democratic Sudan with equality and rights for all Sudan's diverse peoples. Khartoum responded by imposing Sharia Law. The South would not submit. The civil war was on.

In 1984, senior Nuba leaders who likewise wanted an end to marginalisation and Islamisation, joined the SPLM/A.

In 1985, a local SPLA taskforce chased a band of Misseriya Baggara raiders to the outskirts of the Nuba Mts, killing 60. Khartoum responded by training and arming Baggara militias, known as Murahaliin, for use in a proxy jihad against the Nuba. When in 1986 an SPLA taskforce came seeking recruits, young Nuba men flocked to enlist. At that point the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) invaded the Nuba Mountains, purging Nuba villages of anyone they suspected of SPLA sympathies.

In 1989, Lt-Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed military coup. Al-Bashir brought the Baggara Murahaliin under government control, rebranded them as the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) and commissioned them to enact genocide in the Nuba Mountains.

The SAF and PDF eliminated the Nuba elite, razed Nuba villages, burned Nuba crops, and shut schools and medical clinics. The areas that survived under SPLA control were then blockaded -- closed to all trade and humanitarian aid. Amidst this, the GoS established "Peace Camps" (concentration camps) where submission to the regime and conversion to Islam and would win a family GoS food-aid. Hundreds of thousands of Nuba perished in the Government of Sudan (GoS)-engineered famine of 1990-93 rather than submit. If it had not been for corruption -- i.e. Arab smugglers -- Nuba civilisation would have been annihilated.

See: Facing Genocide: The Nuba of Sudan
African Rights, 1995

Today genocide has returned to the Nuba Mountains. Violence exploded in South Kordofan on 5 June 2011, as SAF and SPLA troops clashed in the capital, Kadugli. Subsequently, SAF and Baggara Arab militias have been conducting door-to-door sweeping operations in the cities and towns, killing everyone they suspect of SPLA sympathies. In a report entitled, "Genocide in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan" (22 June 2011), long-time Sudan analyst Eric Reeves reports: "Many of these people are hauled away in cattle trucks or summarily executed; dead bodies reportedly litter the streets of Kadugli."

While South Kordofan is the only state in the North with oil, this conflict is not primarily about oil; it is about extreme racial hatred and Arab supremacism. "The real issue," explains Reeves, "is not political identity but Nuba ethnicity." Reeves quotes aid workers and Nuba who report that the Arab militias have orders to "clear" the region of "blacks".

Reeves writes: "Yet another Nuba resident of Kadugli ('Yusef') told Agence France-Presse that he had been informed by a member of the notorious Popular Defense Forces (PDF) that they had been provided with plenty of weapons and ammunition, and a standing order: 'He said that they had clear instructions: just sweep away the rubbish. If you see a Nuba, just clean it up'. He told me he saw two trucks of people with their hands tied and blindfolded, driving out to where diggers were making holes for graves on the edge of town."

According to the Rt. Rev. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli, "churches and pastors were directly targeted".

Christians have told Compass Direct News that they have witnessed clergy being shot and killed by the sword before their eyes, to shouts of Allahu akbar. Rev Lual was dragged out of his church and tortured for two days. In Kadugli, the Catholic, Episcopal and Church of Christ churches have been looted and torched.

The Bishop believes that President al-Bashir is declaring to the world that that Sharia will be the law of the land for the north, while demonstrating that he will never recognise the legitimate presence of the Christian minority. "Please pray and fast with us as you are able for a solution to this crisis," he pleads.

Further to this, Khartoum is once again blockading all humanitarian assistance to the Nuba people. The SAF has bombed and totally destroyed the Kauda airstrip which was critical for humanitarian transport. Consequently, the UN can no longer deliver humanitarian aid. As Reeves notes, "The airstrip has no military value, as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) forces have no aircraft. The concerted bombing, with high-explosives producing enormous craters, is simply to deny the Nuba food, medicine, and shelter."

Reeves reports: "The same assault on humanitarian efforts is underway in Kadugli and other towns under Khartoum's military control. The UN World Health Organization warehouse and offices in Kadugli have been completely looted, as have those of other UN humanitarian agencies. The Kadugli airport has been commandeered by Khartoum's military forces, and all humanitarian flights into South Kordofan have been halted. The World Food Program has announced that it has no way to feed some 400,000 beneficiaries in South Kordofan. As in Darfur, Khartoum intends to wage a genocide by attrition -- defeating the Nuba by starving them."

As all long-time Sudan watchers know, Khartoum has considerable experience in engineering famine and using starvation as a weapon of mass destruction.

On Sunday 12 June, the governor of North Kordofan declared jihad on the mostly Christian Nuba. Meanwhile, the governor of South Kordofan, Ahmed Haroun -- recently installed by Khartoum by means of a fraudulent poll -- is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

Excellent article:
Fear Pervades Nuba Mountains That Sudan Government Intent on Genocide
BY SAMUEL TOTTEN, a genocide scholar based at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. 13 June 2011

See also:
Sudan's Nuba people 'targeted by army' (youtube)
Video footage by Aljazeera

UNITY STATE BOMBED

Further to this, tens of thousands of Southerners have been forced to flee the aerial bombardment of oil regions in South Sudan's Unity State. Clearly the regime is aiming to seize as much of the South's oil-rich territory as possible before secession takes place on 9 July.

See: Sudan bombs Unity state 'to control oilfields'
By Simon Martelli (AFP), 10 June 2011
and
Over 2,000 displaced by North Sudan’s bombing of Unity State - officials
By Bonifacio Taban Kuich, Sudan Tribune, 17 June 2011


For the best Sudan Research, Analysis, and Advocacy
See: Eric Reeves http://www.sudanreeves.org/