Showing posts with label starvation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label starvation. Show all posts

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)


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

North Korea: tensions mount as hunger hits army.

Jiro Ishimaru has been continuously observing food and economic conditions in North Korea for more than 15 years. He regards the present situation as the worst he has seen since the famine of the late 1990s.

Ishimaru organised secret filming of conditions inside North Korea. The footage confirms what we already know: there is poverty, starvation, despair and fear; there are scavenging, homeless, orphans whose parents have died either of starvation or in concentration camps; and work is being done by malnourished slave labourers.

However, the footage also reveals something quite new. Many uniformed soldiers are weak from hunger and malnutrition. This is significant, because if the regime cannot sustain its "military first" policy -- feeding its military to secure its loyalty -- then the regime's grip on power could be tenuous.

As Ishimaru notes: "This footage is important because it shows that Kim Jong-il's regime is growing weak. It used to put the military first, but now it can't even supply food to its soldiers. Rice is being sold in markets but they are starving. This is the most significant thing in this video."

As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Mark Willacy rightly observes: "Kim Jong-il's grip on power depends on the military and if some of its soldiers have growling, empty bellies that's bad news for the dictator and his hopes for a smooth transition to his son."

See:
North Korea Food Shortage:
Not a matter of absolute shortage, a matter of distribution and access
ISHIMARU Jiro/Chief Editor/Rimjin-gang, 20 June 2011

N Korean children begging, army starving
By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy, 27 June 2011
includes a slideshow of still images from the footage.

Tensions escalating

Traditionally, whenever North Korea needs aid, it threatens war or acts belligerently and then offers to negotiate. But South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is tired of playing Pyongyang's game.

See:
North Korea threatens 'sacred war' against South
AP, 29 June 2011
AND
South Korea braced for North Korean 'provocation' as tension mounts
South Korean military preparing new rules of engagement for troops as Seoul threatens tough response to any attack.
By Julian Borger, The Guardian, 28 June 2011

The Guardian quotes long-time North Korea analyst Andrei Lankov, a Russian professor at Seoul's Kookmin University, as warning: "We are now in the most dangerous moment in Korean history over the last 25 years," said. "South Korea has already committed itself to a strong reaction to a future North Korean provocation so many times and so loudly that if they don't do it they will lose elections and be shamed.

"So they will probably react. North Korea is not getting what they want [diplomatically] so they will probably use their usual trick of rising escalation. [. . .]

"Both sides are afraid of war and if they see that the probability is real they will go to a lot of highly humiliating concessions to prevent it," Lankov said.

"That is because North Korea knows that it is going to lose, and South Korean knows it is going to win but at a cost that is unacceptable, and it doesn't know what to do if it does win."

Under the Kim regime, hundreds of thousands of Korean Christians suffer the some of the most severe expressions of religious persecution known.

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/

Friday, April 9, 2010

South Sudan: Why is Akobo hungry?

As noted in Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin 050 (7 April 2010) entitled, "Sudan on the Brink" , one of the Government of Sudan's (GoS's) favourite weapons of war during the 21 year-long jihad (1983-Jan 2005) was engineered famine.

The present famine in Akobo, Southern Sudan, should be viewed in this light. Not that the GoS has bombed or ravagage Akobo recently, but that the regime in Khartoum is quite content to let the periphery starve, and Southern Sudanese civilians are starving when they shouldn't be.

Here area couple of reports, containing some very disturbing pictures, on the current humanitarian situation in Akobo, Southern Sudan.

Emaciated Children Signal Crisis In Southern Sudan
by The Associated Press AKOBO, Sudan April 8, 2010,

YouTube video report:
Skeletal children sign of crisis in Sudanese town.
Associated Press, 8 April 2010

According to reports, however, Khartoum has not only been exporting food, but boasting to the African Union that it has the capacity to become Africa's breadbasket.

In his 26 August 2009 article entitled, "Khartoum's Strategic Assault on Southern Self-Determination Referendum", Sudan expert Eric Reeves noted that the humanitarian situation in the South was deteriorating rapidly. Reeves quoted Lise Grande, the Deputy Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Southern Sudan, as saying that South Sudan was facing the "perfect humanitarian storm".

As Reeves explained: "The first rains and crop plantings have failed; more than 200,000 people have been violently displaced; and insecurity makes delivery of food to areas such as Akobo almost impossible except by air.

"And yet the Khartoum regime, nominally the 'government of Sudan,' will not lift a hand to offer assistance, just as it has continuously failed to assist the distressed populations of other marginalized regions of the country. It is far too infrequently remarked that despite its now considerable oil wealth, despite massive foreign investment in and around Khartoum, and despite very significant agricultural export capacity, there is no movement of national wealth or even food assistance from the centre to the desperately needy periphery.

"Indeed, at the very time the international community is struggling to provide food assistance to some six million people throughout Sudan, the regime is engaged in a lucrative agricultural export business and selling large tracts of arable lands to foreign countries. Precisely a year ago, New York Times correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman filed from Ed Damer (north of Khartoum) a remarkable dispatch [entitled Darfur Withers as Sudan Sells Food (9 Aug 2008)] highlighting just how perverse national agricultural policy is under the NIF/NCP regime. Noting that Sudan 'receives a billion pounds of free food from international [aid] donors, [even as it] is growing and selling vast quantities of its own crops to other countries,' Gettleman asks, 'why is a country that exports so many of its own crops receiving more free food than anywhere else in the world. . .'"

Reeves also quoted NIF/NCP President al-Bashir, who boasted to the June 2009 African Union summit in Libya that Sudan, through its agricultural wealth, "is in a position to make a big contribution to achieving the food security in Africa." "We prepared a strategy for agricultural revival for 2008-2011 that is aligned with the goals and principles of comprehensive agricultural development in Africa." (As reported in the Sudan Tribune, 1 July 2009)

As Reeves noted: "Al-Bashir is prepared to share Sudan's agricultural wealth with other African nations, but not with the people of his own country. Again, the unsurpassable callousness of such a policy has not been challenged by the international community that is providing so much food aid to Sudan.

"A regime that exports food while so many of its own citizens lack food and face malnutrition and starvation can survive only through tyranny. Present agricultural policy, which benefits only this regime, is but one of many reasons that the NIF/NCP can never prevail in free and fair elections."

Monday, October 6, 2003

Laos: Eliminating Christianity.

Date: Tuesday 6 October 2003
Subj: Laos: Eliminating Christianity.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.


Communist Laos in South East Asia is one of the world's most severe religious liberty abusers, being one of the few nations in the world where the government has expressly declared its intent to eliminate Christianity. Reports indicate that government abuses go well beyond systematic intimidation, deprivation, harassment and persecution of Christians. The Lao government is also engaged in the systematic killing of Hmong civilians, militarily, by means of chemical weapons and forced starvation.

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION

Of all the people groups in Laos, the Hmong have been the most responsive to the gospel. There have been great turnings to Christ amongst the Hmong and the Khmu, sometimes with whole villages coming to Christ. Gospel radio has been a significant instrument, and now indigenous evangelists are spreading the Good News at great personal risk and in the midst of great persecution.

Through the 1960s the Hmong fought with the Americans against the Communists in the Indochina war. The Hmong continue to call for democracy and religious freedom and have been waging a low-level guerrilla insurgency against the Communist government for many years. Hence the Hmong are considered enemies of the government, and a channel for Western influence.

The Laotian government considers Christianity to be a violation of Lao custom and an 'imperialist foreign religion' backed by political interests in the West, particularly the United States. Christians are therefore regarded as subversive and enemies of the state.

Persecution has escalated continuously since the Communists took over in 1975. Since the late 1990s, Lao believers have been beaten, imprisoned, tortured and forced off their lands and into severe hardship for refusing to sign the government's "Voluntary resignation from a foreign religion" document. (For some good background on Laos see link 1.)

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A letter to Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) from a Hmong believer in Laos
- June 2003. (Link 2)

"This is the first letter that I have written to you. I want to let you know that I am already a believer, however during these times the government has refused Christians any sanction to worship and therefore have closed all public churches in our part of the country. The government wants us to go back and worship evil spirits, which breaks my heart.

"Not only that, but if the government sees us praying, they will persecute us and will jail us. At this time, the non-Christians in our village have reported the Christians they know. They claimed that we practiced our religions without evidence, so some have been persecuted. Other claims include espionage for the country of America, which carries stiff fines.

"Despite our problems, I want to know if you can send me a tape that teaches us how to keep our faith in the Lord, and away from false prophets. Pray for us so that we can pay whatever fines have been imposed on us. Any Bibles or scripture teaching tapes would be beneficial to us.

Thank you so much!"

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EXPOSING THE 'SECRET JUNGLE WAR'.

CHEMICAL WEAPONS


In early September 2003, the WEA RLC interviewed a Laos observer who reported that many Hmong groups isolated in the jungle are under constant military attack which includes the use of chemical weapons. For security reasons this observer's identity must remain secret.

"There are at least 5,000 such people in several groups. But my reports say that only about 20% are men and the rest are women and children. The reason that there are so few men is that so many men have been killed defending themselves as they fight against the government troops. The Hmong are asking for democracy and freedom, and are therefore under constant attack from government troops.

"What's more, the Laos government is doing everything in its power to ensure that the world does not know anything about this 'secret jungle war' against the Hmong. It is practically impossible for foreigners to get to meet these people, as you have to walk for many days in the jungle.

"The army is attacking in three ways: with ground troops (soldiers), bombs from aircrafts and chemical weapons. The Government uses helicopters and they spray out something that looks like 'yellow rain'. It creates headache, diarrhoea, blindness, and the teeth fall out of the mouth. Within three weeks people die. As these people only eat leaves and roots they also often eat leaves that are affected by the 'yellow rain'. When they do that they usually die within three days. These attacks are directly against people (including women and children), water and trees.

"It is impossible to say exactly how many have died. One Hmong group consisted of 8,000 four years ago and today there are only 750 left. My estimation is that many hundreds have died from chemical attacks. Many others have died from starvation and sickness, as they do not have any medication. Many have also surrendered and subsequently been killed.

"There are videos of these attacks, and hundreds of photos. These have been presented both to the International Red Cross and the UN but nobody in the West seems interested to help."

STARVATION AS A WEAPON

Amnesty International released a Public Statement on 2 October 2003 entitled, "Laos: Use of starvation as a weapon of war against civilians". It reads, "Amnesty International is gravely concerned by the sharply deteriorating situation of thousands of family members of ethnic minority groups, predominantly Hmong, involved in an armed conflict with the Lao military in jungle areas of the country.

"Reports have reached the organization of scores of civilian deaths, predominantly among children, from starvation and injuries sustained during the conflict. It is known that several of approximately 20 rebel groups with their families are surrounded by Lao military and prevented from foraging for food that they traditionally rely on to survive." (Link 3)

- Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) OMF Laos, Background.
http://www.us.omf.org/content.asp?id=23596&cachefixer=

2) Far East Broadcasting Company
http://www.febc.org/hmong_letters.html

3) Amnesty International, 2 October 2003
Laos: Use of starvation as a weapon of war against civilians.
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA260132003

Monday, September 30, 2002

The Starving of Sudan

Date: Monday 30 September 2002
Subj: The Starving of Sudan
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty E-mail Conference
From: Elizabeth Kendal, Conference Moderator


On Friday 27 September 02 the Government of Sudan (GoS) suspended all humanitarian flights into Eastern and Western Equatoria regions of war-ravaged Southern Sudan, at least for the next nine days. This is an appalling crime against humanity but it has long been a standard GoS strategy whenever it has desired to weaken, punish or eliminate-en-masse the Southern Sudanese.

This time the GoS is also suspending all security flights, meaning that evacuations will not be able to occur. Humanitarian workers that are able have been forced to flee in haste to avoid becoming trapped. Others are bunkering down. Observers are expecting that a major and bloody GoS offensive is imminent.

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THE STARVING OF SUDAN

The BBC reports, "The Sudanese Government's action will cut off almost the entire south of the country, preventing humanitarian flights from getting in, and also potentially blocking the evacuation of foreign staff from the war zone.

"Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations umbrella organisation Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), said the UN was extremely concerned and was seeking clarification from the Sudanese government.

"The flight ban applies to two huge regions in the far south. One of them, Eastern Equatoria, is experiencing very heavy fighting at the moment, but the other is peaceful. Aid flights from neighbouring Kenya carrying about 150 tonnes of food a day will be grounded." (Full article see link 1)

CNN elaborates, "The flight ban effectively means no U.N. aid flights can get to any part of southern Sudan. There is no way of flying in from the main base at Lokichoggio, just over the border with Kenya, without passing over the prohibited zone. Martin Dawes (OLS) said an average of 20 OLS flights leave Lokichoggio every day, carrying medicine, food, equipment or staff." (See link 2)

On Thursday 26 September, SPLA (Southern People's Liberation Army) fighters shot down a GoS helicopter gunship just north of Torit. The BBC noted that the GoS was experiencing difficulty recapturing Torit, which is in Eastern Equatoria, and added, "Critics say the Sudanese government uses and abuses the (UN) system as an instrument of war by denying access to certain areas in order to starve both rebels and civilians." (link 1)

"MEASURING THE WORLD'S RESPONSE"

In his mailing of Saturday 28 September 02, Sudan expert Dr. Eric Reeves said, "There is no clear end in sight to this catastrophe deliberately precipitated by the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum as a means of securing military advantage in its ongoing offensive in Eastern Equatoria. We could have no clearer example of the ways in which Khartoum's denial of humanitarian aid and its military tactics are intertwined."

Reeves reminds us of the GoS-induced, war-related famine of February 1998, "in which perhaps 100,000 people died." Reeves says that was, "a signal example of how destructive Khartoum is willing to be in using the denial of humanitarian aid as a potent weapon of mass destruction."

The UN estimates that three million men, women and children are at imminent risk of starvation. Reeves suggests that "Khartoum is every hour taking the measure of the world's response, of action---or inaction---on the part of the UN, the United States---and the other Western democracies."

Reeves laments Khartoum's "ruthlessly accurate assessment of what price it will have to pay for breaking its commitments. So far there appears to be no price, and this augurs very poorly for the regaining of humanitarian access."

- Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) BBC "Khartoum halts aid flights to south" By Andrew Harding.
BBC correspondent in Nairobi, Kenya
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/world/africa/2283833.stm

2) CNN "Sudan suspends aid flights" Friday, 27 September 2002
http://asia.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/africa/09/27/sudan.relief.reut/index.html

AP "OLS: Sudanese government bans all U.N. flights into large part
of southern Sudan for nine days beginning Friday" 26 September 2002
http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/5919.html