ETHNIC CLEANSING ONCE AGAIN:
SOUTHERN KORDOFAN/NUBA MOUNTAINS
FIRST WEEK: CATALOGUE OF SLAUGHTER
Monday June 13, 2011
The upsurge in hostilities which broke out in Southern Kordofan State on 06 June has hardly come as a surprise to any seasoned observer of the Sudanese political scene. It took place against the backdrop of rising political and security tension in the area.
Last week, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) supported by the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) committed atrocities, including summary executions, wanton killings, arbitrary arrests, torture, arson and disappearances in addition to destruction of physical infrastructure and burning of churches particularly in Kadugli and Diling towns. Thousands of civilians were displaced as a result.
This catalogue of incidents constitutes serious crimes and violation of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Conventions. Further increase in the scale and magnitude of these atrocities may upgrade their classification to crimes against humanity and genocide.
This report, compiled by Sudan Democracy First, documents a raft of crimes and human rights violations committed against the civilian population in Southern Kordofan/ Nuba Mountains State. It precludes the war crimes linked to the prosecution of war by the varied armed forces. The SAF, supported by NCP security services, central reserve police and PDF used disproportionate force, including heavy artilleries and indiscriminate bombings by Antonov and MIG-23 fighters of villages and areas mostly populated by Nuba ethnic groups. The security forces targeting of churches also imply serious concerns about the nature of the current military campaign. The forces also conducted house-to-house search and set up security check-points on Kadugli-Diling road, so as to identify then arrest and/or kill those suspected of sympathizing with the SPLM.
Kadugli, the capital city of Southern Kordofan State, has become a ‘ghost’ town. Its streets were virtually deserted with blackouts and shortages of food supplies and water. President Bashir and Ahmed Harun, to whose names warrants of arrest were issued by the ICC, stated that their security services were conducting mopping up operations to flush out hostile elements in Southern Kordofan. This was a clear reference to the house-to-house search campaign.
Aerial Bombardment Campaign
Numerous reports by members of UNMIS and witnesses who fled the fighting in Southern Kordofan State affirmed that SAF Antonov and MIG fighters conducted more than 30 sorties over the last week. This is part of a genocidal campaign targeting civilian population in areas predominantly inhabited by Nuba ethnic groups. They took aim at Beleinya, Taferey, Katcha, Daloka, Hajr el-Mek and Kololo.
On Wednesday 08 June, MIG fighters bombed Dellamy, Shat, Korongo Abdalla, Talodi, Teisay and Buram. On the same day, Antonov bombed Um Dorain, Um Sirdiba, Saraf el-Jamoos and Silara near Diling.
On Thursday 09 June, numerous areas including Talodi, Heiban, Kwaleeb and Katcha came under heavy bombardment by MIG fighters. On the same day, Jau which lies on the borders between Unity and Southern Kordofan States was bombed too.
This vicious campaign of bombing killed dozens of civilians; left hundreds injured and caused the destruction of property. It also forced thousands of civilians into displacement in search of safety in the North.
Dozens of civilians were subjected to extra-judicial killings by the NCP security services on grounds of their ethnic and/or political affiliation. SDFG documented the following cases:
1. Juma Bahri (Handicapped who was abducted and killed, with his body being dumped in front of UNMIS Headquarters in Kadugli)
2. Numeiri Silik (UNMIS staffer who was killed in front of UNMIS Headquarters in Kadugli)
3. Numeiri Philip Mudawi (Hails from Heiban, who killed in Kadugli)
4. El-Nazeer Bashir el-Fil ( Killed in the aftermath of PDF assault on el-Faid Um Abdalla village)
5. Abderrahim Mohamed Ahmed (Trader killed in the aftermath of PDF assault on el-Faid Um Abdalla village)
6. Mohamed Abdel-Rahman Abderrahim (Student at Gezeira University)
7. Abdel-Rahman Mohamed Mahmoud ( Teacher at Secondary School)
8. Adam Mohamed Mahmoud (Casual worker killed in the aftermath of PDF assault on el-Faid Um Abdalla village)
9. Adam Abu-Sin (killed in the aftermath of PDF assault on el-Faid Um Abdalla village)
10. Adam Mohamed Ahmed (Killed in the aftermath of PDF assault on el-Faid Um Abdalla village)
11. Sherif Abdel-Tam (Medical Worker)
12. Fadul Juma (Driver)
13. Rev. Musa Ereibat
14. El Tayib El-Sir (Killed while laying one of his relative to rest)
15. In Talodi 10 civilians were killed following aerial bombardment by Antonov bombers
16. In Buram 6 civilians were killed following aerial bombardment by Antonov bombers
17. In Diling 28 civilians were killed following aerial bombardment by Antonov bombers
18. In Korongo Abdalla 5 civilians were killed following aerial bombardment by Antonov bombers
19. In Shat 13 civilians were killed following aerial bombardment by Antonov bombers
20. In Keiga 4 civilians were killed following aerial bombardment by Antonov bombers
21. In el-Faid Um Abdalla village 6 unidentified corpses were found
22. In el-Kwek, Nail Derek who is an activist was assassinated
23. Dr. Daoud Kodi, a doctor at Kadugli Hospital was assassinated
24. Mahna Kanu (killed in Kelimo area in Kadugli)
25. Fadul El-Azeem Juma Asu (Killed in Gar Hajr)
26. Farah Philip Kalu (Teacher who was killed in Redif area in Kadugli)
27. Lewis Awjay (UNMIS Staffer who was killed by Military Intelligence in Kadugli)
28. Juma Bahr (Officer of UNMIS Ceasefire Monitoring Team who was killed in from of UNMIS Headquarters in Kadugli)
Arbitrary Arrests, Disappearances and Torture
This string of violations targeted mainly Nuba political and civil society activists, particularly in big towns. The NCP security services and PDF have been conducting house-to-house search and screening of individuals at UNMIS-run displacement camps with the aim of arresting political rivals and ethnic Nuba in general. NCP Members were helping to identify those political rivals.
SDFG were able to document the following cases:
1. 90 civilians (Arrested in Hay Mwazafin in Kadugli, tortured and reportedly relocated to Khartoum).
2. Mohamed Radwan (Executive Director of Abassia Tagli Payam)
3. A brother to Butheina Dinar (Minister on SPLM ticket) was arrested by security services
4. Ibrahim Murada Tutu (UNMIS staffer who was arrested and reportedly moved to el-Obeid in Northern Kordofan).
5. Adam Jibreel (UNMIS staffer who was arrested and reportedly moved to el-Obeid in Northern Kordofan).
6. Kabbashi Tiya Kabbashi (Teacher)
7. Juma Abdel-Gadir (A vetern Trade Unionist arrested in Diling)
8. Abdalla Jumma, Health worker
9. Badreldin Bakhit Natu
10. Hamdan Hussein Himaidan, retired solider
11. Mohammed Karteela Atroun, retired solider
12. Mohammed Abdul Rahman, a military solider
13. Babuo Andaia, retired solider
14. Yajoub El Tigani, Lawyer, wounded in his leg then was taken to the army compound
15. Mukhtar Hassan Badawi and his wife Mona were arrested after escaped to Um Rwaba
16. Bashir Al Feil, was arrested after the attack on the village of Al Faid Um Abdalla
17. Mohamed Idress, the imam of the mosque of Al Faid Um Abdalla
18. Abdulrahman Babiker Shambie, was taken to the head of the armed forces
19. Shazali Jaafar Babiker, was taken to the head of the armed forces
20. Ahmed Babiker Alameer, Chief of Tagwa tribe, no information after his disappearance
21. Hawa Mando, a member of the State Legislative Assembly, was kidnapped from home
22. Abu Obeida Ali Hamad, an engineer, was arrested from his house
23. Akhras Al Badawi, a teacher was arrested during houses search
24. Ahmed Sobahi, was arrested in Abu Jeebeiha town
25. Fadal Almoula Abdul Aziz, was arrested in Abu Jeebeiha town
26. Masood Ezzeddine, civil society activist was arrested in Abu Jeebeiha town
27. Abdulaziz Kemawie, civil society activist was arrested in Abu Jeebeiha town
Humanitarian situation and displacement
Since the eruption of violence, military operations and aerial bombardment by security forces of NCP/Government of Sudan under a week ago, official reports estimate about that about one hundred thousand (100,000) internally displaced persons have fled from their homes in the Nuba Mountains/ Southern Kordofan area. In the city of Kadogli alone, the state capital, about ten thousand (10,000) civilians have gathered at the headquarters of United Nation Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) seeking safety and protection. Civilians from the Kadogli neighborhoods of Kelimo, Gaar Alhajar, Al Radeef, Um Batah, Alban Jadeed and Hajar Almalik have had to flee their homes after witnessing the scale of violence, killings, detention and search, arrest, and destruction of property. Checkpoints have been erected all along the highway between Kadugli and El Obied cities, which has seen the movement of displaced people thousands of civilians fleeing on foot for hundreds of kilometers.
One of the consequences of this massive displacement from all corners of the state in such a short period of time, coupled with the continued organized violence, is that the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating. In the space of one week life has completely paralyzed. Civilians have lost their livestock and most of their livelihood resources, and public services such as water, electricity, transportation and health have also been disrupted. Symptoms of malnutrition among children around the UNMIS compound, and in the lack of health care and medical staff are also dangerous indicators for the humanitarian situation. Restrictions on humanitarian access to displaced persons is also of concern, with a number of international organizations facing security obstacles in reaching victims in need. In parallel with these obstructions, the evacuation of humanitarian staff from the region is extremely worrying.
Position of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in the region
UNMIS in Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan appears to be completely unable to provide the civilian protection required and ensure delivery of urgent humanitarian aid. It has also been accused of indirect cooperation with GoS/NCP security forces of the NCP, including through its failure to protect civilians who sought refuge in the UNMIS compound. There are numerous cases of abductions, forced disappearances and summary executions, including of local staff of the mission, which allegedly took place inside and outside the premises of the mission, suggesting a complete state of paralysis in terms of UNMIS capacity to conduct core functions.
In a number of instances, requests to the UNMIS to evacuate individuals who were in danger met with silence and/or refusal based on “the mission mandate does not allow”. The mission appears also to have been unable to communicate effectively and provide information on the humanitarian situation and the scale of the crimes that are being committed in the region. There are also increasing accusations that the Egyptian contingent of the mission is not cooperating with civilian requests and that they are responding to the orders and threats of the security forces of the Government/NCP.
Freedom of access to information and expression
Since the beginning of the organized violence this week in Nuba Mountains/ South Kordfan, the security agencies of the NCP have obstructed the flow of information to hide massive crimes undergoing in the region. Both international and local media outlets were prevented from getting into the region. Censorship is heavily back and papers which published stories about violations against civilians and humanitarian situation were confiscated after printing. An Al Jazeera TV team, for example, was detained by security while they were about to arrive to Kadogli and some of its staff were severely tortured before they were ordered to leave the state. An Al Arabiya TV team which was stopped on the highway on their way to Kadogli was told they would not be allowed to access the town and to go back to Khartoum. In Khartoum, editions of Al Sahafa and Ajrass Alhurria newspapers were confiscated after printing and prior to distribution because they contained stories about violations and the humanitarian situation in the region. While independent media outlets were obstructed from publishing in this manner, pro NCP media outlets were active as part of the war propaganda. They were provided with intelligence information to function within the propaganda of the military operation carried out by the security forces and the militias’ of the NCP.
# A comprehensive process must be initiated to develop new political, constitutional and security arrangements for all regions of Northern Sudan, and in particular the areas of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan / Nuba Mountains.
# The UN Security Council must institute a No Fly Zone in Nuba Mountians/ South Kordfan to stop the aerial bombardment of civilians.
# South Kordofan/ Nuba Mountains should be declared a humanitarian emergency and safe corridors should be agreed for the provision and delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance for civilians and displaced persons.
# The mandate of UNMIS should be expanded to include more effective protection of civilians, and supported with adequate forces, supplies and logistics. The deployment of Egyptian forces should be reviewed for effectiveness as they are increasingly not trusted by those they are ostensibly there to protect.
# An international commission of enquiry should be constituted to investigate massive crimes committed in the area, with a mandate to investigate crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and to ensure that measures to bring perpetrators to justice are put in place. In order to rebuild the confidence of the population, the current outstanding arrest warrants of the International Criminal Court against President Omer Al Bashir and current South Kordofan/ Nuba Mountains Governor Harun must be enforced.
The political and security challenges currently facing the people of the Nuba Mountains/ Southern Kordofan have their roots in the early nineties when the region witnessed mass atrocities similar to what has taken place this week. These crimes reached the level of ethnic cleansing and were orchestrated by the central government in Khartoum against the Nuba citizens of the region. The attacks were also directly supervised and directed by the current governor Ahmed Haroun, who is indicted by the ICC for similar atrocities allegedly committed in the Darfur region.
In 2005 the region was the subject of a political compromise as part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) through which the area was granted the right of popular consultations. Citizens of the region would determine through the democratic process and through their democratically elected parliament their satisfaction or otherwise with the CPA, and the nature of their relationship with the central government on issues of peace, participation, security arrangements and development. Before the holding of the popular consultation process and throughout the CPA Interim period, the NCP, however, worked to undermine and pre-empt the process, derailing its substantive content and turning it into a simple survey of public opinion.
Due to indications of potential rigging, elections in South Kordfan/ Nuba Mountains were delayed in 2010 with the election commission issuing a decision to postpone them on the basis of the need to protect the security and stability in the region. In other part of Sudan, elections took place in May 2010, but were characterized by massive fraud and boycotted by most of the opposition political forces. The result of these elections was a complete take over of control of the state’s legislative and executive organs by the NCP.
Last month, in May 2011 elections finally took place in Nuba Mountains/ South Kordfan and again the process was marred by massive fraud in the interest of the NCP. NCP’s election campaign included direct threats to return to war by the President. The SPLM in the region rejected the results of the elections and declared that it would peacefully struggle against recognition of those results. In a violation of the security arrangements protocol, however, immediately after the elections the NCP initiated a disarmament process against the SPLA presence in the area.
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