Wednesday, June 29, 2011

113. Sudan: genocidal regime targets Nuba again

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 113 | Wed 22 Jun 2011


By Elizabeth Kendal

North Sudan's South Kordofan State is defined by the Nuba Mountains. Whilst 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 when the Government of Sudan (GoS) based in Khartoum started acquiring large tracts of land for mechanised farming, the Baggara began grazing their cattle on Nuba land, destroying crops and taking over 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 1983 the SPLM published its Manifesto calling for a united, secular, democratic Sudan with equality and rights for all Sudan's diverse peoples. Khartoum responded instead by imposing Sharia Law. The South would not submit. The war was on. In 1984 senior Nuba leaders likewise wanting an end to 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) entered the fray, purging Nuba villages of anyone they suspected of SPLA sympathies. After Omar al-Bashir seized power in Khartoum in a military coup in 1989, he brought the Baggara Murahaliin under government control, re-branding them as the Popular Defence Force (PDF). Commissioned to carry out genocide in the Nuba Mts, the SAF and PDF murdered the Nuba elite, razed Nuba villages, burnt crops and shut schools and medical clinics. The areas that survived under SPLA control were then blockaded against all trade and humanitarian aid. Amidst this, the GoS established so-called 'Peace Camps' (concentration camps) where submission to the regime and conversion to Islam would win a family GoS food aid. Hundreds of thousands of Nuba perished in the GoS-engineered famine of 1990-93, rather than submit. Had it not been for Arab smugglers the Nuba civilisation would have been annihilated.

Despite Dr Garang's best efforts, when negotiating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) he had not been able to get the GoS to agree to a referendum on self-determination for the Nuba. However, Garang assured the Nuba that if the CPA were implemented then the racist, Islamist regime would be finished and a 'New Sudan' would emerge. So the Nuba signed the CPA despite their immense dissatisfaction at the lack of a referendum on Nuba self-determination.

John Garang, the leading advocate of the 'New Sudan' vision, died in a helicopter crash in July 2005 and subsequently the GoS has not implemented the CPA. Now the South is due to secede on 9 July, leaving numerous SPLA allies -- including the Nuba -- stranded in the North. South Kordofan is the only state in the North with oil and it appears that Khartoum has begun ethnically cleansing the Nuba Mts -- again. This is the regime that ethnically cleansed the Dinka-Ngok (Southerners) out of Abyei in March-April 2011 and annexed the contested border region.

Violence exploded in South Kordofan's capital, Kadugli, on 5 June as SAF and SPLA troops clashed. Reportedly, SAF and Baggara Arab militias have been conducting door-to-door 'sweep' operations in the cities and towns, killing everyone they suspect of SPLA sympathies. According to Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli, 'churches and pastors were directly targeted'. Christians have told Compass Direct News they have witnessed clergy being shot and killed by the sword before their eyes, to shouts of Allahu akbar. The Catholic, Episcopal and Church of Christ churches in Kadugli have been looted and torched. On Sunday 12 June the governor of North Kordofan declared jihad on the Nuba, most of whom are Christian. Ahmed Haroun, recently installed by Khartoum as governor of South Kordofan by a fraudulent poll, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of Nuba have been displaced. Bishop Elnail requests Christians to observe Sunday 26 June as a day of prayer and fasting for an end to the violence. The Bishop laments: 'Once again we are facing the nightmare of genocide of our people in a final attempt to erase our culture and society from the face of the earth.'

Furthermore thousands of Southerners have been forced to flee GoS aerial bombardment of the oil regions of South Sudan's Unity State. The regime may well be aiming to seize as much as possible of the South's oil-rich territory before the South secedes on 9 July.


* have mercy on Sudan's long-suffering marginalised peoples, drawing them to himself so that in faith and dependence they will call upon the sovereign and supreme Lord of Hosts and witness his deliverance.

* burst through the forces of the Islamist, genocidal regime of Omar al-Bashir (2 Samuel 5:20), so driven by racial and religious hatred that unconscionably (arrogantly; complacently; see Isaiah 37:29) it would orchestrate the genocide of all Sudan's non-Arab and non-Muslim peoples; may the Lord defend his people.

'For nothing will be impossible with God.' (Luke 1:37 ESV)



Violence exploded on 5 June in Sudan's South Kordofan State, the only North Sudan state with oil. South Kordofan's Nuba Mountains are populated by some 50 non-Arab, mostly non-Muslim Nuba tribes. Sudan Armed Forces and Arab militias have been conducting door-to-door 'sweep' operations, killing everyone they suspect opposes the Northern regime. In the capital, Kadugli, the Catholic, Episcopal and Church of Christ churches have been looted and torched. According to Episcopal Bishop Elnail, 'Churches and pastors were directly targeted.' Christians have told Compass Direct News they witnessed clergy being executed to shouts of Allahu akbar. Hundreds of thousands of predominantly Christian Nuba have been displaced. Amidst tensions elsewhere, South Sudan is due to secede on 9 July. Please pray for Sudan and its Christians.