Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus : Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"What would you do?"

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Tripoli threatened by out of control blaze

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • US, EU agree on tougher sanctions package against Russia

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

Africa

Violence taints southern joy on eve of independence

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2011-06-23

Southern Sudanese will celebrate the birth of their new country on July 9 after voting for secession from the north in a January referendum. But the joy of independence is being threatened by a new wave of violence and ethnic strife.

Leaders from north and south Sudan have agreed to withdraw troops from the contested border region of Abyei and allow Ethiopian peacekeepers to move in under a UN mandate, according to South African mediators.

News of the deal has drawn a sigh of relief from southerners, but the resurgence of violence along the north-south border has dampened their celebratory mood just three weeks before south Sudan becomes its own country on July 9.

“We welcome the news of the agreement, but with reservation,” said Santino Fardol, a representative of south Sudan’s ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party in France. “The north has never respected an agreement with us, so we will have to see how this deal is implemented on the ground.”

The government of Khartoum in the north and southern rebels fought a devastating civil war for more than two decades (1983-2005), leaving an estimated two million people dead and four million more displaced. In 2005 the two sides signed a peace deal to end the war and open the way for southern independence.

Southern Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for independence in a Jan. 9-15 referendum, but an outstanding decision on the status of the oil-rich Abyei region threatens to mar their country’s peace from birth. “Southerners can’t be happy without Abyei,” said Fardol.

Abyei residents are still waiting to hold a separate vote on whether to join the south or remain part of the north.

Khartoum has said it will pull back its soldiers from Abyei when the peacekeepers are sent in. But more than around 100,000 people – mostly pro-southerners – have already fled the disputed region, according to the UN.

Poisoned independence

Another worrisome issue for the new south Sudan is protecting Nuba minorities who live in the Arab-majority north, but who tend to sympathise with southerners along ethnic lines.

Since June 5 the South Kordofan state, which is in northern Sudan, has seen heavy fighting between northern soldiers and fighters who previously fought for southern independence.

Sudanese religious leaders and activists say Khartoum is now waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Nuba peoples, who died in massive numbers during the civil war. Northern leaders reject these claims.

The north's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has accused the fighters of trying to start a rebellion in South Kordofan after the NCP candidate won the governorship in elections last month. Southern officials say the fighters are no longer part of its army.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said on Monday that she had received reports from the region that were “horrifying, both because of the scope of human rights abuses and because of the ethnic dimension of the conflict”.

Speaking at the UN, Rice cited accounts in which northern forces had arrested and summarily executed supporters of southern Sudan in South Kordofan, adding that up to 75,000 people had fled their homes.

The reports appeared to confirm fears expressed less than a week ago by Roger Winter, a former US special representative on Sudan. “Today, again, Nuba (in South Kordofan) are positioned for liquidation by Khartoum forces,” Winter told US lawmakers at a Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.

Winter warned that strife in Abyei and South Kordofan was potentially explosive, and to expect relations between Khartoum and south Sudan in the post-independence period to be “poisonous at best”.

 

Date created : 2011-06-21

  • SUDAN

    North, south Sudan agree to withdraw troops from Abyei

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama urges end to Sudan's north-south violence

    Read more

  • SUDAN

    Khartoum steps up air strikes on border with south

    Read more

COMMENT(S)