SPLM in S. Kordofan wants new security arrangements, accuse UNMIS of rape
11 June, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)
The Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) in South Kordofan downplayed prospects of solution to the situation in the oil-producing state during Sunday’s meeting between president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his First Vice president Salva Kiir in Ethiopia.
More than a week of clashes between the SPLA and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the state led to the displacement of as many as 75,000 people according to the United Nations. The number of casualties have yet to be affirmed by independent sources.
This week Afaf Taour Kafi, a South Kordofan MP from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said that bodies are lying on the streets of the capital town of Kadugli.
Southern Kordofan is home to thousands of fighters from the Nuba mountains region who fought with both Khartoum and SPLA during the civil war.
The Sudanese government said that the SPLA began the attack on police station in Kadugli and stole its weapons forcing a response from SAF.
However, the SPLA accused the Khartoum-based government of seeking to disarm its members in South Kordofan by force. The NCP declared the situation in the state as an armed mutiny that would be dealt with only in a military manner and not through political dialogue.
Yesterday the NCP-affiliated governor of South Kordofan Ahmed Haroun said that SPLA’s Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu who was his deputy prior to last month’s elections will be held accountable for the violence and killings of civilians.
Haroun is one of the suspects charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity he allegedly committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
Gamr Dalman, the media adviser to Al-Hilu, told Sudan Tribune by phone from Juba that the issue is no longer related to South Kordofan but to the entire country.
He said that the NCP is using militias to fight on its behalf similar to the way it did in Darfur adding that Arab tribes in the region refused to be part of it prompting Khartoum to recruit from elsewhere.
On the military front the SPLM official claimed downing two Antonov and MIG SAF planes yesterday in Kauoda and Kloud respectively after flying on a low altitude making them an easy target.
There was no confirmation of this report from an independent source.
Dalman said that the Sudanese government must declare Al-Hilu the winner in the gubernatorial elections of last May.
Al-Hilu who ran on the SPLM ticket against Haroun claimed the vote was rigged and vowed that his party will not take any part in the state’s government. International monitors however, said the polls were credible.
On top of that Dalman said that the SPLM wants new security arrangements which would allow them to keep their weapons until ’popular consultations’ are held and their outcome implemented.
As part of the 2005 peace deal that ended the conflict and granted South Sudan the right to self determination, the two states were accorded ’popular consultations’ to consider whether the Comprehensive Peace Agreement addressed their grievances and to propose what their future relationship with Khartoum might look like.
KADUGLI AIRPORT CLOSED
In a related issue the spokesperson for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) spokesman Kouider Zerrouk said that authorities on Friday closed down Kadugli’s airport.
"The closure of the airport by the SAF will dangerously hamper the U.N. humanitarian operations in Southern Kordofan, as thousands of civilians are in urgent need of emergency assistance," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Zerrouk added that “localized fighting with sporadic artillery fire and continuing military build-up were reported during the last 24 hours in the state.”
Al-Hilu’s adviser on the other hand said that there was a lull in fighting between the two sides on Saturday.
UNMIS RAPE ALLEGATIONS
Dalman also directed criticism at UNMIS and accused the Egyptian contingency in the area of raping six women. He said the incident took place after civilians fleeing the fighting took shelter at the headquarters of the peacekeeping force.
This comes on the heels of a statement issued by Al-Hilu this week in he which he said that the Egyptian peacekeepers are complicit in the attacks by SAF in the state revealing that a letter was sent to them asking for clarifications.
"We are investigating serious accusations against the Egyptian forces, and we have doubts on its role, especially that its history in the region shows that they are not straight and have abnormal and criminal tendencies," Al-Hilu said.
He alleged that the Egyptian peacekeepers turned away civilians who sought refuge and even handed over some of them to SAF who killed them on spot.
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