Cease-fire announced in South Kordofan lacks credibility - all aid workers must have full access

Sudan: Two new mass graves discovered in the Nuba Mountains

After the discovery of two new mass graves in the embattled Nuba Mountains in the Sudan, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) fears that a cease-fire could not be maintained for any length of time. Although the Sudanese government in Khartoum has apparently unilaterally announced a two-week cease-fire, as Ulrich Delius of the STP's Africa section on Wednesday in Göttingen points out: "As long as those in power continue to publicly deny human rights abuses in the Nuba Mountains, it is unlikely that the bloody conflicts will cease – or at the very least, fighting will breakout anew the minute the two-week period is up."

The human rights organization further demanded most emphatically that all international aid workers be permitted immediate access to the Nuba Mountains in the province of South Kordofan. This would be a way for President Omar Hassan al Bashir to prove that he truly wants to help the civilian population, who are suffering under the war and human rights abuses. Presumably hoping that a small number would be easier to control and intimidate, the Sudanese government permitted entry for only six representatives of UN organizations seeking to assess the need for humanitarian aid.

The latest peace talks between Bashir and the insurgent SPLM North broke down last Sunday. "The Nuba give no credence to any announcements made by the president," reported Delius, "because Bashir has publicly denied that his air force has been attacking Nuba settlements over the past two weeks." This, although Nuba villages were bombed on both August 17 and 22, 2011; attacks in which civilians were also killed.

The satellite monitoring project established by Hollywood actor George Clooney, "Satellite Sentinel Project," presented new photos today documenting the existence of two new mass graves in South Kordofan. In response, Sudan's ambassador to the UN, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, once again publicly denied the existence of mass graves in the region, even though eight mass graves have been identified in satellite photos since the fighting broke out on June 5, 2011.

"Bashir is apparently attempting to calm the international community with his barely credible cease-fire announcement, in order to ease international pressure on Sudan," said Delius. "This strategy has proved to be quite successful throughout the past last eight years of genocide in Darfur."