Growing threat of war in Sudan – UN Security Council must act!

Sudan: Fighting in Nuba Mountains and in oil-rich Unity State


In light of new battles in the Nuba Mountains and in oil-rich Unity State, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that war may break out again in Sudan. Eyewitnesses have reported that tens of thousands of people have already fled air strikes and attacks by soldiers and militia since the fighting began in the Nuba Mountains on 5 June 2011. The Sudanese air force has also bombed civilian targets. The civilian populations in various hard-fought cities have complained that the UN peacekeeping force, UNMIS, is not protecting them from attacks. They say UN soldiers often look on passively while Sudanese soldiers and militia commit human rights abuses. The Nuba Mountains, populated by sub-Saharan Nuba communities, are to remain part of Arab-dominated North Sudan following the independence of South Sudan. Unity State, significant for both North and South Sudan due to its oil pipelines, is set become part of the independent nation of South Sudan which will come into being in July 2011.

"We must not allow a repeat of Srebrenica in the Nuba Mountains," urged the head of the Africa section at the STP, Ulrich Delius, on Friday in Göttingen. "The UN Security Council must call an emergency sitting to deal with the dramatic situation in Sudan and insist on an immediate end to the fighting. In addition, the UNMIS must fulfill their mandate and protect the civilian population and aid organizations from attacks."

"The war in the Nuba Mountains is horrifically reminiscent of the genocide in the 1990s, which claimed the lives of up to 500,000 of the Nuba peoples," said Delius. Tens of thousands of people are said to have fled in panic from battles in the cities of Kadugli, Dilling and Kauda. Bombardments of numerous villages and cities (including Kauda, Heiban and Talodi) by the Sudanese air force have killed several hundred people, eyewitnesses report. They also said that in Kadugli, Sudanese soldiers targeted and destroyed Christian churches and church facilities. "Among the Nuba, there is a growing fear of ethnic cleansing and an escalation of the fighting," asserted Delius. The Nuba Mountains are populated primarily by sub-Saharan Nuba, among whom are both Muslims and Christians.

Fighting in oil-rich Unity State threatens to escalate as well, where five civilians were killed in attacks by the Sudanese air force on Thursday. Since last weekend the Sudanese army has been attacking the South Sudanese "Sudan People's Liberation Army" (SPLA) in an attempt to drive South Sudanese soldiers out of the region.