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Sudan - Two Areas Conflict

On 03 October 2020, leaders of the civilian-led transitional government (CLTG) and a number of armed opposition groups signed a peace agreement in the South Sudanese capital of Juba. Observers expressed hope it would end nearly two decades of conflict in the country’s war-torn regions of Darfur and the Two Areas. In Darfur and the Two Areas, paramilitary forces and rebel groups continued sporadically to commit killings, rape, and torture of civilians. Local militias maintained substantial influence due to widespread impunity. There were reports militias looted, raped, and killed civilians. Access for UN agencies to Darfur, the Two Areas and other conflict-affected regions vastly improved under the leadership of the CLTG; however, challenges remained.

The January 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the southern-based Sudan People’s Liberation Movement officially ended more than two decades of north–south conflict during which famine, fighting, and disease killed an estimated 2 million people and displaced at least 4.5 million others within Sudan. Between the signing of the peace agreement in 2005 and the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, more than 2 million IDPs and 331,000 refugees returned to areas of origin in present-day South Sudan and the Three Areas of Abyei, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile, according to IOM and UNHCR.

The map of Sudan was drawn in 1956, or prior to that, and when the British gave independence on January the 1st, 1956, the lines were drawn. Had they been drawn today, we would know that South Kordofan and Abyei and the Nuba Mountains would indeed be a part of South Sudan. The people in those areas fought along with the SPLM and feel a part of the South. However, the lines have been drawn and they found themselves in the North.

This latest violence was a tragic resumption of a prior war by the Khartoum government on the Nuba. Beginning in the 1980s, Islamist elements of the North began an eradication campaign against the Nuba, pitting northern Arabs against Africans in the South. Unfortunately for the Nuba, they are not Southerners, even though they have fought with the Southern army during the North-South civil war. But neither were they accepted by the elements ruling the North, even though many of them are Muslims.

This left the Nuba on their own to suffer the onslaught of the Khartoum government. The strategy of cultural cleansing pursued by the government involved harsh attempts to depopulate vast areas, killing potential combatants as well as many others, and herding survivors into tightly controlled government so-called refugee camps.

When jihad was declared by the Government of Sudan in 1992, even Nuba Muslims were targeted with the rationale that Muslims in SPLM areas were not true Muslims. Rape of Nuba women has been a central component of the government's strategy aimed at destroying the social fabric of Nuba society. Almost every woman who has been in one of Khartoum's so-called peace camps reportedly was either raped or threatened with rape. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, between 30,000 and 40,000 people out of a population of 60,000 in Southern Kordofan, capital of Kadugli, fled the town in 2011.

Many of the attacks in Southern Kordofan were indiscriminate, including aerial bombardments and artillery fire by Sudanese Armed Forces. Bombings have been reported in five villages south of the state capital of Kadugli, as well as Talodi, Hebon and Kaudo and other towns. The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights told the U.N. Security Council on 29 July 2011 that there were reports as recently as July 27th of aerial bombings, forcing civilians to flee into the Nuba Mountains.

Sudan - Two Areas Conflict - 2015

In 2015, clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in and around Bau destroyed villages, triggered looting, and caused significant population displacement, including possible forced relocations, local media report. On May 27, the UN expressed concern regarding reports of large-scale displacement and Blue Nile’s limited humanitarian access, which is constrained due to insecurity and GoS-imposed restrictions.

In early May, USAID/FFP partner WFP announced it would support a school feeding program in Southern Kordofan—WFP’s first school feeding program in the state since 2011. The program, scheduled to begin in July, will target approximately 40,000 food-insecure children. To date in FY 2015, USAID/FFP has provided approximately $56 million to WFP’s emergency food assistance and nutrition support activities in Sudan, including the provision of school meals.

In late May 2015, the GoS identified three new refugee sites in White Nile State—which currently hosts more than 88,700 South Sudanese refugees at seven sites—to address concerns associated with overcrowding. With the arrival of more than 13,000 South Sudanese refugees to Southern Kordofan and White Nile states since late May, White Nile’s current refugee-hosting sites are facing environmental and WASH challenges, the UN reports.

USAID/FFP partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) launched a school feeding program in Southern Kordofan and pre-positioning emergency food commodities in preparation for the May-to-October lean season; however, the UN agency reported that funding challenges could jeopardize its food voucher program.

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Page last modified: 26-10-2021 13:52:12 ZULU