[Dehai-WN] (Reuters): Renewed fighting, refugees in south of Sudan

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Sep 05 2011 - 17:21:40 EDT

Sudan says south-aligned group must end operations

Mon Sep 5, 2011 8:38pm GMT

(Adds Sudanese president and head of parliament comments paragraphs 7 and

By Khalid Abdelaziz and Hereward Holland

KHARTOUM/JUBA, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Sudan demanded on Sunday that the
southern-aligned Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) cease operations
in the country, stoking tensions with the newly independent south after
fighting flared in border areas.

The SPLM, the south's dominant party, said this amounted to banning the

"There is no party that is called the SPLM in Sudan and it has no right to
carry out political work because it is illegal," Rabia Abdelati, adviser to
the information ministry, told Reuters in Khartoum.

"Carrying out any activity is considered a crime punishable by the law."

The SPLM's northern wing, SPLM-N, fought with the south before a peace deal
in 2005 that led to South Sudan's independence in July. It has supporters in
Sudan, particularly in areas along the border.

Khartoum blames the south and the SPLM for violence in the Blue Nile and
South Kordofan states as well as other areas along the boundary where
fighting since Thursday has killed more than 20 and driven many from their
homes. SPLM officials say Khartoum is to blame.

In a statement ran by the Sudanese news agency SUNA on Sunday, Sudanese
President Omar el Bashir said that his government would "settle any security
or military disturbances by the People's Liberation Movement" yet added that
his country remains "keen on having a state of peace and stability."

Security officials told SPLM members the government was banning its
political activities, according to a senior SPLM official in Khartoum late
on Saturday. He said security forces had taken control of the SPLM's main
Khartoum office.

On Sunday, SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman said Sudan's ruling National
Congress Party (NCP) "has banned the SPLM as a political party and arrested
many civilian leaders of the SPLM."

"They closed down my office as SPLM secretary general in Khartoum," he said,
adding that five members were arrested in Darfur -- another region that has
risen up against Khartoum -- and that other senior officials were arrested
in other regions.

"Their main objective is to destroy the SPLM in the North. They see us as a
threat," Arman said.

"The SPLM has no more political space left. It is under attack in South
Kordofan and Blue Nile so the NCP is sending a message that the only option
is war."

Analysts say Sudan's government in Khartoum is trying to strike against the
rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile before they become a serious
political and military threat. The fighting risks drawing South Sudan into a
proxy war.

The Sudanese government declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile state on
Friday, sacked the governor who was a member of the SPLM-N and appointed a
military ruler in the area.

The Sudanese parliament is due to discuss the state of emergency in an
urgent session on Sept. 12, Egypt's MENA news agency said, quoting the head
of Sudanese parliament Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir.

Peter de Clercq, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR),
said a UNHCR team estimated that more than 20,000 people had crossed into
Ethiopia from Kurmuk, one area of Blue Nile state where fighting has flared.

"From al-Damazin (Blue Nile state capital) we understand that significant
numbers of people are leaving, trying to head north to Khartoum," he said,
without giving numbers. (Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo,
Writing by Edmund Blair and Yasmine Saleh in Cairo,; Editing by Rosalind

© Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved


Renewed fighting, refugees in south of Sudan

Sun Sep 4, 2011 12:36am GMT

(Add Sudanese government move against SPLM in north)

By Hereward Holland

JUBA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Seventeen people were killed in fighting between
Sudan's army and rebels aligned to South Sudan in a Sudanese state on the
border with the newly independent south, the official news agency SUNA said
on Saturday.

Up to 3,000 people fled armed clashes in the region, the United Nations
refugee agency (UNHCR) reported, calling for an immediate halt to fighting
to prevent a humanitarian crisis.

Analysts say Sudan's government in Khartoum is trying to strike against the
rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states before they become a serious
political and military threat. The fighting risks drawing South Sudan into a
proxy war.

The Sudanese government has accused the south's dominant Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM) of being behind the violence in Blue Nile and
South Kordofan. The SPLM-North, the movement's branch in Sudan, has blamed

Ali Abdel-Latif, an SPLM-North official, told Reuters that Khartoum security
officials informed the group the government was banning its activities in
Sudan. "They asked us not to practice any political work in the name of the
SPLM," he said.

He said security forces had also taken control of SPLM-North's main offices
in Khartoum.

There was no immediate official comment from Khartoum.

SUNA said 17 people were killed and 14 wounded in the fighting in South
Kordofan, but gave no further details.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan -- at the time Africa's largest country --
six years after a ceasefire that ended decades of civil war between north
and south. South Sudan denies Khartoum's accusations that it is supporting
the rebels.

SPLM-North battled alongside the South in the civil war but its areas of
influence remained north of the border after separation in July. The
oil-producing south voted to split from the north in a January referendum
promised in a 2005 peace deal, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

"Both the ruling National Congress Party and the SPLM-North are signatories
(to the peace deal) so we don't expect them to turn to armed hostilities,"
South Sudan's information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told Reuters.

"We urge them to go back to the CPA and the popular consultations for
resolving the issue."

Sudan's information minister, Kamal Mohamed Obeid, said South Sudan was
involved in the violence.

During the popular consultations people from Blue Nile overwhelmingly asked
for autonomy from Khartoum. The consultations were never held in Southern

Qamar Dalman, an official with the South Kordofan branch of the SPLM, told
Reuters that about 14 government soldiers were killed during the clashes in
South Kordofan.

"All the civilians had fled the area and the ones who were killed were from
the government, not civilians," Dalman told Reuters by telephone.

In Blue Nile, clashes and Sudanese air strikes on Friday forced many people
to flee, UNHCR spokesman Peter de Clerq said.

"Between 2,500 and 3,000 people crossed into Ethiopia yesterday morning but
the number will have gone up since then," he said.

"In (the town of) al-Damazin there was serious fighting yesterday but we're
not sure how many people have left. We understand that significant numbers
of people are trying to leave al-Damazin."


UNHCR chief António Guterres appealed for an immediate halt to the
hostilities amid reports of escalating displacement.

"We need, at all costs, to stop yet one more refugee crisis in a region of
the world that has been witnessing in recent months so much suffering," said
Guterres in a statement after visiting conflict and famine-ridden Somalia.

Yasir Arman, secretary-general of the SPLM's northern branch, said eight
people had been killed in al-Damazin including two women, a child and four
SPLM-N members.

"Many SPLM-North were arrested in al-Damazin and we're not sure of their
fate. We're worried because all those who were arrested in South Kordofan
were slaughtered by security agents," he said.

Last week international rights groups said witnesses saw Sudanese government
soldiers and militia shoot people in the streets and carry out both
house-to-house searches and stops at checkpoints using lists of names of
SPLM supporters in the South Kordofan state capital Kadugli and other areas.

Some analysts believe the SPLM-North is now politically isolated and needs
partners in order to sustain its rebellion.

"(The SPLM-North) are now a rebel group. The only way for them to survive is
through insurgency and rebellion until they can negotiate a political
settlement," Fouad Hikmat of the International Crisis Group told Reuters.

"They need to sustain this rebellion and therefore need partners in the
neighbourhood -- South Sudan and Ethiopia."

The Sudan government declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile state on
Friday and said it was replacing elected governor Malik Agar, who is a
member of SPLM-North, with a military ruler, SUNA said. (Additional
reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum; Writing by Amena Bakr and Edmund
Blair in Cairo; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)

© Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved


      ------------[ Sent via the dehai-wn mailing list by dehai.org]--------------

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view
© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 2001
All rights reserved