Title: Bullying Darfur by Namaa Al-Mahdi
Author: نعماء فيصل المهدي
Date: 11-13-2014, 05:17 PM
“We broke their backs in Abu Karshola, I doubt they have recovered since,” said a prominent Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) member about their counter attack on the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces’ occupation (SRF) of Abu Karshola in May 2013. He added: “We lured them in, without any resistance into Abu Karshola, once they were stationed, we attacked!”.
Indeed on the day of the SRF occupation, South Kordofan’s civilian population fled to nearby Al-Rahad in North Kordofan, social media sources reported mass deployment of SRF forces to Abu Karshola, namely the Justice and Equality Movement Army, Sudanese Liberation Movement and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement – North forces who set up camp inside the town and who came under direct attack from a North Korofan battalion.
Escalating the conflict
Escalated fighting between the government and rebel groups started with the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces’ attack of Um Rwaba, North Kordofan. The attack on the 27th of April 2013 was reported[ii] to be the biggest of its kind against the government and the first of this scale in a centrally located town. Historic military tactics claim that an occupation of the North Kordofan city of Al-Obeid automatically makes Khartoum within reach.
SRF forces which moved from Um Rwaba might have stormed Abu Karshola without much resistance. According to unpublished eye witness reports, an estimated 15,000 people were displaced and took shelter in schools in the nearby towns of Al-Rahad in North Korofan. Eye witness reports from residents of Abu Karshola claim that the SRF have turned their homes and the town into the largest ever rebel military compound. This compound was soon under attack by the Sudanese government which might have led to the statement made by the SAF officer, claiming to have broken the SRF’s back.
of a critical August 2014 meeting of senior military, security and National Congress party officials clearly displays the government of Sudan’s tendency to use all the dirty tricks available to achieve their objectives. One such trick to weaken the SRF might have been the division of Darfur.
The division of Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2011 from one state to five[iv] which have separate governance and administrative units, allowed the government of Sudan to provide prominent government based jobs to would be armed rebels, three of the five most prominent Sudanese Armed Forces are Darfur based.
The move, which claimed to empower the people of Darfur, might have created an alternative to armed rebellion for those seeking social status and prominence within their societies.
People’s polarisation[v], which from the start of the conflict was restricted to Arab and African tribes living in the region, has since the division of Darfur become polarisation within a single tribal group, for example Darfuri El-Tigani Al-Sisi joining the ranks of the government of Sudan whilst his fellow tribesmen within the SLM are fighting against the government. According to insiders, at some instances, polarisation occurred within the same family, even within a household where brothers or sisters would be divided between armed rebellion and government.
Government of Sudan military action, the use of government militia, the rapid deployment forces, segmenting Darfur as well as the breakout of conflict in SRF supporting South Sudan has effectively led to the weakening of an already fragile civil rebel army. A weakened SRF would presumably be at a weaker positon at any proposed negotiations with the National Congress Party led government of the Sudan.
Despite all these efforts to weaken the rebels’ resistance, over the top counter attacks continue into what has now accumulated into a senseless campaign of violence.
The ongoing campaign of coordinated atrocities against the people of Darfur committed by the government of Sudan seems to serve no clear purpose.
A press statement released on the 5th of November by the UNAMID[vi] in Darfur reported mass sexual violence, the rape of 200 women by the Sudanese Armed Force. Reports[vii] of a terror campaign leading to mass displacement, abductions and arrests carried out by the government of the Sudan’s forces against citizens in Kass Camp, South Darfur. The reports[viii] on the 7th of November 2014 by Darfur based radio service, Radio Dabanga, stated that security services arrested six people from South Darfur’s Kass Camp accusing them of collaborating with the armed rebel movements. Over the past few weeks, 33 people were taken into government detention, according to camp leaders. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
Reports[ix] by Radio Dabanga said that the Sudanese Air Forces’ bombing of Darfur’s Jebel Marra led to the killing of livestock and displaced villagers.
Recent assaults aimed at Darfuri students also seem senseless. On the 26th of October, online sources reported assaults and insults by the government affiliated University of Wadi El Neel staff against Darfuri students in Atbara, Naher El Neel State. According to online sources and a report by Human Rights Watch[x], on the 5th and 6th of October government security forces, forcibly evicted about 70 female students from the Zahra dormitory complex in Khartoum, beating and arresting many students.
There is clearly an escalation of violence, intimidation and harassment against Darfurians. It could possibly be an attempt to cause mass displacement in mineral and oil rich regions to allow the government to exploit these regions unchecked and undeterred by local demands for a share of the wealth. Most probably, it is an attempt to break the morale of both the opposition parties and the SRF prior to the upcoming meeting with government dialogue bodies[xi]th set on the 12th–22nd of November, to ensure they agree to a deal with the government to avoid further atrocities from happening.
The road to an African brokered fragile peace
On the 1st of November, Sudan Tribune published news of Chad’s foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat’s meetings with Rebel Groups Sudan Liberation Movement Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) Sudan Liberation Movement- Abdel-Wahid El-Nour (SLM-AW) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). On the news, the official statement was that the meeting came about as part of a peace initiative by the Chadian government; online-sources claim that the deal was brokered by the Sudanese government’s official liaison officer with Darfur Rebel Groups and businessman Siddig Wada.
A repeat of the fragile peace deal signed in January 2005 between the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/Army and the Government of Sudan in Nairobi is on the cards. The 2005 peace deal not only provided the National Congress Party with international legitimacy, but it paved the way for them to rule Sudan and distribute the country’s resources as they wish for the five-year interim period and a further five years following the 2010 election.
The recent discoveries of Darfur based oil fields in Blocks 6 and 17 might be the main driver behind the government of Sudan’s renewed appetite for peace deals with Sudanese Rebels. Prior to the discovery of oil a string of peace agreements and deals with Sudanese rebels often fell through, many within the rebel groups have said clearly that the government is not and has not been serious in upholding agreements with them and that agreements have fallen through as a result of lack of political will on the government’s side.
Sudanese politicians’ appetite for Sudan’s wealth is well documented, NGO director Rashida Abdul Mutalib said: “Governance in the Sudan is a get rich route for politicians.” Transparency international has ranked the Sudan’s government and non-government, financial and not for profit institutions 174 out of 177 countries in the world corruption index 2013[xii].
The European Council clearly stated their terms and conditions[xiii] on Sudan are way forward, insisting on inclusive comprehensive peace.
Negotiations with Darfur rebels are to start without Sudan Liberation Movement- Abdel-Wahid El-Nour (SLM-AW), on the 22nd of November. Negotiations with their SRF partners SPLM-N are scheduled for the 12th of November; there is no news regarding negotiations with their Paris Accord partners the Umma National Party.
According to Bashir[xiv], the Paris Declaration which has received wide support from Sudanese opposition parties and groups is unconstitutional. The National Intelligence and Security Services have threatened to legally charge the Umma National Party’s leader Imam Al-Sadig Al-Mahdi with crimes against the State of Sudan.
The government is clearly trying to bully Darfur into accepting its terms and conditions and to facilitate for another five years in office. If this fails, they have an excuse to play victim and blame the rebels and the opposition for lack of political will. Either way, they think they might win!
Sudan rebel attack on Abu Karshola ‘kills 30 SAF, downs chopper’ – Bashir fails to show https://http://http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/50550www.radiodabanga.org/node/50550
[ii] Sudan City stormed by Darfur rebels, Rebel fighters seeking to topple president storm Um Rawaba and say they are heading to Khartoum http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/04/2013427143845319920.htmlhttp://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/04/2013427143845319920.html
“ Looking Directly into the Heart of Darkness: What the Khartoum Regime Really Thinks” ( leaked minuted of crititical August 2014 meetings of senior military and security officials” http://sudanreeves.org/2014/09/25/looking-directly-into-the-heart-of-darkness-what-the-khartoum-regime-really-thinks-leaked-minutes-of-critical-august-2014-meeting-of-senior-military-and-security-official/http://sudanreeves.org/2014/09/25/looking-directly-into-the-...d-security-official/
[iv] Sudan will Split Darfur into Five State, Regional Head Says http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-21/sudan-will-split-darfur-into-five-states-regional-head-says-1-.htmlhttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-21/sudan-will-split-da...al-head-says-1-.html
[v] Polarization http://darfurgenocideshs.weebly.com/polarization.htmlhttp://darfurgenocideshs.weebly.com/polarization.html
[vi] 5 Nov 14 - UNAMID investigates alleged mass rape in North Darfur, calls for access http://unamid.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=11027&ctl=Details&mid=14214&ItemID=24139&language=en-UShttp://unamid.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=11027&ctl=De...24139&language=en-US
[vii] More South Darfur displaced arrested in security campaign
[viii] More South Darfur displaced arrested in security campaign
[ix] Air raid causes panic in Darfur's Jebel Marra https://http://http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/82990www.radiodabanga.org/node/82990
[x] Sudan Police, Beat Arrest, Female Students http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/15/sudan-police-beat-arrest-female-studentshttp://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/15/sudan-police-beat-arrest-female-students
[xi] Sudan dialogue body to meet rebel groups in Addis Ababa http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52961http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52961
[xii] Sudan Corruption Index http://www.transparency.org/country#SDNhttp://www.transparency.org/country#SDN
[xiv] Mahdi must first relinquish Paris Declaration, before returning to Sudan: Basir http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52555http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52555