Voice of the unheard & home to the homeless
Front Page  عربى
المنبر العام
 Latest News
 Articles and Analysies
 Press Releases
 Photo Gallery
 About Sudan
  Sudanese Music
  Sudanese Links
  Discussion Board
  2006 News Archives
  2006 Articles Archives
  2006 Press R.Archives
  2005 News Archives
  2005 Articles Archives
  2005 Press R.Archives
  PC&Internet Forum
  Poll System
  Tell A Friend
  Upload Your Picture
  Contact Us


Latest News الصفحة العربية Last Updated: Feb 13, 2011 - 7:24:29 AM

Africans Debate Wisdom of Expected Secession of Southern Sudan

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
Follow sudanesewebtalk on Twitter

Africans Debate Wisdom of Expected Secession of Southern Sudan

Decision by southern Sudanese voters to break away from the north has many on the continent asking if it could happen to them

For some Africans, southern Sudan’s expected independence is a cautionary tale; others see it as a pathway for their regions to gain full sovereignty.

According to Bloomberg News, Somaliland’s foreign minister, Mohamed Omar, says his government plans to take a “more aggressive policy toward the African Union in its efforts to gain international recognition from Somalia.”

Sudan-Abyei map

Somaliland declared its independence 20 years ago and since then the south has been engulfed in anarchy and civil war.


Some compare Sudan to Nigeria, with its tensions between Muslim and Christians and between ethnic groups.  In 1967, Nigeria defeated Biafran separatists fighting for an independent state for the Ibo ethnic group in the east.

Recently, the president of the Nigeria Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani, called Sudan “a reference point for division and secession.”

"What's happening in Sudan is raising a lot of fears, especiallyin Nigeria, which is a colonial creation," said Sani in an article in the Guardian paper of Great Britain. "It was thought the defeat of Biafra had made division impossible, but Sudan is rekindling the thought.”

Map of Nigeria

An editorial in Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper warns, “[Sudan] may provoke unwarranted secessionist tendencies across the continent” and serve as a wake-up call “to African leaders and authorities, including Nigeria, that the failure of governance has its price, including [national disintegration].”

Other Nigerians disagree.

Sully Abu is the director of media and publicity for the election campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan.  Abu is also the publisher of the now-suspended New Age newspaper.

He says Nigerians do not see themselves as divided by a largely Muslim north and Christian south, which he says is an assumption of many foreigners.

"Here there is such complexity in tribes, regions and religion," he says, "that you don’t find such neat demarcations as talk of a Muslim north or Christian south.  The country is much more divided into states.  People are more concerned about their particular localities rather than any big regional divides."

Abu says people may want morelocal or regional autonomy, but they prefer to keep the country together.

Yemen and Iraq

The call for separation is also echoed throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Algeria’s foreign minister predicted “fatal repercussions” for Africa.  Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, warned of a domino effect – and “disaster” -- if countries with north-south tensions, like his own, follow Sudan’s lead.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi does not support the partition of Sudan

Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi compares Sudan’s split to a “contagious disease” that could be “the beginning of the crack in Africa’s map.”

Analyst J. Peter Pham sees irony in Libya’s concerns.  Pham is the senior vice president of the New York-based think tank the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.

"Historically, Gadhafi and Libya have been one of the biggest supporters of secessionist movements in Sudan," says Pham.  "For many years, the [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] and some Darfur rebel groups received support from Gadhafi.  So [having helped them over the years], the colonel is relatively new to his anti-secessionism.

"At same time Libya is [opposing secession], Libyan sovereign wealth funds are actually seeking investments in southern Sudan, so they are playing both sides against the center."

Larbi Sadiki teaches in Britain at the University of Exeter’s Department of Politics.  He says separatists are active in Yemen and in Iraq.

"The south of Yemen," says Sadiki, "is a place that until 1990 was a different state altogether, with a separate ideology, the emblems of a state -- and was an international actor in its own right.  Of late, we’ve seen renewed yearnings for recreating that state.  So, it’s in the offing.  The centralized [state] does not command a following in the south or from others [in other parts of the country.]"

Map of Yemen

"For secession, the best candidate [in the Arab world] would be northern Iraq, Kurdistan.  It approximates a quasi state, though without international recognition, and without demarcated and recognized borders.  But, you have in place an entity working toward statehood.  And, there are people with an aspiration to upgrade their autonomy into full-fledged [nationhood]."

Analysts say there are plenty of areas in the Middle East and Africa that have had separatist movements, including the regions of Casamance in Senegal, Cabinda in Angola, Zanzibar in Tanzania and the disputed territory bordering Morocco, Western Sahara.

But, it’s not clear that any of these regions have the potential to actually separate.

International backing

Jon Temin is a senior program officer at the Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

He says Sudan and Eritrea have what many states with separatist movements lack -- a long history of fighting for independence. Eritrea separated from Ethiopia in 1993. It had fought for independence for about 30 years. Separatists in Sudan fought for 50 years.

Map of EritreaAnalyst Jon Temin says both Eritrea and Southern Sudan had bloody and decades long wars for independence

"Almost no country in Africa has the history of brutal civil war that Sudan does," says Temin. "They fought two civil wars that were among the longest in Africa that resulted in more than two million deaths. While other secessionist movements have certainly mounted significant armed resistance, nowhere else on the continent do we have this extremely bloody history that is important in recognizing the right to self- determination for the south."

Temin says southern Sudan had something else most other liberation movements do not have -- extensive international support.  A number of governments, including the United States, helped mediate the process of creatingSudan’s five-year-old blueprint for power sharing and potential separation, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

He says today the only other region in Africa to enjoy significant international support for its liberation struggle is Western Sahara, where the Polisario Front has been fighting for independence from Morocco.  The United Nations granted the group official recognition 31 years ago.

Regional security

Analyst J. Peter Pham opposes recognition of Western Sahara.  He says the international community should not recognize any secessionist movement that cannot stand on its own.  He says Western Sahara has little more than 100,000 people and lacks natural and financial resources.

Map of Africa's Western Sahara region Western Sahara separatists enjoy a degree of international support, but some question if it can stand alone, or contribute to regional security

Pham says a country must also contribute to regional security, which he says Western Sahara does not do.  For example, he says there’s a “lack of freedom” in the refugee camps in Algeria run by the separatist Polisario Front.  He says some of the Polisario’s membersare also involved in terrorist and criminal activities.

In addition, he says the Polisario Front has played a role in keeping two regional powers, Morocco and Algeria, from cooperating on counterterrorism and other issues. Pham also says an independent Western Sahara would likely prove to be a “failed state,” where the lack of governance would result in a safe haven for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other radical groups.


One region that does meet Pham’s criteria is Somaliland, which declared its independence from Somalia in 1991.  It has fully recognized offices in South Africa, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Map of Puntland and Somaliland regions of SomaliaSomaliland leaders say they're inspired by secession of Southern Sudan

"[With] Somaliland," says Pham, "you have a state that is clearly viable.  It’s proven it by its 20 years existence.  And, it adds to regional stability and security, keeping piracy away from its shores and helping (neighboring, landlocked) Ethiopia have access to [Somaliland’s port Berbera] for imports/exports….  It is actually a bulwark against extremism in the region."

Ivory Coast

He also says northern Ivory Coast shares trade and cultural patterns with countries to the north, giving it more in common with them than with the southern part of the country, which produces nearly all of Ivory Coast’s cocoa.

In much the same way, he says southern Sudan is closely linked geographically and economically to Kenya and Uganda.  And he says the eastern region of DRC has more in common with its neighbors in East Africa than with the capital, Kinshasa, in the west.

Pham says European states have shown that power can be decentralized to smaller regions -- like Catalonia in Spain and Scotland in Britain.  This, even as market forces push for greaterintegration.

Dr. Larbi Sadiki of the University of Exeter says many Arab and other governments do not favor decentralization.  Instead, they use force to impose unity.  He says that would not be necessary if they adopted legal safeguards to protect minorities so they would not feel they had to secede in order to protect themselves.

© Copyright by SudaneseOnline.com

Please feel free to send us your Articles , Analysies news and press releases to [email protected]

Top of Page

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of Sudanese Online.com

اخر الاخبار
  • الاتحاديون.. فرقة لا تبشّر بوحدة
  • مركز دراسات الهجرة بجهاز المغتربين ينظم منتداه الشهري الثالث عن الحراك السكاني
  • وزير الدفاع:لا أستبعد ضربات اسرائيلية أخرى.
  • ديبي يعلن إنطلاق الإنتخابات الرئاسية في تشاد .. والمعارضة تتوعده بمصير القذافي وبن علي
  • والي الجزيرة يقر ببعض الفساد ويكشف عن تدابير في فضيحة دريم لاند
  • الجنوب كسب براءته العقوبات الأمريكية...الشمال مسلسل فشل رفعها مستمر
  • العدل والمساواة تؤكد سيطرتها على منطقة وادي هور وتنفي تواجد قوات الحكومة بها
  • رئيس حركة العدل والمساواة "القيادة الثورية ":السلام خيارنا الاستراتيجي وعلى أتم الاستعداد للجلوس للتفاوض متى تلقينا الدعوة من الوساطة
  • اعتصام اللاجئين السودانيين أمام مفوضية اللاجئين بالقاهرة
  • مأساة 450 دارفوري عالقين في السلوم خوفا من بطش الأمن السوداني .
  • بروفسور حامد تيجاني:النظام السوداني يسعى بكل قوته لتفكيك الدولة للحصول على شرعية دوليه تمكنه من الاستمرار في القمع والبطش
  • أحمد هارون يشرع في تنفيذ تخصصه : احراق سبعة أطفال وثلاث نساء مسنات داخل بيوتهم
  • ممثل حكومة الجنوب في واشنطن يلتقي الرئيس الكيني
  • الرابطة العالمية بأمريكا تشجب وتدين الهجوم الغادر الذى نفذته مليشيات حزب المؤتمر الوطنى فى قرى بجبال النوبة
  • محلل اقتصادي: تعاون جنوب السودان في مكافحة الإرهاب وراء إعفائه من العقوبات الأمريكية
  • العدل والمساواة ترفض الدعوة الإفريقية لحسم منبر الدوحة نهاية الشهر
  • المحــبوب عبد الســـلام: الأمثل للسودان أن نوحد البرامج ونقربها
  • النائب العام المصري يقرر حبس مبارك ونجليه في اتهامات بالفساد المالي وقتل الثوار
  • جاتكوث يشن هجوما عنيفا على هارون.. ويصفه بالمجرم الهارب من وجه العدالة
  • المحبوب عبد السلام: السودان في خطر والحزب الحاكم فوضوي
  • الحكومة الأميركية تعلن عن أن دولة السودان الجنوبي لن تخضع للعقوبات الإقتصادية الأميركية بعد التاسع من يوليو القادم
  • وصال المهدي: استجوبوه مرة واحدة، سألوه عن اسمه، فقال لهم نسيته!!
  • د.جبريل: رأس النظام إنفصالي من الدرجة الأولى و لن نكتفي بالتنديد حيال إستفتاء دارفور.
  • أكثر من 150 طالب جنوبي يعتصمون أمام مكتب حكومة جوبا بالقاهرة للمطالبة بمستحقات مالية متأخرة
  • تباين في الآراء حول صحة الإبقاء على قوات مشتركة مدمجة في أبيي ومناطق البترول
  • ممثل حكومة الجنوب في واشنطن يلتقي وزير الخدمات الطبية والأمين العام للحزب الحاكم في كينيا
  • السفارة السودانية في واشنطن: تقرير الخارجية الأميركية عن السودان غير مهني.. ولا يحتوي على قدر من المصداقية
  • السفير عبدالرحمن سرالختم فى لقاء تنويرى مع الصحفيين السودانيين بالقاهرة
  • وزير الاتصالات وتقانة المعلومات : مشروع الصحة الالكترونية ستتم تبعيته بالكامل لوزارة الصحة الاتحادية
  • تغطية ندوة منتدى التوثيق الشامل للمؤرخ الكبير ضرار صالح ضرار
  • مؤتمر أبناء دينكا تويج ميارديت العالمى الاول ـ ملبورن ـ أستراليا
  • الناطق الرسمي للعدل والمساواة :الحركة ملتزمة بعدم الحركة خارج مناطق سيطرتها.
  • حاكما ولايتي البحيرات وغرب الاستوائية يتوصلان لاتفاق سلام بشأن مايورديت
  • البرنامج الانتخابى للحزب الشيوعى السودانى منظقة جنوب كردفان
  • نيويورك:ندوة عن مستقبل السودان علي خلفية انفصال الجنوب - مطالب الجماهير ونداءات التغيير
  • تنبية هام إلي اللاجئين السودانيين بالقاهرة.
  • زيارة خاصة جداً لأسرة اللواء المعتقل تلفون كوكو
  • استكمالاً للانفصال القوات المسلحة تحزم حقائبها في رحلة العودة شمالاً
  • تقرير الخارجية الأميركية عن أوضاع حقوق الإنسان في العالم يكشف عن إنتهاكات خطيرة للحكومة السودانية
  • وفد من إئتلاف ثورة 25 يناير المصرية يصل الخرطوم اليوم
  • تقرير حول اللقاء الثاني لرابطة أبناء دار فور و المحكمة الجنائية الدولية بباريس
  • د. جبريل: ماذا سيفعل النظام إن عجز الغرب عن إزاحة القذاقي؟ و للنظام أصابع تنخر في عظام الجبهة الوطنية العريضة
  • نشرة جهاز المغتربين (1) لشهر ابريل 2011م
  • نائب رئيس حكومة جنوب السودان يغادر الى اديس ابابا غدا الاحد
  • لقاء للوطني مع الاقتصاديين يتحول إلى نقد عارم للسياسات الاقتصادية للحكومة
  • صحيفتي (اجراس الحرية) و (الميدان) تعلقان صدورهما احتجاجاً علي المصادرة
  • لضبط الحدود الحزام الأمني...تقليل تكلفة المراقبة بحفظ المنافع
  • محمد ابراهيم نقد:السودان (عضمه قوي) ولن (يتفرتق) إذا قامت ثورة شعبية
  • في عقد قران السيد المحجوب الميرغني : كتب صلاح الباشا من داخل مسجد السيد علي ببحري
  • تعيين اتحاد مؤقت لإدارة شئون كرة القدم في جنوب السودان
  • Latest News
  • Sudan's Abyei region awash with arms and anger
  • Military Helicopter Crash Kills Five in Darfur, Sudan Army Says
  • SUDAN: Lack of justice "entrenching impunity" in Darfur
  • The National Agency for Securing and Financing national Exports pays due attention to Nonpetroleum Exports
  • Vice President of the Republic to witness the launching of the cultural season in Khartoum state
  • Youth creative activities to be launched under the blessing of the president, Tuesday
  • Sudan's gold rush lures thousands to remote areas
  • South Sudan faces precarious start
  • Aid workers taken hostage in Darfur freed: U.N.
  • 19 People Killed In Clashes In Sudan's South Kordofan State
  • Headlines of major daily news papers issued in Khartoum today Thursday the 14th of April 2011
  • Minister review with Indonesian delegation Sudanese Indonesian petroleum cooperation
  • Bio-fuel experimental production launched in Sudan
  • Center for Middle East and Africa's Studies organizes a symposium on intelligence activities in Sudan
  • South Sudan Activists Say : Women Need Bigger Role
  • 'One dead' as army helicopter crashes in Khartoum
  • Vice President receives new Algerian ambassador the Sudan
  • A training military plane crashes killing one of the three crew on board
  • Headlines of major daily papers issued in Khartoum today Wednesday the 13th of April 2011
  • Minister of Defense announces some precautious measures to secure Port Sudan
  • Industry Minister Meets Ambassadors of Central Africa, South African Republic
  • Sudan has 'irrefutable proof' Israel behind air strike
  • Taha Affirms Government Concern over Youth Issues
  • Headlines of major news papers issued in Khartoum today Monday the 11th of April 2011
  • NCP: statements by the US Secretary of State and the new envoy an attempt to justify the American hostility
  • Two Sudan papers stop publishing, protest censorship
  • Helicopters, tanks deployed in volatile Sudan area
  • State minister at the ministry of oil meets the delegation of the Gulf company for metal industries
  • Headlines of major daily news papers issued in Khartoum today Sunday the 10th of April 2011
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Sudan possess solid proof of Israeli involvement in the aggression on the country
  • Defense Minister visits Port-Sudan
  • Somali pirates hijack German vessel
  • Family denies assassination of key Hamas figure in Sudan
  • President Al-Bashirr, First VP Kiir Agree to Implement Agreement on Security Situation in Abyei as of Friday
  • DUP Denounces Israeli air strike on Port Sudan Vehicle
  • SBA Calls for especial Economic Relations with South Sudan State
  • Sudan-Brazil Sign Animal Wealth Protocol
  • Netanyahu vague on Sudan strike
  • seven Killed In New Clashes In South Sudan
  • Sudan's government crushed protests by embracing Internet
  • Hamas official targeted in Sudan attack, Palestinians say