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Upper Nile State Reverses Islamization of the South

3/5/2006 6:36 pm

Press Release
South Sudan Democratic Forum
March 4, 2006

The illegal action taken by Sudan Armed Force (SAF) on Friday, March 3 in Malakal town, shows that the NIF/Government of Sudan is not serious in implementation of the CPA. The people of Malakal town, the capital city of Upper Nile State, have no electricity and clean water for two days because the SAF shut them down to demonstrate its rejection of policies adopted by the State Government.

On Thursday, March 2, 2006, the State Minster of Education, Duop Puk, carried out the education policies of the government by evicting the University of Quran El-Karim from government buildings. The Ministry of Education has stated correctly that the building which had been used by the teachers of University of Quran El-Karim belongs to the State Government. The Constitution of the South Sudan states clearly that religion and state are separate. Therefore, any private religious school in the South must rent or build their own buildings instead of using state properties. Minister Duop Puk renamed the building as Malakal Institute of Education as it was known before the NIF came to power.

The Minister also evicted the teachers of Holy Quran Training Center and renamed it Malakal Girls Senior Secndary School as it was created in the seventies. The Quran Traing Center in Nasir town has also been shut down since it was imposed by the NIF without the will of the residents of Nasir. All the mosques in Nasir and Malakal towns have been informed not to disturb the residents from their sleep at dawn. Some of the Mosques that are located in down town Malakal have been shut down because the residents complained that they are always being disturbed by loud noise from megaphones.

On the other hand, the State Minister of Finance, Luk Bidoang, shut down Islamic Bank of Malakal because the building belongs to Ker Hoth, who is now living in Wisconsin, USA. The building was a restaurant confiscated by the NIF from its lawful owner after 1986 coup. Khartoum Bank in Malakal has also been renamed Malakal Bank.

The South Sudan Democratic Forum condemns the Sudan Armed Force by shutting down electricity. The State Government of Upper Nile is exercising policies which are consistent with the Constitution of the Sudan. Such intimidation is not only a violation of the CPA but also an attempt of the NIF regime to maintain Islamization of the South. The NIF/Government of the Sudan should know by now that the signing of the CPA on Jan, 9, 2005, means an end to Islamization of the South.

As somebody educated in Canada, Minister Duop Puk knows the Constitutional meaning of the separation of religion from State. Luk Bidoang, a graduate from England, also knows the rights of individual property. A State cannot confiscate private property without violating individual rights. If Muslims want to open banks in the South, they are free to do so on condition that they rent or build their own buildings.

The Democratic Forum calls on the Government of South Sudan to give moral support to Upper State Government. What Duop Puk and Luk Bidoang did is remarkable and their actions are consistent with South Sudan Constitution. The other South Sudan States should follow the example of Upper Nile State by implementing the separation of religion from state.

We also call on South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF) under Gen. Gordon Koang Chol to protect civilians of Malakal town should they be attacked by the SAF. It now appears that North-South conflict will start in Upper Nile because the SAF wants to use force to impose Islam on Southerners. There are indications that war between Southerners and Arabs can break out any time in Malakal given the illegal actions of the SAF.

The South Sudan Democratic Forum calls on Vice President Salva Kiir to report the illegal actions of SAF to UN Monitoring Team. There is no army in the world that could shut down electricity of a town because the Sate Government is implementing its policies except an army of occupation.

The Democratic Forum warns the NIF/Government of the Sudan that the people of the South are not tired of war. If their Constitutional rights are being prevented from implementation by the SAF, they would be more willing to go back to war.

The Democratic Forum calls on Salva Kiir to start revitalizing the SPLA because it is now clear that the CPA will not reach 2007 alive. The SPLA men and women need to be paid as soon as possible so that their morale to resume fighting—if the CPA is violated—would be at its peak.

G. Buay Reath
Chairman of South Sudan Democratic Forum-Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Tel (613)260-9307
Email:[email protected]

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