Brief: Sudanese Government Accused of Ethnically Cleansing the Nuba

by Sonia Morland

At the same time that South Sudan celebrated its independence on 9th July, clashes between Nuba rebels and government forces in Sudan’s South Kordofan were verging on alleged ethnic cleansing.

A recent UN report has revealed that the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) may be guilty of war crimes in South Kordofan, one of Sudan’s poorest regions. According to witness reports, SAF have bombed villages, executed rebel soldiers and killed civilians, in an attempt to defeat Nuba rebels, who come from a range of Muslim, Christian and traditional tribes, all speaking different languages. Satellite pictures moroever seem to indicate that there are three mass graves in South Kordofan, leading to fears that ethnic cleansing is taking place. 73,000 people have fled South Kordofan since 5th June.

Bound geographically by their tribal bases across the remote mountains of South Kordofan, the Nuba rebels are fighting for greater autonomy from Khartoum. During the 1990s, the Nuba sided with Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA, now broken away to form South Sudan), leading to a violent counterreaction by the Sudanese government. The head of the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation, Nawja Musa, recently warned, “If they will continue to impose the Sharia law, the Islamic religion and the Arab language on the people, you will see a new Darfur coming up.”

Sonia Morland is an intern at the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism.

Learn More:

‘Explosive Violence Update’ (Every Casualty, July 19, 2011)
http://everycasualty.org/news/2011/07/explosive-violence-update-sudan

‘Sudan Accused of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in Border Region’ (Channel 4, July 2, 2011)
http://www.channel4.com/news/sudans-president-vows-to-continue-bombing-rebels

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