In a statement issued yesterday on the ongoing conflict in South Kordofan, the U.S. State Department revealed itself to be behind the curve on developments on the ground in Sudan. The press statement praised Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s ceasefire announcement on Tuesday as a “positive initial step” and urged the opposing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, “to show the same leadership and declare a two-week ceasefire as well.” The statement appears to be either uninformed or intentionally dismissive of the fact that the government has continued to bomb areas in the Nuba Mountains since the declaration.
Fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, and the military arm of the SPLM-N, the SPLA-N, has been ongoing in the Nuba Mountains in the Sudanese border state of South Kordofan since early June. The U.N. estimates that over 200,000 civilians have been displaced by the violence, and a U.N. human rights investigation suggests that crimes against humanity and war crimes may have been committed in the conflict, largely at the hands of government affiliated forces.
President Bashir’s ceasefire announcement appeared, in part, to be a move to appease an increasingly concerned international community after months of violence and no negotiated solution in sight. Events thus far, however, demonstrate that the government has no intention of following through on its promise to cease fighting for two weeks.
Reliable sources in the town of Kauda in South Kordofan, spoke to Enough on Thursday morning just hours after witnessing an SAF Antonov bomber flying toward the town of Ungarto, and hearing heavy shelling and aerial bombardments. Other sources also say that government bombings have continued. According to an NGO with a presence on the ground who wishes to remain unidentified for security reasons, bombings by SAF Antonovs took place in five different locations in the Nuba mountains only hours after the ceasefire announcement. The NGO had also received reports of bombings on Wednesday.
In short, no ceasefire currently exists for the SPLM-N to join, or for the Sudanese government to receive credit for. Instead of putting out a public statement that validates Bashir’sempty promises, the State Department should be working toward a real end to the continuing violence against the people of the Nuba Mountains.
Photo: U.S. Department of State logo