US congressional committee holds hearing on South Kordofan’s ‘ethnic cleansing’

Posted: August 5, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, World
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August 4, 2011 (WASHIGTON) – Accounts of atrocities allegedly committed by Sudan army in the country’s state of South Kordofan were recited in a hearing organised by a US congressional committee on Thursday.

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Since 5 June, Sudan’s army has been fighting a war against rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the country southern state of South Kordofan, which borders the war-battered western region of Darfur and the newly independent state of South Sudan.

More than 72,000 people were displaced by the fighting as it intensified with heavy aerial bombardment by Sudan army, according to UN figures. A large number of people are believed to be killed amid reports that Sudan army has been targeting the African Nuba population many of whom are aligned with the rebels.

UN agencies accused Sudan of hampering access of humanitarian aid to the affected population.

US congressman Chris Smith, who chairs the house congressional panel on African issues and international human rights, convened an emergency hearing on Thursday and listened to three “witnesses” who recounted claims of “ethnic cleansing, murders, rapes” and a burgeoning humanitarian crisis in the area.

“Whatever the numbers involved, we can be sure that the suffering of the people in Southern Kordofan, especially the Nuba people, has been catastrophic,” Smith said in his opening remarks.

The hearing, entitled “Southern Kordofan: Ethnic Cleansing and Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan,” received testimonies by Andudu Adam Elnail, a bishop at the Anglican Diocese of Kadugli in South Kordofan, Bradford Phillips, President of Persecution Project, and Luka Biong Deng a member of South Sudan’s ruling SPLM the political wing of the SPLA.

All three witnesses spoke of wide-ranging atrocities committed by the Sudan army against the Nuba population, and called on the US Administration to rally international efforts to stem the crisis.

“These are not statistics; these are real people. The only reason they are being exterminated is because they are African. We can’t sit by and watch it happen,” Phillips said. “Mr. President what are you going to do? You know it’s happening; what are you going to do?,” he added.

Bishop Andudu said his own Anglican cathedral, offices and home in South Kordofan’s state capital of Kadugli were ransacked and looted. He also said a member of his congregation reported seeing mass graves less than a mile away.

He called on the US and other members of the international community to begin to “translate moral outrage into effective action” to save lives.

“The Nuba people fear that we will be forgotten, that the world will stand idly by while mass killings continue without redress,” he said. “Our hope is that the United States will lead the international community in taking prompt, effective action to protect tens of thousands of displaced people, including an untold number of civilians being killed house-to-house and bombed by their own government.”

Last month, the Sudanese parliament issued a resolution denouncing the “hostile” activities of the US congress against the country. The legislative body also called for reviewing the bilateral ties and instituting a “tit for tat” policy in dealing with Washington.

However, the resolution was unexpectedly criticised by the country’s minister of foreign affairs who described the move as “excessive zeal”

(ST)

GlobalPost: Grisly details of South Kordofan recounted

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Ethnic cleansing is emerging as part of the growing humanitarian emergency unfolding along the border between Sudan and South Sudan, a U.S. panel was told.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., presided over a hearing before a House subcommittee on human rights in Africa. Witnesses said there were worrying trends emerging in the border region separating the two Sudans.

Human Rights Watch in a July report called on the U.N. Security Council to take measures to ensure international monitors could get access to South Kordofan state to verify claims of ethnic cleansing.

U.N. officials had said there was evidence that at least 150 bodies, which bore the characteristic skin color of Nuban descent, were discovered in the region, suggesting the conflict was ethnically motivated.

Satellite imagery reportedly depicts what are believed to be mass graves related to ethnic violence in South Kordofan state along the border between the two Sudans. Officials in the Sudanese government denied civilians were targeted in any attacks.

Smith’s panel heard what it described as “grisly” details of the crisis unfolding in South Kordofan.

“Whatever the numbers involved, we can be sure that the suffering of the people in South Kordofan, especially the Nuba people, has been catastrophic,” he said in a statement.

South Sudan gained independence in July as part of a comprehensive peace deal signed in 2005 that ended one of the bloodiest civil wars in world history. Border issues and oil continue to haunt the peace deal, however.

Sudan was accused Friday of blocking oil shipments out of South Sudan.

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