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Evidence of ethnic killings in South Kordofan, Sudan. Khartoum must cease violations immediately says MRG

12 August 2011

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) continues to be seriously concerned about the situation of the Nuba people , trapped and displaced in heavy fighting in South Kordofan.

According to a UN press release*, more than 200,000 people have fled the Sudanese army’s operations in the Nuba Mountains, crops have been decimated and evidence of mass graves has been reported.

MRG urgently calls for an immediate halt to, and investigation into, targeted human rights violations in South Kordofan, and access for humanitarian aid to the region.

‘Once again there is strong evidence that Khartoum is committing atrocities against its own people. The international community needs to work out a coordinated response and put firm diplomatic pressure on the Sudanese Government to stop these violations,’ says Chris Chapman, Head of Conflict Prevention at MRG.

In July Ms. Gay McDougall, UN independent expert on minority issues, expressed alarm over reports suggesting that ‘Nuba and dark-skinned people of Southern Kordofan face killings, arbitrary arrest and detentions, disappearances, abductions, attacks on churches and aerial bombardment,’ at the hands of the Sudanese Government forces.

Andudu Adam Elnail, the Anglican Bishop of Kadugli, South Kordofan’s capital, in a meeting with UN Security Council members this week, accused the Sudanese army of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and warned that destruction of crops this year meant that Nuba would face starvation both this year and the next.

In a briefing paper launched in June , MRG reported accusations by community representatives in South Sudan, that the government of Sudan was fomenting ethnic conflict there. The developments in South Kordofan will only worsen relations between the two neighbours, and potentially draw South Sudan into the conflict, says the international rights organisation.

On 9 July South Sudan became the world’s newest nation state after the Sudanese people in a January 2011 referendum voted for the south to secede from the north.

The region of Southern Kordofan lies in Sudan but borders South Sudan. Nuba have faced long-term exclusion, marginalization and discriminatory practices that have resulted in their opposition to the Government of Sudan and their support for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of South Sudan. Sudanese Government officials claim that only SPLA combatants have been targeted and not civilians.

Sudan was ranked second in MRG’s annual Peoples under Threat table for 2011.

*As of October 2020, the press release seems not to be available online anymore.