The ink isn’t even dry on the establishment of South Sudan as an independent state, when a report from the UN details new allegations of violence and mass graves, in the volatile border state of Southern Kordofan in Sudan.
Reported incidents include aerial attacks that killed civilians, attacks on churches, arbitrary arrests, abductions and house-to-house searches, said the report.
HRF South Sudan’s long-sought Independence Day brought jubilation, cheers, and dancing to the streets. Indeed, the July 9 celebrations were the culmination of decades of civil war in Sudan, followed by years of difficult treaty negotiations and a historic referendum in which 98.8 percent of southern Sudanese voted to secede from the north.
But reports of mass graves this week present a sobering reminder of the difficult challenges ahead for both Sudan and the newly minted Republic of South Sudan. With South Sudan’s successful Independence Day behind it, the U.S. government and other international parties, including the United Nations, must remain focused on stopping violence against civilians in South Kordofan, Abyei, and Darfur if the two nations are to coexist as peaceful neighbors. (Don’t count on it as along as its Muslims who are killing Christians)
An unpublished UN report, first reported in the New York Times, detailed credible allegations of Khartoum-aligned military forces executing rebels and killing civilians in South Kordofan. As the Times recounted, “the United Nations report suggest that in its effort to stamp out any lingering rebellion in South Kordofan State…the northern government based in Khartoum has carried out widespread human rights violations that could amount to war crimes.”
Even more disturbing news came late last week when the Satellite Sentinel Project revealed images consistent with mass graves – three large sites with body-sized white bags in piles – in the city of Kadugli. The images back eyewitness accounts that “[Sudanese Armed Forces] SAF, [Government of Sudan] GoS-aligned militias, and other GoS-aligned forces are present in Kadugli and are alleged to be methodically searching houses for civilians… systematically killing those suspected of supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and others.” One Sudan watcher has characterized the recent reports as “strong evidence of genocide.”