New developments the end of September, beginning of October in Sudan, South Sudan. Unfortunately, the people of the Nuba Mountains and other areas continue to suffer.
Sudan and South Sudan signed an agreement late in September while meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarize their border and resume the transport of southern oil through the north. But the signed agreements do not deal with the oil-producing Abyei region and several other disputed border regions.
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan reached the agreements after four days of intense talks between their negotiating teams. Establishing A demilitarized zone along the border has been a major point of disagreement for neighboring countries. (Source: Voice of America)
The two countries also reached deals for a demilitarized zone between their borders and a cessation of all hostilities that brought the countries to the brink of an all-out war just a few months ago. U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon welcomed the agreements, saying Sudan and South Sudan “have written a new page in their common history.” (Source: Washington Post)
But the deal that was signed only focuses on creating a soft border between the two nations and shared revenue from the oil (the oil is in South Sudan but the only way to get it to market is via the pipeline in Sudan.) (GRETAWIRE.Foxnewsinsider.com link)
Meantime, my sources in the Nuba Mountains tell me they fear these agreements don’t include discussion on boarder disputes in the Nuba Mountains as well is in the Blue Nile region. Sources tell me the government in Khartoum continues to bombard the people in the Nuba Mountains to force them to agree to become part of north Sudan, allowing the northern government to take full advantage of the mineral rich mountains.
Al Jazeera has a comprehensive story on the agreement including some historical perspective: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2012/09/20129286425800789.html
George Tuto, who lives in Denver but is from the Nuba Mountains and Dr. C. Louis Perrinjaquet, MD, MPH of Breckenridge are in the region now. George is buying medicine in East Africa and will meet “Dr. PJ” in Yida soon.
Yida is just over the border of the contested area of South Kordofan, Sudan into South Sudan. When I was in Yida where the United Nations has set up a refugee camp there were about 50,000 refugees. Dr. PJ tells me there are now about 65,000 who have fled fighting and famine in the Nuba Mountains. These refugees are mostly women and children who walk for days, eating bugs and grass, many dying along the way before they reach help.
Even if Sudan government in the north were to stop bombing the Nuba Mountains, they still perpetuate the genocide by denying humanitarian aid organizations such as the United Nations and World Food Program access to these areas forcing the people off their lands to seek food and shelter over the border.
Dr. PJ says he’s working at a therapeutic feeding center run by the Samaritan’s Purse. This is a Christian organization that has been working in Africa and around the world for decades. They have been working in Yida for over a year.
The Breckenridge doc tells me that it’s quiet in Yida except for the 6 food drops per day. This huge Ukrainian made cargo plane circles the camp and drops food in 50 – 75 KG bags on the airstrip. They drop a total of 66 metric tons per day 6 days a week. The goal is to provide enough food for everyone to have 2100 calories per day in rice, beans and cooking oil. Each family also occasionally gets some salt and soap. Dr. PJ says, “No one is getting fat on United Nations World Food Program rations.”
This video of a Food drop in Yida was taken by Daniel Emmons, a retired transportation manager from Indiana, who has been working in disaster relief for the last 2 years. He is currently a logistics officer with Samaritan’s Purse in South Sudan.
There are about 25 children staying at the Nutrition Center right now. Everyday about 4-5 children come in listless and malnourished, feverish with malaria or pneumonia and about 4-5 get to go home healthier and growing. Dr. PJ says “It’s fun to see even in the 5 days I’ve been here that the program is working and saving kids lives.”
So, as talks over oil rights seem to have the politicians happy with themselves, the people of the Nuba Mountains, Abyei, and Pibor continue to try to survive.