The 9th Anniversary of the Nuba Mountains War: Civilians Need Protection

 

This weak marks the 9th anniversary of the start of the second war in Nuba mountains. The new started in June 6th, 2011 and resulted in the displacement of 1 million Nuba people due to aerial bombardment of civilian areas by the Sudanese army. Although that the regime of Omer Albashir was toppled by popular protests in April 2019, but the peace and security remain a far reach dream for the people of the region.

The security situation of civilians in the government held areas is increasingly deteriorating amid the rise of attacks of former regime militias and tribal conflicts. Although there is an announced seize of hostilities between the armed group of Sudanese People Liberation Movement/ North ( SPLM/N) and the Sudanese army, but instability and war like conditions controls the lives of civilians in the region. Civilians in the government controlled areas are suffering from movement restrictions, arbitrary arrests and lack to access supplies due to these restrictions imposed by the Sudanese Army. People are being stopped in search points all over Nuba mountains and being searched for goods and their supplies being confiscated, allegedly out of accusations of providing supplies to the SPLM/N and rebels areas. Nuba people in most of Nuba mountains remain to live under siege depending mainly on their small production from family farms. Shortages in main supplies is the main theme all over the region.
Since the fall of the regime last year, the area of Nuba mountains entered in at least 4 major tribal conflicts in areas of Dillinj, Kadugli and recently in Lagawa. Dozens of civilians were killed while and hundreds of families were displaced. In May 11th,2020 a conflict started in the city of Kadugli led to the death of 26 people among them officers in the Rapid Support Forces following tribal conflict in addition to conflict between RSF and some Nuba army officers in the city. The conflict led 11 thousands people to flee their homes and live in schools in dire conditions. This conflict in Kadugli comes in the backdrop of increasing reports of looting of civilians and lack of protection from the government locally and nationally.

The attacks on civilians; by the formerly known People Defend Forces ( PDF) which is mainly tribal militia supported by the former regime, has increased in the last year. Where dozens of farmers from Nuba communities were killed in their farms as reported by local activists. Most of the attacks reported were conducted by PDF soldiers or RSF.

In addition to the general security situation, the growing source of instability in the region coming from the production of gold and mining in the region. Throughout the region, people were protesting and holding peaceful sit ins for weeks demanding the end of gold mining in the region. There is at least 11 large gold mining factories in the region, the main problem is that these factories are using the poisoning materials of Cyanide and mercury in gold extraction. The local environment and the people were highly affected by the pollution of water resources and land. During these protests from Talodi to Kalugi and other areas, activists were arrested and protests were violently crackdown. The last attack on protesters was in the Talodi protest in October 2019, where forces of RSF attacked the protesters and resulted in injury of 7 people some of them with serious injuries. The alarming issue regarding these mining factories is that most of them are belonging either to the RSF or the army and security in addition to former regime leaders. Although the government is working in dismantling the former regime, but the military and security insinuations remains untouched by any changes.

As the peace negotiations continues to take place in Juba between the Sudanese government and armed forces, the prospect of peace remains far from being a live reality in the region. The change of the regime and the arrest of former regime leaders has not been translated into serving justice and bringing stability to the people of Nuba mountains.

On this anniversary we call on this we call on the transitional government to:

– Ensure that the people of Nuba mountains protection and security and end all attacks on civilians from state and non-state actors.
– Conduct investigations into all incidents of violence, murder, looting, arbitrary arrest , extra judicial killings and other forms of violence against civilians in the region.
– Investigate all the reports on the effects of gold mining on the region and listen to local community demands and investigate about the attacks against protesters on this issue.
– Open an investigation on the war crimes of the former regime in Nuba mountains.

We call on the international human rights mechanisms including the OHCHR and the human rights procedures and mandates to:

– Send investigation mission to the region of Nuba mountains in the documented war crimes in the region.
– Call on the Sudanese transitional government to take ensure protection and security and end all attacks on civilians.

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