Nuba Mountains War Far From Over

Until recently, the Sudanese government was preoccupied with conflict in Darfur. Now its attention is focused on an uprising in the Nuba Mountains.

nuba-mountainsOn June 5, 2011, Sudan faced its second civil war since independence in 1956. A few days ago, it was the second anniversary of Sudan’s war in the Nuba Mountains. The new war resulted from a dispute over the election of the governor of the Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains state between the Sudanese Islamic ruling party, known as the National Congress Party(NCP), and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement/North( SPLM/N), which rules Southern Sudan.

The election was a component of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, which ended the 25 year war between the SPLM and the Sudanese government. Ending the war led to the secession of South Sudan in July 2011.

The SPLM/N lost the April-May 2011 election, and accused the Sudanese government of fraud. However behind the scenes, the situation in the area was very fragile. The status of the Nuba people were undefined after the secession of South Sudan on July 9, 2011.

While the Sudanese government previously viewed unrest in Darfur as the main concern, the new conflict in the Nuba Mountains has increased pressure on Khartoum. The Sudanese government is fully aware of the challenges and concerns posed by the Nuba, who are experienced and determined fighters.

The battle in the Nuba Mountains has been the hardest for the Sudanese army, as geography factors helped the SPLM/N fighters. In 2012 the SPLM/N entered an alliance called the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) with the Darfur fighting movements aimed at overthrowing the Khartoum regime.

Since its establishment, the SRF worked as a united force in the conflict areas of Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile toward one goal: exhausting the Sudanese armed forces and militias through guerrilla war. So far, the plan has been very successful, as the Sudanese army is reaching its breaking point with the recent intensified attacks of the SRF from several fronts.

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During 2011-12, Sudanese youth and some opposition parties tried to copy the “Arab Spring” into Sudan. However the small rallies failed to gather support from a majority of Sudanese. The armed movements (SRF) fighting against the government in the conflict regions viewed this new wave a good opportunity to put forward a broader approach for the demands of regime change. The hope was to achieve the consensus of the Sudanese peoples of different religions, ethnicities and cultures with the aim of ending NCP rule in Sudan.

The recent failure of Sudan’s ruling party to effectively mobilize its supporters against armed movements in the wars zones suggests Sudan’s current dictatorship may not survive.

Osman Naway is a Nuba human rights defender and blogger. He is also the General Director of the Arry Organization for Human Rights. Follow him @OsmanNawayPost. Read other articles by Osman.