Sunday, 29 April 2012

Southern Kordofan: Unfinished Business

When asked why there is so little coverage of the situation in Sudan, correspondent Peter Greste admits that Southern Kordofan is almost impossible to gain access to.  The Sudanese government in Khartoum will not allow entry to journalists and it remains for them to travel from South Sudan and into the area on long, treacherous roads. 

Peter Greste and Al Jazeera travelled to the Nuba Mountains in the remote state of Southern Kordofan in Sudan and discovered, in Greste’s words, “a humanitarian disaster”. 

“This is what a scorched earth policy looks like”.

This exclusive report by Al Jazeera exposes the hidden war in the Nuba Mountains.  It shows that the Sudanese government is targeting civilians, that they are being forced to live in caves, and that the government is embarking on a campaign of genocide.  Most importantly, it shows Sudanese government footage whereby troops are ordered to “clear out the area” and not to leave any survivors as this would lead to administrative costs for the Sudanese government.

In this report, Dr Mukesh Kapila, former UN head in Sudan and Mustafa Osman Ismail, senior adviser to Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir are interviewed.  Mustafa Osman Ismail claims that civilian casualties are incidental, that civilians are not being targeted, and that food, water and medical supplies are being sent to the people.

“I’m very disappointed in my good old friend Mr Osman, it must be very, very difficult to be advisor to a genocidal head of state.  What I saw in Southern Kordofan, and it’s not just me, is that what he’s saying is an absolute pack of lies. 

If that was the case, we would not be seeing a deserted countryside, we would not be seeing black, charred fields, we would be seeing seeds being planted as the rains come, yet that is not happening.  We would not be seeing thousands and thousands of women and children living in caves, as I saw for myself, and as refugees, as I saw for myself. 

And we would not be seeing anti-personnel landmines and Antonov bombers as I saw for myself.  And if Mr Osman is right, then why doesn’t he allow independent and impartial access to the region, which he will not do?

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