Recently the Government of Sudan forces have moved against the
Nuer people and the forces of the UDSF in the oil field region of
Western Upper Nile. The UN has done an assessment documenting
the displacement of thousands of people. The UDSF is the political
organization that is allied to the Khartoum government by means of
the Khartoum Peace Agreement of 1997. However, as this press
release indicates, the relationship is under increasing stress and
their forces have recently been engaged in fighting with the forces of
Khartoum in regard to this "oil field offensive." The following
statement has been released by UDSF in Nairobi.
United Democratic Salvation Front
14th June 1999
THIS IS TANTAMOUNT TO ETHNIC CLEANSING
The current situation in Western Upper Nile caused by the struggle to
control the oil fields is very shameful. I have never come across an oil
producing country mistreating, discriminating and up-rooting its own
people because of the resource. Normally, a conducive and peaceful
atmosphere is required to guarantee uninterrupted flow of oil for
domestic consumption and foreign markets. A deliberate creation of
anarchy should be avoided. This God's blessing could turn out to be a
terrible curse if we are very busy producing widows and orphans.
During the military regime of late President Ibrahim Aboud between
1958-1964, his defense minister late Hassan al-Bashir declared war on
the people of Southern Sudan. He ordered the military fighter planes
to bomb and destroy, if possible, all the people and the trees of the
South. He stressed that he was not interested in the people and the
trees, but the land. He finally concluded that the Sudan government
would import trees from other African countries, including Nigeria.
This seems to imply that the architects of the situation in Western
Upper Nile are implementing that policy without necessarily
destroying the trees.
Furthermore, the events in the current situation in Unity State tend to
suggest that the architects are preparing the country for separation.
They wanted the South to go but without the oil. The poor
Southerners who are being used to promote this policy will definitely
regret. Although the inhabitants of the Western Upper Nile are Nuers,
the land belongs to the South and one day, the Southerners will get
involved. The government should avoid this situation and embark on
finding a comprehensive peace in the country. This clique should not
be allowed to apply ethnic cleansing. The people of this state have
learned to live together and live with others without problems.
Finally, the activities of this clique in the government have erased the
hope for peace in Sudan. They are giving undoubted impression and
conclusion that the Sudan government is not yet ready and interested
in a negotiated peace. This has definitely stained the sincerity and
good intention of the majority in the government who are interested in
peace. This is very unfortunate.
Ernest G. Kenyi
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