Una vita in Africa – A life in Africa Rotating Header Image

Montagne Nuba, la pace elusiva – Nuba Mountains, the elusive peace.

Today I was supposed to be in the Nuba Mountains. I was not able to go for various reasons, not least my fatigue and the uncertainty of the situation. The war has unfortunately restarted early last June. The Khartoum government has tried to take militarily control of Kadugli, the provincial capital, citing as an excuse the confusion after the elections, and tried to arrest the leader Abdel Aziz al Hilu, member of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), up a few days before the Vice-Governor and candidate for the office of governor. The Nuba have reacted to this abuse, and it was followed by days of battles and atrocities. There are satellite images showing mass graves. Then the position has stabilized, with Abdel Aziz in controls of a territory slightly larger than that which controlled in January 2002 when the ceasefire was signed, and government bombing Kauda, ??Gidel, Teberi, Kerker, Sarbule, the places where Koinonia and Amani carried out educational projects since our first presence in 1995. In October 2009 we had given the three schools to the local authorities. I did a week in that area in March of this year and I was pleased to note that although we had not guaranteed any more funds to the schools, they still functioned, and that wherever we went there were mostly teachers and school directors from the training programme that we had started.
If I went now Kauda, ??bombings aside, I would find myself having to walk for a few tens of kilometres per day, as cars and fuel are scarce. Ten years ago I was doing it. Now I am no longer trained, and I am ten years older …
Now the Nuba reappear in Nairobi. Yesterday a man who we had employed as a logistician at the end of the nineties came to see me. After the signing of the peace agreement he went to Khartoum and had a pretty important place in a ministry. Last month he send first his family to Cairo, then he asked permission to go there for health reasons, and then they all flew to Nairobi. Now he hopes to go to Juba, looking for a job. Even the few Nuba students who are in Nairobi are waiting for the evolution of the situation to decide whether to return home – illegally, because there is no choice – or go to Juba, where they could at least get a Southern Sudanese passport, without risking to remain stateless for the rest of their lives.
What are the causes of this new phase of the war? They are the same as before for the civil war between North and South, which lasted from 1983 to 2005. Deep injustice and social, political, cultural, sometime religious, discrimination. Issue that the peace treaty did not solve, simply just tried to ignore.
Many had hoped, but it was a naive hope, that after the separation that took place last July – Sudan with Khartoum as the capital, and South Sudan with Juba as the capital – would begin a phase of normalization and reconstruction. Just two months after independence South Sudan is torn by serious internal strife. Are these the shots of the tail of a legacy of oppression, violence and tribalism that is about to disappear, or is it just the beginning of a new fragmentation? No one can say, much certainly depends on the capabilities of leaders. In Sudan two major areas of violence in Darfur and Abyei remained under great tension, in June the Nuba Mountains (which many call with the official name of South Kordofan) have exploded and three days ago another one has flared up, when the Khartoum government has attacked the house of the governor Malik Aggar (another old friend of mine) and triggering a reaction that can inevitably lead to more violence.
Can Omer Hassan al-Bashir, in power in Khartoum since 1989, maintain control of a country that after losing the South is now divided on a regional basis? Among the possible scenarios are the descent of both the Sudan and South Sudan in a spiral of violence and lawlessness that will cause them to become another Somalia, or that in Sudan the oppositions will begin to work together and give the final push to Bashir’s government, bringing to power a democratic government, which in turn could positively affect the stabilization also of South Sudan. In short, another phase of the Arab spring, with all the uncertainties but also with all the hopes that characterize it.
Meanwhile, the Nuba community in Nairobi continue to grow. While writing this note I was called by one of the widows of Yusuf Kuwa, the Nuba leader who died 10 years ago. She also has taken refuge in Nairobi, in search of that peace that the Nuba seems an impossible dream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Italiano English
This blog is multi language by p.osting.it's Babel