It appears as if the National Congress Party (NCP) Islamist regime of Omar Hassan al Bashir in Sudan is going to have assistance in its current extermination campaign against the black, African peoples of central Sudan’s Nuba Mountains (called “South Kordofan” by the Arabs). Intelligence sources of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains reported on Wednesday, July 27, the arrival the day before of 200 Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers, accompanied with 10 “advanced tanks” at the Kassala airport in Eastern Sudan.
Since launching the attack on the Nuba on June 5, Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) have been successful in killing and displacing thousands of civilian Nuba through aerial bombardment by Antonovs and strafing with helicopter gunships. And its Popular Defense Force, (PDF) a militia known as the “Al Qaeda of Sudan,” has slaughtered hundreds in house-to-house killing of SPLM supporters and Christian Nuba, and in mass executions. The existence of mass graves in Kadugli and other Nuba Mountain towns has been documented in satellite photography by the Satellite Sentinel Project, an invaluable witness to the truth, founded by actor and activist George Clooney. In what has been the most blatantly racist action by the NCP regime, ICC-indicted war criminal al Bashir gave directions to the troops to “sweep away the trash in the Nuba Mountains,” referring to the Nuba people. He further stated that wherever they found a Nuba they should “clean it up.” The NCP is taking advantage of their conflict with the SPLM to retaliate against the Nuba for siding with South Sudan during the war.
But the NCP has suffered humiliating military defeats on the ground by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In numerous battles, the SPLA successfully has defended the area, sometimes with the assistance of other marginalized people group forces, such as the Darfurians. In these cases, the SAF troops have fled the area, abandoning their tanks, landcruisers, and weapons to the SPLA. In other cases, SAF troops have actually defected to the SPLA. (Alarmingly, Khartoum has publicly stated several times that if the SPLA does not return the tanks, vehicles, and weapons they will use chemical weapons on the people of the Nuba Mountains.)
Kassala Airport, the location of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard arrival, had also been the location of the arrival of some Somali Islamic militia, the terrorist group Al Shabaab, according to the SPLM sources. The Somali jihadists were seen heading to South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains two weeks before. Because of the NCP’s marginalization of the indigenous people of Eastern Sudan, the Beja, they are free to use Eastern Sudan as a launching area for terrorist operations. Eastern Sudan was the area where in March 2009 a convoy of Rashaida Arabs was attacked by aircraft as they were smuggling weapons for Hamas. And in April of this year Eastern Sudan was the location of an airstrike attributed to Israel that took place just north of Port Sudan and killed a top Hamas operative.
The SPLM in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains declared that “in light of this development,” it was now certain “that the NCP’s regime is utilizing and deploying militias from outside the country in their ethnic cleansing war.” They revealed that in addition to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Somali Islamists, the regime had already brought others into the region to wage war on the Nuba people. They listed the militia of Peter Gadet Yak, a Khartoum-backed former SPLA commander who is now in armed opposition to the SPLM/SPLA. “Janjaweed” militias from Chad and Niger are also contributing to the killing. Khartoum appears to be unleashing all of the demons of hell against the Nuba people.
In closing, the SPLM stated that it “once again” (because multiple calls for assistance and justice have gone out unanswered before this) was calling upon the United Nations Security Council to investigate the crimes against humanity and the ethnic cleansing taking place in the Nuba Mountains. In particular they request an investigation of the military deployment of “these exported militias of terrorist groups.” Apart from everything else, Khartoum demonstrates, once again, that it never wins in a fair fight. For the sake of the Nuba people, but also for the sake of regional and global security, it is time for the U.S. government to help Sudan’s African people groups, marginalized, persecuted and in spite of that, a fighting force with whom to be reckoened, to bring peace, freedom, and justice to all of the people of Sudan.
Faith J. H. McDonnell directs The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan, and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).