It looks like one place I was hoping to visit during my time in Sudan is now going to be off-limits: Kadugli, a lovely town in the Nuba mountains. Or at least it was lovely when I visited there a few years ago. Now, from what I here, the government are bombarding it, determined to get rid of those Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) stragglers that remain in the north.

The government’s argument is a sound one, although of course this in no ways justifies massacring and maiming civillians.

Since the south has now voted to separate from the north, the SPLA cannot justify its presence in the north any longer. The north should have one sovereign army, and any other armed forces within its territory must be considered a rebel militia group.

For their part, the SPLA denies that it has soldiers in Kadugli – that these are simply tribal groups acing quite independently of the SPLA. It is impossible to verify this.

For the past few days, I have heard various rumours connected to Kadugli, mostly about the threat to foreign aid workers in the region and the need for them to pull out. Some have now done so. Others remain.

I’m always careful when it comes to basing my journalism purely on rumours, but the point with rumours is that, sooner or later, they usually do point to the truth.

The shocking thing about all of this seems to be what UNIMIS’ role should be. As a naive journalist, I always assumed that it should be keeping the peace – but maybe I need to look at their mandate a little more closely. Surely, if they were really keeping the peace, then Kadugli wouldn’t be about to erupt in flames.

One particularly distressing rumour I’ve heard is the way that national staff members of aid organisations have been treated – given escort to the UNMIS compound, but not actually allowed inside it.

As I said, all rumours. But rumours, in my experience, often do contain more than a grain of truth. Whether these rumours can be substantiated or not, the fact remains that people are being killed in Kadugli – and UNMIS personnel, hunkering down in their compound, should be doing more to intervene.

Since UNMIS clearly wants to remain in the country – and the Kadugli affair does suggest that some form of peacekeeping is needed – one would think that they would be doing a little more to prove their worth.


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One Response to “Kadugli”

  1. Sudan revisited « Blake Evans-Pritchard’s Weblog Says:

    […] approval to leave to Kosti. In a couple of days, I am on my way to El-Obeid, not far from where trouble has been brewing in Kadugli, and so I am pretty sure I am going to face another grilling (maybe more) by the security […]

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