- Written by External Source
- Category: Latest (South) Sudan News From Various Sources
- Hits: 418
South Kordofan, Blue Nile war 'affects 900,000'
KHARTOUM, Sudan — War in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states has affected an estimated 900,000 people, but more than a year of talks has failed to get food aid into rebel zones, the UN said on Friday.
"In Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) areas, no humanitarian staff have been able to enter from within Sudan and no food aid has been delivered, despite intensive negotiations that have been going on now for more than 16 months," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
In one of its most strongly worded statements on the situation in the two states bordering South Sudan, OCHA said a joint initiative by the UN, Arab League and African Union for assessment and aid delivery throughout the war zone is still awaiting a "green light."
"Efforts to gain access to war-affected civilians have been relentless," said OCHA.
The so-called Tripartite proposal was issued in February, agreed to by the SPLM-N rebels that same month, and by the Khartoum government in June.
Two months ago, the government and rebels each signed memorandums with the Tripartite group to facilitate aid delivery.
"Despite various different detailed action plans that have been presented by the Tripartite since then, neither the government nor the SPLM-N have yet formally agreed on a concrete plan of action for assessment and delivery of aid," OCHA said.
"The Tripartite has made clear that it is ready to facilitate the immediate provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance once the government and the SPLM-N agree to the plan and provide the necessary security guarantees."
Rabbie Abdelatti Ebaid, a senior official of the ruling National Congress Party, told AFP the government is not delaying.
"Our government is keen to provide aid," he said, blaming rebel tactics such as a deadly shelling of the South Kordofan state capital earlier this month.
Last week, SPLM-N called on the government to accept the Tripartite proposal "to open safe corridors for humanitarian aid with no restrictions in South Kordofan and Blue Nile."
The UN's refugee agency says 175,000 people have fled to South Sudan and another 38,000 have been registered in Ethiopia.
Sudanese government figures cited by OCHA say 275,000 people in government-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile were affected by the conflict as of the end of June.
Information from various sources indicates that an estimated 420,000 are severely affected in rebel-held areas, OCHA said.
"The UN has no presence in SPLM-N areas and has not been able to independently verify these figures. This brings the estimated number of people displaced or severely affected by this... conflict to 908,000," it said.
The agency added that aid groups "remain extremely concerned" by reports of immense civilian suffering from the fighting which began in June 2011.
"Reports also indicate that there are serious food shortages in SPLM-N areas, and lack of adequate health care and other basic services," OCHA added.
Ethnic minority insurgents of the SPLM-N were allies of southern rebels during Sudan's 22-year civil war, which ended with a 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan's independence in July last year.
Khartoum has cited security concerns in severely restricting the operation of foreign aid agencies in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Despite the security situation and restrictions, in government-controlled areas "a significant amount" of aid has been provided by authorities and national agencies, with international support, OCHA said.
Sudan accused South Sudan of supporting the SPLM-N, a charge which analysts believe despite denials by the government in Juba.
But in late September leaders of both countries signed deals on security and cooperation that they hailed as ending their conflict, after tensions lingered and led to a border war in March and April.
Among the deals reached in Addis Ababa is agreement on a demilitarised border buffer zone designed to cut support for the SPLM-N.
A diplomatic source has said the government may use the agreements with South Sudan to "squeeze" the insurgents.
Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved. More »
Newer news items:
- South Sudan: So many stories remain untold - Sioux Falls Argus Leader - 21/10/2012
- South Sudan Vice President visits Portland - WGME - 20/10/2012
- Political Partnerships: The Case of the Republic of South Sudan (2-2) - Sudan Vision - 20/10/2012
- South Sudan envoy visits Vels University - The Hindu - 20/10/2012
- Nurse finds peace in South Sudan - Brisbane Times - 20/10/2012
Older news items:
- New agreements with South Sudan - StarAfrica.com - 19/10/2012
- South Sudanese singer to launch new CD at a concert in Boston on December ... - New Sudan Vision - 19/10/2012
- South Sudan orders resumption of oil production - BBC News - 18/10/2012
- South Sudan resumes oil production - Fox News - 18/10/2012
- South Sudan resumes oil production - The Associated Press - 18/10/2012
Popular news items:
- South Sudan troupe sees new country's struggle in Shakespeare - Los Angeles Times - 17/05/2012 - Read 3880 times
- Tackling Blindness in South Sudan - Care2.com (blog) - 09/11/2012 - Read 3286 times
- With prisons full, South Sudan to introduce mobile courts to clear backlog of ... - Washington Post - 11/10/2012 - Read 3265 times
- NDSU student from South Sudan receives scholarship - In-Forum - 29/09/2012 - Read 2839 times
- Former Lost Boy Gives Back to South Sudan - Care2.com (blog) - 31/05/2012 - Read 2680 times