South Kordofan SPLA in the media war

August 6, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army-(SPLA) fighting the troops of North Sudan in South Kordofan have released photographs and video purporting to show their spoils.

The SPLA of South Kordofan have been in conflict with North Sudan’s troops since just prior to the secession of South Sudan on 9 July. Many people from South Kordofanfought with the SPLA in the 22 year civil war between North and South Sudan. The new state border puts South Kordofan in North Sudan.

There have been widespread allegations of atrocities committed by North Sudan’s army, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the conflict.

In a press statement released on 1 August the SPLA claimed the following victories:

Attacked SAF forces in Salara on 10 July SPLA, seizing two large tank carriers, one long-range radio, three machine guns, six boxes of mortar shells, and three boxes of ammunition.

Destroyed part of Kadugli, the state capital, runway on 26 July, rendering it unusable for large aircraft.

Defeated Peter Gadet’s militia in Kranjo Abdalla and wounding his brigadier, Tomas Teil.

Attacked SAF base in Alahmar on 28 July. SAF sustained heavy loses. Seized two armoured vehicles, four landcruiser pickups mounted with doshkas, small weapons and munitions

Gunned down SAF armoured helicopter in Um Thoran on 28 July.

These victories and evidence of them have not been authenticated, but they act as a indication of the SPLA’s media savviness.

There is currently a media blackout in South Kordofan; few journalists have been able to gain access to the area. Therefore coverage is being mainly based upon eyewitness accounts andsatellite imagery.

The evidence to support the case that Khartoum’s military are committing atrocities in SouthKordofan is overwhelming, but it not known on what scale it is taking place.

Irrespective, the rhetoric and actions of the international community has been markedly insipid.

The UK Foreign Secretary was “shocked” by reports of SAF’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment and individuals being targeted based on their ethnicity or political affiliation. He went on to “condemn” the prevention of humanitarian aid entering the area.

The US Secretary of State was “very concerned” about “Tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes, and [...] reports of very serious human rights abuses.”

The UN has called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the conflict. However, North Sudan is ruled by a man with an ICC arrest warrant against his name and the recently “elected” governor of South Kordofan is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Although the US President said of South Kordofan in June, “those who flout their international obligations will face more pressure and isolation and they will be held accountable for their actions,", inertia prevails.

The military balance is weighted so heavily in Khartoum’s favour the dissemination of pro-SPLA propaganda into the international arena is indicative of a military which wants support; they are not about to lay down their arms, on the contrary, they are stockpiling.


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