African Rights Accuses Sudan of Genocide

by Peter Smerdon
21 July 1995 (Reuters)

A human rights group accused Sudan's Islamist- backed government on Friday of a 10- year campaign of "genocide by attrition" against the Nuba people of central Sudan.

In a 350- page report, London- based African Rights said its findings were the result of the first on- the- spot investigation of rights abuses in the Nuba Mountains since the start of war.

The government in Khartoum has repeatedly denied previous reports of human rights violations against the 1.5 million Nuba who follow Islam, Christianity and traditional religions.

"Genocide need not be perpetrated by huge massacres. There are more insidious but equally effective ways of committing the crime," African Rights said in a statement after visiting the area which it said had been sealed off for the past six years.

"The Sudan government is committing genocide by attrition: it is slowly and methodically grinding down the society and economy of the Nuba to a point where they simply do not exist."

"Meanwhile in the garrison towns, 'peace camps' and mechanised farming schemes, the government is remoulding the political and social identity of the Nuba by force; the aim is to transform them into a deracinated underclass, the loyal servants of an extremist Islamic state," the rights group said.

The Nuba Mountains are closed to foreign aid agencies, which operate in government- and rebel- held areas of southern Sudan where rebels have been fighting Khartoum's forces since 1983.

The report said spearheading the strategy of genocide were huge "combing" operations by the military in which the troops avoided confronting the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) but burned undefended villages, looted and destroyed.

"The people who remain in rural areas are dressed in rags, without medicines, and reduced to destitution," the group said.

"The aim is to create permanent famine so that SPLA soldiers surrender or run away and the villagers submit themselves to government "peace camps", hoping at least to be fed," it added.

African Rights accused the government of systematically eliminating all independent Nuba leaders and said anyone with an education was liable to be arrested, tortured, executed or to disappear...