Nuba leader dies of cancer

2 April, 2001

Yusuf Kuwah Makki, rebel regional governor of the Nuba mountains, died of cancer on 31 March in London, UK. A senior member of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Kuwah had been replaced as regional governor by Commander Abd al-Aziz Adam al-Hinu, a spokesman for the regional secretariat office told IRIN.

Spokesman Yunan Musa Kunda said Kuwah's death had been announced in Nuba on the same day through the radio network. His body would be flown back to "the liberated areas of [the] Nuba mountains", but the time and place would not be announced because of possible security problems, Kunda said. The spokesman described the reaction in the Nuba Mountains as "quiet" as people had been aware of Kuwah's state of health for some time; he had been diagnosed with cancer in 1998.

There had been no access to the Nuba mountains for international aid agencies this year, Kunda said. Humanitarian sources told IRIN that while humanitarian access had been agreed "in principle" with the government, modalities of access had not been worked out. The government wanted all humanitarian access to the Nuba mountains to come from bases in western government-controlled areas, while the SPLA wanted relief to come either from a third country or from SPLA-controlled areas in southern Sudan, the source said.