Alarm over civilian plight in Blue Nile and South Kordofan

2012-05-28 Vatican Radio

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has said he is ready to pull troops from a disputed border area with South Sudan, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Sunday. He described it as a major step toward achieving peace between the neighbours.

Sudan and South Sudan have been at loggerheads over a string of disputes since the southern nation declared independence in July.

Clashes near the disputed border raised fears of an all-out war last month.

The 2005 peace pact that paved the way for southern secession ended decades of war between the two sides, but they have failed to agree on the position of their shared border, division of debt and the status of disputed areas including Abyei.

Lydia O’Kane spoke to former Head of the U.N. in Sudan and Special Representative of the Aegis Trust, Mukesh Kapila who says the conflict is taking its toll on civilians.

“What I’ve seen is that the Sudan government is not just targeting the military armed opposition as legitimate military targets, but it is engaged on a war of attrition against the whole civilian inhabitants of the disputed territories.

He went on to say that, “What I saw was targeted bombings, for example I saw Churches with the roofs blown off in the Nuba mountains…and these (Churches) are used by civilians to run from the bombers.”

Mr Kapila says the uncompleted business of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement is virtually totally responsible for what’s going on. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Mukesh Kapila