November 11th, 2014
Sudan: Authenticity of leaked meeting minutes
Earlier this month a set of documents emerged, apparently leaked from a high level source in Sudan. The documents carry a clear indication of the Government of Sudan’s intentions towards the people of South Kordofan. The full text of the documents can be found here.
The documents state: “This year the Sudan People’s Army (SPLA-N) managed to cultivate large areas in South Kordofan State. We must not allow them to harvest these crops. We should prevent them. Good harvest means supplies to the war effort. We must starve them, so that, commanders and civilians desert them and we recruit the deserters to use them in the war to defeat the rebels”. As Sudan expert, Eric Reeves, points out, this statement – “we must starve them” – is referring to hundreds of thousands of civilians.
This threat is aimed directly at civilians. In fact, the appalling humanitarian implications of this policy are all too evident across the ‘Two Areas’. Although precise figures are hard to come by, there are an estimated 1.05 million people in these regions in need of humanitarian assistance. As of July 2014, an estimated 5.3 million people in Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity.
This is clearly not a hollow threat; indeed it is already being carried out. The impact of the Sudanese Government’s (now explicitly stated) intention to “starve them” is manifest in the desperate humanitarian conditions on the ground in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.
In September, Nagwa Konda, director of one of the few NGOs still operating in South Kordofan, reported that “the Nuba are on the brink of starvation”.
Are the documents authentic?
Baroness Cox has spoken with Sudan expert Eric Reeves, to whom the documents were leaked. “Since I first began releasing the document on Sept 24, I have yet to encounter or communicate with an Arabic speaker/reader who knows Sudan who does not believe the document is authentic.” Reeves continues: “I have heard from many individuals that their contacts have told them the same, and some of the people are former or present security folks.”
Their regular aerial bombardment, which targets fields and markets, is both deliberately destroying existing food supplies, and fostering such fear in the population that they cannot go out and farm their fields.
In August 2012, a year into the conflict, 66 genocide scholars wrote a letter highlighting this policy. “Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese remain trapped in South Kordofan, the victims of forced starvation, unable to farm their land,” they wrote. “This critical situation largely mirrors what the same regime perpetrated in the 1990s, a case of genocide by attrition.”
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To read more of Eric Reeves’ expert analysis of the situation in Sudan, please visit http://sudanreeves.org.
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