Flare Up in Sudan!
In Abyei, an area about the size of the Island of Hawaii, the delicate peace agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan, could fall to pieces. This border area between the North and the South, which was left to be figured out later in the negotiations, has become the focal point for whether or not peace will happen. In an alarming turn, the northern army, with militias, has invaded Abyei. There have been reports of wide spread looting, including even some humanitarian agencies’ warehouses. Additionally, shelling has hit the UN headquarters, causing critical aid distribution to be halted.
This is a violation of the peace agreement and has lead to 40,000 people being forced to flee their homes. The people of Southern Sudan have a right to live free from the indicted war criminal President Bashir as they voted to do in the January referendum. The international community must demand the removal of troops immediately and for the two sides to come to an agreement over this oil rich area. For the first time in decades, the hope for peace in Southern Sudan is alive, but this moment could unravel so much hard work.
As Senator Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee stated, “The cumulative impact of this series of events threatens the lives of those on the ground, the peaceful separation between North and South, and any of Khartoum’s hopes for a new relationship with the United States. This is a moment both sides will long regret if they allow events to spiral out of control. They’ve made real progress, and the successful referendum was a powerful advance towards a more peaceful future. They must not go backwards now.”