As if the Darfur genocide and the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic cleansing did not teach humanity enough lesson or the 22 year internecine between north and south Sudan which ended in 2005 and caused the dead of about 2million people was not an enough eye-opener, the world with utmost concern brazenly watch as Sudan heats up again. The boiling spot is Abiye, where the first salvo of war might be released.
Abiye is the oil rich town along the north-south border of Sudan. While the south holds a natural claim to Abiye, the north would not want to forfeit this town that produces the oil which boosts the national coffer for the government. Hence, one of the terms of the peace agreement brokered between the north and South in 2005 in Nairobi by United States is for 50 / 50 sharing of the oil revenue. However, the sharing and allocation proceeds of the Sudan’s oil business, which account for 98% of the nation’s gross revenue, has always generated much controversy between the two sides. Hence, the ensuing war on resource control which holds the thrust of peace in Sudan.
Oil is believed to be the main cause of the rift between the north and south Sudan. Most of the oil wells that produce Sudan’s 500,000 barrels of oil per day, ranking the nation as a major supplier of oil to China, are located in the south, and also in Abiye the border between the north and south Sudan.
Religion and political domination have also been factored in as core brewers of the storm between the north and south. The predominantly Muslim north was alleged to be heavily involved in the selling into slavery some south Sudanese (blacks) to Arab traders. The people of south Sudan are mainly Christians and animists. Also, while Khartoum may prefer to run its political activities under the Islamic Sharia Law and maintain strong tie with other Islamic nations, the south does not want to be governed under the Sharia nor aspire to fuse with the Arab world. The government of Sudan has developed a comfortable relationship in the oil business with China, against the suspicion of the south that would prefer to have business alliance with United States.
While the government of President al-Bashir of Sudan is not cozy with the approaching referendum slated for January 2011; if there is anything the government of South Sudan are waiting for, it is the day of the referendum in which it is expected that majority of the south will vote for separation from the present day Sudan. The hope of the referendum is anchored on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was brokered by United States in 2005 in Nairobi to quell two decades of civil war between the north and south.
While Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir senses that if the referendum goes the way of the south resulting in a breakaway republic that the revenue of his government which comes mostly from oil will dwindled, is pushing that both sides through the referendum should ensure a peace deal by making unity “attractive”. The attractiveness of unity remains a phrase which southerners who for many years bemoan the yoke of inequality find difficult to comprehend and have severally accused the government of al-bashir of not doing enough to make unity “attractive”. Meanwhile, Salva Kiir Mavardi, the President of the Government of South Sudan who was strongly involved in the SPLM guerilla struggle to liberate the south, has vowed to vote and encourage his people of the south to vote massively for separation in the referendum.
Recent development in the country in which thousands of northerners who were demonstrating for unity in collaboration with the local police pounced on 40 southerners who arrived at the rally, amid, the brewing tension in Abiye that made UN to mobilize its troop to Abiye and fluctuations in statements are given people jitters that another bloody civil war is eminent in Sudan.
It’s obvious that President al-Bashir is being pressured by both internal and external forces that are beyond the borders of Sudan, but with visible interests in the nation, thereby making him to drift in his statements to actualize the referendum with the objectiveness required. It is clear that al-Bashir who has lot of baggage in his closet is not acting alone, if a renewed tension ensued in the nation to abort the referendum. Sudan needs help to avert another human calamity and this is where UN and other well meaning international organizations must put in their weight to ensure a peaceful referendum and wedge this upcoming disaster.
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