[AllAfrica.com via Anglican Communion News Service – Nairobi, Kenya] A panel of African civil society leaders, including Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, were joined Jan. 23 by the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, in urging African political leaders to use the upcoming African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa to end the humanitarian suffering in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The panel identified the Jan. 25 Heads of State meeting on Sudan as a key test of the AU’s “credibility” and urged African leaders to recognise the importance of addressing the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile for wider regional security.
Having just returned from a visit to the region, Kapila called for an independent commission of enquiry into the conflict amongst warnings of “ethnic cleansing.”
Andudu of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains said: “I am here on behalf of my people. This is a war of horror where children are dying every day. There are no vaccinations, medicine, there is nothing. In December there were over 230 bombings. We are calling for AU leadership at its summit next week. This is a rare opportunity that we mustn’t miss.”
Kapila, special representative for the Aegis Trust and former UN representative in Darfur said: “Ten years ago when I was UN chief in Darfur I tried to alert the world to what was happening, but it was too late. Today in Southern Kordofon and Blue Nile I’ve seen ‘Darfur plus plus’ with modern weaponry at play. I appeal to the AU to look at the humanitarian situation as a priority and establish a full commission of enquiry, with African leadership, into the situation on the ground.”
Nagwa Konda, director of the Nuba Relief Rehabilitation and Development Organization, said: “We have been waiting for the AU to take action; we have been hearing a lot, seeing agreements being signed and communiqués issued but nothing has changed on the ground. I implore the AU to translate all this paperwork into action. We need more than communiqués: you can’t eat a communiqué, a communiqué can’t protect you from air strikes.”
Shara Joshep Lago, a Muslim human rights activist and a former observer during the Blue Nile State elections, said: “I am from Blue Nile and have been a victim of events. I have been chased by aircraft and ground forces. I saw a pregnant woman forced to give birth under a tree and then take her child and keep running. I call upon the African Union and the League of Arab States to take action to protect civilians. The humanitarian aspects of the conflict should be a priority. Otherwise nobody will be alive to enjoy a future peace.”