Sudan: Keep An Eye on South Kordofan


Heavy shooting broke out on Monday in Kadugli, the capital of Sudan’s volatile oil-producing border state of South Kordofan, amid soaring tensions ahead of southern independence, witnesses and the UN said.

“The fighting appears to be between elements from the SAF and SPLA,” said Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesman for the United Nations mission in Sudan (UNMIS), referring to the respective armies of north and south Sudan.

He added that the fighting had stopped, but gave no information on casualties.

When South Sudan becomes formally independent on July 9, South Kordofan State will remain part of North Sudan. South Kordofan lies on the border between the two countries and is a zone of, as you can see, considerable tension: gubernatorial elections that ended there on May 4 resulted in a victory of the North’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) over the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which rules South Sudan but has a significant presence in parts of the North, including South Kordofan. The NCP victory in South Kordofan produced considerable bitterness among SPLM partisans, exacerbating NCP-SPLM tensions nationwide as well as within the state itself. The SAF and the SPLA (the army of the SPLM) are taking the political conflict to the battlefield once more.

The region of Abyei, control of which is formally disputed between the North and the South, has received tremendous attention in recent months. What happens in Abyei will help set the tone for relations between the North and the South after the latter gains independence. But South Kordofan is important too; even though its status is not disputed, its cultural and political identity is, and that dispute could lead to conflict just like the one in Abyei has to some extent already.

As I and others have said before, the secession of South Sudan will give birth to not just one new country, but two: North Sudan has been changed already by the process, and will continue to change post-separation. Old tensions have flared up in new ways, as the North – which is more internally diverse, ethnically, ideologically, and politically, than many people realize – confronts its problems once more, but this time in a political and geographical space that is being reconfigured before our eyes. The conflict in South Kordofan will not be the last of such struggles.

3 thoughts on “Sudan: Keep An Eye on South Kordofan

  1. First, hasn’t President Bashir promised to implement sharia in the north? It seems he said so to his supporters months ago, in anticipation of a vote to secede in the south. What’s the status of that?
    Second, there was a concern about Darfur becoming a domino. If the south should secede, what is stopping a more complete break-up of Sudan? It is easy to see South Kordofan as another domino. Your thoughts?
    I wonder if President Bashir is not content to be left with a smaller Sudan, which can become Islamicized and Arabized. Obviously, ideal for Khartoum might be to have at least the lion’s share of the oil revenue, since that seems to be Sudan’s only real source of money. But otherwise, who needs all those Christians and Animists in the south, who will only interfere with Islamization?

  2. this time those fool Arabic the should know that we are the original people of Sudan, right of Nuba people it will never goes to Arabic people again, because we are born in Nuba, we will live in Nuba we our weapons and we die in Nuba mountain. Let God help the Movement people of Nuba mountain and those whom are waiting for ready food.
    your camard Juma idriss.

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