Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth
The chief diplomat of the autonomous Government of South Sudan says that war between his region and the country’s central Islamic government is unavoidable unless the world presses Sudan to keep the terms of the 2005 Naivasha Agreement that formed the nation’s current structure.
International Christian Concern reports that South Sudan government chief diplomat Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth made the statements in a Washington interview with the human rights agency.
The ICC’s Jonathan Racho, however, says the cause of the civil war goes beyond Sudanese President Oman al-Bashir’s failure to implement the peace accord.
Racho says it’s a jihad campaign.
“This campaign will be another jihad in Sudan between the Muslim government in the north and the predominantly Christian and animist south. In Sudan when we say Muslims, we mean the government of the President Omar al-Bashir,” Racho explains.
“And when we say jihad in this situation, it’s not an Islamic extremist group;” Racho adds, “it’s the government of Sudan itself.”
The failure of al-Bashir to follow the treaty is also a cause of the possible conflict.
“President al-Bashir’s party, the National Congress Party, has repeatedly failed to carry out its obligations under the terms of the peace agreement,” Racho says.
Along with more freedom for Sudan’s citizens, the 2005 treaty calls for a stable border between South Sudan and the north and for a 2011 referendum on whether to grant independence to the Christian south.
Racho says the referendum has support and the south can govern and defend itself.
“According to our sources, about 80 percent of the people in the south will support the referendum to no longer be a part of Sudan,” Racho says. “The Christians in South Sudan have the Government of South Sudan, and they’re saying they want a separate country and that they don’t want to be a part of a genocidal Islamist government. The also have an army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, but it’s not as well equipped as the main army of Sudan.”
Racho adds that the previous jihad campaign was costly to the south.
“The information we have is that the first jihad that ended in 2005 resulted in the killing of 2.5 million people,” Racho says.
Tom Zurowski is the president of the Global Response Network, a missionary aid agency that works in south Sudan. Zurowski says war tension in the area is heavy:
“Things there are stressed,” Zurowski says. “The things the South Sudanese government official said are consistent with what’s real with the people on the ground over there.”
Sudan has been steadily in a state of civil war since the end of the colonial era in the 1956.
Because of the government’s actions in Darfur in February 2009, the International Criminal Court charged al-Bashir with five counts of crimes against humanity.
United Nations aid agencies report that over 300,000 Sudanese were killed and 2.7 million Sudanese were left homeless in the last civil war.