Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The former top U.N. humanitarian official in Sudan warned on Tuesday that Khartoum’s military is carrying out crimes against humanity in the country’s southern Nuba Mountains in acts that remind him of Darfur.
Following a visit to the southern part of Sudan, Mukesh Kapila said he saw military planes striking villagers, the destruction of food stocks and “literally a scorched-earth policy.”
Kapila said the attacks reminded him of what he witnessed in Sudan’s Darfur region in 2003 and 2004, when the Arab government targeted black tribes. Kapila served as the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in Sudan at the time. He said that world governments must now act to prevent another Darfur-type situation in the Nuba Mountains.
“When we were there we heard an Antonov (plane) above us,” he said. “Women and children started running and going into the nooks and caves of a mountain, a small hill rather. … We saw a burned-out village. As we left the border there was burned place after burned place after burned place. There was hardly a person to be seen.”
Kapila said the Nuba Mountains region is facing an oncoming hunger crisis because the region’s residents haven’t been working the fields for fear of overhead attack by military planes.
Sudan has refused to let aid agencies into the region. The U.N., the U.S. and other world governments and groups have condemned the attacks that are taking place against civilians.
In New York, meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday called for an end to cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan.
The council urged both countries to implement a Feb. 10 nonaggression and cooperation pact which they signed following African Union-led talks by a panel led by South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki.
The council said it deeply deplored the continued failure of Sudanese and South Sudanese security forces to redeploy from the disputed oil-rich border region of Abyei in accordance with a June 20 agreement.
It demanded that the two countries immediately establish an administration for the region “and work actively toward a long-term political resolution of Abyei’s final status.”
On the Nuba Mountains region, Kapila said that hunger would peak between May and October of this year.
“Because of the scorched-earth policy of the Khartoum bombing, farmers can’t be out in the field. They spend more energy trying to hide. They can spend the good amount of their day in the caves,” he said. “Probably no more than 10 to 15 percent of the normal harvest of the Nuba Mountains is expected to be brought in this year.”
He added: “We are at the threshold of considerable hunger.”
An open letter to President Barack Obama printed earlier this month and co-written by a genocide scholar at the University of Arkansas — Samuel Totten — and signed by many others, said the Khartoum government has targeted the people of the Nuba Mountains before — in the late 19802 and 1990s. Many there starved during the period, the letter said.
The government of Sudan has claimed it is targeting a military group in the region — the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North. But Totten’s letter said that photographic evidence has proven that the bombings are indiscriminate.
“We beseech you and your administration to place pressure on the United Nations to act now to open a humanitarian corridor in order to provide humanitarian aid to those in the Nuba Mountains,” Totten’s letter said.
Kapila noted that Sudan President Omar al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court for killings and rapes committed in Darfur. He said war crimes are also taking place in Nuba.
“Darfur was the first genocide of the 21st century,” he said. “And the second genocide of the 21st century may very well be taking place now, in the Nuba Mountains.”
AP writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this story from the United Nations in New York.
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)