Bashir proliferating arms in southern Sudan to disturb referendum on independence?

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The government of Omar al-Bashir in Khartoun Sudan has been strongly accused of proliferating arms in southern Sudan to destabilize the southern tribes ahead of a referendum on southern independence due in 2011.

Arms were being distributed to rival tribes in the south to spread dissent between groups, a governing party leader in South Sudan has claimed. The concept of divide-and-rule is the politics being played in south Sudan by the Arab-influenced Khartoum government. Experts have claimed that the North, which wields most of the Sudanese political power, is afraid that an independent South — rich in oil resources and less arid compared to the North — could leave them with a much lesser economic power.

Divide and rule was first used in Sudan by the British Empire: the British restricted access between the North and the South and they neglected to develop southern Sudan or include southern Sudanese in governance. The disparity between the North and South helped lead to the First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars. In the same measure, Khartoun has been accused of attempting to apply the colonialist strategy to turn southern Sudan against itself.

The predominantly Islamic and Arabic North and the Christian South with mostly Black populations have been involved in a 22-year war which ended in 2005, officially after the death of about 1.6 million people.

Under the 2005 peace deal the former Sudan People’s Liberation Movement formed a power-sharing government with President Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party in Khartoum. Tensions have risen every-now-and-then as relations between the former foes remain tense, with national elections due in 2010 and then a referendum on whether the south should secede in 2011.

Secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, Pagan Amum, has claimed that the spirit of the comprehensive peace agreement which ended the fighting had been assassinated by Khartoum, as he accused al-Bashir’s government of distributing arms in the south.

Southern Sudan is known to produce over 80 per cent of all Sudanese oil, which contributes to a little over 70 per cent of the totality of Sudanese exports.

Though the two sides (North and South) agreed under a Comprehensive Peace Agreement to equally share oil resources from Southern Sudan, the lack of probity and accountability has led the Southern Sudan government to doubt the clause pertaining to the agreement to share.

A census to define how wealth and political power will be apportioned between regions is to be conducted in Sudan: Experts and observers say the census will be the basis of a voter registration process, which will allow national elections in 2010 and set the platform for the referendum in 2011.

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