Sudan: Fears over war outbreak

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Sudan is on the verge of war, ten international aid groups have warned. The international community has been called upon to prevent a collapse of the 2005 peace deal that brought an end to the 22-year civil war between north and south Sudan.

Disputes over Sudan’s oil resources, national elections in April and the independence referendum has been identified as the possible factors for the recurrence of the Sudan civil war. Also, political tensions between north and south Sudan and amongst communities in the south, rising poverty, and rising rates of violence are said to be potential flashpoints.

Experts have said the country is clearly at the start of a highly tensed and potentially risky year, 2010. According to Sudan’s ambassador to London, Omar Muhammad Siddiq, the situation in South Sudan is deteriorating.

“Communities are arming themselves and are fighting tribal wars, mainly over the competition for scarce resources. The situation is not as good as we were expecting after the signature of the comprehensive peace agreement,” Siddiq is quoted as saying.

In response to these reports, British Foreign Office Minister, Glenys Kinnock, is bound to visit the unstable country.

“They are doing disastrously, and that is reflected in the terrible poverty and relentless suffering of the people. I think we still have time to ensure that we do see a peaceful, stable Sudan being built around the framework of an election and a referendum,” Ms.Kinnock was quoted.

According to the BBC, Britain has pledged £54m ($87m) in aid to help rebuild southern Sudan and prepare for general elections in April. Aid agencies have urged the international community to act now to prevent renewed conflict.

“What we’re asking is for the leadership of both sides, of the government of the South and the government of Sudan, [is] that they ensure that they talk together, they work together with the same motivation, which is to bring peace and security to Sudan.”

Despite the rising fears of civil war, some experts have argued that the unrest would not affect the forthcoming elections in April. There is also the military presence of the UN peacekeeping mission with nearly 10,000 military personnel mandated to keep the peace as Sudan prepares for a referendum on independence for the oil-rich south in January 2011.

According to the aid agencies reports, a return to conflict would have a devastating consequence that could over flow out of south Sudan into neighboring countries.

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