Home | News    Wednesday 27 October 2010

SPLM accuses Sudan Armed Forces of harassing civilians on north-south border

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By Ngor Arol Garang

October 26, 2010 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s governing party accused the Khartoum controlled Sudanese army of harassing southern civilians attempting to cross from north to south Sudan ahead of the regions self determination referendum in January.

FILE - Sudanese President Omer El-Bashir inspects an honor guard during a celebration marking the 54th army day at the city of Omdurman, near the capital Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday Aug. 17, 2008 (AP)

Tensions are rising in Sudan ahead of referenda that could see the oil-rich region of Abyei become part of, what is widely expected to be, a newly independent south Sudan and polls due to begin 9 January.

Both parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war between north and south have regularly accused the other of violating the terms of the deal by amassing troops either side of the border.

Implementation of the deal has been severely hampered by the mistrust between the former southern rebels, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM), and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

Since the deal the military wing of the SPLM, the SPLA, has been the official army of south Sudan, with the NCP continuing to control the Sudan Armed Forces.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune from Abyei town on Tuesday, Miyen Alor Kuol, SPLM Secretary for political affairs in the area, accused members of the Sudan Armed Forces of harassing civilians and imposing taxes on individual family members coming to the south from the north.

“Members of Sudan Armed Forces are harassing and taxing civilians returning to the south. They are imposing taxes only on south Sudanese returning to the south. Each family member regardless of age pays 100 Sudanese pounds at each check point,” said Kuol

He claimed that taxation on individual family members coming from the north to the south started in early October.

“This taxation has never been there [before]. They have just started it as another way to discourage internally displaced persons in the north not to return to the south to take part in voter registration,” he said.

The official accused the National Congress Party of being behind the plan.

“This is one of the strategies made by the NCP to sabotage return of those citizens wanting to return to the south before referendum takes place. The National Congress Party is not happy with determination of the south to go and this is why it is trying by all means to sabotage conduct of referendum. They do not want referendum to be conducted because they are aware that southerners are going,” said Kuol.

South Sudan is widely expected to vote for independence and it is anticipated that should the much delayed vote go ahead Abyei would vote to join the south.

However, Kabashi Tom, a member of the National Congress Party representing the Missiriya tribe at Abyei’s local council, in an interview with Sudan Tribune from Khartoum, denied that civilians were being taxed on the border.

“I am not aware of this, I have never heard about it. People are coming and going and have never heard that they are being taxed and harassed. This needs be verified but what I know is that nobody is taxing civilians going to the south unless they are business people,” said Tom.

Earlier this month the President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, called for United Nations troops to form a buffer zone on the border to difuse tensions and prevent conflict reigniting should the south vote to secede.

The idea has been rejected by the NCP saying that their agreement is needed before any buffer zone is established or if the UN wants to send additional peacekeepers to Sudan.

(ST)

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  • 27 October 2010 07:33, by biarawieu

    surely Abyei is a part of independent of south Sudan, to Splm/a and everyone in the south know that alots of thing including harassing, killing rap, looting, and so many others will definately happened either before referendum or after. ncp in panic time about the oil and many resources in the south if southerners vote for separation they will be on hell.

  • 27 October 2010 08:01, by DASODIKO

    The harassment of the civilians is not just begin today; it was two years back. I have seen it with my own eyes in 2008.So since it came to a surface SPLM/A must do something about it. Those harassing are North Security forces.

  • 27 October 2010 11:01, by ogopadj

    How is a human being taxed? I know humans pay taxes on belongings but I never heard of the (humans) paying taxes for traveling within their country!! Can someone explain how this works please? I am seeing this as a forced bribery but not "taxation" as they claim.

  • 27 October 2010 16:02, by unity state boy

    GOSS you be strong to bring our people out from KHARTOUM.

    Unitystatewaayee|||||



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