Spate of highway robberies in Sudan’s South Kordofan
The road linking Talodi and Kologi in South Kordofan has witnessed at least three armed robberies this week. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a victim reported that a group of four men, three of them armed and wearing military uniforms, intercepted the passenger vehicle he was travelling in near the Um Sawani on Sunday.
“They beat us with sticks, stole our money, telephones, and bags, and fled,” he said. “The total value of the stolen goods and cash is estimated at about SDG300,000*.”
The sources said that four other vehicles were plundered in two other incidents on the same road, the last of which was on Monday.
He called on the authorities to secure the important road in the state.
The area has seen tensions between the Kenana Arifab and Hawazma Dar Ali herders clan over the past weeks.
The clashes coincided with the visit of the Governor of South Kordofan, Hamid El Bashir, and his security committee to the area.
Omda El Neel Hussein, mayor of Abu Jubeiha, told Radio Dabanga that the the El Hawazma Dar Ali clan insists on using the tracks of the El Kenana Arifab clan to herd livestock. This has led to tensions in the past and is the cause of the latest conflict, according to the mayor.
The mayor also blamed the continuation of tensions to the absence of authorities in the area, especially since clashes took place on June 26 and again on August 28. Violent incidents also erupted last June, causing death and injury to both sides, following a dispute over plots of land.
The Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) began the first round of informal discussions on issues including separation of state and religion on Thursday.
The SPLM-N El Hilu, operating in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan and parts of Blue Nile state, entered the peace negotiations in Juba last year separately. Its long-standing position is to establish a viable secular Sudan that prevents imposing laws on a religious basis, and the right to self-determination for the southern region.
Talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N El Hilu have not been smooth, as the rebel faction adhered to its long-standing position regarding a secular state. Until now, the government have been slow in cancelling the Sharia (Islamic law), imposed by the regime of Jaafar Nimeiri in September 1983, saying the matter should instead be discussed at the constitutional conference.
In August, the rebel group withdrew from the talks in Juba in protest of the chairmanship of the government delegation by Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia. The rebels accuse the RSF forces of committing “heinous crimes” against civilians in various parts of Sudan.
The new UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) is set to begin on January 1, 2021. It will provide assistance in drafting a new constitution, strengthening security institutions, and assist in peacebuilding and civilian protection, notably in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.
* USD 1 = SDG 55 at the time of posting, according to the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the CBoS, however effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely on Sudan’s parallel market, where the greenback sold for SDG 255 on November 11.
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