Sudan: New Famine Warning Issued, 3/18/99

Sudan: New Famine Warning Issued, 3/18/99

SUDAN: New famine warning issued

NAIROBI, 18 March (IRIN) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned of new famine in Sudan this year unless a ceasefire, due to expire next month, is strictly observed.

In a report released on Thursday, HRW said the Sudanese government's "abusive tactics" and the rebel forces' "predatory practices" turned the famine of 1998 into that year's largest emergency relief operation in the world.

A ceasefire among the warring parties in the worst-hit famine area of the south, Bahr al-Ghazal, has not been strictly enforced and is due to expire on 15 April.

"If the ceasefire is not extended, the disaster of last year will be repeated in southern Sudan," said Jemera Rone, author of the report.

The report also expresses concern about the situation in the central Nuba mountains area, held by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Some 20,000 people are at risk there, where the government's strategy "is to starve civilians into leaving the rebel areas". International organisations are prohibited access.

"Away from the eyes of the international community, the government's army and militia loot or destroy food, and capture civilians for internment in government 'peace camps'."

Western donors meeting in Oslo, Stockholm, last week threatened to review their aid policy to Sudan unless there was faster progress towards a peace settlement.

Oxford Analytica, in its latest Sudan analysis, noted that militarily the country's 15-year-old civil war has reached a stalemate.

The SPLA and government are due to have a further round of peace talks in Nairobi next month, where self-determination for the south will again be on the table.

"The difficulty for the SPLA will be in deciding whether to accept a separate deal with the government, or to maintain its alliance with the [exiled opposition] National Democratic Alliance," the analysis pointed out.

It said these political moves were accompanied by significant economic developments. A new oil field at Heglig in West Kordofan is due to come on stream in the summer. Development of export industries could prove a crucial source of income to a highly-indebted regime whose external debt stood around US $20 billion at the end of last year.


Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 18:41:05 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: SUDAN: New famine warning issued

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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