Bishop Accuses Khartoum of 'Ethnic Cleansing' in Nuba Mountains

The Catholic Bishop of El Obeid Diocese in Sudan, has called on Christians in Kenya to pray for the Nuba Mountains and urged the media to offer more coverage to the volatile situation.

Bishop Macram Max Gassis said this during a memorial mass for the late Bishop Ceasar Mazzolari at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bishop Gassisan in an interview with local media said, “I hope various communities here would organise prayers for the Nuba Mountains and the media should talk more. The more the media talks the better.”

The bishop says that there have been continued attacks by Khartoum on Nuba people since May.

“At the moment Khartoum has unleashed all their might and armament against the Nubians. They say they are against SPLA. There is no SPLA. It is the civilians who are killed and among them are the vulnerable groups; the children, women and the elderly.”

“Now it has reached a point where it is ethnic cleansing”, he said.

He said that Khartoum does not want to let go the Nuba Mountains, Abyei, Darfur, and southern Blue Nile.

“All these places are rich. They might say, ‘we agree to divide the revenue of the oil between South Sudan and the North Sudan’ but they are banking on the oil, copper, gold in Nuba Mountains, Abyei and Darfur and they will not sacrifice it easily,” said the bishop.

John Ashworth an advisor with Sudan Ecumenical Forum also stated that, “It is a terrible conflict and it borders on ethnic cleansing. The civilians are the ones bearing the brunt of it all.”

Ashworth terms the conflict as a northern civil war. “The government is attacking its own people in the same way they attacked its people in Darfur,” he says.

“The only solution for this problem is a major change in the whole political establishment in the north. Change in politics that would treat all identities, culture and religions as equal” said Ashworth

Commenting about the church in the north after South Sudan Independence, Ashworth says, “It is becoming very tenuous. Already many southerners have left the north and the churches are becoming empty. Church leaders fear they are going to be oppressed again. Of particular concern is the citizenship. Most of the church leaders in the north are southerners.”