“The situation in South Kordofan is getting worse by the day. This is our analysis of what is fuelling the conflict:
- ‘Oil money’ is creating tension between tribes and families. The Baleelah and Awlad Hiban tribes have brought weapons and announced war, accusing each other of taking compensation from oil companies for land belonging to the other.
- The spread of tribalism with inter-tribe relationships breaking down. Seven people were recently killed in conflict between the Baggarah ‘Arab tribe’ and the Shawamil ‘Nuba tribe’.
Impact on security
- You can’t move safely in South Kordofan because of ‘bandits’ and armed groups. On my last trip from Dilling to Kadugli we were stopped and asked for road fees, they’re not police they – don’t have any authority except their weapons.
- INGOs’ cars have been burnt as people mistake them for oil company cars.
- Widespread corruption with people accepting money as bribes.
- Abuse of power to get compensation, people are using their status to get compensation they are not entitled to.
Effect on natural resources
- Vegetation cover is retracting, trees and shrubs purposefully ruined by local communities in anticipation of compensation from oil companies.
- Wildlife then suffers.
- Water holes are drying up as a result of earthmoving and earth fills activity by oil companies. An example is the Kailaik Lake which dried up – for the first time ever.
- Pollutants the presence of pollutants (in western sector of South Kordofan) is noticed; and many consider it the cause of spread of diseases unknown before in the area: many pregnant women suffered abortions while others (especially children) suffer from eye disease. These diseases spread near areas with polluted water which people use.
Conflict is changing. Recent violence between the ‘Rizaigat’ and ‘Missariya’ tribes involved 3,000 armed horse riders and 35 cars from each tribe shooting police forces before turning on each other. Twenty-eight police and 50 people from each tribe died as well as innocent civilians. Tribes are now very organised, well trained and well armed.
The coming conflict between tribes will be bloodier than before. It’s urgent we start working from the grassroots so war does not garner mass support, leading to another Darfur.