Interaction by U.S. is sought by faction in Sudan genocide
April 25, 2016 12:00 AM
Jason Patinkin/Associated Press
South Sudanese rebel soldiers stand to attention at a military camp in the capital Juba, South Sudan, April 7.
By Kris B. Mamula / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A rebel group leader on Sunday criticized the American government for failing to stop a bombing campaign by Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, saying the United States has turned a blind eye to ongoing attacks against the Sudanese people in a civil war lasting more than a decade.
Philip Tutu, chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, said the United States had intervened for humanitarian reasons in other countries while doing little to stop government-sponsored bombing and carnage is Sudan, including Darfur. He wondered if the U.S. inaction was a form of “international racism.”
“People are dying every day,” Mr. Tutu said during a panel discussion at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church. “I’ve see it myself. I’ve had to run for my life. We need real solutions.”
Mr. Tutu was among the people speaking at the Fourth Annual Forum on Sudan and South Sudan, which was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition and the church’s justice committee.
SPLM-N is among several factions opposing government rule in a civil war that that raged for 13 years, leaving 300,000 dead and displacing 2.7 million people in a northeast African country about the size of France. SPLM-N, a military organization and political party, has been banned by Mr. Bashir, who was indicted for genocide and other war crimes in 2009.
Internal strife continues in the country, according to Omer Ismail, senior adviser to Enough Project, a Washington D.C.-based peace and justice advocacy group.
“Sudan is at war with itself,” Mr. Ismail said.
Independent press coverage is restricted within the impoverished country and little humanitarian aid reaches Sudanese refugees who have been displaced as the result of the fighting, Mr. Ismail said.
In 2009, the International Criminal Court indicted Mr. Bashir for directing a campaign of mass killing, rape and pillage against Darfur civilians. He has not yet come to trial.
Although relations between American and Sudanese leaders have been strained, Breanna Green, a U.S. State Department official, said the American government continues to support Sudan with humanitarian aid while lining up international partners to exert pressure on the Bashir regime. In the past year alone, the U.S. government has sent Sudan $275 million in aid, said Ms. Green, who is a desk officer in the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.
“It’s past time for both sides to stop the violence,” she said at the East Liberty forum. “There are no military solutions.”
Conditions inside Sudan range from “not so good to terrible,” depending on the region, PDEC coordinator David Rosenberg said. Mr. Rosenberg and other coalition members planned to take their concerns about Sudan’s future to Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, both longtime supporters of the Darfur cause.
Kris B. Mamula:firstname.lastname@example.org, or 412-263-1699.
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