News / Africa

Sudan: Blue Nile State Weighs its Future

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Sudan’s Blue Nile State did not take part in the just completed independence referendum in Southern Sudan.  Technically part of the north, its sympathies often sided with the south during the long civil war.  Now, its residents are wondering what their relationship with the Khartoum government will be if the south breaks away.

Irish Journalist Simon Roughneen toured the region while the south voted on succession.

He says, “Blue Nile State is sort of a border land on the north-south border.  It’s actually further south geographically than Upper Nile (State), which is nearby….  During the war it was one of the most heavily contested areas.  The people are mainly Muslim like the rest of the north of Sudan, which Blue Nile State is politically a part of and going to be part of even if the south does secede, which seems almost certain.”

Upper Nile State is part of Southern Sudan.

Roughneen says the people of Blue Nile State “fought alongside the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) to a large degree, especially in the more southern part of Blue Nile State, which is of course closer to what will be the formal north-south border.”

What next?

“There is a bit of dismay there because the people are not getting to vote on whether they have a new political status in the new…two Sudans going forward.  They’re getting something called ‘popular consultation,’ along with another state called South Kordofan further to the west.  This popular consultation is aimed at giving the people in Blue Nile and South Kordofan some form of self determination and some form of say over their status in northern Sudan or whatever the constitution arrangements are,” he says.

There were polling centers in Blue Nile State for the southern referendum. These were set-up for people in the state who were considered southern Sudanese.  However, Roughneen says many voters crossed the border and cast their ballots in the south because they thought voting might be rigged in Blue Nile State.

“I was at a couple of the voting stations in Blue Nile during the course of the week, and they were almost empty. They were desolate.  And it was a huge contrast between that and what I had seen in Juba where there were huge queues on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the week of voting,” he says.

Living conditions

Roughneen says conditions on Blue Nile State are very much like Southern Sudan.

“Southern Sudan has long been one of the most desolate, deprived, under developed areas in the world,” he says, “The 20 years plus civil war left a devastated region.  Even now the capital Juba has around 40 kilometers or so of paved road, but that’s the only paved road in the whole region, which is bigger than France and Belgium put together.”

Roughneen says NGOs are providing assistance in Blue Nile State, including the Irish group, GOAL, which receives funds from USAID.

“They are doing a lot of primary health care, education, water and sanitation projects,” he says.  However, aid operations in the state are fewer than those found in Southern Sudan in general, where U.N. and other agencies have had a presence for years.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid