News / Africa

Security Concerns Remain as Southern Sudan Approaches 2011 Referendum

Michael Onyiego

A recent report on disarmament indicates a security vacuum exists in parts of southern Sudan that could plague the region as it approaches the 2011 referendum. 

As voting draws to a close in Sudan's first multiparty elections in more than 24 years, the prospect of an independent southern Sudan draws closer.

The elections are the last major step in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement before a 2011 referendum in the south to determine whether it remains part of Sudan or forms its own state.

The peace agreement, which was signed in 2005, ended more than 20 years of fighting between Sudan's government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.  

Many hope that the south will be able to tap into its vast natural resources, which include oil, to drive development in the region.

But a recent Issue Brief released by the Geneva-based Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment project says that southern Sudan must continue to disarm and provide badly needed resources to its security forces if it is to ensure stability.

The Issue Brief is based on the results of a 2009 survey of 2,400 households in southeastern Sudan. 

Disarmament and securtiy

According to the brief, disarmament remains one of the south's most pressing concerns.  The government of southern Sudan has been attempting to disarm the region since the signing of the peace agreement, but the process has been difficult.

Almost 40 percent of the households surveyed admitted to owning firearms.  The survey indicated doubts about the government's ability to provide security have hampered the disarmament  initiative.

The survey found only 27 percent of the respondents relied on the police force for protection in the region.  The majority instead relied upon traditional leaders for safety.

Security consultant and author of the report Irina Mozel says this attitude stems from a lack of government support for the police of southern Sudan.  

"The preparation for elections has enhanced some of the means and resources available, especially for the police," said Mozel. "But there are huge challenges, which still remain with regard to the police.  Specifically because both donors and the government have not focused enough on building up a strong police force, which has led to the current security vacuum."

Much of the violence in the surveyed region stems from resource scarcity.  Cattle theft and the ensuing cycles of revenge are a constant cause of unrest in Eastern Equatoria.

The report urges the government of southern Sudan to address the causes of violence in the region through community engagement.  According to the Issue Brief, the cooperation of traditional community leaders with police can help to ensure peace in the region.

If the south achieves independence in 2011, more resources and attention can potentially be focused on security in states like Eastern Equatoria.  But Mozel says that international assistance will be needed in the interim as the buildup of an effective police force could take up to 10 years.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid