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Southern Sudanese Intimidated in North, says SPLM Spokesman

The spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the governing National Congress Party (NCP) does not seem interested in ensuring peace ahead of the scheduled 9th January referendum.

Kamal Mohamed Obeid, Sudan’s Information Minister said that south Sudanese living in the north will lose their rights to be citizens in the north if the semi-autonomous south Sudan secedes.

The SPLM’s Yien Matthew Chol said the NCP is not a national party that is interested in working for the political, social and economic interests of the ordinary Sudanese.

“This statement confirms what we have been warning people about, that the NCP is not, at any point, a national party that works to achieve and accomplish and work for the political and social-economic interests of the Sudanese rather than having their own agenda. That is hatred towards African tribes in Sudan. This has been, therefore, in their policies,” he said.

Local media reported that south Sudanese living in the north, especially in the capital, Khartoum, are uncomfortable with the information minister’s pronouncement.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir
Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir

Obeid was quoted as saying “if the result of the referendum was separation, then the southerners will not enjoy citizenship rights in the north, as they would be considered citizens of another state.”

As part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), residents in the south will be allowed to vote in a referendum to decide whether they want to be part of Sudan or secede.

Chol said the NCP continue to intimidate southern Sudanese living in the north ahead of the January vote.

“The NCP is making such a statement because they think that is going to coerce southerners to vote for unity.”

“They have started treating southerners badly. Starting from five months ago, and now in Khartoum, you can never speak about separation. You will find yourself either disappearing, or in detention, or jailed. So, speaking about separation and the right of determination, as enshrined in the agreement, is something that the NCP sees now as a taboo.”