Global effort needed to save lives in Sudan's Nuba Mountains, says bishop

(Photo: REUTERS / Andreea Campeanu)A Sudanese youth, a refugee who is displaced by the war in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, stands in front of makeshift houses in Golo, Fashoda county in the Upper Nile State May 29, 2014.

Sudanese Bishop Macram Gassis has said that governments, international organizations, and the Catholic Church can save many lives in the troubled Nuba region if they give it serious attention.

During a visit to the United States, Bishop Gassis said bombings by Sudan's armed forces disrupt the agricultural cycle and the people are unable to grow their own food, Catholic News Service reported July 21.

Bishop Gassis said, "God will change the attitude of those who can help, but don't, either willfully, or through neglect or ignorance."

There is limited safe access to the region for international aid groups to the Nuba, who are both Christians and Muslims.

An enduring conflict involving the Sudanese government in June 2011, when the armed forces initiated bombing in the Nuba Mountains to target the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North.

The United Nations says that more than 1 million people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states have been displaced by the fighting.

In Beirut on Monday "Stop killing innocent people," was the battle cry of Sudanese refugees as they marched outside the UNHCR offices.

The demonstration was to raise international awareness on the three-year conflict in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan.

Abdullah Malik Abdullah, secretary of the Nuba Mountain International Association in Lebanon was dismayed at the international community turning a blind eye to what is happening in the Nuba Mountains, Lebanon's The Daily Star reported.

Activist Howa Musa Adam said, "There are children dying and women are being raped...and nobody listens to us."

Abdullah believes that what is happening in Nuba Mountains is genocide.

He said that it is not a war but is ethnic cleansing.

Bishop Gassis echoed Abdullah saying that the regime of President Omar al-Bashir is pursuing a policy of assimilation, which the cleric equated to genocide.

In an interview, he said that the government wants everyone to become Arabic, to speak and adopt Arabic customs and traditions.

On May 2007, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On July 2008, President Omar al-Bashir received an arrest warrant for 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. He is yet to face trial.

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