We are ready to take Khartoum, say militias allied to South Sudan

A day after losing one-third of its territory to the newly independent South Sudan, the government of Omar al-Bashir is facing a new threat from rebels in the Nuba Mountains who have vowed to "march on Khartoum".

After fighting off government forces that last month tried to disarm them in violation of international agreements, rebel leaders said yesterday that they were close to recapturing Kadugli, the capital of Sudan's oil-rich Southern Kordofan state. "First we take Kadugli, then [the garrison town] El-Obeid, then Khartoum," said Brigadier Said Ketchum, one of the leaders of the resistance which this weekend declared self-rule in the Nuba Mountains.

Across the natural fortress in the rocky hills, Nuban militias are being mobilised and northern forces have had to retreat into garrison towns. The Independent has been shown heavy weapons and vehicles captured from retreating government forces near the frontline village of El-Hamra.

President Bashir, who attended South Sudan's independence party in the new capital, Juba, on Saturday, recognised the South's right to break away after decades of civil war but has taken a tougher line with rebels in the North. He accused the Nuba rebels – who, like their civil-war allies in the south, call themselves the SPLA – of betrayal and talks to end the month-long conflict have broken down. Some 73,000 civilians have fled the fighting. A bombing campaign by Khartoum has killed hundreds hiding in the mountains.

President Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court [ICC], is facing a string of internal rebellions stretching from Blue Nile state in the east to the restive western region of Darfur.

The borders and share of oil revenues between the two Sudans have not been finalised, with each side giving warning that it will cut the other's oil supplies if it is unhappy with the outcome of talks.

The rising cost of fuel and food has spurred protests and arrests in Khartoum. Rebels in Darfur, who have previously advanced to the outskirts of the capital, are also reported to be contemplating a new offensive.

As the division of what was Africa's largest country approached, Khartoum reportedly rigged a local election and placed Ahmed Haroun – also wanted by the ICC for crimes in Darfur – as governor of South Kordofan. The government has made repeated attempts to assassinate the Nuban leader Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, widely seen as the real winner in the governor's race. Mr Haroun raised Arab militias and deployed government forces who last month attempted to disarm and arrest Nuban members of the armed forces and political opponents of Khartoum.

Witnesses in Kadugli said civilians were murdered directly outside the UN peacekeeping base in the town.

Since escaping an assault on his house in Kadugli last month, Mr Abdel Aziz has led SPLA operations from a hideout in the Nuba Mountains. Some analysts believe he is trying to unite northern Sudan's fractious rebel movements into a combined force that would seriously threaten Mr Bashir's ruling NCP party.

South Sudan has so far backed away from fighting in the border area but new President Salva Kiir issued a coded warning to Khartoum on Saturday: "I want to assure the people of Abyei, Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan that we have not forgotten you... When you bleed, we bleed."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Programme Manager

£30000 - £35500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Provisioning Specialist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Provisioning Specialist is required to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Apprenticeships

£10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an outstanding opportunity for 1...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Support Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Support Engineer is required to join a well-...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum