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Unequal Distribution of Power and Resources Driving Sudan-South Sudan Conflict

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In the afternoon of 5 June 2011, the harrowing sounds of heavy artillery weapons broke the quietness of Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan state in the Nuba mountains of Sudan. Just a few weeks earlier Ahmed Haroun, the candidate from the Government's National Congress Party, had been named State Governor following a disputed election where he won by just one percentage point over Abd Alazeiz Al Hilo, the candidate of the opposition movement SPLM-N. Many analysts cited the elections to explain the eruption of war. But, although the SPLM-N did reject the election's results, the reality is that this now one-year-old conflict is in fact deeply rooted in struggles for resources and distribution of power.

When South Sudan became independent on July 9th 2011 it took most of the oil with it. Post-secession, the oil-rich region of the Nuba Mountains was one of the only remaining resource-rich areas left in Sudan. Since then, my people have been paying a high price for the shallowness of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. This agreement stopped the 23-year-long civil war between the dominant central Government of Khartoum, predominantly Arab and Muslim, and the African, predominantly non-Muslim peoples represented by the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLM). But a major failure of the agreement was that it ignored the root causes of the civil war in Sudan: resources and power distribution, as well as the racism practiced by the Arab, Muslim rulers in Khartoum.

This war could have been avoided had the international community and the sponsors of the CPA, including the UK, looked for real, comprehensive solutions - not an easy way out of war. Instead, the CPA divided the country instead of equally distributing power and resources.

The fact is that the independence of South Sudan has not put an end to the core causes of conflict nor has it bought stability. This is especially true for the people of the Nuba Mountains who remain stuck in their critical geopolitical situation between the conflicting interests of the Sudan and South Sudan, where both states claim control of the resources-rich region. Sudan has been indiscriminately bombing civilian villages in the Nuba Mountains, causing hundreds of thousands of people to flee. They are now either internally displaced or living in refugee camps at South Sudan's border and hundreds have been killed.

The ongoing war in the Nuba Mountains raises fears of further fragmentation - the result of unresolved issues of power and resources and their imbalanced distribution. My greatest fear is that I never see the end of the war in these areas. We all live under the shadows of Sudan and South Sudan's trembling peace.

www.wechoosepeace.org #ChoosePeace