KHARTOUM AIRFORCE TARGETS UN COMPOUND AND REFUGEE CAMP WITH BOMBINGS
Alarming news emerged from South Sudan when it became known that the regime in Khartoum had targeted a UN compound and refugee camp housing people forcefully displaced in acts of ethnic cleansing from disputed territories, in this case Blue Nile, by the regimes army and associated killer militias. The Elfoj refugee camp in Upper Nile State was reportedly hit by bombs and initial reports from Juba tell the story of a number of people missing and injured from the attack on what was clearly marked as a UN humanitarian facility. The camp serves as a reception centre and transit facility from where refugees are moved further into South Sudan to avoid them being subjected to cross border raids by militias and one such transport convoy was underway as the bombs hit. Last year several such bombing raids were recorded and witnessed in other UN refugee reception centres but denied by Khartoum in the face of hard evidence like photographs of their bombers overhead and the UN has issued a strong statement condemning such acts of indiscriminate violence against civilian populations.
The escalation comes a day after South Sudans cabinet decided to halt oil exports, accusing Khartoum openly of stealing their oil by diverting significant quantities for their own use in a growing dispute over the fees due for using the pipelines and oil export installations at Port Sudan. Plans for a new pipeline across Kenya to Mombasa are being openly discussed now between South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda and the meeting of the East African Legislative Assembly in Kampala today is thought to have the EAC leadership pay special attention to the plight of their neighbours, more so as President Museveni threw his own weight behind a fast tracked joining by the South Sudan to the East African trading and political block. In turn was Khartoums application to join the EAC thrown out at the last summit, citing fundamental variances between the EAC and the political, legal and economic systems in Khartoum Sudan, but generally perceived as a slap in the regimes face for being openly racist by targeting African populations to a policy of extermination and displacement.
This latest development confirms fears in the wider region and across the world that Khartoum is now actively seeking to return to open war after being forced to let South Sudan, with 75 percent of the oil riches previously controlled by Khartoum, go into independence and trying to reverse the loss with battlefield advances.
Tourism stakeholders asked on their continued interest to invest in the Southern Sudanese national parks expressed their deep concerns, citing a range of measures missing to reassure investors in addition to worries over renewed conflict, which is bound to halt any tourism developments until full peace is guaranteed. Watch this space.