Lt. Gen. Lazaro Sumbeiywo
IGAD Secretariat on Peace in Sudan

Date: 29th October 2002

Subject: Nuba Demand Justice at Machakos Peace Talks


Dear Gen. Lazaro Sumbeiywo,


We the undersigned political parties, civil societies and independent Nuba intellectuals would like to draw your attention to the fact that we are much concerned about the political future of the Nuba Mountains in central Sudan. The Nuba have played a significant role in the history of the Sudan and they have contributed economically, politically and militarily to the formation of the modern Sudan. Currently, Nuba are fighting on all fronts and making a significant contribution to the struggle as much as, perhaps more than any other people. This makes them central to the conflict, thus they hold the vital key for a solution to end the war in the Sudan.


Mr Chairman

Over the years and since independence in 1956 the people of the Nuba Mountains have suffered gross injustices. They have suffered from political and economical marginalisation as well as from ethnic and religious discrimination under all national governments that ruled Sudan.  

The three million Nuba people for many years have expressed their concern on the unfair polices committed by the national Governments; drawing their attention peacefully to these injustices and imbalances. Unfortunately, these concerns seem to fall on deaf ears. This is one of the reasons which have driven many Nuba to take up armed struggle to achieve their collective rights. They have been fighting alongside the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) for more than 17 years now.  

During this period the government tried to stop the Nuba from joining the SPLA by promising to solve the Nuba’s problems and tried to attract some Nuba leaders by offering them positions in the government. However, these Nuba leaders who have been offered positions in the government did not have the power to bring about any changes or development in the region while the Nuba suffering continues. The Government claims that the Nuba Mountains is part of the North and that the Nuba issue should not be discussed at all in Machakos. It also continues to deny the Nuba their political rights and any development carried out in the area.  Such an attitude has been clearly demonstrated in the cease-fire agreement for the Nuba Mountains, as it recently prevented the Joint Military Commission from building a primary school in Miri in western Kadugli. Historically we have had very bad experience with all central governments dominated by the northern elite. This is one of the reasons that the Nuba strongly reject any attempt to keep them with the North during the interim period or future Northern state.  

The SPLA equally demands that the Nuba Mountains should be part of the Southern state on the basis that the Nuba are fighting along side the SPLA, and claims that the Nuba have something in common with the people of the southern Sudan, which is Africa-ness. The SPLA would like the Nuba to be part of the new Sudan. However, many Nuba are sceptical about being with the South. Because they believe that the Southerners have their own problems including tribal conflict and the Nuba do not want to be caught up in such tribal conflicts. 

It is clear that both the Government and the SPLA are fighting over who should control the Nuba Mountains yet the people of the Nuba Mountains have not been consulted. We believe that the future of the Nuba Mountains is a matter for the Nuba people alone to decide by themselves. 


Mr Chairman

 At present the Nuba are divided between the SPLA, the Government and National Democratic Alliance. So far the Nuba in the SLA areas have decided to be part of the Southern state during the interim period, while those in the government–controlled areas and in the Diaspora have refused to join the south and prefer to remain under United Nations supervision during the six years transitional period after which they will have the right to make a proper decision about their future in Sudan. The Nuba will need time to come together before they can make any decision now. We need time to allow our people who had been forcibly removed from the area, to return to their homelands to participate in reconstruction and development of their region. When they have settled and debated their political future and reached political consensus on their future then they can be able to make the right decision.


Mr. Chairman 

The Nuba are at the very centre to this conflict and will be pivotal to any peace settlement. If there is to be a peaceful and just solution to Sudan’s perpetual conflicts, the Nuba must be among the key players, rather than seen as peripheral to the entire process.           

We would like to see the Nuba cease-fire agreement being translated into a real peace in the region. We believe that this agreement should pave the way for a just and lasting peace not only for the Nuba Mountains but for the whole of our country.  

Therefore, we the undersigned support Machakos Protocol wholeheartedly and we believe that IGAD is the only platform which can deliver peace and can bring unity to our country. It is for this reason we would like to bring to your attention the following important points: 

  1. The Nuba are staunchly unionist and they demand self-determination within the united Sudan.
  2. The Nuba Mountains issue is a serious one and it should be readdressed at the current Machakos peace talks but under a separate committee to be created specially for the Nuba and other marginalised people to debate their future in Sudan.  
  3. During the six years transitional period the Nuba Mountains should be administered separately from the north and the south and under international supervision. They should also be represented in the Broad National Government and share equally the political power and the wealth of the nation.  
  4. In case a solution is found for the Sudan’s conflict and that the country is to be divided into two states (the Southern and the Northern state) the people of Nuba Mountains should have the right to determine freely their political future under United Nations supervision.  
  5. The political future of the Nuba Mountains is a matter for the Nuba to decide and it should be decided collectively by the  entire populations of the Nuba Mountains.
  6. Given the historical problems with humanitarian access we are concerned that the initiatives proposed for the current 6 months Nuba cease-fire should not be diverted to other regions made accessible by the new comprehensive cease-fire.


Mr Chairman


Finally, we must remember that a peaceful and democratic solution to Sudan’s conflict can only be achieved if there is a genuine and comprehensive settlement to the whole conflict in the country, which recognise the rights of all the peoples of Sudan. Therefore no-one can afford to ignore the rights of representation of the Nuba and other marginalized people. We wish that this time IGAD will consider our views on the political settlement for the people of the Nuba Mountains and other marginalized areas in northern Sudan. We demand justice at Machakos.


Yours truly





Name: Political Party, Civil Society and Independent Nuba intellectuals


 1. Nuba Survival

Suleiman Musa Rahhal

 2. The New National Democratic Party

Monir Shakheldin Monir

 3.  Nuba Community in United Kingdom

Kamal Kambal

 4.  Nuba Mountains General Union

Yousif  A. Geberil

 5.  The Free Sudan National Party

Fr. Philip Abass Ghaboush

 6.  Sudan National Party  Leadership Council

Mohammed Hamad Kuwa

 7.  Nuba Intellectual – (Malaysia)

Dr. Hunud A. Kadouf

 8.  Nuba Intellectual – (UAE)

Colonel Yagoub Ismail

 9.  Women Ru’ya Association

Zeinab Mohammed Blendia

10. Ajang Association – (USA)

Adam Ismail

11. Nuba Intellectual  -  (Canada)

Nour  T. Abu Rass

12. Nuba International Relief and Develop. Council

Amir  Yousif

13. Nuba Intellectual -   (Canada)

Dr. Ayoub Gafour

14. Nuba Intellectual – (Holland)

Mohammed Hussein Fino

15. International Nuba Mountains Relief, Rehabilitation & Development Fund (USA)

El-Sir  Tawer Kafi


Cc    USA Government – Senator Danforth

Cc    British Government- Alan Goulty

Cc    Norwegian Government – Hilde Johnson

Cc    Italian Government – Silvio BerLucsconi

Cc    Swiss Government-Josef  Bucher

Cc    Sudan Government- Ghazi Salah el-deen Atabani

Cc    SPLA – Salva Kiir