Faced with the spectre of the ICC, President Omar el Bashir walks around fearing even his shadow. Men and women with evil intentions are taking advantage of this and have specialised in discovering enemies for him in all nooks and creaks of this mother earth. An obvious den of such enemies comes in handy: the upstart state just south of the border called South Sudan.
Shakespeare warned us many years ago. When a Head of State is faced with problems and troubles within the domestic scene with some even plotting to snatch the throne away from his head, it is better to "busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels"! Maybe, looked at this way, Bashir may as well be fully behind the misadventures of his troops in the South. In which case the ICC has more work to do as crimes against humanity are obviously being committed as civilians die wantonly in a war declared unilaterally by Khartoum.
It is obvious that the city of Bentiu, in the oil rich Unity State, is being bombarded simply to disrupt the governmentâs operations there so that Khartoum can then access the oil fields, which have minimal protection from external intruders. Let us remember that the Juba government halted oil production after it was discovered that Khartoum had connected clandestine pipes to South Sudanâs oil pipelines.
While the thief has been upset by this action and has decided to revenge by intensifying bombardment of the oil fields, the robbed party is also punishing its own economy by stopping production.
It is high time the international community stepped in to save Southern Sudan from this quagmire. My proposal is that a UN Peace Keeping Mission to Southern Sudan (UNPKMSS) be established. Its mission will be, among other things, the following:
(a) ensure the withdrawal of forces from both states from the recognised borders of 1954;
(b) establish a demilitarised zone between the North and South within 5km on both sides;
(c) ascertain that this zone is run under the UN and neither state will have right to carry out any activity here, and people currently living in the area will declare, within one year of being under UN protection, which state they owe allegiance to;
(d) on the basis of the free choice of the people the UN will determine where the legitimate boundary lies;
(e) should the choice of the people be inconclusive the matter shall be deferred to the Security Council for further deliberation.
The writer is Minister for Medical Services and ODM Secretary General