Omer Hussein, Sudan: "There will not be North without South and no South without North"
“We need peace”
KHARTOUM, 5 September 2013 (IRIN) - The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan pledged at a summit in Khartoum on 3 September to turn the page in their relations after reaching agreements on political and bilateral cooperation.
Omer Hussein, 40, from the troubled Sudanese state of South Kordofan
, has heard similar pledges before, starting with the civil war-ending Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, which led to the secession of South Sudan. He hopes that the political will behind the current promise will help the two countries overcome their suspicion of each other, which has caused previous agreements to break down.
Since 2005, Hussein has been trying to deliver his personal message of peace to the leaders of the two countries. On the day of the summit, he carried a placard with the Sudanese and South Sudanese flags and a plea to President Omar al-Bashir and President Salva Kiir: "Don't separate from one another. Save your country. We are behind you, our children are yours."
Hussein spoke to IRIN about his hopes for the future:
"Every time they say this and [then] retreat from their commitments. I hope this time will really open a new page. Even the CPA, which led to the secession of the South, did not bring peace to us.
"In 2004, before the signing of the CPA, and during the war, my family and I fled our village because of the ongoing conflicts [between the Sudanese government and then-rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army]. We went to the South Darfur capital of Nyala and stayed with our relatives there. One year later, in 2005 when the CPA was signed, I came alone to Khartoum and left my family there, to deliver my message to the two leaders, President al-Bashir and the late John Garang.
"When I arrived to Khartoum, I made the banner and tried to take it to the two leaders, but I could not. I tried also to deliver it through the media and the national TV, but no one was listening to me.
"In the same year, I went back to Nyala. I took my family and went back to our home village in South Kordofan. We stayed until the year 2010, when the conflict erupted again [this time with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North fighting the Sudanese government]. We fled, this time to Khartoum.
"My wife, two boys and two daughters and I... now live here in Khartoum. I'm now working as a labourer, but we are not satisfied with the situation here. In South Kordofan, we used to work in agriculture; we have our own farms and pastures, but they are no longer secure due to the... continued conflicts.
"We want peace, security and stability to be in the two countries, so people here and there will be able to [go] back to their farms and animals.
"I call on the two governments, sultans and sheikhs in the two countries, to hear this simple message: We need peace, unity and love so as to move forward and develop our two countries.
"Everybody fights about wealth, but there will not be North without South and no South without North, because our fate and destiny is to live together."