Briefing from ROAPE Volume 10 Number 26
Southern Sudan: Peace or War
On the 24th of May 1983, official Khartoum resounded with rhetoric marking the 14th anniversary of the coup d'etat that brought Major-General (now Field Marshal) Nimeiri to power. President Mubarak of Egypt was present to co-inaugurate the Nile Valley Parliament amidst extravagant theorising about Egyptian/Sudanese integration. The occasion, however, was marred by the Nile ferry tragedy on the same day in which about 300 Sudanese died - burnt alive, drowned or stung by deadly cobras and scorpions on the banks of Lake Nasser. And, in fact, the atmosphere was already impregnated with macabre ironies, as tales of the Bor massacre trickled northwards from the southern region. Even as President Mubarak spoke of the sacred waters of the Nile that bind the North and South, word had arrived that Egyptian military aircraft had taken part in the Bor incident. This was an unprecedented Egyptian involvement. Not even during the North/South war that dragged on from 1955 to the signing of the Addis Ababa Peace Accord in March 1972 had such ‘assistance’ occurred.