I came across SPLA-2 while in the Nuba Mountains in April. Al Bulola had just been visiting senior SPLA commanders, in South Sudan and in South Kodofan, claiming that he had 40,000 men ready to join the movement and looking for logistical support. The SPLA’s high military command in Juba had never heard of him or his alleged army, and ordered its officers and cadres to have nothing to do with him.
According to Cmdr. Jagod Makwar, head of the JIUs in the Nuba Mountains, Al Bulola first visited Riak Machar in Juba. From Juba he travelled to meet Cmdr. Makwar in the Nuba Mountains, citing Machar in support of his visit. Mawkar’s suspicions about his motives were raised by the fact that he arrived in a new Land Cruiser licensed in Khartoum and by reports that he had recently ‘promoted’ more than 50 ‘SPLA’ men in Um Burumbita, a centre of mobilization of Arab militias. None of the 50 was known to the SPLA and none had weapons.
A second so-called ‘rebel movement’ is causing concern in the mountains and, like SPLA-2, is widely suspected among Nuba of being part of government strategy aimed at disrupting elections. The Central Sudan People’s Liberation Army announced itself in the Khartoum newspaper Al Rai al Aam on 17 February 2008. Its founder, Juma Wakil Hamad Angil, a 40-year-old physician and former SPLM chairman in Gezira state, told me he began the movement because the CPA has failed to deliver development and basic services. He said the Nuba were marginalized within the SPLA, criticized the SPLA for using the Nuba to fight in the South and then leaving the mountains ‘without security,’ and called the SPLA Manifesto ‘a lie’: it promised a New Sudan, but the SPLA was ‘planning for separation.’
Dr. Juma’s expressed support for Telefon Kuku, an SPLA officer arrested for mutiny after handing Buram to the government without a fight in 1993, has led many Nuba to question his allegiance and his motives.