The government of south Sudan
reported that it is having problems with cattle raiders. Neighboring Kenya and
Uganda are experiencing the same difficulties. In Sudan, the Murle tribe and
the Lou Nuer have had what amounts to a cattle war, leaving over fifty dead in
the last month. The ready availability
of light automatic weapons (for example, AK-47s) has made the "cattle wars" far
more bloody. Another factor is simply combat experience. The war in southern
Sudan went on for two and a half decades. Many tribal warriors became guerrilla
fighters. The tribes that survived knew how to protect themselves. Pastoral and
nomadic peoples often engage in cattle raids. Sometimes it's tit for tat - a
new raid is payback for a theft many years in the past. Often water rights (ie,
a struggle over a water-hole) leads to confrontations.
Meanwhile, the violence continues in Darfur. Since
the region is very hostile to journalists, especially foreign journalists, not
much of the raiding and plundering gets reported. The government is bringing in
thousands of Arab tribesmen and their families, to occupy villages emptied of
their non-Arab inhabitants. Sudan is betting that the UN peacekeeper force will
not try and eject the new inhabitants of Darfur, in order to let the refugees
return to their villages.
August 15, 2007: The government of south Sudan once
again said that negotiations with the Sudan government in Khartoum are in
jeopardy. Drawing a border in the Abyei region is proving to be the biggest
problem. Abyei is an oil producing region.
The UN has asked South Africa to provide troops for
the UN-African Union "hybrid" peacekeeping force in Darfur. At the moment 600
South African Army troops are in Darfur with the AU force. South Africa has
also deployed 100 police officers. The UN request did not ask for a specific
number of troops - at least publicly-but the South African defense ministry
indicated that it might include a "substantial" increase in the forces
currently deployed in Darfur.