Sudan: Deadlock

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August 31, 2014:   As the South Sudan government and the South Sudan rebels (led by former vice-president Riek Machar) continue the civil war, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD, East African intergovernmental group) mediators are pointing out that they are in the process of destroying their own oil industry. So far that argument has not produced a permanent ceasefire. Regional nations, the buyers of Sudanese oil (for example, China) and some UN agencies are also concerned about how to protect the oil fields. South Sudan has the third-largest proven oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa.  Current productions is around 160,000 barrels a day. Maximum production is around 450,000 barrels a day. Mediators have also offered to discuss revenue sharing measures to encourage reconciliation between the government and the rebels. A diplomat involved in the negotiations (probably from Ethiopia) said that transparency in oil revenue and fair division of the revenue would go a long way to answering many of the rebel complaints about corruption and economic favoritism. One of the ideas under consideration is an independently-directed fund for South Sudan’s oil earnings.  South Sudan owes several investors who have helped pay for oil production facilities. The government also borrowed money based on future oil revenues. It cannot pay the debts when it is not pumping oil. Diplomats have indicated that China is interested in creating a revenue monitoring mechanism for South Sudan.

The rebellion that began in December 2013 has killed over 10,000 so far and over 15 percent of the 12 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes. Nearly a third of the population are suffering from severe shortages of food or housing. Over 40,000 have fled to Kenya and more will follow.

August 28, 2014: South Sudanese rebel negotiators denied reports that they have agreed to form a transitional, power-sharing government. The negotiators said that the document signed on August 25 merely addressed ceasefire implementation issues. The rebels said they will not accept the power-sharing proposal recommended by IGAD negotiators because it allows the current president to remain president for a two and a half year transitional period. The government and rebels began negotiations designed to create a transitional government on June 10.

August 27, 2014: The UN the UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur) peacekeeping operation until June 30, 2015.

August 26, 2014: South Sudan accused rebels of shooting down a UN helicopter today. The government contends that rebel fighters fired on it near the city of Bentiu (Unity state, South Sudan).  A Russia aircraft company operating the helicopter also claimed the helicopter was hit by ground fire. Three people were killed and two were injured.

August 24, 2014: Two South Sudan army (SPLA) soldiers were killed in a shootout in the village of Wanyjok (Aweil East area, Northern Bahr el Ghazal state).

August 23, 2014: Rebel forces detained the IGAD personnel on August 23. The six people were serving on a ceasefire verification team. IGAD has eight teams operating in the Bentiu area. Two days later the UN condemned the illegal detention of the IGAD ceasefire monitors at a site 35 kilometers southwest of the city of Bentiu (Unity state). 

August 22, 2014: Eritrean border guards shot and killed ten Eritrean citizens who were attempting to cross the border zone into Ethiopia. A successful escapee later told reporters that the ten were part of a group of 18 people that had tried to flee to Ethiopia. The escapee said that he was one of the three made it. Five people remain unaccounted for.

August 21, 2014: A delegation of South Sudanese rebel leadersended four days of negotiations with the Ugandan government and announced that they reached an agreement with the Ugandan government regarding Ugandan Army troops in South Sudan. Ugandan military forces can remain in South Sudan until regional peacekeepers deploy to help implement a cease fire. This is a major change in rebel policy, though there have been indications since May that the rebels and Uganda wanted to make a deal. The rebels accused Uganda of allying with the South Sudan government; in fact, Uganda fought several major battles on behalf of the Sudanese government.

August 20, 2014: In Sudan gunmen from the Rizeigat and Maalia tribes fought another series of battles in East Darfur state.  At least 137 people were killed or injured in a battle that ended today.

August 18, 2014: South Sudan has been receiving new shipments of weapons. The bigger shipments come through Kenya (usually the port of Mombasa) so plenty of people with access to cameras and cell phones have seen the shipments.  A shipment unloaded in mid-June came from China. Kenyan media said the shipment contained several thousand assault rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and ammunition.

Sudanese Army soldiers skirmished with Maalia tribal fighters in East Darfur leaving four soldiers and five Maalia warriors dead.

August 17, 2014: Police in the Sudan capital blocked opposition political activists from staging a protest. The activists are demanding the government release illegally-arrested opposition leaders and opposition party members.

August 14, 2014: The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said that it intends to increase attacks on Eritrea. The rebel group had been holding a meeting in Ethiopia’s Afar region (town of Semera). The statement comes after an increasing number of reports that Eritreans attempting to flee the country, to either Ethiopia or Sudan.

August 13, 2014: South Sudan told the UN that in order to end the civil war he was ready to form an all-inclusive government.

August 9, 2014: Sudan rejected the Sudanese Revolutionary Front’s (SRF) unilateral two-month long cessation of hostilities. The SRF declared the cessation August 8. The government accused the SRF of seeking to use a ceasefire to rearm and refit its soldiers. The Sudanese Army contends that its offensives have damaged the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North’s (SPLM-N) forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.   The SPLM-N belongs to the SRF.

August 7, 2014: In mid-May South Sudan placed several SPLA officers under house arrest after returning from conducting combat operations in Upper Nile state.  The government has yet to file official charges. The officers were placed under house arrest based on the recommendation of their division commander. This may be preventive detention of a sort – to prevent the men from defecting to the rebels.

August 6, 2014: The US condemned the murders of six relief aid workers in Maban County (Upper Nile State, South Sudan).

August 5, 2014: Two South Sudanese clans in the Twic East area of Jonglei state have sign a peace agreement. The Dacuek and Ayuel clans had been fighting over competing claims to the village of Wanglei.

August 4, 2014: IGAD negotiators reported that they are making a renewed effort to get the South Sudan government and the rebels to conclude a peace agreement. August 4 marked the end of the 45 day period within which negotiators hoped the warring parties would reach agreement on forming a transitional government. 45 days have come and gone and still no deal.

August 3, 2014: Former South Sudanese army (SPLA) general Dau Aturjong, who defected to the rebels, claimed that he has influenced over 1,000 military officers and senior political officials to join the rebellion. He also claimed that another 4,000 South Sudanese have joined the rebels because of his efforts. Aturjong said that he stresses the need to remove the current corrupt government and introduce genuine democratic reforms. He commanded a division in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state and defected from the government in May.

August 1, 2014: Akol Madhan Akol, a senior official in South Sudan’s governing Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement political party, announced that he is joining the rebel forces. He accused the government of failing to save the country and of letting South Sudan disintegrate “into tribal enclaves.” He also accused the government of cronyism and corruption.

July 28, 2014: A top military officer in the South Sudanese army (SPLA) dismissed the threat of political sanctions on the country. He said the military must remain focused on defense issues and provide stability in the country. In mid-July the European Union sanctioned an SPLA commander for alleged involvement in atrocities committed during the civil war. A rebel commander was also sanctioned.

 

 

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