Sudan: Getting Worse Before Getting Better


May 3, 2017: At the end of April Sudan announced that it will form a “government of national accord” (also called the government of national concord). Political opponents reacted with suspicion. A government of national accord is not a national unity government. The “national accord” will still be run by the National Congress Party (NCP) and its leader, Sudanese dictator Omar al Bashir. However, one of Bashir’s chief assistants. Ibrahim Hamid, announced on April 27 that the NCP would make opposition political leaders senior ministers in the government. Sudan has 31 ministries. One opposition party, the Popular Congress Party, has agreed to the deal. Bashir is reportedly in ill health. He has held power since 1989. In February 2017, Bashir promised to leave his office in 2020. Opposition leaders point out in the past he promised to cede power in 2010 and then again in 2014 – but reneged on his promise. Bashir was an army general. Opposition leaders and human rights groups argue that the Sudanese military remains the most powerful political force in Sudan. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) also wields political power.

In South Sudan a growing number of tribal militias join the rebel coalition and go off to fight. This usually consists of raiding and looting pro-government tribes or simply anyone they have a dispute with. The national transport system is breaking down and both sides accuse the UN and other aid groups of “working with the enemy. Best assessment is that this is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.

April 29, 2017: A deadly battle erupted in Sudan’s Buram region (South Darfur state) between Salamat and Habaniya tribesmen. At least 19 died and another 19 were wounded after Salamat raiders stole cattle from the Habaniya, who fought back. Sudanese security forces deployed to try to stop the conflict.

April 28, 2017: In South Sudanese the army announced that as long as the threat of a coup remains it will not halt is intensified security operation in the capital, Juba. The army has beefed up its forces in the capital region and increased the number of patrols in Juba. One rumor circulating in the capital area is that the president is considering ceding power to the military. The president’s office and the military’s chief of staff have both said this is false.

April 26, 2017: In South Sudan the army announced that it has taken control of the rebel office in the town of Kodok (Upper Nile state). Serious fighting that began on April 23 has forced 25,000 civilians to flee the area.

A senior official in the Sudanese government said that Sudan believes the U.S. will permanently end trade and economic sanctions by July 2017. The U.S. eased some sanctions in January 2017.

April 24, 2017: Sudan’s Intelligence agency (NISS) South Sudan of providing aid to Sudanese rebel forces.

Some 30,000 refugees from Sudan’s Nuba Mountain region in South Kordofan state have now moved from the Yida refugee camp to the Pamir camp. Aid groups reported the Yida camp did not have food for the new refugees. Fighting between the army and rebels limited the 2016 harvest. As it is, Yida is an “unofficial refugee camp.” For almost a year the UN has been trying to move the 70,000 refugees currently living in Yida.

April 23, 2017: South Sudan and the rebels are trying to revive the August 2015 peace agreement. The government says it is writing a new constitution base on the agreement. The constitution was supposed to have been written by early 2017 and that deadline was missed.

April 15, 2017: A firefight in the Rasa area between rebels and forces loyal to the South Sudan government killed 14 people.

April 11, 2017: Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) claimed its personnel arrested five smugglers working with a major criminal organization after a firefight near Sudan’s “tri-national” border with Libya and Egypt. The criminal gang traffics in gold, narcotics and people.

April 10, 2017: In South Sudan a pro-government militia killed 16 people in the city of Wau. The militia attacked the civilians after a government convoy was ambushed by rebels.

April 9, 2017: A 12-day joint military training exercise involving Sudanese and Saudi Arabian air force has concluded. Sudan is allied with Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen pitting coalition forces against Iranian-backed rebels.

April 5, 2017: In South Sudan soldiers in the town of Parjok (near the Uganda border) killed at least 16 rebel fighters loyal to former Vice President (and rebel leader) Riek Machar. The army claimed the rebels attacked the town.

April 3, 2017: In Sudan the SPLM-N rebels announced it has suspended peace negotiations with the government of Sudan. The SPLM-N acknowledged that it is dealing with an internal political rift.

March 31, 2017: In South Sudan the SPLM-IO rebels announced they intend to disrupt South Sudanese oil production. The government uses its oil income to buy weapons and fund military operations.


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