September 6, 2018:
Sudan is claiming that it will play a supervisory role in rebuilding war-torn South Sudan’s national army. The latest “revised” peace deal between South Sudan and the rebels (SPLM-IO) calls for the formation of a unified national army. That means rebel units and individual rebels must be integrated into the army. Prior to December 2013 when the civil war erupted, several rebel units still on the battlefield were units in the army. South Sudan was once part of Sudan, so Sudanese involvement in rebuilding South Sudan’s military is a bit ironic. However, that appears to be acceptable to South Sudan’s warring parties and to the IGAD (East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development) mediators. The peace agreement calls for the creation of a “high-level technical integration committee” (HLTIC). The committee will establish eligibility requirements for individuals seeking to join the army, police and internal security forces, and prison, fire brigade and wildlife services. Presumably, Sudanese officials would serve on the committee. (Austin Bay)
September 5, 2018: South Sudan expects to revive its oil production and return to peak production of 350,000 BPD (barrels per day) by 2019. Current production is 20,000 BPD, mainly because of disruptions caused by the civil war. By catching up on some delayed maintenance production should reach 80,000 PBD by the end of the year.
September 4, 2018: Some refugee camps outside the capital will have their inhabitants moved back to their home areas as quickly as possible. The urgency is the result of growing violence inside the camps, whose population is mainly women and children, between members of feuding groups.
September 2, 2018: South Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed to create a joint border security force to insure the safety of South Sudanese and Ethiopians living in the border area. There have been several mass kidnapping incidents. In 2016 South Sudanese Murle tribesmen abducted over 100 Ethiopian children. That resulted in tribesmen from Ethiopia’s Gambella border region carrying out raids into South Sudan. The joint force would also intercept smugglers. Both countries are particularly concerned about illegal weapons. Stopping illegal weapons trafficking would be a primary joint border security force mission.
September 1, 2018: Despite the new peace agreement, it appears a serious ceasefire violation has already occurred in South Sudan. Rebels claim that on August 29 soldiers began attacking rebel positions in the Yei River state. This is the first serious ceasefire violation accusation since July 20 when government forces attacked rebel positions in the south (Yei River state). The rebel accusation is detailed and credible. On August 29 soldiers based in Yei Town and Pakula assaulted rebel positions in the town of Kupera Payam. Prior to attacking Kupera, soldiers in armored vehicles seized an outlying position called Jamara Center. Rebel units withdrew from Kupera to avoid civilian casualties. Since the initial assault, the army has reinforced the units in Kupera. Some reinforcements arrived on August 30. The rebels called on UN peacekeepers and ceasefire monitors to investigate the attack and condemn the ceasefire violations.
August 30, 2018: The rebel leader (Riek Machar) signed a revised peace agreement with the government. The government and mediators assured the rebels that any unresolved issues regarding power sharing will be favorably resolved.
August 29, 2018: Sudan and Egypt announced that in October they will sign over 20 agreements that will help resolve outstanding diplomatic issues. The agreements will also encourage business cooperation, with tourism a common interest. The agreements will also encourage cooperation in energy development (oil and gas), education, agriculture and public health.
August 28, 2018: Sudan continues to maneuver diplomatically with Egypt. The Sudanese Army has agreed to work with Egyptian security forces to fight terrorism and maintain security along the countries’ shared border. But the GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) on the Nile River disputes have yet to be resolved. Egypt sees the potential denial of Nile River water as a fundamental threat. On the issue of Nile River water and the GERD, Sudan is literally caught between Egypt and Ethiopia. Sudan sees the GERD as a major hydro-electric power source.
August 22, 2018: In South Sudan soldiers belonging to rebel faction have rejoined the army. Brigadier General Chan Garang announced that he and some 300 officers and troops will rejoin the army. Garang defected in 2017 and joined the rebels (SPLM-IO). He later left the main rebel coalition to join another rebel faction. Garang contends he defected because of atrocities by pro-government forces.
August 18, 2018: Sudan insists that the next series of Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states) peace talks be held without any preconditions. Since 2011 two factions of the SPLM-N revels in those states have been waging a guerrilla war against the government. The African Union is sponsoring what it calls comprehensive peace talks to end the war and institute democratic reforms.
August 16, 2018; Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed to pull back soldiers from disputed border regions. They will also create a joint bordering monitoring and protection force. Sudan’s Gedaref state has been particularly troublesome. Sudanese farmers accuse Ethiopians of illegally occupying land in the area. The two countries are also undertaking a new border demarcation effort.
August 14, 2018: In western South Sudan (Bahr el Ghazal state) refugees now reaching the town of Wau reported that since the end of July there have been sporadic tribal fighting in a remote area of the state. Western. The primary belligerents have been two armed groups in the in the Mboro and Bisellia areas where the town of Nagero was also attacked.
August 13, 2018: In Sudan, the defense ministry announced that Sudan will continue to improve military and economic cooperation with Russia. A Russian oil company is preparing to look for oil in Sudan.
August 9, 2018: In South Sudan, the president (Salva Kiir) officially gave amnesty to the main rebel leader (and former South Sudan vice president) Riek Machar and all rebel groups. The amnesty follows the signing of a new power-sharing agreement between the government and the rebels.
In Sudan senior leaders in the National Congress Party (NCP) unanimously recommended party members amend the NCP constitution so current Sudan president Omar al Bashir can be the party nominee in upcoming presidential elections. The current NCP constitution limits a party presidential candidate to two terms. There is also a move underway in Sudan’s legislature to abolish a Sudanese constitutional law that limits presidential terms. Abolishing it will let Bashir run for a third term, and more in the future thus becoming president-for-life. Bashir needs that because he is an indicted war criminal and being president of Sudan makes it possible for him to do some traveling outside the country without risking arrest.
August 8, 2018: In western Sudan, three Darfur rebel groups have agreed to extend for three more months a unilateral Cessation of Hostilities for Humanitarian Purposes in the western Sudan region. The rebel groups involved are SLM-MM, SLM-A and JEM. The Sudan Liberation Movement, another major Darfur rebel group, continues to refuse to engage in peace discussions.
August 7, 2018: In South Sudan, several members of opposition parties are criticizing the on-going peace negotiations between the government and its political opponents. Some of the splinter parties are not part of SPLM-IO (the main rebel coalition). The splinter parties say their concerns are being ignored. One key demand the small parties share with many SPLM-IO members is the unpopular recent partition of South Sudan’s original ten states into 32 states. Several opposition party members are also suspicious of Sudan’s motives. The peace talks are being held in Sudan and Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir is playing a prominent role in facilitating the negotiations or the 10 versus 32 states issue.
August 6, 2018: The UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur announced that 1,229 former rebel combatants had successfully completed demobilization training exercise. The rebels belonged to rebel organizations that had accepted peace terms that included amnesty and demobilization.