Sudan: Chinese Bullets for Chinese Guns

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June 24, 2006: Most of the small arms found in Darfur apparently come from China. The new weapons and ammunition have been entering Darfur despite a ban on sending weapons into the region. Sudan acknowledges that China is one of its leading weapons suppliers. UN investigators have found that Libya, Chad, and Eritrea have also sent weapons to groups in Darfur. China produces serviceable light automatic weapons and ammunition (including several versions of AK-type assault rifles, RPGs, and light machine guns). The weapons and ammunition are also inexpensive.

June 22, 2006: Attacks along the Sudan-Chad border (most by Islamist Janjaweed militias) have displaced more than 50,000 people. The Chad government also backs "border militias." The Janjaweed have been recruiting among tribes inside Chad.

June 20, 2006: The president said that Sudan would not be "recolonized." That was his way of saying that no UN peacekeeping force will be allowed into Darfur. President Omar al-Bashir said he would personally lead a "resistance" to international peacekeepers. Sudan' intends to appeal to African memories of colonialism to keep UN peacekeepers out. This is utter propaganda but it's propaganda that has political appeal.

Also on June 20, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (south Sudan) deployed 1500 SPLA soldiers in Khartoum. The SPLA's "Khartoum Brigade" will be headquartered at Soba Aradi. The SPLA troop deployment was part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war in south Sudan. Other "redeployments" of SPLA and Sudan government forces continue in the south.

June 19, 2006: Skirmishes between rebel groups and government sponsored militias continue to hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid in Darfur. Some of the fighting has occurred among rival factions in the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement. The International Crisis Group issued a report that argued the May 5 peace deal was seriously flawed (which is why the skirmishing continues). The ICG wants the UN to take control of the peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

June 15, 2006: Factions in the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement have been involved in over 50 "incidents" (armed clashes) since May 1. Most of the incidents pit the Minawi faction (which signed the May 5 Abuja peace deal) against the Nur faction. Minni Minawi (leader of the Minawi faction) is from the Zaghawa tribe. Abdul Wahid al-Nur is from the Fur tribe.

June 11, 2006: As part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) garrison in the Hameshborieb region (Kassala area, east Sudan) to the Sudan government. The handover was supposed to occur in January 2006.

 

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