The recent fighting in the south is by far the worst outbreak since
January 2005. There have been several incidents in the last year, that
indicated political and tribal frictions in the south were increasing, but most
of the violent incidents involved small scale ambushes and theft. The
government and the SPLM had been trying to disarm some militias and integrate
others into the Sudan military - forming Joint Integrated Units (JIUs). The
SPLM's Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was supposed to integrate parts of
the SSDF into its forces The rapid escalation of the fighting and the ready
availability of heavy weapons indicate that integration -at least in the
Malakal area-has utterly failed. This time, high ranking officials from the
government and SPLA were able to come in and stop the fighting. But that may
not always be possible if the violent outbreaks continue.
1, 2006: The African Union (AU) extended its Darfur peacekeeping force for
another six months. The AU's Peace and Security Council (which directs AU
peacekeeping efforts) is "considering" the UN proposal to expand the force. The
UN would, at the minimum, provide technical and logistical support to the AU
troops in Darfur. The Sudan government said that it remains opposed to UN
sponsorship of the Darfur peacekeeping force.
29, 2006: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said that
large-scale human rights violations continue in Sudan's Darfur region. The UN
statement said that "atrocities" continue on "a daily basis." The UN statement
also said that Sudanese military forces and militias backed by the Sudan
government are "responsible for the most serious violations" in Darfur. The UN
continues to exert political pressure on the government of Sudan to accept a
UN-led peacekeeping force in Darfur.
28, 2006: Large-scale" fighting broke out in the southern town of Malakal (on
the Nile River approximately 600 kilometers south of the capital). It started
when Sudan government-backed militia killed a local leader of the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). The SPLM is the "umbrella"
organization that led the two-decade long civil war in the south that the
January 2005 comprehensive peace agreement ended. Or at least was designed to
end. The fighting at Malakal has been significant. Members of the SPLM
retaliated and the fighting escalated. Both sides ended up using tanks, armored
personnel carriers, and artillery. Apparently, at least 150 people were killed
in the fighting, with some 400 to 500 people wounded.