Sudan: Southern Truce Deal Coming Unraveled

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December4, 2006: 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.

December 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.

November 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.

November 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.

 

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