Sudan: The Trap

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August 19, 2007: The government of south Sudan reported that it is having problems with cattle raiders. Neighboring Kenya and Uganda are experiencing the same difficulties. In Sudan, the Murle tribe and the Lou Nuer have had what amounts to a cattle war, leaving over fifty dead in the last month. The ready availability of light automatic weapons (for example, AK-47s) has made the "cattle wars" far more bloody. Another factor is simply combat experience. The war in southern Sudan went on for two and a half decades. Many tribal warriors became guerrilla fighters. The tribes that survived knew how to protect themselves. Pastoral and nomadic peoples often engage in cattle raids. Sometimes it's tit for tat - a new raid is payback for a theft many years in the past. Often water rights (ie, a struggle over a water-hole) leads to confrontations.

Meanwhile, the violence continues in Darfur. Since the region is very hostile to journalists, especially foreign journalists, not much of the raiding and plundering gets reported. The government is bringing in thousands of Arab tribesmen and their families, to occupy villages emptied of their non-Arab inhabitants. Sudan is betting that the UN peacekeeper force will not try and eject the new inhabitants of Darfur, in order to let the refugees return to their villages.

August 15, 2007: The government of south Sudan once again said that negotiations with the Sudan government in Khartoum are in jeopardy. Drawing a border in the Abyei region is proving to be the biggest problem. Abyei is an oil producing region.

The UN has asked South Africa to provide troops for the UN-African Union "hybrid" peacekeeping force in Darfur. At the moment 600 South African Army troops are in Darfur with the AU force. South Africa has also deployed 100 police officers. The UN request did not ask for a specific number of troops - at least publicly-but the South African defense ministry indicated that it might include a "substantial" increase in the forces currently deployed in Darfur.

 

Article Archive

Sudan: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


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