Sudan: Range Wars Rage

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June 2, 2009: In South Sudan, the rebel government has responded to complaints about corruption, and several suspect officials were fired, and more (seemingly) honest ones brought in.

May 31, 2009: Despite attempts to quell the violence, fighting among nomadic groups continues in South Kordofan state. On May 30th, 75 policemen died in a battle with 3,000 Rizeigat horsemen. The nomads attacked the paramilitary police group after the police attempted to intervene in a fight between members of the Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes. The police said they were trying to create a "buffer zone" between the ethnic groups. The immediate cause of the firefight between th Misseriya and Rizeigat was unknown, but there have been a number of fights between the tribes over the last few months, and nearly 300 people have died so far.

May 29, 2009: The government claimed its forces had taken the town of Kornoi (about 50 kilometers from the border between Chad and Sudan) from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Government and JEM forces had been fighting in and around Kornoi for several days. On May 25 the government claimed that its troops had killed 43 JEM fighters in a battle near the Sudanese Army base in Umm Baru (near Kornoi). The government lost 20 soldiers in the battle. A UN spokesman confirmed that the JEM rebels had attacked the camp at Umm Baru. Initial reports claimed the JEM had taken the base but the government denied the claim and said its forces held the base and launched a counter-attack.

May 20, 2009: Has the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for President Omar al-Bashir had any effect? Bashir has certainly used the ICC warrant as a "Third World cause célèbre." He touts the warrant as an example of "UN imperialism" and gets some sympathetic media play from a number of sub-Saharan African countries. One unstated goal of the indictment was to encourage members of the governing National Congress Party (NCP, Bashir's party) to oppose Bashir. This is what some analysts have called "the coup card." That clearly hasn't happened.

May 10, 2009: The UN said that the Sudanese government has taken a more active role in providing aid to refugees in western Sudan since the government expelled 13 key relief agencies in March. This is damning by faint praise, but several reports indicate that though the "aid situation" in Darfur remains fragile, the rapid deterioration many agencies feared would occur after the expulsions has yet to happen.

 

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