Sudan: The Foreign General Says The War Is Over


September 4, 2009: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) has quit being quiet about it. For the last two months South Sudan leaders and senior members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM – the political arm of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army) have been accusing the national government and the ruling National Congress Party of trying to obstruct or even prevent the 2011 referendum on southern independence. The obstruction accusation has several elements. The GOSS accuses the north of arming militias in the south and encouraging tribal violence in the south. The GOSS also says some NCP officials have been saying that a “simple majority” (ie, 50 percent plus one) is not sufficient to secure independence, that would require a 75 percent majority. The GOSS and the national government are still arguing over the results of the national census, which was supposed to help determine who can vote in the 2010 national elections and the 2011 referendum. It looks like the national government is willing to resume the war, to avoid losing the rebellious south.

September 2, 2009: The Anglican Church's Archbishop of Sudan has weighed in on the tribal battles in South Sudan. The church leader said that the attacks on southern villages are “well organized” and are not the result of cattle raiding. The archbishop's statement that the people behind the attacks want the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between north and south to fail. The church statement is similar to claims by the GOSS that northerners are encouraging the attacks by providing arms and funding with the goal of starting tribal wars in the south.

September 1, 2009: Rwandan General Patrick Nyamvumba assumed command of UNAMID, taking over from General Martin Luther Agwai

August 29, 2009: UNAMID said two peacekeepers were kidnapped in West Darfur state. The kidnappings occurred two days after UNAMID military peacekeeping commander General Martin Luther Agwai stated that the war in Darfur is over. Reactions to Agwai's statement have been telling. A JEM spokesman said: "I don't know how they can consider that war is over in Darfur. The war is not over. The war is over when there is a comprehensive peace agreement." No, there is no comprehensive peace agreement in Darfur, and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) the national government signed with the south is fraying.

Another tribal battle erupted in South Sudan and once again in Jonglei state. A state government official said that Lou Nuer tribesmen opened fire on a Dinka village as the attackers were attempting to steal cattle. At least 38 people were slain in the firefight and over 60 were wounded. Seven SPLA soldiers stationed near the Dinka village were among the dead. The Lou Nuer and the Dinka are both cattle-herding tribes (pastoralists).

August 27, 2009: UNAMID's military peacekeeping commander, Nigerian General Martin Luther Agwai, who announced earlier this year that he would leave his command on August 31, stated that the Darfur war “has effectively ended.” That is an odd statement to make, but the general said the problems now afflicting the Darfur region are not large force on force battles between the Sudanese Army and rebel groups but “localized issues” like banditry and disputes over land and water rights. “Militarily there isn't much (going on),” Agwai said. That said, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) remains active. Agwai said, however, that he thinks the JEM cannot control territory. The general added that the government can reignite the war, but he sees the problems in Darfur as being primarily political. Well, the problem has always been political, given the gripe by the rebels that the government neglected Darfur. All in all, the general's statement is more than a bit foggy, it's wrong. Large-scale battles have decreased, but fighting still occurs. Large armed rebel groups still operate along the Sudan-Chad border. The government troops and their militia allies remain armed and present. Agwai's pronouncement sounds like wishful thinking by a commander who was given a very ineffective peacekeeping command. Either that, or he is saying the national government has won by massacring enough Darfurians and driving the rest into refugee camps.

August 25, 2009: The political head of the UNAMID mission, Rodolphe Adada, announced his resignation. The UN is seeking a replacement. Since UNAMID is a "hybrid" operation, with the UN and the African Union (AU), the mission head will almost certainly be form an AU state.

The GOSS accused the national government of trying to “sabotage” the 2011 independence referendum.

August 24, 2009: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) once again accused the national government of arming militias and tribes in the south in order to destabilize the region. An estimate 1200 people have died in inter-tribal battles since January 2009.

August 22, 2009: Three small factions of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and a splinter faction of the JEM have decided to form a new Darfur rebel group. Ultimately, the group intends to create an “umbrella” organization in order to negotiate with the national government. The “mainline” JEM group, however, has rejected the “unity talks” and has chosen not to participate.





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