Sudan: The South Will Rise Again

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October 26, 2009: Ugandan tribesmen are making more cattle stealing raids across the border into South Sudan. Recent raids left at least six Sudanese dead.

October 25, 2009: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) continues to complain that the LRA is receiving help from the Sudan government. People fleeing LRA attacks in southern Sudan have reported seeing LRA camps there.

October 24, 2009: The U.S.  focusing on ending the North-South tensions in Sudan which threaten to undermine the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). This came after a new administration policy review. The U.S. intends to provide political and economic incentives to the national government and the Government of South Sudan (GOSS). The US goals are to make certain the CPA is implemented (a way of saying that it does not want the North-South civil war to reignite), keep Islamist terrorist out of Sudan, and end the genocide in Darfur. That's all well and good but how to do it? What is interesting is that the U.S. is talking less and less about peacekeeping forces in Sudan. The U.S. policy, however, insists on “verifiable changes” in Darfur and insuring the sovereignty referendum occurs in South Sudan (per the CPA, in 2011). And if these aren't achieved by “quiet diplomacy,” what is the fall back position? At the moment that isn't clear.

October 22, 2009: Sudanese military and rebel forces have been seen massing in the Darfur region. The flies in the face of comments by the former UNAMID commander (made in late August) that “the war in Darfur is over.” The largest concentration of forces is in North Darfur state, specifically around the villages of Sortony and Kabkabiya. The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) was identified as one of the rebel organizations involved in the force build-up.

October 21, 2009: Internecine struggle continues among Darfur's rebel groups. An SLA faction accused the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of “detaining” SLA officers in North Darfur state. A JEM spokesman accused the SLA group of “confronting” JEM forces in the area. Fractures in the Darfur rebel movement have frustrated diplomatic efforts to forge a unified peace proposal.

October 20, 2009: Representatives of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM, the major party in the GOSS) said they would boycott the national parliament until the National Congress Party (NCP, major party of the north) passed legislation that would insure next year's elections will be fair and democratic. The threatened boycott is largely political theater – the boycotters are talking about leaving parliament for a week-- but the issues are quite real. The boycott threat comes less than a week after the government claimed it had reached an agreement regarding the national elections (scheduled for April 2010). The national government and the GOSS have, however, reached a tentative agreement regarding the 2011sovereignty referendum. The GOSS agreed that a minimum of two-thirds of registered southern voters must vote in the referendum in order for it to be valid. 50 percent of those voting have to approve sovereignty (secession is another way of saying it) in order for the south to become a separate country. The GOSS wanted less than two-thirds for the referendum to be valid, the national government (NCP) wanted well over 50 percent for secession to occur – so both sides gave up something. Now the problem becomes defining who is a voter in the south (one of the issues involved in the census), registering those voters, and insuring that militias and gangs don't try to stop voter registration or hinder the vote.

October 14, 2009: Gunmen attacked a UNAMID position in Darfur. A UNAMID reaction force supported by the Sudanese Army responded to the attack.

October 12, 2009: SPLM members of parliament said that the national government was delaying implementation of the CPA. One spokesman also said the national government's intelligence services acted as if “they are above the law.” The SPLM wants to limit the powers of the national intelligence service.

October 7, 2009: Several NGOs disagreed with the former UNAMID commander's assessment that the war in Darfur is over. The national government has dismissed the charges as “political.”

October 5, 2009: The GOSS accused the Sudan Army (national military, Sudan Armed Forces) of being involved in the escalating conflict in South Sudan. The GOSS said members of the Sudan Army were involved in stoking tribal tensions in South Sudan. The GOSS said the Sudan Army had helped form militia forces in Jonglei state, and then ordered the militias to attack rival tribesmen. The Sudan Army, the GOSS alleged, has provided weapons to the militias and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA, the south's military organization) had captured some of the weapons provided by the north. The GOSS statement added that the tribal battles continue in Jonglei (between the Mundari and Dinka Bor tribes) and 23 people have died in violence in Jonglei since October 1. This accusation is a major political statement by the GOSS and is indicative of how close the north and south are at times to renewed armed conflict. Both the north and the south are stockpiling arms. A Ukrainian ship hijacked by Somali pirates in September 2008 provides the most explicit evidence. 33 Russian-type T-72 tanks and several BM-21 multiple rocket launchers were on board that ship. The bill of lading said the weapons were going to Kenya but diplomats in the region all acknowledged (off the record) that South Sudan was the likely buyer. This past summer reports cropped up of T-72s being seen in South Sudan near its capital, Juba. A defense magazine even acquired satellite photos.

September 28 , 2009: A Nigerian peacekeeper was slain and two Kenyan peacekeepers wounded in an ambush in West Darfur state. The attack took place near the town of El Geneina. The troops were accompanying a convoy.

 

 

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