South Sudanese are claiming that murders in Sudan's Abyei region, which lies on the north-south border, are a plot intended to drive Dinka tribes from the region. The Dinka tend to be pro-south (meaning they favor southern independence), and driving them away would affect the 2011 national referendum. The southerners claim that members of the pro-north Misseriya tribe are committing the murders. The Misseriya deny it, but during the last civil war, Misseriya tribesmen served with pro-north militias. A border demarcation commission is still trying to clearly mark the north-south border. Tribal warfare obviously makes that mission more difficult.
July 27, 2010: The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) accused the national government of conducting a series of attacks in Darfur during the month of May. The JEM claims the government forces killed 400 civilians. The 400 deaths in May argue against the former UNAMID (UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force) commander insisting that the war in Darfur was over.
The African Union, at a meeting in Uganda, asked the UN and International Criminal Court (ICC) to suspend the warrants for the arrest of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and genocide in Darfur. The AU asked for the suspension so it could develop diplomatic approaches to ending the conflict in Darfur. America's special envoy to Sudan has also complained that the indictments make his diplomatic job more difficult. While criminal warrants make life interesting for some fairly notorious leaders, the argument that they can stifle peace negotiations has merit. Why should the killer give up? This game has played out in Uganda with Joseph Kony, the commander of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). Kony is under indictment by the ICC for several serious crimes.
July 24, 2010: A firefight allegedly involving members of the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid faction (SLA-AW) broke out in the Kalma Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in South Darfur State.
July 17, 2010: Sudanese military forces and JEM rebels reportedly fought a series of battles in Darfur. The national government claimed it killed 300 JEM fighters while losing 75 soldiers. The government also claimed its troops captured many rebel vehicles. At least two battles appear to have occurred in Darfur over the last six to seven days. A statement from the JEM indicated one of the battles took place near Kuma, North Darfur state.
July 13, 2010: The National Congress Party (NCP), which dominates the national government, warned south Sudanese leaders to refrain from campaigning for southern independence though the northerners insistently refer to it as southern secession. The NCP claims any advocacy of independence violates the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the civil war.
July 12, 2010: The International Criminal Court (ICC) finally issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. A warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes was handed down in March 2009. UN Security Council Resolution 1593 gave the ICC jurisdiction over war crimes in Darfur.
July 11, 2010: A group of religious leaders in southern Sudan, the Sudanese Religious Leaders Referendum Initiative, is urging southern Sudanese to support independence. Most southerners are Christians and they have been victimized by northern attempts to Islamize the region.
July 6, 2010: UNAMID's chief political administrator asked the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels to end restrictions that limit the movement of humanitarian aid organizations in Darfur. The official statement also said that UNAMID observers say their access to conflict areas in Darfur is restricted. Basically, this is diplomatic language that says UNAMID's peacekeepers do not have the firepower or the mobility to carry out their observation mission, much less keep peace.
June 29, 2010: Sudan threatened to close its border crossings with Libya in an effort to stop what it calls banditry in the border area. That is not the entire story. Sudan is angry with Libya because several senior JEM leaders are living there and use Libya as a political base.