Sudan: The North Takes What It Wants

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November 26, 2011: Sudan and South Sudan are scheduled to begin another round of negotiations to try and resolve the border demarcation issue and reach an oil revenue-sharing agreement. Sudan, in a demonstration of its military superiority, invaded the disputed Abyei territory in May and in late October declared that Abyei belongs to Sudan (northern Sudan). UN officials have criticized both nations for deploying military units in the contested border region. So far Ethiopia has deployed 2,700 troops in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). The force will eventually deploy 4,200 troops there.

November 24, 2011: Rebels belonging to the South Sudan Liberation Army (Unity state, South Sudan) claimed they attacked a military convoy and captured 45 South Sudanese soldiers.

November 23, 2011: Fighting between rebels and Sudanese government forces (northern Sudan) in Blue Nile state has displaced 60,000 people. Many of them fled from the town of Kurmuk, which the government captured earlier this month. Between 27,000 and 30,000 Sudanese refugees have crossed the Ethiopia-Sudan border since government forces began launching attacks in Blue Nile state last September.

November 20, 2011: The US government condemned Sudan for conducting aerial bombing raids on civilian targets in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. The U.S. said that Sudan and South Sudan needed to resolve their border dispute and keep the current crisis from escalating into war.

November 18, 2011: Will a big bribe work? South Sudan may be considering offering Sudan several billion dollars as part of a border settlement. Sudan is known to be seeking cash from oil-rich Arab Muslim countries, to make up its revenue shortfall. South Sudan could provide the cash, but in return it wants peace and the Abyei region. For its part, the north says that Abyei will remain under its control, unless the long-delayed referendum is held and the people of Abyei decide to join the south. It is very unlikely that the referendum will be held any time soon. Moreover, many of the prospective pro-south voters have fled the region.

November 16, 2011: A rebel group in South Sudan’s Jonglei state killed nine people in a series of raids on three villages. A South Sudanese military force killed five of the rebels when they attacked the village of Agak.

November 14, 2011: The main resistance group in Blue Nile state (northern Sudan), the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) now has a diplomatic representative in the U.S. He isn’t an official ambassador but he is making the diplomatic rounds. The representative has met with several U.S. government officials and non-governmental aid organizations to discuss the Sudanese Army’s attacks in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, and the war in the Nuba Mountains. The SPLM-N representative has accused the National Congress Party (NCP, the ruling party in Khartoum) of creating a humanitarian crisis in Blue Nile and South Kordofan and of using starvation as a weapon against opposition tribes.

November 10, 2011: South Sudan claimed Sudanese Air Force (northern air force) aircraft bombed a refugee camp near Yida in South Sudan’s Unity state. The north denied the accusation. Foreign journalists, however, reported explosions and a large bomb crater at Yida. There were also observer reports of aircraft flying back toward the north after the explosion. At the moment the Yida camp holds some 20,000 refugees, the majority of them from the Nuba Mountain region in (northern) Sudan.

 

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