South Sudan has begun delivering English language textbooks to elementary schools in Western Equatoria state, which is one of the last states to receive the new texts. The delay was due to an initial shortage of textbooks and distribution difficulties in outlying areas. Distribution difficulties are the bane of South Sudan. The country lacks transportation infrastructure, like trucks and roads (especially all-weather roads). It also lacks adequate storage facilities. Until this year South Sudan also lacked high quality school books – which educators correctly link to the nation’s lack of an educated populace. You could call an educated populace a country’s informed, intellectual infrastructure. Last year South Sudan decided to end the use of Arabic textbooks in its elementary school programs. The government said that the majority of school children in South Sudan do not speak Arabic and that most of the old Sudanese textbooks were in Arabic. The government concluded that English would be the most useful and practical foreign language for the young students to learn. Many South Sudanese, especially tribes along the Kenyan and Ugandan borders, use English as their language for inter-tribal communication. The BBC world service radio is also a common news source (far more trusted than any African government information source) and many South Sudanese listen to the BBC’s English language broadcasts. South Sudan’s new national curriculum for primary schools stresses math, science, history, and English as core subjects. The new curriculum also includes a religious studies program. Britain worked with the South Sudanese to produce textbooks to support the curriculum. The government said that its strategic objective is to have a literate and educated nation by 2040. (Austin Bay)
June 13, 2013: Sudan blamed a rebel group (JEM, from Darfur) for blowing up a section of an oil pipeline near the South Sudan border.
Sudan is believed to be using scorched earth tactics to try and defeat the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebels in Blue Nile state. Sudan is believed to have completely destroyed eight villages in Blue Nile’s Ingessana Hills region (in the geographic center of Blue Nile state). Sudanese aircraft indiscriminately bombed villages, then Sudanese ground units attacked. Sudanese security personnel looted the village then systematically burned buildings in the villages – in other words, eliminating the village was the goal, not attacking SPLM-N guerrillas. Before and after satellite photos confirm that this happened. (Austin Bay)
June 12, 2013: The U.S. State Department is urging Sudan to reverse its decision to stop the flow of South Sudanese oil through its pipeline system. Sudan says it will cut off South Sudan’s access to the pipelines in 60 days if South Sudan does not stop supporting anti-Sudan rebels. South Sudan insists that it does not support rebel groups operating in Sudan. The U.S. wants both Sudan and South Sudan to immediately comply with the September 27 (2012) cooperation agreement and do so unconditionally.
South Sudan has asked the African Union (AU) to intervene diplomatically with Sudan. South Sudan said that the AU must intervene if the organization is going to maintain its credibility. The AU brokered the September 27 Sudan-South Sudan cooperation agreement.
June 11, 2013: Sudan said that it had officially notified South Sudan that unless South Sudan stops supporting anti-Sudan rebels, in 60 days South Sudan will no longer be allowed to ship oil through Sudanese territory. Sudan also said that in 60 days it will no longer cooperate on oil and economic agreements. South Sudanese oil that is already in the pipeline will be allowed to move to Sudan’s Port Sudan seaport for export. According to Sudan, the notification sent to South Sudan makes official a government statement made on June 9. Presumably the 60 day period begins June 11. Interestingly enough, South Sudan said that it had not yet received Sudan’s official notification. South Sudanese government oil officials said that South Sudan is now pumping 225,000 barrels of oil a day. An estimated seven million barrels has been exported since late April. An actual export shutdown will harm Sudan as much as it damages South Sudan, as Sudan needs the pipeline fees.
A Sudanese working for the UN in a central Darfur displaced persons camp was killed when a stray bullet hit him inside his living quarters. After rebels ambushed a Sudanese Army patrol near the camp, Sudanese Army soldiers entered the camp and a firefight broke out there.
June 10, 2013: South Sudan accused Sudanese Army troops of illegally crossing the border and moving ten kilometers inside Upper Nile state. Meanwhile, Sudan accused South Sudan of supporting rebels in Sudan’s Darfur region and in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Sudan provided a list of what South Sudan gives to rebels: gasoline, weapons, ammunition, food, and spare parts for vehicles. Sudan also alleged that rebels receive medical treatment in South Sudan.
June 9, 2013: Sudan threatened to stop transporting South Sudanese oil in its pipeline system and threatened to once again block South Sudan’s oil exports. Not long after that threat Sudan said it will not shut off South Sudan’s export route if South Sudan will agree to quit backing insurgents operating in Sudan. Oil production experts said that South Sudanese oil is already in the north’s pipelines and is on its way to the seaport of Port Sudan for export by oil tanker. It could take Sudan over a month to shut down the pipeline. The oil in the pipeline must be flushed out, otherwise it will gel and damage the pipes. South Sudan vehemently denies that it supports rebel groups in Sudan. The threat by Sudan to close the pipeline follows two months of successful rebel attacks in South Kordofan state. The government of Sudan may need someone to blame for its military losses. Accusing South Sudan serves that purpose.
June 8, 2013: The National Consensus Forces (NCF), the umbrella opposition political coalition in Sudan has called on Sudanese in Khartoum and Omdurman to launch mass protests against Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. The NCF directly appealed to university students to begin the protests. The NCF appears to want mass public demonstrations similar to those occurring in Turkey. The Turkish protests focus on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The NCF is trying to capitalize on public disenchantment with Sudan’s economy. Food prices have risen sharply. The NCF is highly factionalized. However, in early 2013, it announced that it wanted to cooperate politically with the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) to topple Bashir’s government. The NCF, however, opposes the SRF’s armed rebellion and use of military force.
June 7, 2013: Police dispersed an anti-government demonstration in Omdurman. Around 150 people were protesting rising prices and inflation. Riot police fired tear gas at the small crowd. Police said some of the demonstrators had thrown stones at them.
June 6, 2013: Some 63,000 people have been displaced in South Kordofan state since fighting intensified there in mid-April. About 44,000 of the displaced are now in Sudan’s North Kordofan state. Many of the displaced come from the area around Abu Kershola (northeastern South Kordofan state). SRF rebels attacked Abu Kershola in late April. The Sudanese Army counter-attacked and recaptured the town. In late May the SRF ambushed a large army convoy outside the town.
June 4, 2013: The UN asked South Sudan to improve security in the city of Boma (Jonglei state). UN relief agencies left the area in late April as rebel forces loyal to David Yau Yau approached the town. Yau Yau’s group captured Boma in early May. The Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA, South Sudan’s army) retook the city on May 18. UN observers report that the situation in Boma has improved enough for aid and relief organization to prepare to return. However, the observers reported continued looting.
June 2, 2013: South Sudan’s war-damaged oil production facilities have not been fully repaired. South Sudan began re-opening and repairing its oil fields in April, but the repair work has gone slowly. Limited oil production began in late April. However, it will probably take another year to return to full production. Oil production experts said the country could produce 230,000 barrels a day by December 2013. Maximum daily production varies but is around 300,000 barrels. The government said that it has never produced 350,000 barrels a day, though that figure crops up in many reports. The critical question is exporting the oil. At the moment South Sudanese oil is moving through Sudan’s pipeline system. The pipeline from South Sudan’s fields to Port Sudan is 1,500 kilometers long.
June 1, 2013: There was another clash between the Beni Haiba and Gemir tribes in South Darfur state. The tribes have been fighting over water and pasture rights. Police said the latest fight was for control of an area which produces gum arabic (food additive and adhesive). Sudan is a leading producer of gum Arabic.
May 31, 2013: A Sudanese helicopter crashed near the town of Abu Kershola (South Kordofan state). Rebels belonging to the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) then claimed that their forces had shot down the helicopter and damaged a second helicopter. The JEM also claimed that its fighters had ambushed a government convoy near the city. The rebels claimed Sudanese Army’s chief of staff was traveling in the convoy. The JEM is fighting in South Kordofan state as part of Sudanese. Police said fighting between two Arab tribes in South Darfur state had left 64 people dead. The Gemir and Beni Haiba tribes were fighting over pasture land and access to water. The Gemir claimed that the Beni Haiba had attacked them and that the latest attack was the fifth attack launched by the Beni Haiba since March 2013.