South Sudan’s government relies on oil exports for approximately 97 percent of its income. Sudan currently has a distribution stranglehold on South Sudan’s oil exports. Sudan has charged South Sudan exorbitant rates for the use of its pipeline system and its seaport, Port Sudan. It has also denied the use of the transport system to South Sudan. As a result, South Sudan is planning new pipelines which will run through Kenya to Kenya’s port of Lamu. Sudan has also explored other export options with Ethiopia. The government, however, is trying desperately to develop other sources of hard currency. One possibility is coffee. In April 2012, an American research team found several wild Arabica coffee plants growing in South Sudan’s Boma Plateau region (near the Ethiopia-Kenya border). Botanists and agronomists are hoping the wild plants will prove to be a genetic resource for improving hybrid domestic coffee strains. The discovery brought South Sudan to the attention of the coffee world. Recently a very large international coffee company began buying coffee produced in South Sudan. South Sudan could become a leading producer of exotic coffees. However, it lacks the roads necessary to bring the product from the farms to the warehouses. The coffee company announced that it will establish a plantation near the town of Yei (Eastern Equatoria state). The plantation will be in the Imatong Mountains (Boma Plateau area). Coffee will not replace oil as South Sudan’s economic engine but could well play a major role in developing the impoverished nation’s agricultural sector. (Austin Bay)
July 27, 2013: In Darfur (western Sudan) JEM rebels clashed with soldiers on the main road to the east (to Khartoum, the national capital).
July 26, 2013: In South Darfur (southwestern Sudan) 30 four-wheel drive vehicles carrying armed Misseriya tribesmen attacked rival Salamat tribemen and killed 86 of them while losing eight of their own. The two cribes have been feuding for over a year because of a land dispute. The two tribes are pro-government and actually have similar language and customs.
July 24, 2013: In Darfur (western Sudan) JEM rebels ambushed soldiers on the main road to the east (to Khartoum, the national capital).
July 23, 2013: The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, fired his entire cabinet. The dismissal order included the vice-president, Riek Machar. Kiir and Machar have been engaged in a power struggle since last year. The next presidential election is in 2015.
July 16, 2013: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir decided to leave Nigeria in a hurry after learning that Nigeria was considering arresting him on war crime charges. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sudan’s Darfur region. The Nigerian government assured Bashir there would be no problem, but some judges thought otherwise.
July 14, 2013: At least 200 people have been wounded in tribal clashes in South Sudan’s Jonglei state. Tribal militias have been fighting for over a week in eastern Jonglei and many victims with gunshot wounds and multiple bone fractures have been reported.
July 13, 2013: Seven UNAMID (UN-African Union Darfur peacekeeping mission) peacekeepers were killed in Sudan’s western Darfur region and 17 others were wounded. This is the heaviest loss of life experienced by UNAMID peacekeepers since it deployed five years ago.
July 11, 2013: The UN called on South Sudan to send military forces to eastern Jonglei state to restore order because the tribal fighting in the area has escalated.
July 10, 2013: Sudan has deployed a National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) special security unit to Nyala (capital of South Darfur state). NISS special security units are considered to be elite units. They are not part of the Sudanese military. They are regarded as being very loyal to the government of President Omar al-Bashir. The government sent the unit to Nyala after a firefight erupted in the city on July 3 between several members of what a government statement identified as being “security forces” –in other words, Sudanese government security forces of some type. At least 30 people were killed or wounded in the firefight. Security forces usually means state police, national police security units, or Sudanese Army units. Central Reserve Police (CRP) units, which are usually manned by pro-government militiamen, are also described as being security forces. Government statements usually identify pro-government militias as militias (eg., janaweed militias), local volunteer groups, or tribal volunteers. Apparently the firefight broke out between a CRP unit and another security force after the unidentified security force arrested a CRP officer. The CRP officer was at one time a member of a janjaweed militia. One report identified the CRP officer as a bandit. The best guess is that the unidentified security force which made the arrest is a Sudanese Army unit, given the subsequent deployment of a NISS unit to restore order.
July 9, 2013: The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) claimed that two civilians were killed and two wounded when a Sudanese Air Force Antonov transport bombed the village of Tonguli (South Kordofan state).
July 7, 2013: The SPLM-N called on every Sudanese opposition group to organize and unite to topple the Sudanese government and its leader Omar al Bashir. The SPLM-N is repeating a call made in the New Dawn Charter which was issued in January 2013, by the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). The SRF was created to serve as an umbrella group for all Sudanese opposition groups. The SPLM-N belongs to the SRF.
July 4, 2013: The SPLM-N claimed its forces captured the Sudanese Army garrison in Rashad (South Kordofan state). The battle left 24 Sudanese soldiers dead while the rebels had two killed and 13 wounded. The SPLM-N also accused the Sudanese Air Force of dropping 18 bombs on the village of Yetma and four bombs on the village of Toumou (South Kordofan state). According to the SPLM-N, the Sudanese Air Force also bombed the village of Meriyam.