Sudan: Rebels Refuse To Even Discuss Peace

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March 30, 2014: Though South Sudan’s warring parties signed a permanent ceasefire agreement in January, there is no ceasefire. Sporadic fighting continues, particularly in Upper Nile state. For example, the government claimed that on March 28 the army defeated a rebel attack on Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state. Upper Nile is a key oil producing region. The government claimed that its soldiers killed ten rebels. The government regained control of Malakal on March 19. On March 25 a rebel force launched a probing attack on government positions. Skirmishes also continue in Jonglei state. Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) and UN are trying to get government and rebel negotiators to agree to deploy a joint ceasefire observer force and engorce a joint verification and monitoring mechanism.

March 29, 2014: The civil war in South Sudan has created around one million refugees and 800,000 have been displaced within South Sudan. Slightly over 250,000 have fled to other countries in the region to avoid the violence.

March 28, 2014: South Sudan has officially signed a peace agreement with David Yau Yau’s South Sudan Democratic Movement - Cobra Faction (SSDM-Cobra faction). Earlier this year of Yau Yau said he would end his rebellion. The peace agreement includes the establishment of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA). The Murle tribe will manage water and pasturage within the GPAA.  Yau Yau is a Murle.

March 27, 2014: South Sudan rejected suggestions that Uganda serve as a peace process observer. According to the rebels, Uganda is an ally of the South Sudan government. The rebels said that Uganda can participate in negotiations but only as an ally of the government.

A new round of tribal fighting has broken out in Jonglei state. A pro-government tribal faction fought with a pro-rebel faction in the Duk region. At least 12 people were killed during three days of intermittent fighting. The rebels told another story and claimed they killed 117 government soldiers.

March 25, 2014:  The Sudanese government claimed that its forces have killed 151 rebels in a series of firefights in the Darfur region. The government launched a new offensive (billed as a counter-insurgency campaign) earlier this month.

March 20, 2014: Despite the intermittent fighting, South Sudan continues to produce around 160,000 barrels of oil per day. According to the government, in February 2014 the country produced 167,000 barrels per day.

March 19, 2014: The South Sudan government claimed that the SPLA has retaken the town of Malakal. Casualties were apparently quite low: one SPLA soldier was killed and two wounded in the attack. This is more of a skirmish than a concerted attack. This is the fifth time Malakal has changed hands since the civil war began in December 2013. Government and rebel forces have been moving in and out of the Malakal area for six weeks. Much of the town has been destroyed.

March 18, 2014: Apparently in South Sudan over three million people are short of food and the figure could be higher, up to four million people. The civil war has hindered food deliveries to refugee camps and the fighting has created more refugees.

March 17, 2014: South Sudan claimed that it controls most of the oilfields in Upper Nile state. However forces still control the state capital, Malakal. Rebels say they are capable of seizing oil fields in Upper Nile state at any time. South Sudan has reportedly reinforced its units in Upper Nile state and skirmishing continues in and around Malakal.

March 16, 2014: Despite the recent death sentences for SPLM-N leaders, the African Union (AU) is urging Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to renew negotiations. Talks between the government and the rebels collapsed at the end of February. The AU wants to establish an interim truce in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The Sudanese government recently rejected a SPLM-N demand for new talks focusing on the delivery of humanitarian aid.

March 15, 2014:  The US reiterated its demand that Ugandan troops exit South Sudan. The Ugandans entered South Sudan in December and support the government there.

March 14, 2014: Sudan sentenced 17 members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to death in absentia. Two key SPLM-N leaders were among the 17, Malik Agar and Yasir Arman. Agar was governor of Blue Nile state before defecting to the rebel group.

March 12, 2014:  Riot police in Khartoum (Sudan) broke up a major demonstration. University students were protesting the shooting death of a student on March 11. The students had been demonstrating against the Sudanese government’s decision to launch a new offensive in the Darfur region. The government claims that tribal warfare has exacerbated violence in Darfur. Also, a number of Darfuris were apparently fighting as mercenaries in the Central African Republic.

Fighting in Darfur has, since the beginning of February 2014, created 100,000 new refugees.

March 9, 2014: South Sudan denied that it had requested that the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) provide peacekeeping troops. IGAD is developing a peacekeeping force proposal on its own.

March 8, 2014; South Sudan and the rebels agree only that disagreements over new negotiating principles have deadlocked.  That is right, the factions cannot agree on how to proceed with negotiations. The government blamed the rebels and the rebels blamed the government. The rebels contends that several rebel sympathizers the government arrested in December 2013 should be involved in the negotiations. The seven pro-rebel political leaders have been freed and are now living in Kenya. The two factions, however, are discussing a joint monitoring force to enforce the permanent ceasefire agreement – once that is reached.

March 7, 2014: South Sudan reported that 35 people died in shootout in Juba’s Giada military barracks on March 5. Dissident soldiers in a special operations force called the Commandos claimed they had not been paid. A firefight broke out. The fighting escalated to include heavy infantry weapons. Originally, the government put the death toll at five.

March 6, 2014: - South Sudanese security personnel in the town of Rumbek (Lakes state) stopped a UN convoy of 11 trucks they claimed were carrying weapons and equipment to rebel forces fighting in Unity state. The UN said that the convoy was supposed to be carrying a shipment of supplies for a Ghanaian peacekeeping unit near the town of Bentiu. The unit deployed to South Sudan when the UN reinforced the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) operation. However, the South Sudanese discovered several containers were mislabeled and they had weapons and ammunition which did not match the cargo manifest. UN officials said they would investigate.

March 4, 2014: Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Rwanda said that they are willing to send troop contingents to serve with an IGAD peacekeeping force in South Sudan.  IGAD is considering deploying a protection and stabilization force.

South Sudan claimed that the Abyei incident on March 2 which left 13 Misseriya tribespeople dead was a clash between the two tribes in Abyei and did not have anything to do with either South Sudan or Sudan.

March 3, 2014: A UN survey of Abyei has accused the South Sudan army of maintaining an illegal presence inside the disputed Abyei region. South Sudan denied the UN claim and said that UN observers are mistaken. The UN survey claimed that the SPLA had 660 soldiers and armed policemen in Abyei. The armed police were in the South Sudan National Police Service. Three hundred South Sudanese soldiers were deployed in the town of Maker Abior. According to the UN survey, the South Sudanese security personnel entered Abyei in October 2013 just prior to the referendum held by the Dinka Ngok tribespeople. Apparently the security personnel accompanied a contingent of Dinkas who returned for the referendum.

March 2, 2014:  Misseriya and Dinka Ngok tribesmen clashed in the disputed Abyei region. Sudan claimed that South Sudanese soldiers were involved in the incident.  South Sudan denied the accusation. Allegedly 13 Misseriya were killed and some three-dozen were injured. There were no casualty figures for the Dinka.

 

 

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