Mass defections continue to plague South Sudan forces. Members of several minority tribes in South Sudan (which means they are not Dinka or Nuer) are concerned that the SPLA has been involved in ethnic massacres-and it has been involved in several. Here is the thinking among the various minorities: if it can happen to Nuers, it can happen to anyone. The month of March proved to be a big month for defections to the rebels. Now it appears May may be as well. The government is also sensitive to charges of corruption. Theft is bad. However, tribal cronyism (favoring the tribe in power) may prove to be fatal.
April 27, 2014: Starting last night there was gunfire and explosions in the town of Wau (capital of Western Bahr al Ghazal state). The government dismissed reports that several senior officers had defected with their soldiers to the rebels. However, an opposition political leader claimed that a large group of soldiers, including the soldiers assigned to protect the state governor, had defected and had gathered in a village west of Wau. Rebels also alleged that SPLA trainees who survived an attack on April 25 had sought protection at a UN base camp in Wau.
April 26, 2014: The UN announced that it has moved 490 civilian staff personnel from South Sudan’s capital, Juba, to Kampala, Uganda.
Rebels insist that the government has not retaken the town of Mayom (Unity state) and claim that government forces retreated from the town on April 22. The rebels insisted they control the town and that they be identified as the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-in-Opposition.
The Sudan National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) is deploying additional militia support forces to South Kordofan state. Sudan intends to defeat the rebel forces in North and South Kordofan states.
April 25, 2014: A clash between military trainees and soldiers in Bentiu (Unity state) left five trainees dead. All of the trainees were members of the Nuer tribe.
April 24, 2014: Uganda accused Sudan of providing the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) with supplies. Uganda intends to present evidence of Sudan’s activity in several international forums. On April 17 Sudan withdrew its ambassador to Uganda, after alleging that Uganda was protecting anti-Sudan rebels.
The UN claimed that four barges belonging to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was attacked on the Nile River outside of the town of Malakal (Upper Nile state). Four UN personnel were wounded as the attackers fired on the barges with automatic weapons and rocket-proelled grenades. The barges were carrying supplies for the UN garrison in Malakal.
April 23, 2014: Rebels in Sudan’s West Kordofan state attacked installations in the Kanar oil field killing eight Sudanese soldiers. Two Chinese civilians (technical personnel) may have been killed as well. The rebels later identified themselves as the Sudanese Peoples Front (SPF).
April 20, 2014: The war in Darfur is not over-despite six years of claims by UN observers. The African Union-United Nations hybrid peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID), recently warned that escalating violence in Darfur would produce another surge of refugees. The Sudanese government (Khartoum) has been reinforcing pro-government militias (Rapid Support Forces) in Darfur, where local rebels claim the Rapid Support Forces engage in looting and murder.
The South Sudan government reported that Ugandan Army units had secured the UN camp in the city of Bor (Jonglei state).
April 17, 2014: The Nuer White Army has apparently committed a large-scale massacre. On April 15 and 16 White Army militiamen in the town of Bentiu (Unity state) went on a rampage and killed at least 200 (and possibly up to 400) people the militiamen suspected of supporting the South Sudan government. Bentiu is in an oil producing region.
Mass murder in South Sudan is a two way street. Members of a Dinka tribal youth group attacked and killed 58 rebel supporters (that is, Nuer tribesmen) who were seeking shelter near the UN compound in the South Sudan town of Bor (capital of Jonglei state). The attackers ignored warnings from UN peacekeepers, to include warning shots fired in the air. The UN later said that 48 people were slain and over 100 were wounded. A medical air group later reported that UN peacekeepers killed ten of the attackers. This report is unconfirmed. Around 5,000 refugees were living outside the UN camp at Bor.
The South Sudanese Army (SPLA) claimed that it had defeated rebel attack on the town of Renk (Upper Nile state). SPLA officers said that rebel fighters attacked Renk on the afternoon of April 16. The rebels struck SPLA positions on the southwestern edge of the town. The battle lasted until late in the night. Renk is about 30 kilometers south of the Sudan-South Sudan border.
South Sudan government troops in Malakal (capital of Upper Nile state capital) reported that they fought a battle with rebels in Doleib Hill (15 kilometers south of Malakal).
April 15, 2014: The World Food Program (WFP) believes the security situation in South Sudan has limited its ability to supply food to starving people. The WFP claimed that supplying “deep field” locations in South Sudan was extremely risky and that a “food catastrophe” for displaced persons, Sudanese (north Sudan) refugees in camps in South Sudan and a new surge of people fleeing violence in South Sudan could occur. The WFP recently estimated that 3.7 million people could starve unless the security the situation improves. This may be a conservative figure-other sources estimate four million refugees and displaced persons in South Sudan depend on WFP-supplied food in order to survive.
April 12, 2014: The Sudanese government said that it has a negotiating team prepared to engage in peace talk to resolve the rebellion in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. The government said that the team intends to reach an agreement with the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebels. The African Union (AU) is sponsoring a new round of talks between Sudan and the SPLM-N. In February 2014 negotiations were suspended.
April 9, 2014: The UN reported that new violence in South Sudan has displaced 803,000 people within the country. Another 255,000 have fled to neighboring countries (Ethiopia primarily).
April 7, 2014: Sudan is releasing several political prisoners and intends to open a new national political dialog with rebel organizations. There are also plans to end restrictions on media coverage in Sudan. Many political opponents of the government immediately dismissed all this as propaganda. The government insisted that jailed members of 50 opposition groups who have not committed criminal offenses would be released. There are numerous reasons to disbelieve this. However, the government was admitting that several hundred opposition political opponents had been arrested simply because they opposed the current government.
April 5, 2014: The U.S. government announced that it will impose economic and political sanctions on any individual or country that aggravates the conflict in South Sudan. Aggravation includes attacking UN peacekeeping forces and committing human rights abuses.
April 1, 2014: The South Sudan government claimed that its forces had defeated an attack on the town of Malakal (Upper Nile state) and that pro-government forces were in control of the area.
March 31, 2014: Defections to the rebels continue to plague the South Sudanese Army (Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, SPLA). A group of officers in Western Bahr al Ghazal state (some identified as senior officers, which usually means generals and colonels), help a public conference to announce their defection. The event took place in the town of Farajallaj. The officers said that they supported former vice-president Reik Machar and that he was leading a revolt against a corrupt tyranny.