Sudan: Peace In Our Time

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November 25, 2014:   South Sudanese, both government loyalists and rebels, are skeptical of a peace deal recently negotiated by government and rebel leaders. The East African Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) began releasing details of the power sharing deal during the second week of November. At the moment it looks like the current president will continue as president and the rebel leader will become prime minister. The government and rebels will keep their forces separate but as the transition proceeds there will eventually be rebels integrating into South Sudan army units (Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, SPLA). However, ceasefire violations continue, particularly in Upper Nile and Unity states. However, that isn't the only reason people are skeptical the deal will last. A group of South Sudan refugees recently accused government and rebel soldiers of attacking refugees. Crimes include theft and murder. Some 15,000 South Sudanese have fled to Uganda, and they claim they can’t trust either side.

November 23, 2014: – The SPLA claimed it has discovered a plan to start a second rebellion.  The plot involves some politicians and local militia forces in Equatoria state.  Members of the Equatoria Defense Force (local militia) intended to secede from South Sudan and make Equatoria an independent state.

November 22, 2014: Senior administrators of UNAMID, the UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping operation in Sudan’s Darfur region, acknowledged that UNAMID has received a request by the Sudan government to create an exit strategy. Earlier this year the Sudan government began complaining about UNAMID, characterizing the operation as having no end.  This was something of a change. Previously Sudan had complained that UNAMID was an example of UN imperialism. The UN responded to Sudan’s request by referring the Sudanese government to UN Security Council Resolution 2173, which sets out conditions for ending the mission.

November 21, 2014: South Sudan’s second-highest ranking diplomat in Ethiopia has defected to the rebels (Sudan Peoples Libera Movement in Opposition, SPM-O).  The diplomat is a member of the Nuer tribe. The rebel commander is a Nuer as are many other senior leaders.

The UN announced that Ethiopian Major General Birhanu Jula Gelalcha will take over as commander of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

November 20, 2014: Government and rebel officials in South Sudan said that they will continue to pursue reconciliation talks. A rebel leader acknowledged that despite the new power-sharing agreement many differences still exist between the government and the rebels but the civil war needs to end.

Ceasefire negotiations between Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) adjourned today. Negotiators are trying to arrange a permanent ceasefire in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. The talks, sponsored by The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), recommenced on November 12.  The SPLM-N said that it is seeking a comprehensive process to achieve peace in Sudan.  Comprehensive means reaching sustainable agreements with other rebel groups in Sudan. The government has also agreed to begin talks with two Darfur rebel groups the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi faction(SLM-MM).

November 18, 2014: The SPLA accused Sudan of reinforcing its military units along the Sudan-South Sudan border. SPLA observers have seen more heavy weapons -- tanks, artillery and armored personnel carriers along the Sudan- Western Bahr el Ghazal state border. The Sudanese build-up follows South Sudanese threats to increase its air defenses. South Sudan made the threats after Sudanese Air Force planes attacked civilians in Western Bahr el Ghazal state on November 2.

November 15, 2014: South Sudan rebel leaders are being briefed by their negotiators on the details of the power-sharing agreement reached with the government. Both sides know they have to convince many of their supporters to back the agreement.

November 14, 2014: This is an odd twist. South Sudan accused IGAD of delaying implementing the new peace agreement. Rebels said that IGAD negotiators take too many recesses and holidays. South Sudanese government and rebels leaders say that just as they are about to reach a deal, IGAD mediators take a break. South Sudanese from both sides say that is why the new power-sharing deal has not been signed. South Sudanese government and rebel leaders have made a verbal agreement and intend to follow through on it. But IGAD mediators decided to take a recess before the leaders signed an agreement. IGAD mediators have another version they contend that they have given government and rebel leaders until the end of November to reach agreement on some unresolved issues. That said, IGAD has begun a training seminar for SPLA and rebel commanders who will oversee implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities (COH) agreement. Six senior officers from both sides will participate in a workshop beginning November 15.

November 11, 2014: The East African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said that it would impose sanctions on both the South Sudan government and the rebels if fighting in South Sudan did not cease.

November 10, 2014: Rebel and South Sudan government troops fought engagements in three South Sudan states. The rebels claimed government units attacked their positions near oil fields in Upper Nile and Unity states. The government denied the allegation and said rebels attacked. A major firefight was also reported in Jonglei state. The battles occurred as South Sudan and rebel leaders completed two days of talks in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The leaders declared that they have agreed to a complete end to all hostilities and have reached a power-sharing arrangement for the transitional government. Unfortunately, hostilities continue in the countryside.

November 9, 2014: South Sudan and rebel leaders said they have agreed that the government and rebels will command separate defense forces during the transitional government period. Essentially, the government will get to maintain loyal forces and the rebels will get to keep their forces in the field. The leaders are participating in IGAD-sponsored talks in Ethiopia. IGAD would provide ceasefire monitors. Both sides said that they will develop a process for integrating the two forces as the transitional government stabilizes. Both leaders said they had made progress on the powers of the transitional president. The president will be the chairman of the ministerial council but he can delegate his powers to the prime minister.  The president will appoint ministers but the prime minister will oversee day to day government operations.

November 8, 2014: South Sudan rebels claimed government forces aided by “foreign allies” attacked rebel positions near Tor and Hofra (Unity state). Foreign allies means anti-Sudan rebel forces operating in South Sudan. In this case, a subsequent report identified the allies as fighters with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

A man armed with a knife murdered two security guards outside Sudan’s presidential palace in Khartoum. Other guards then killed the attacker. Investigators claimed the attacker was mentally ill.

The Jiye tribe in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has agreed to join the Greater Pibot Administrative Area (GPAA). A former rebel commander is governor (chief administrator) of the GPAA. Three other Jonglei tribes have agreed to join the GPAA.

November 6, 2014: South Sudan announced that it will purchase new air defense weapons. The government made the announcement after an attack by Sudanese aircraft in Raja county, Western Bahr el Ghazal state. On November 2nd an attack by Sudanese Air Force planes killed 35 civilians and wounded 17. The 35 were killed in an attack delivered by jet aircraft. The wounded were hit by a bomb dropped from an AN-12 transport (rigged as a bomber).

October 28, 2014: The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) announced that the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) will re-open talks between the rebels and the Sudanese government. The talks will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Observers reported heavy fighting between South Sudan government forces and rebels in and around the city of Bentiu (Unity state). The fighting erupted as new negotiations were scheduled to begin.

 

 

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