East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) negotiators intend to get the so-called troika trio (US, Great Britain and Norway) and China involved in the next round of South Sudanese peace talks. UN and African Union (AU) representatives will also participate. IGAD has eight member nations, but Ethiopia is the one that counts. Ethiopia is IGAD’s diplomatic and military power and has taken the lead in trying to end South Sudan’s civil war.
Meanwhile, UN officials and NGOs assisting displaced South Sudanese now estimate 120,000 South Sudanese internally displaced people (IDPs) are directly relying on UN peacekeepers for protection. The IDPs are in camps very close (or adjacent) to peacekeeper bases. South Sudan also faces a hunger crisis, which complicates matters for the peacekeepers. The UN estimates that two million South Sudanese are “food insecure” (that is a notch above famine conditions). The rainy season is about to begin and that means 60 to 70 percent of South Sudan’s roads will be closed to vehicle traffic. Food for IDP camps will have to be delivered by air or, if the camp is close to the Nile River, by barge. The UN will try to ship food supplies to the huge IDP camp at Malakal (Upper Nile state) by barge to feed the 26,000 IDPs there.
April 18, 2015: International election monitors are estimating that only 35 percent of eligible Sudanese voters voted in the recent election. This is an initial estimate, but it indicates that the opposition has scored a political success. The opposition called the elections a charade and a fraud -- window dressing to keep dictator Omar al-Bashir in office.
April 17, 2015: South Sudan rebels fought government troops in the town of Khor-Athoy (Upper Nile state). The rebels claimed that the government intended to launch a major attack in the area before the dry season ends and they acted to thwart the looming major attack (implying they launched a spoiling attack).
April 16, 2015: Sudan has completed its national election, or at least sort of. The three day voting period began on April 13. Most Sudanese opposition parties boycotted the election. They called it a sham run by long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir. Several European Union nations also called it a sham, as did the EU’s foreign minister. EU criticisms rattled Bashir to the point he ordered Sudan’s foreign ministry to summon the EU’s special envoy in Khartoum and comlian. Bashir has held power since 1989 by manipulating the elections and much else.
April 15, 2015: Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebels hit Kadugli (capital of Sudan’s South Kordofan state) with mortar and rocket fire. The government claimed the rebel fire killed four civilians.
April 14, 2015: SPLM-N rebels attacked polling centers in South Kordofan’s Habila district. Both rebel and government sources reported that three polling centers in the area were forced to close. The SPLM-N claimed that was the objective of the attacks, to disrupt the presidential and parliamentary election in South Kordofan state. The rebels said the election is a fraud. Meanwhile, the government extended the voting period an extra day. Critics said the government was emabrassed by low voter turnout.
April 13, 2015: National voting began in Sudan. The election boycott by the political opposition means that the only candidates on the ballot are members of dictator Omar al Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) and a couple of very new political organizations that critics claim are fakes organized by the NCP .
April 12, 2015: South Sudanese rebels (SPLA-O, Sudan Peoples Liberation Army in Opposition) accused the government of planning to launch a major offensive throughout the country and the government would begin the offensive despite scheduled peace talks in Ethiopia. The rebels said the government offensive would be conducted on multiple fronts and specifically alleged that government forces would attackrebel positions around Bentiu on “three axes.” One route of advance will be up the Nile River.
April 10, 2015: Last year Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir began touting what he calle a new national dialog. The political pitch was that he would seek peace in Darfur with the various Darfuri rebel groups and end what his government is calling the trouble in the two areas where SPLM-N rebels operate (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states). The pitch sounded good. Bashir claimed only he could bring peace to the country and therefore he should be reelected. However, no one in the political opposition believed him. The Darfur War and the SPLM-N rebellion continued. The opposition boycott of the national elections (presidential and parliamentary) also continues to hold. The boycott is
April 8, 2015: China has completed deployment of an infantry battalion to South Sudan. The unit has 700 soldiers (13 are women). This is the first Chinese combat unit committed to the UN South Sudan peacekeeping force. China,, however, has deployed military engineer units to South Sudan but avoided calling them combat engineers. The engineers were ostensibly assigned to support missions (eg, improving roads and other infrastructure). The infantry unit will be assigned several missions, include protecting civilian areas and conducting peacekeeping patrols.
April 7, 2015: The Sudan government (Khartoum) said that deteroirating security conditions means it will have to postpone voting in about a quarter of South Kordofan state. The SPLM-N has said that it intends to disrupt the national elections. The SPLM-N claimed that its forces had recently seized a vehicle carrying ballot boxes. Voting is scheduled to run from April 13 to April 15.
UN peaceeper investigators in Darfur confirmed that on April 1 Sudanese aircraft attacked the town of Rowata (Central Darfur state) and killed 14 civilians and wounded 18. A UN verification patrol reported that another air attack occurred in Rowata on April 6. The UN patrol saw a Sudanese aircraft drop five bombs. However, there were no reported casulaties.
A rebel group calling itself the Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation (REMNASA) launched an attack in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state. The REMNASA fighters ambushed a convoy and destroyed at least one vehicle and two trailers. South Sudan said that it would deploy more security forces to protect the road between Maridi and Mambe, where the attack occurred. REMNASA was formed in January 2015 and is commanded by Major Losuba Lodoru, a former South Sudanese officer.
April 6, 2015: South Sudanese rebels claimed that Lam Akol, a senior government official, had defected to the rebel cause. Akol belongs to the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC).
April 5, 2015: Establishing the Greater Pibor Area Administration (GPAA) was supposed to help end tribal conflict in South Sudan’s Pibor area. In May 2014 the government and the regional rebel leader signed the GPAA agreement. This leader had originally signaled that he and his forces would not get involved in the civil war. In fact, within the Pibor area, his forces would integrate with the national army. At the time the rebel leader said Pibor rebels were favoring the government. However, some government officials are warning that the Pibor rebels are considering supporting the rebel movement.
April 4, 2015: SPLM-N rebels vowed to continue their attacks to disrupt Sudanese national elections in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. A rebel spokesman advised all civilians to stay away from Sudanese Army installations and other government security targets.
April 3, 2015: South Sudanese rebel leader issued an Easter proclamation. He said that the rebel forces are committed to restoring peace in South Sudan.
April 1, 2015: IGAD negotiators are now saying that the long-standing personal feud between the South Sudan president and the rebel leader is a major problem when it comes to making peace and ending the civil war. At least one negotiator said that the feud is the biggest problem and a “root cause.” Peace talks collapsed in late March with the government and the rebels accusing each other of refusing to enforce the ceasefire agreement and of planning to renew attacks. The rebels also claimed that the Ugandan Army is once again fighting on the side of the government. The rebels said Ugandan soldiers participated in several recent firefights in Unity state.
March 31, 2015: Great Britain announced that it will temporarily deploy a C-130 transport aircraft to South Sudan to support the UN in South Sudan. The C-130 actually landed in Juba on March 28. The C-130 will haul supplies from Juba to the UN base at Malakal. An estimated 21,000 refugees have collected around that base.
March 30, 2015: The SPLM-N said its forces had attacked the Sudanese Army garrison at Habila (South Kordofan state). The rebels claimed to have captured six vehicles and eight mortars (five of the mortars 82 mm medium mortars). The Sudan government said that the rebels did attack at Habila but after that the government report diverged. The government claimed that the rebels destroyed civilian homes and a market area. Govenmen forces them drove off the rebels.
March 29, 2015: Sudan and South Sudan have begun another round of talks over the disputed Abyei region. The talks are being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. African Union (AU) representatives and UN officials also participating in the talks.
March 28, 2015: – South Sudan claimed that pro-government forces captured eight rebels in a battle earlier ths week near the town of Bentiu (Unity state). The government said that a rebel force was trying to move into a position to attack the town of Nhialdiu. The rebels denied the government accusation and called it war propaganda. In turn, the rebels accused the government of launching several attacks in Unity state. The dry season is ending and the rebels said that govenrment forces are trying to use their superior mobility to take key areas before the rainy season begins.
March 27, 2015: South Sudan refuted claims by rebels that they had taken control of the town of Ayod (Jonglei state). South Sudan claimed that its forces had killed 50 rebels in skirmishes around Ayod and in firefights near Bentiu (Unity state).
March 23, 2015: SPLM-N rebels attacked two Sudanese Army positions in Blue Nile state.Rebels attacked the army garrison at El Gabanit and also launched an attacked in the Bau Locality. The rebels claimed they killed eight soldiers and lost four fighters in the attacks.