2008: So far only 9000 of the promised 20000 UN peacekeeping troops have arrived in the Darfur region. They are
sorely needed, as for the last ten days, government supported tribal militias
have been attacking towns in northern Darfur.
government has backed down and agreed to proceed with the national census, as
planned, on April 22nd. At the same time, police in Darfur have been
ordered to watch UN peacekeepers carefully for any signs of misconduct
(especially those involving alcohol or sex.) Already, one peacekeeper has been
arrested on false charges.
2008: This was not unexpected but still it's a setback: Sudan's census has been
postponed to at least the end of 2008. The census was required as part of the
2005 peace deal between north (Khartoum) and south (Juba) Sudan. It was
originally scheduled to begin April 15, 2008. The GOSS (Government of South
Sudan) is demanding that southerners living "up north" get to come home and
fill out the census. The census affects several things, including dividing oil
2008: The GOSS claimed that an investigation
of the "escalation" by northern troops
in Abeyi (see April 2) had proved the move was a "major breach" of the 2005
Comprehensive Peace Agreement. According to GOSS, the northern troops were
blocking or delaying the movement of southern "returnees" (returning people
displaced by the long war). The GOSS
alleged that the returnees were being intentionally delayed because they
"intended to register for the upcoming national census." GOSS also said that
local tribal leaders (in the Dinka Ngok and the Misseriya tribes) were working
to restore trust and "defuse tensions."
2008: Two World Food Program truck drivers were murdered after their convoy
delivered food to Darfuri refugees at a refugee center in the South Sudan town
of Rumbek. On April 9 three UN police officers serving with UNAMID in North
Darfur state were robbed by "gunmen."
2008: Several NGOs are demanding that leaders around the world boycott the
opening of the Beijing Olympics. Tibet is one of the reasons, of course, but
organizations protesting against the genocide in Darfur have a lot of political
muscle One such NGO is the Save Darfur Coalition which wants world leaders to
avoid the opening ceremonies. The games run from August 8 through 24. The NGOs
want to embarrass China so much that China will push Sudan to speed up the
deployment of UNAMID forces in Darfur.
2008: South Africa agreed to send an additional 100 troops to serve with UNAMID
in Darfur. At the moment South Africa has committed 500 troops to the
operation. South African government sources say the figure could rise to 800
2008: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) asserted that 200 "heavily armed"
troops serving with Khartoum's "northern forces" moved into the town of Abyei,
violating the border and security agreement reached by Sudan and South Sudan.
Abeyi is an oil producing region. The town of Abyei is supposed to be secured
by a joint force. The northern troops entered on their own and were not
operating with southern troops. The GOSS regards the move as an "escalation" – a very
indicative word because it implies South Sudan is ready to respond similarly.
Abyei is a hotspot. In early 2008 a firefight broke out between pro-southern
farmers and a group of Misseriya tribesmen who favor the "north" (Sudan
national government in Khartoum).