April 2, 2012: Sudan is moving forward with its plan to take away the Sudanese citizenship of actual, or suspected, natives of South Sudan (even if born in the north). In effect, Sudan is trying to expel over half a million people it considers too black and Christian (or not sufficiently Moslem).
April 1, 2012: South Sudan suspects that China favors Sudan (Khartoum government). After all, China supported Sudan’s war in Darfur and supplied Sudan during the north-south civil war. Now China is telling South Sudan that it will not favor the north and will try to support an even-handed diplomacy. That is going to be difficult, since the north is militarily superior to the south. The south, however, has the majority of the oil fields.
March 31, 2012: South Sudan and Sudan exchanged accusations that the other side had started the firefight in Heglig (March 26).
A video recently appeared on the Internet showing the governor of South Kordofan state telling Sudanese (northern Sudan) troops that they should take no prisoners when they fight with rebels (ie, members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North). The governor, Ahmed Harun, has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on war crimes charges in Darfur. The video was filmed in South Kordofan state and contains some video of rebels operating in the Nuba Mountains. Warning, what Harun says is cold. The link is: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/03/2012331114433519971.html
March 30, 2012: South Sudan’s military accused the north of launching an airstrike on its soldiers in an area south of Heglig but inside South Sudan. The north replied that it had launched artillery attacks on the southern positions after southern artillery fired on northern soldiers.
Three people were killed in a series of clashes involving Sudanese security forces firing in a village market in North Darfur state.
March 28, 2012: The government of South Sudan and several news agencies reported that Sudanese Army (Sudan Armed Forces, army of northern Sudan) began launching a series of attacks on March 26. A large battle occurred in Heglig, a town in a disputed section of the border. Southern forces pulled back from Heglig. Firefights then broke out in Unity state (South Sudan), just across the border from Heglig. The north maintains that Heglig belongs to it and that it has been fighting rebels belonging to the SPLM-N in the area. (See report of March 22.) On March 27 Sudanese aircraft (Antonov transports rigged as bombers) allegedly bombed the town of Panakwach (in South Sudan). Khartoum, however, denied that its aircraft had bombed southern territory.
March 25, 2012: Oil traders are saying that South Sudan cannot maintain its shutdown of crude oil production much longer. South Sudan has shutdown its major fields rather than pay Sudan what it calls a criminal (extortion-rate) transport charge per barrel. The south said it would borrow money on credit but over-estimated its ability to get credit. South Sudan and Sudan are continuing to bargain over the transport fee issue.
March 23, 2012: Investigators from a non-governmental organization concluded that the weapons and ammo used by Lou Nuer fighters in a battle with the Murle came from South Sudan army stocks (Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, SPLA) and from a rebel militia in Jonglei state. The battle took place in December 2011, and several hundred Murle tribesmen were killed. The Murle have accused the Lou Nuer of committing war crimes (mass murder).
March 22, 2012: Sudan’s government accused rebels in the SPLM-N of launching an attack near the town of Heglig (South Kordofan state). Heglig is in a border region claimed by both the north and south. An oil field near Heglig produces some 55,000 to 60,000 barrels a day. The field is operated by an oil company consortium, with a Chinese oil company as the lead operator on behalf of the Sudan government.
March 20, 2012: A Sudanese court sentenced six leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to death. The JEM is the main Darfur opposition group. A seventh member of the JEM was sentenced to ten years in prison. The men were charged with terrorism, murder, and illegal possession of weapons. A JEM spokesman accused the government of abusing the legal system.
March 18, 2012: Rebels belonging to the Sudan Peoples Liberation movement-North (SPLM-N) accused the government of Sudan of preventing food and medical relief agencies from entering the Nuba Mountains. The Khartoum government has done this before, during the civil war with the south and in Darfur. The government contends that the relief agencies are supplying the rebels with food and medicine. The SPLM-N is now part of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).
March 16, 2012: Eye-witnesses reported several Sudanese Army (Sudanese Armed Forces, SAF) attacks in the Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan state). Most of the attacks were by rocket artillery (multiple-launched or barrage rockets). Rebels asserted that the rockets are made by China and are launched from trucks. China makes a 122 mm rocket with a range of 40 kilometers. Rebels are claiming that the warheads were bigger than 122 mm. There are larger versions of the Chinese multiple-launched rocket.