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Sudan: A Nasty Divorce Gets Nastier
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January 26, 2013: Some 110,000 to 120,000 refugees from Sudan are living in camps inside South Sudan and this is more than foreign relief groups can care for. The camps are in South Sudan’s northeastern states, near the Sudan border. The relief situation is complicated by the rainy season, which renders ground vehicle traffic all but impossible on South Sudan’s tracks (calling them roads is an exaggeration, according to several reports). Many of the refugees have also brought their livestock and domestic animals, which further exacerbates food shortages. Many cases of cholera, malaria, and hepatitis are showing up. Fuel supplies are also short. Most of the air fields are dirt strips, and this has restricted the use of aircraft. When they can fly, the aircraft bring in emergency supplies, like medicine and powdered milk (baby formula). The rainy season transportation problems the relief agencies face demonstrate why military operations during the rainy season are so difficult in the region. The few all-weather roads that run through rural areas can support large military operations but the roads have to be protected. As a result, in areas where the roads are primitive, most rainy season ground action is limited to small light infantry units (tribal raiding parties, for example) that can move on foot and to some degree can live off the land.

January 18, 2013: South Sudan forces have begun withdrawing from the Sudan border. The South Sudanese forces will begin to set up a buffer zone, as required by the agreement arranged by the African Union. South Sudan said that its force withdrawal would be completed by February 4. Both Sudan and South Sudan have indicated they intend to live up to the buffer zone agreement. The nations want to begin exporting oil again.

January 17, 2013: Abbala and Beni Hussein tribesmen clashed in central Darfur near the town of Umm Dukhum, leaving 12 dead.  Tribal leaders in Darfur are attempting to get the Abbala and Beni Hussein to agree to engage in a reconciliation process to end what has become a tribal war. A Darfur rebel group claimed that the Sudanese government has given weapons to one of the tribes.

January 16, 2013: A dispute over a gold mining operation in northern Darfur has sparked  a tribal clash which left 100 people dead. The incident is one of several tribal battles that have occurred in the Jebel Marra area since mid-December 2012.

Representatives from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) met with US officials in Washington, DC. The SPLM-N group said that it provided the Americans with information about the deteriorating humanitarian aid situation in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

January 14, 2013: Several thousand people in the South Sudanese city of Wau Western Bahr el Ghazal state held a public demonstration to protest a Sudanese attack on the town of Kitkit. The protestors claimed that the Sudanese Army and Air Force attacked Kitkit and there were no repercussions for the unprovoked attack on South Sudanese territory. The surprise attack occurred on January 2 and (according to the demonstrators) 32 South Sudanese soldiers were slain. The government of South Sudan has asked the UN Security Council to condemn Sudan for the attack. The demonstrators said that the international community should hold Sudan accountable for the destruction and deaths of the South Sudanese soldiers.

January 13, 2013: Sudan and South Sudan failed to reach an agreement on what to do with the disputed Abyei region. The countries are continuing to argue over their nominees for the Abyei Legislative Council. Originally South Sudan was to nominate 12 people to serve on the 20-man council and Sudan the other eight. Now Sudan wants a ten-ten split. The pro-south Dinka Ngok tribe was originally guaranteed 16 of the seats. Now Sudan is trying to limit Dinka Ngok participation. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) contained a provision for holding a plebiscite among Dinka Ngok in January 2011, to decide Abyei’s final disposition (either Sudan or South Sudan). However, the Khartoum and Juba governments could not agree on who was eligible to vote in the plebiscite. Khartoum argued that the Misseriya tribe (a pro-north tribe) should be able to vote as well.

January 12, 2013: The SPLM-N confirmed that its forces had attacked Sudanese Army positions in South Kordofan state on January 10. The SPLM-N said it shelled Hamra and Seref (South Kordofan state).  An SPLM-N unit launched a ground attack on the town of El Ahmier. The rebel group denied a Sudanese Army claim that it had lost 50 fighters in one of the attacks. The SPLM-N also denied that it had lost four tanks in the battle. According to the rebel report, they lost two tanks and destroyed two Sudanese Army ones in the ground battle. The rebels also claimed they killed 43 Sudanese soldiers.

January 10, 2013: The Sudanese military claimed that it had defeated a SPLM-N attack in South Kordofan state. The attack occurred near the state capital, Kadugli. The Sudanese statement claimed that the rebels lost 50 fighters in the attack and four tanks. That’s right, according to the Sudanese government, the rebels employed tanks. The only way the SPLM-N could use tanks is if they captured them from the Sudanese military. The Sudanese Army also said the SPLM-N shelled the town of El Ahmier.

South Sudan objected to what it called an attempt by the government of Sudan to create its own humanitarian commission to oversee the disputed Abyei region.

January 9, 2013: Another bout of tribal warfare in Central Darfur has forced several thousand civilians to flee.

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