There is one thing the national government in Khartoum and the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) agree upon in public: the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a menace. The GOSS has reported that the LRA has launched night attacks on several villages, including ones protected by local militia forces. Unfortunately, many local militias in South Sudan are armed with spears, machetes, or bow and arrows. The LRA arrives with automatic rifles-- and then tends to finish up with machetes. The UN has reported that over 25,000 people have fled LRA attacks in South Sudan since January 2010. The GOSS reported several LRA attacks during the month of August. Officials expect more LRA attacks as the 2010 harvest proceeds. When the farmers bring in their crops, there is more for the LRA to steal. But note that this concern is largely confined to public statements. Some GOSS officials and members of the neighboring government of Uganda believe the Sudanese national government secretly supports the LRA. They argue LRA is a tool for destabilizing the south and for troubling Uganda. At one time Sudan openly supported the LRA, then withdrew its support and let Uganda send troops into southern Sudan to attack LRA base camps.
August 30, 2010: The UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force, UNAMID, announced that three Russian pilots who were kidnapped August 28 have been released. The UN said the pilot had been supporting humanitarian aid operations in Darfur.
August 25, 2010: The current U.S. government is coming under increasing attack by critics who claim it is doing very little to resolve the conflict in Darfur. The current government had criticized the prior U.S. government for failing to stop what the U.S. calls a genocide in Darfur. Humanitarian aid groups had hoped for strong U.S. action but that has not happened. The truth is, there is little the U.S. could do to stop the Darfur war other than attack Sudan and try to topple the national government. Call it regime change. A few of the more radical critics have advocated what might be called military demonstrations against the national government. Other have advocated sending arms to rebel groups or arming South Sudan. The Darfur rebels appear to have plenty of arms likely coming from Chad. South Sudan is arming itself.
August 20, 201: The UN reported that 221 people died in fighting in Darfur in June 2010. An estimated 600 died in May. The report comes almost a year after a former UNAMID commander declared that the war in Darfur was over.
August 18, 2010: The government reported that two Jordanian peacekeepers who were kidnapped in Darfur three days ago have been released. The peacekeepers are serving with UNAMID.
August 14, 2010: UNAMID reported that two UNAMID police advisers had been kidnapped in South Darfur state. The kidnappings occurred in the town of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur.
August 9, 2010: The ruling party in South Sudan, the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) claimed that a large faction in the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC, a splinter group) have rejoined the SPLM. Other splinter groups have rejoined the SPLM. This is a good sign for the GOSS, and a problem for the national government's dominant National Congress Party (NCP). The NCP has been trying to fragment the SPLM, prior to next year's plebiscite on southern independence. A small group of NCP members from the south has also joined the SPLM. This is another sign that the southern politicians believe the southerners will vote for independence. The north, however, calls it secession.
August 8, 2010: The national referendum commission reported that the country is not ready to hold the referendum on southern independence. Currently that vote is scheduled for January 9, 2011. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) required a referendum in 2011. The commission is actually making a reasonable argument when it says that many issues remain unresolved, like clearly demarcated borders and who can vote. Voter registration is incomplete and the registration lists are supposed to be available three months before the plebiscite. Well, in many places registration has not begun. The basic problem is that many southerners do not want to remain part of Sudan. And they are ready to leave.
August 6, 2010: Got to have an anthem. The GOSS has asked the writers and composers in South Sudan come up with a national anthem. They mean a national anthem for the nation of South Sudan, which many southerners believe is inevitable, once the January 2011 plebiscite is tallied.
August 4, 2010: At least 21 people died in a tribal battle in southern Sudan. A GOSS official said the fight began when cattle thieves attempted to steal a cattle herd.
July 30, 2010: The United Nations Security Council voted to extend UNAMID's mandate. UNAMID now has 21,7000 soldiers and policemen on duty in Darfur. The mandate is extended until July 31, 2011.