Sudan: The Battle For The Blue Nile


September 15, 2011: The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group in Darfur called the appointment of a Darfuri Arab as vice-president of Sudan a propaganda move. The JEM said the new vice-president is an Islamist extremist and intends to Arabize Darfur.

South Sudan officials are openly accusing some of their superiors of being corrupt. No one expected corruption to disappear in the new state of South Sudan, but decades of corrupt rule by Arab officials from the north have made the southerners particularly sensitive about corrupt practices.

September 14, 2011: Sudan has named a Sudanese Arab politician from Sudan as vice-president. The new vice-president takes the place of Salva Kiir, who is now president of Southern Sudan.

UNAMID (African Union-UN hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur) claims that armed attacks in Darfur have declined 70 percent in the last three years.

September 13, 2011: Over 100,000 refugees have fled fighting in Blue Nile state.

September 11, 2011: The Southern Sudan government accused Sudan of killing 50 civilians in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state.

September 8, 2011: Southern Sudan and Sudan have agreed to withdraw their forces from the disputed Abyei region. Once that is accomplished, international mediators and observers will try to organize a referendum in the region. Yes, a plebiscite to determine if Abyei will belong to the north or south was supposed to have occurred some time ago. Approximately 1,800 Ethiopian peacekeeping troops are deployed in the Abyei region.

Members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the remnant southern SPLM party in northern Sudan, have called for the removal of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. They cite his record of abuse of members of their own party as well as atrocities committed by forces loyal to Bashir in South Kordofan state.

September 6, 2011: An African human rights group has accused the Sudanese government of persecuting and arbitrarily arresting members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

September 2, 2011: Sudanese military units have launched offensive operations in Blue Nile state. The Sudanese government claims that it is fighting insurgents in the state. It has also accused Southern Sudan of supporting rebels in Blue Nile state and in the Nuba Mountains. The offensive began with an attack on the home of Blue Nile state’s governor. The governor opposes the National Congress Party (NCP, Sudan’s ruling party). He is a member of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

August 31, 2011: The government of Sudan (northern Sudan) rejected claims by human rights groups that its air force had bombed villages in South Kordofan state. Several human rights organizations have accused Sudan of killing several dozen civilians in air raids in South Kordofan, specifically in the Delami, Kauda, and Kurchi regions. South Kordofan state is has the largest oil fields in Sudan (northern Sudan) and produces around 110,000 barrels a day.

August 30, 2011: Nuba rebels are telling western journalists that they are getting more recruits for their guerrilla force. The Nuba claim that they intend to launch offensive operations against the Sudanese Army and drive it from their Nuba Mountains stronghold.

August 26, 2011: The UN reported that Southern Sudanese police officers attacked and beat a UN human rights representative working in Southern Sudan’s capital, Juba on August 20. The government of Southern Sudan has promised to conduct a full-scale investigation.

August 25, 2011: Southern Sudan’s parliament has authorized the investigation of a major corruption scandal. The scandal is complicated, but the basic allegation is that businesses (middlemen and brokers, mostly) that contracted to deliver subsidized US grain to starving tribes failed to deliver the grain but claimed the subsidies. The corruption may involve a billion dollars in subsidized grain shipments. Unfortunately, scandals like these plague emergency aid and developmental aid projects globally, but especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

August 24, 2011: Human rights monitors using satellite imagery report that they have detected at least eight mass gravesites in the Nuba Mountains. The implication is that the Sudanese Army has conducted ethnic cleansing operations against the Nuba people. The Nuba do not want to be part of Sudan and want to become part of Southern Sudan.

August 23, 2011: Fighting between the Lou Nuer and Murle has killed between 500 and 600 people in Southern Sudan’s Jonglei state since the end of last month. What sparked the fighting is unclear, but large-scale cattle theft and cattle raids have occurred. Reports indicate 10,000 head of cattle (or more, up to 30,000 head) may have been stolen. Villages have also been attacked. The Lou Nuer have accused the Murle of launching attacks on five different villages. Authorities have requested UN peacekeepers deploy to provide a buffer force. Make no mistake, this conflict is a serious tribal war and the kind that can escalate and bring in allied tribes.





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