Sudan: Shaky Ceasefire Crumbles

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November 28, 2015: South Sudan is having problems with some officers who refuse orders to attack rebels and violate the cease fire. At least one battalion commander has been threatened with arrest over this. The government says this is all rebel propaganda. The UN is also calling for Sudan and South Sudan to cooperate in finding out who attacked civilians and peacekeepers yesterday in Abyei (the area between Sudan and South Sudan that both nations claim). The attack left a civilian and a peacekeeper dead.

November 27, 2015: Ceasefire observers are warning the UN that renewed fighting throughout South Sudan could destroy the transitional peace agreement that was signed in August. The violence is making it even more difficult to form the transitional government mandated by the peace agreement. The South Sudan Troika (Norway, Great Britain and the U.S.) recently criticized both the government and rebels for failing to live up to their agreements to form a national unity government. The Troika all but called it a failure in leadership by the warring factions. South Sudan and the rebels agreed to form a transitional national unity government. The transitional government would run South Sudan for 30 months. At that time the country would conduct a new national election. The rebel leader is supposed to serve a first vice president in the transitional government. The existing Sudan president would continue as president.

November 25, 2015: It looks like another major crackdown by Sudan dictator Bashir. Sudan security forces have arrested several opposition leaders. Sudanese intelligence arrested several senior opposition leaders since November 15.

South Sudan rebels accused the South Sudan of using armed helicopters to attack a rebel garrison. The rebel statement called the garrison a cantonment area, since a ceasefire is supposed to be in force. The cantonment area is located in Western Equatoria state.

November 24, 2015: The UN said that South Sudan needs an additional 1,100 peacekeepers to help protect civilians. The UN is asking members to contribute 500 additional soldiers and 600 police for this. The UN also wants a field hospital in Bentiu (capital of Unity state) where some 100,000 refugees have settled.  UN observers in South Sudan’s northern states report that violence is once again disrupting aid shipments to refugees in their region.

November 23, 2015: In South Sudan peace agreement observers reported another spike in violence. Several incidents appear to be revenge killings. In South Sudan revenge killings are usually provoked in two ways. The most prevalent case (currently) involves soldiers or a militia associated with one tribe. The soldiers attack members of another tribe and kill them. The soldiers justify this attack as retaliation for murderous attacks on members of their tribe. A lot of the fighting in the South Sudan civil war between the rebels and the government amounts to tit-for-tat revenge killing between pro-rebel Nuers and pro-government Dinkas. The other common case involves cattle thefts or plundering expeditions directed against tribes or villages. Militiamen associated with the victimized tribe, however, do not always retaliate in kind. Instead of stealing cattle, they kill the kin of the cattle thieves. (Austin Bay)

November 21, 2015: In Sudan rebels from the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) offered to discuss new agreements with the government. The SPLM-N is fighting Sudanese security forces in Blue Nile state and South Kordofan state. The African Union (AU) is trying to get the SPLM-N and the Sudan government to sign a new cessation of hostilities agreement.

November 19, 2015: in South Sudan the army claims to be in full control of the Juba-Nimule highway. This is the highway connecting Sudan’s capital to the Uganda border. The government statement followed an attack on a bus which killed five people. The government attributed the attack to thieves not rebels.

November 17, 2015: In South Sudan the SPLM-IO rebels accused the South Sudan government of multiple violations of the ceasefire agreement. Government forces launched numerous attacks on its forces in Unity state. The rebels specifically mentioned a government attack on the rebel garrison at Touchluak. The rebel force defeated the attackers. The attackers retreated to Bentiu, the state capital.

November 15, 2015: Agents of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) have arrested opposition leader Kamal Ismail, who is the chairman of the Sudanese National Alliance Party (SNAP).

November 11, 2015: This news must delight Sudanese dictator Bashir. The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) may be splintering. The SRF is the “umbrella” group representing rebel organizations throughout Sudan. However, a series of meetings that began last summer have revealed major political disagreements between the SRF’s four main alliance members, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army’s (SLA) two factions, the SLA-Minni Minawi and SLA-Abd al-Wahid al-Nur. A meeting in October to discuss SRF leadership ended in rancor.

November 10, 2015: Another 400 Sudanese Army troops have deployed to Yemen. That brings the Sudan contingent in Yemen to around 1,250 soldiers. Sudan promised the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that it will deploy up to 6,000 troops to fight in Yemen. On the political side, Sudan has asked Iran to withdraw some low-level political personnel from its Sudan embassy.

November 9, 2015: In South Sudan a young cattle herder in Lakes state killed five soldiers and wounded 11. This began when soldiers confiscated the young man’s weapon. Angry over that he went and got another weapon. He then attack the soldiers’ camp and managed to escape after the attack. When interviewed by media the young cattle herder said that the soldiers had stolen his weapon and he took action to retrieve it. He also accused the soldiers of burning 20 houses in the area.

November 7, 2015: Observers reported new fighting in South Sudan’s Unity state. Some of the fighting involved child soldiers.

November 4, 2015: The Revolutionary Movement For National Salvation (REMNASA) opposition group has agreed to join the rebel Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-In- Opposition (SPLM-IO). REMNASA is based in Western Equatoria state. In October REMNASA negotiators met with SPLM-IO representatives in Ethiopia to discuss the political merger. The opposition parties have now signed a formal political agreement. REMNASA is a small group but this is a political victory for the SPLM-IO and its leader, Riek Machar.

November 3, 2015: Fighting continues in Sudan’s Blue Nile state despite a supposed ceasefire. Rebels in Blue Nile state claimed they killed several pro-government militiamen when they ambushed a convoy near Ed-Damazin (the state capital). The rebels also seized several weapons. The rebels claimed that the government has repeatedly violated the ceasefire in the Ed Damazin area.

November 2, 2015: The UN revealed that it has secured the release of 13 contract workers who were detained by rebels in late October. These 13 workers were part of a larger contingent taken prisoner near the town of Renk in Upper Nile state. The contractors were serving in a barge convoy carrying fuel to UN peacekeepers in Upper Nile state. Eighteen peacekeepers who were also taken prisoner were released on October 29. The rebels did not return the 55,000 liters (13,000 gallons) of fuel on the captured barges.

 

 

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