After six weeks of intense protests throughout the country, the Sudanese Army’s chief of staff declared that the military will not let the national government collapse. The protests began as another round of “bread and fuel” price increase protests but quickly became protests aimed at removing “president for life” Bashir from power. Bashir has been in power for three decades. He seized power in 1989 in a military coup and the military remains his base of power. Bashir continues to face arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in western Sudan (Darfur). As for the current protests, Bashir continues to blame the protests on “foreign agents” and Darfur rebel groups. The streets don't reflect that. The protests, which began December 19, unite students plus industrial and white collar workers. The security forces (with NISS, the National Intelligence and Security Service a particular culprit) appear to have arrested over 1,000 people since mid-December. The “over 1,000” number includes journalists and opposition political leaders as well as street protestors. This puts the January 29 release of 186 detainees in a less than positive light. It also appears that between 40 and 50 people have died in the protests. The government puts the death toll at 30. (Austin Bay)
January 30, 2019: In Sudan security personnel appear to have arrested the National Umma party’s deputy leader, Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi. She is the daughter of the party leader, Sadiq al-Mahdi. The National Umma party is Sudan’s largest opposition party.
The head of the Sudan military made it clear that the military-backed president Bashir and would not allow protests to destabilize the country.
January 29, 2019: In Sudan, security authorities announced they intended to release all detainees held since anti-government protests began December 19, 2018. There is no agreement on how many people have been seized by the government.
In South Sudan, the DF (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Former Detainees) party announced it intends to reunite with the ruling SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) party. The two groups have established a joint committee for political reunification.
January 25, 2019: In South Sudan, JMEC (Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission) international peace monitors South Sudan’s armed forces “reunify.” The said unification of the armed forces will help revitalize South Sudan’s peace agreement.
January 24, 2019: South Sudan is again producing oil from fields in Unity state. The wells began pumping crude on January 21. The civil war halted production for five years. Two fields are on line and producing 20,000 barrels a day. The government intends to produce 60,000 to 70,000 barrels a day in Unity state by the end of 2019. Fighting damaged the fields, the oil service equipment and oil transportation facilities.
In Sudan, protests against president Bashir continued in major cities. There were reports of street fires in Omdurman and security forces firing tear gas at protesters in the capital (Khartoum). Major protests occurred in the cities of Madani and Sennar. A member of Sudan’s NISS was reportedly killed in a violent clash in Port Sudan where NISS personnel fought with what were described as “army troops.”
January 23, 2019: In South Sudan, JMEC declared the unification of armed forces will be “a decisive milestone” for the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement. The head of JMEC called for everyone to speed up the process. Something needs to happen. South Sudan is halfway through the eight-month long transitional period for establishing a coalition government. The government, however, says it doesn’t have the money to pay for the transition and called for international support to the peace implementation process. The government once again asked wealthy nations (donor nations is the buzz word) to provide additional funds. The government says it needs about $20 million to move both government and rebel military forces into cantonment areas.
Russia confirmed that private Russian military contractors are in Sudan. The mercenary trainers are providing security instruction to the Sudanese military.
January 22, 2019: In western Sudan, the UN-African Union’s Darfur peacekeeping operation complained that its observers were not able to verify recent reports of atrocities in the Jebel Marra area. There is, however, ongoing fighting in the region between security forces and SLM-AW rebels. The NISS controlled RSF militias are accused of atrocities by SLM-AW. The government has, in turn, accused the rebels of war crimes. Significant clashes have occurred Central, South and North Darfur state.
In South Sudan, JMEC peace monitors have accused the government of delaying legal proceedings against soldiers who JMEC personnel on December 18. Troops detained four members of a JMEC team. The soldiers forced at least three of the monitors to strip. One of the monitors was a female Ethiopian colonel. Several countries condemned the attack and demanded South Sudan investigate the incident, which is now being called “the Luri incident” (it took place near the town of Luri). The UN and IGAD (East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development) also condemned the soldiers’ actions.
In South Sudan, JMEC observers claimed Ugandan armed forces briefly entered South Sudanese territory, specifically Central Equatoria state. Uganda claimed its troops were protesting a team of construction engineers who were repairing the Kaya-Yei highway. The South Sudan government claimed it was unaware of the intrusion.
January 21, 2019: In Sudan, the government issued arrest warrants for 38 journalists and prominent critics of government misbehavior. The individuals are charged with “spreading false news” and “incitement” of protests.
In southern South Sudan (Yei River state and Jubek states), the National Salvation Front claims it defeated attacks by soldiers. The Yei state attack took place on January 19. Troops in that attack were supported by four armored vehicles. The attack in Jubek state took place on January 20.
January 18, 2019: In Sudan, there was violence at a large (5,000 people) funeral procession for a man killed in protests earlier in the week. Protesters believe security personnel shot and killed the deceased.
In northern South Sudan (Northern Leich state) about 30 people were killed and 20 injured in a cattle raid where the attackers stole 3,000 head of cattle.
January 17, 2019: In Sudan, Sudanese demonstrators in the capital (Khartoum) threw rocks at security forces and at least two people died. Major protests took place in six other cities.
January 16, 2019: In Sudan, a large anti-government protest occurred in the Kassala, which is on the border with Eritrea. The anti-Bashir protestors chanted "freedom, justice and peace."
January 15, 2019: In Sudan, president Bashir insisted he will not cede power despite the nation-wide protests against him and his government. Bashir did acknowledge that Sudan has economic problems.
January 12, 2019: In Sudan, local observers believe the political opposition remains “too fractured” to topple Bashir. However, the sustained protests are the most serious challenge to his control of the country since 1989 and what are called “disruptive political protests in Sudan’s major cities” are beginning to test Bashir’s government. However, the military, which is Bashir’s power base, remains the dominant political institution in Sudan and has been since independence. (Austin Bay)
January 8, 2019: In Sudan, president Bashir scoffed at demands by protestors that he resign his office. The town where he made that remark (Atbara) was the scene of major anti-Bashir protests during the last week of December 2018. Meanwhile, security forces in the nearby capital (Khartoum) fired stun grenades and live ammunition to disperse a group of protestors.
January 3, 2019: Despite the ongoing protests in Sudan, it appears president Bashir intends to seek re-election in the 2020 national election. For years the opposition has called on him to resign. Now, however, some former supporters are looking past Bashir. Almost everyone thought Bashir’s national reconciliation movement was only talk to help secure reductions in U.S. and UN sanctions. Bashir’s resignation might spur genuine national reconciliation and put Sudan on the road to democratic reform. (Austin Bay)
January 1, 2019: Anti-government protests continue throughout Sudan. Estimates put the death toll since December 19, when the protests began, at 37.