Sudan: August 31, 1999


SPLA leader John Garang held talks in Cairo with Egyptian officials to discuss the Egyptian-Libyan peace plan for ending Sudan's 16-year long civil war. Egypt's plan calls for an "immediate halt of military operations and media campaigns by all parties."

August 25; The Sudanese government issued a statement favoring stronger ties with Ethiopia.  Two hundred troops of the rebel SPLA attacked a government police post (held by 47 policemen) in the East Blue Nile state. The fighting went on for ten hours before government reinforcements arrived and the rebels withdrew. SPLA aitn-aircraft guns also fired on a government transport that flew over rebel territory. The rebels are apparently not joining the government's ceasefire, although they have agreed to join the peace talks. A Sudanese Antonov airplane overflew northern Uganda and took anti-aircraft fire from Ugandan defense forces.

August 21; The SPLA accused the United Nations of ignoring evidence of chemical weapons attacks by the Sudan Air Force.The SPLA claimed the towns of Lainya and Kaaya had been attacked by chemical weapons. The SPLA also asserted that the Sudanese military was keeping chemical munitions in the southern Sudanese city of Juba.

August 20;  Another Eritrean 60,000 refugees have fled to Sudan from the fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia. They join 300,000 Eritrean refugees who have fled over the past few decades and never returned home. Several hundred thousand Ethiopian refugees have gone home.

August 16; Some food aid programs have been restored in southern Sudan, largely because of the government's ceasefire. There is no assurance that the food deliveries will get there, because the rebels have refused to join the ceasefire and the area is still infested with heavily armed bandits.

August 10; The proposed peace agreement is stalled because the government refuses to discuss peace terms, and release political prisoners, before the ceasefilre goes into effect.

August 7; The government will go ahead with it's unilateral cease fire even though the rebels have refused to go along with it.

August 6; The rebels refused to join the government in their proposed ceasefire.

August 5; The government announced a 70 day ceasefire for its forces fighting the southern rebels. The government also denies that it has used chemical weapons. Chemicals normally associated with common explosives have been known to cause adverse effects on people downwind of the explosions.

August 3; Norwegian relief workers in southern Sudan claim that the government has used chemical weapons against the rebels. The UN is investigating the report and samples are being obtained for analysis.

August 2; Sudan has been on the offensive diplomatically for the last month, trying to enlist other Islamic countries to convince the southern rebels to join peace talks. Today the rebels agreed to a plan proposed by Col. Moammar Kadhafi of Libya. If the discussions are successful, there will be a ceasefire, an agreeable method to police the ceasefire, a "halt to media campaigns" (a very 90s sort of thing), and direct talks between the Sudanese government and the rebels. Col. Kadafi will head a committee of representatives from the government and the rebels to make all the arrangements, including dates for meetings. Libya will arrange to include representatives from Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, countries that had previously tried to broker a peace. These nations have contacts among the rebels and government officials that will be useful in making it all happen. The rebels demand some autonomy and freedom from the government's imposition of Islamic law on the entire nation.

July 27; The government imposed a flight ban in the eastern areas formerly covered by the humanitarian ceasefire. This could mean government warplanes would attack any transports found trying to fly in relief aid. The government has, in the past, blocked food aid to refugees and famine victims in rebel areas as a means to kill off rebel populations.

July 23; The government refused to extend the humanitarian ceasefire, as a means to force the rebels to a permanent settlement.

July 20; The government announced that it had destroyed 80 percent of rebel troops in eastern Sudan. There was no way to confirm this.

July 19; The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) said it would prolong it's ceasefire in the southwest part of Sudan, as well as portions of the upper Nile, for another three months, while peace talks continued. One reason for these ceasefires is to allow humanitarian aid to get into the interior unmolested. The SPLA is still fighting government troops in other parts of southern Sudan. The three month "humanitarian ceasefire" began in July of 1998 and has been renewed every three months since.

Government attempts at peace talks with rebel groups, and Egypt (which backs some rebel groups) and the United States continued in July without much success.


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