Sudan: Rebels Rebel Against Themselves

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October 31, 2005: The SPLA (organization of South Sudan rebels) is falling apart. Since the recent death of SPLA leader in an airplane crash, serious splits among the surviving leaders have appeared.

Meanwhile, in Darfur, SLA and JEM rebel groups are talking again about forming a united front. Some Darfurian rebel factions have been fighting one another on and off since late spring. The SLA itself has at least two major factions. The African Union (AU) is encouraging the Darfur rebel factions to form a united negotiating front in peace talks with the Sudanese government. The rebels, however, remain very divided. Tribal divisions are one factor. At the moment rivalries among rebel leaders appear to be the main source of trouble.

October 28, 2005: Continuing strife in Darfur may lead to starvation and a larger humanitarian disaster. Specifically, the violence may diminish this fall's harvest. One of the big problems: farmers being driven off their land. With the farmers gone, the crops fail. Many of the farmers are in refugee camps in Sudan and Chad. This year's millet crop in the region is at risk. Millet is a major food source in central Africa. In 2004 several sources reported that nomads (primarily cattle herders) were at risk, too. This year fighting has blocked "traditional migration routes."

October 26, 2005: The security situation in Darfar, particularly south Darfur, was deteriorating rapidly. Today, 34 aid workers at the Kalma refugee camp in Darfur, who had been taken prisoner by refugees, were released. The aid workers were seized as an act of protest by camp refugees. The refugees complained that security at the camp was terrible. The Kalma camp's population has swelled to around 90,000 people.

October 24, 2005: The influx of medical personnel, and medical programs into Darfur, a place that had little of either before, has cut the death rate among very young (six months to five years) children.

October 24, 2005: Pro-government Arab militiamen invaded the town of Geneina, on the Chad border, and forced the police to release several of of their fellow gunmen.

October 23, 2005: In the last year, over 100,000 have died, despite government promises to halt support for Arab militias, and the presence of 7,000 African Union peacekeepers. The government has blocked the activities of the peacekeepers (who have not been able to raise enough money to bring in more, or adequately support those who are there.)

October 21, 2005: It has now become known that the government and its militia allies conducted an offensive from September 18 to September 20. At least 20 villages were attacked in that period.

 

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