Sudan: Yet Another Unofficial War

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January 7, 2008: Chad and Sudan are at war again, this time unofficially. Chadian troops have joined forces with Sudanese rebels (the Darfur Based JEM) to attack Sudanese backed Chad rebels who have been operating along the Sudanese border, and often retreating into Sudan to avoid getting stomped by a superior force. Now Chad insists it will not stop at the border when pursuing these raiders. Sudan says it will defend itself. The war zone is a howling desert and the players a groups of heavily armed guys riding around in SUVs and pickup trucks. The Chad army has a few helicopters, and occasional air support from a French Air Force detachment. The Sudanese usually use Russian transport aircraft, converted into bombers by having bombs pushed out of the aircraft. Not very accurate, but usually only directed at sprawling targets, like towns inhabited by people hostile to the government.

January 6, 2008: The UNAMID "hybrid" peacekeeping force in Darfur still suffers from critical gaps in equipment. Lack of helicopters remains the biggest problem but ground transportation is also inadequate. Given the size of the Darfur region, helicopter support is absolutely vital, for both transportation and observation.

January 4, 2008: A group thought to be an "ideological affiliate" of Al Qaeda, claimed that it was responsible for the January 1st murder of a USAID worker and a Sudanese driver working for USAID. The group's is named Ansar al-Tawhid (Partisans of Allah's Unity, or Oneness). The claim was made on a website, which means that the claim is unsubstantiated.

The South Sudan government claimed that militia fighters "supported by northern (Sudan) soldiers" attacked a southern Sudanese military position. The militia consisted of a "tribal group" but included members of the Sudanese Army, and the firefight took place along the disputed border.

January 1, 2008: John Granville, an American diplomat working for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was shot to death in Khartoum. The American official's Sudanese driver was also slain. Granville was killed when a car pulled up near his car and gunfire erupted. Police reported that the attackers fired 17 shots, and the attack remained under investigation.

December 31, 2007: UNAMID, the combined UN and the African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, officially raised its flag. UNAMID's headquarters is in the town of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State.

 

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