Earlier this month Sudan and Egypt failed to reach an agreement with Ethiopia over Nile River water distribution rights. Sudan and Egypt object to Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project. In June 2013 the three countries agreed to form a joint special committee of international experts to discuss and analyze the dam project and its potential effects on Nile River water flow. Though Sudan and Egypt tend to operate as allies on Nile water issues, diplomats indicated that in the latest round of talks Sudan has been trying to act as a mediator between Egypt and Ethiopia. Some hotheaded Egyptian politicians have threatened to attack the GERD. Egypt claims it has rights to around 85 percent of the Nile’s annual flow and cites two treaties, one from 1929 and one from 1959, as the basis for its claim.
December 14, 2013: Three mortar shells fired by SPLM-N (Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North) rebels struck Kadugli, capital of Sudan’s South Kordofan state. Three people were wounded. The Sudanese Army retaliated by firing a barrage of 122 mm rockets.
December 13, 2013: The fighting between rebels and the Sudanese Army has disrupted health services for some 165,000 children in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states because relief agencies cannot enter many areas. The UN has been trying to run a polio vaccine inoculation program in South Kordofan state.
December 12, 2013: President Omar al Bashir of Sudan made one of his most trusted personal allies Sudan’s first vice president. Lieutenant General Bakri Hassan Saleh helped stage the 1989 coup which put Bashir in power. At the time Bashir was a brigadier general in the Sudanese Army. Saleh and Bashir had served together in a parachute infantry unit. Bashir has rejected demands by opposition leaders and some members of his own National Congress Party that the government commit itself to serious political and economic reform. Bashir remains under indictment for war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
December 10, 2013: Satellites continue to document Sudanese Army operations in in South Kordofan state. The latest photo imagery appears to support word-of-mouth reports about the Sudanese military offensive which began in November. Satellite images show the town of Kundukr burning and Sudanese Army soldiers in the town. SPLM-N rebels said that they had no fighters in Kundukr and the satellite imagery appears to support the rebel claim.
December 9, 2013: UN and AU (African Union) peacekeepers and diplomats have made progress in resolving the armed conflict between the Maaliya and Rezeigat tribes. The tribes fought a series of battles in August 2013.
December 8, 2013: Sudan has formed a new cabinet. The new cabinet is stocked with men personally loyal to president Bashir.
December 6, 2013: Armed members of the Hamar and Maliya tribes clashed in the town of Um Dekon (Sudan’s West Kordofan state) leaving 25 dead and 26 were wounded. This apparently began when a farmer and a herder got into an argument over pasturage. The argument escalated into a battle. Hamar (Hammar-Banna) are primarily cattle herders, though some Hamar farm. Some Maliya also herd cattle.
December 2, 2013: The newly-formed Sudanese opposition political group NCF (National Consensus Forces) announced that it has made contact with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). The SRF is an umbrella political organization uniting several guerrilla groups in Sudan, including the SPLM-N and JEM (Darfur Justice and Equality Movement). NCF opposes Sudan and corruption within president Bashir’s National Congress Party.
December 1, 2013: The SPLM-N denied that the Sudanese Army had attacked its base in the town of Kauda (South Kordofan state). Kauda is approximately 90 kilometers east of Kadugli and is a major rebel political center and supply base. The Sudanese government had claimed that Sudanese security forces had destroyed several SPLM-N tanks (T-55s) and destroyed numerous supply trucks.
November 30, 2013: The Dinka Ngok’s unilateral referendum in the disputed Abyei region continues to anger the Sudanese government. That may well have been the Dinkas’ goal. In late October the Dinka Ngok held a unilateral referendum which the tribe said would determine if Abyei would join Sudan or South Sudan. The Dinka voted overwhelmingly to become part of South Sudan. The African Union called the vote illegal, but that did not stop the Dinka from holding their vote. According to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Abyei was supposed to hold a final referendum in 2011 to determine its ultimate status. The referendum did not take place and the Dinka contend the Sudanese government has no intention of ever holding the referendum. Sudan and South Sudan disagree on who has the right to vote in Abyei. During the long civil war, many native Dinka fled Abyei. The Sudanese government encouraged members of the pro-Khartoum (and semi-nomadic) Misseriya tribe to take up residency in Abyei. The Dinka regard the Misseriya as outsiders. Abyei is traditional Dinka Ngok territory.
November 28, 2013: South Sudan’s Unity state is investigating a battle between the Jikany and Leek clans that occurred in mid-November. Seven people were killed and nine wounded. The clans were fighting over land rights. The clans fought over the same territory in 2009. Meanwhile, the government of South Sudan has sent a force of around 100 national policemen and soldiers to the area.
November 27, 2013: The SPLM-N claimed that its forces attacked a Sudanese Army column near Umm Kraisha (Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan state). The SPLM-N claimed rebels captured three tanks and 20 other vehicles.