Sudan: Respecting Local Customs

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July 6, 2015: In South Sudan the civil war continues with neither side making any decisive moves. Peace negotiations are deadlocked but at least both sides are willing to talk. Most of the fighting is raiding and ambushes. The UN accusses the South Sudan Army of deliberate atrocities (rape, murder and looting) against civilians. The government denies the accusations pointing out that the UN witnesses were rebel supporters currently in UN run refugee camps. The most common style of warfare throughout Sudan and South Sundan is (and has long been) decidedly medieval (and earlier) in that it relies a lot on going after civilians who back your opponent. In ancient times this cut off money and other material support for the enemy and encouraged the foe to make peace on your terms. By the 17 th century Europe had agreed that this sort of thing was no longer acceptable behavior. The rest of the world has been slower to adopt these European conventions although the UN, in theory, does and will criticize members who go old school in a civil war.  

The SPLM-N (Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North) operates primarily in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The rebel organization’s name pains the SPLM (Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement) in South Sudan, but the SPLM-N was at one time a wing of the southern SPLM. Unfortunately, the northern faction could not join the south when it became independent. In June the SPLM-N released what it called an investigation into Sudan’s human rights violations in Blue Nile state. The report looked at a series of incidents in the Wad Abouk area. The report alleged that the Sudan government used a government militia force that was dressed as civilians to attack SPLM-N forces. The SPLM-N fighters withdrew from the area in order to avoid civilian casualties. Despite the withdrawal, Sudanese forces subjected the area to intense aerial attack and artillery fire.

July 5, 2015: The South Sudanese army is accused of burning the Duk hospital in Jonglei state. The soldiers are accused of doing more damage to the facility than the rebels did last year after they attacked it. Locals are calling for the soldiers to be held accountable for what they did to the hospital.

July 4, 2015: Despite demands by South Sudan’s rebel leaders, Uganda said that it will not withdraw its troops from South Sudan. Uganda contends that its troops are in South Sudan at the request of South Sudan. Ugandan troops will withdraw when peacekeepers, in the form of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Deterrent Force finally deploys in South Sudan.

July 3, 2015: The SRF (Sudanese Revolutionary Front, the umbrella rebel organization ostensibly representing all of Sudan’s various rebel groups), has thanked the UN for extending its peacekeeping operation for another year.  The renewed UN mandate allows for 15,845 soldiers and 1,583 policemen. It also calls for 13 paramilitary police units (formed units, police companies), each with 140 policemen.

July 2, 2015: The UN has issued its first wave of sanctions on South Sudanese leaders accused of war crimes. Six South Sudanese generals are being sanctioned, three on each side. They face financial asset freezes and international travel bans.

June 29, 2015: South Sudanese government leaders and rebel leaders held a day long meeting to discuss peace negotiations. Kenya is taking a prominent role in these talks. The meeting was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

June 28, 2015: South Sudan rebels claimed they captured Malakal, capital of Upper Nile state. Observers reported that the city (near the Paloich oil fields) is mostly destroyed and has few remaining residents.

June 27, 2015: The SLM-MM (Sudan Liberation Movement/Minni Minnawi) rebels encouraged the U.S. State Department to keep Sudan on its list of states sponsoring terrorism. The U.S. put Sudan on the list in 1993.

June 26, 2015: The UN is planning what it calls its first wave of sanctions against South Sudanese government and rebel leaders. One of the key government supporters on the list is Major General Marial Chanuong. He was commanding South Sudan’s presidential guards when the civil war began in December 2013. He is accused of slaughtering Nuer tribe civilians in and around the capital, Juba.

June 22, 2015:  Sudanese president (dictator) Omar al-Bashir has ordered the country to conduct a census. This will be the first since South Sudan became independent. Censuses are extremely controversial, with the biggest source of controversy being lack of trust in Bashir’s government. Opposition leaders contend Bashir and his supporters will cook census tabulations just like they cook election results. According to the 2008 census, Sudan had 39.2 million peopleand 8.26 million lived in what is now South Sudan.

June 21, 2015: South Africa’s major opposition party demanded an investigation into the government failure to arrest Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has warrants out for his arrest on genocide and crimes against humanity. South Africa indicated that it would arrest him using those warrants, but Bashir slipped away. He was in Johannesburg, South Africa, attending an African Union meeting.

June 20, 2015: The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported that five refugees were shot and wounded in a market in Juba. Four of the victims were taken to a UN clinic and the UN is investigating the indicent.

June 17, 2015: Helicopters are very expensive to operate. However, relief agencies have been able to use helicopters to help deliver food and medicine to refugees in isolated areas in South Sudan’s Unity state. The helicopters deliver specially prepared survival kits that contain high-nutrition biscuits, water purification tablets, mosquito nets and fishing supplies.

June 16, 2015: The East African IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) has proposed that South Sudan's warring parties share power in a transitional government. This would involve Salva Kiir remain president and head of state for a 30 month transitional period. Rebel leader Riek Machar would become first vice-president. The current government would have 53 percent of the govetnment positions while the rebels (SPLM-IO, Sudan Peoples Liebration Movement In Opposition) will have 33 percent. The IGAD proposal includes a hybrid Court to investigate and try people accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

June 15, 2015: Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir managed to leave South Africa without being arrested. He boarded a plane as South Africa’s high Court was discussing ordering his arrest on International Criminal Court warrants. He left despite a judicial order keeping him in the country.

June 14, 2015: A South African judge has ordered legal authorities to precent Omar al-Bashir from leaving South Africa. Many in South Africa are demanding that their government arrest the Sudan president on charges of genocide. The ICC has warrants for his arrest. Meanwhile, the U.S. government called on South Africa to act.

RSADO (Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization), an Eritrean opposition group in Sudan, accused the Sudan government of not providing Eritrean refugess with adequate protection from outlaws. Eritrean refugees in the Shagarab refugee camp (eastern Sudan) are suffering attacks from gangs and bandits.

 

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