Protests against Sudanese dictator Omar al Bashir and his government continue to intensify despite the state of national emergency declared on February 22nd. The protests began December 19, 2018, and were initially sparked by reductions in food and fuel subsidies and anger at the general decline of Sudan’s economy. The loss of revenue from South Sudan’s oil fields (due to South Sudan’s independence) crimped Sudan’s finances and limited its ability to subsidize food staples and fuel. U.S. counter-terror sanctions imposed on Bashir’s regime also hurt. However, by late December demonstrators began to express disgust and anger at Bashir’s three decades in power. He took power in a 1989 military coup. Removing Bashir became the driving demand of the current demonstrators. On January 1 an opposition coalition issued a Declaration of Freedom and Change that outlined a transition period where Bashir’s government would cede power. In the last ten days, the capital (Khartoum) has been the scene of three major demonstrations, including one on March 7 praising Sudanese women’s role in opposing Bashir. Other anti-government protests have occurred throughout the country, despite a government ban on political demonstrations imposed by the state of national emergency in force. So far (officially) 32 people have died in the protests. Less biased sources put the death toll at around 60. Sudanese opposition parties and political leaders have begun discussing how to transfer power and create a transitional governing coalition. But that could be a reach. Bashir still retains the loyalty of the army and other security forces. (Austin Bay)
March 10, 2019: In South Sudan, the last six months 140,000 refugees have returned from Uganda, Ethiopia, CAR (Central African Republic) and Sudan. During the fighting civilians would, if they could, seek refuge in a neighboring country until the fighting subsided.
March 8, 2019: Some good news about South Sudan. The independent monitors (RJMEC or Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission) brought in to monitor compliance with the ceasefire agreement and implementation of the peace agreement reported that recently the government and rebels have made “significant progress” in the peace process. The ceasefire was signed in June 2018 but hostilities persisted in several regions. Some RJMEC members believe that the transitional government could be formed as early as May 2019. An agreement has also been reached on the locations of government and rebel troop cantonment areas. This had been a major sticking point. There are some problems, however. The peace implementation organizations are short of money. Also, the Yei area continues to experience severe outbreaks of violence. The number of states is still unresolved. The current South Sudan reorganized the country into 32 states and the rebels objected to this. Another problem: South Sudan has over 70 small armed factions. These range from bandits to local militias in terms (usually tribal or clan) to rebel groups who claim they have a political agenda. The UN is offering to use personnel it already has in South Sudan to become part of the implementation process. That may help solve the funding problem.
March 7, 2019: In Sudan, a court overturned the jail sentences of eight protestors arrested in demonstrations in late February. The eight were quickly tried in “special emergency courts” created by government’s February 22 declaration of a national emergency. On February 28 they were given jail sentences ranging from six months to five years. Meanwhile, demonstrations continue in and around the capital and Omdurman. Police and special security forces broke up a large protest in the capital and arrested several dozen demonstrators.
March 6, 2018: Uganda denied fresh new accusations that reports that it had deployed troops to help the South Sudan government. A senior military official said flatly that there were no Ugandan Army soldiers in South Sudan. They denied that any Ugandan soldiers had been killed in South Sudan’s Yei River state.
March 5, 2019: Sudanese opposition groups conducted a one-day labor strike to protest the current government. The strike was organized and led by the Sudanese Professional Association, an umbrella group of independent professionals l unions. “Several thousand” workers in the capital and Omdurman didn’t go to work.
In South Sudan, the wartime president asked the residents of Wau city (Wau state) to forgive the government for the mistakes it made and suffering it caused during the civil war. President Kiir is conducting what he calls his Peace Tour. Last week he visited Eastern Lakes, Western Lakes, Gok and Tonj states. He said he came to tell the tribes in Wau (the Dinka, Luo, Jeing and Fretit) to live and peace and end the fighting.
March 2, 2019: In Sudan, the NUP (National Umma Party) called on Bashir to give up the presidency and take measures to end the stand-off between the military and the people.
February 27, 2019: In Sudan, the government rejected a statement by Norway, Great Britain and the U.S. (the Troika countries) that the recently declared state of emergency “criminalizes” peaceful demonstrations while giving security forces impunity from accountability. The Sudan government called the statement a “gross interference” in Sudan’s domestic affairs. The Troika was formed to act as guarantors of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 that ended the Sudan civil war (between Sudan and what is now South Sudan).
February 23, 2019: In Sudan, government critics report that in at least one part of the capital security forces are conducting door-to-door searches for protesters and pro-democracy activists. The security forces are using powers granted by the recent national emergency declaration.
February 22, 2019: In Sudan, the government imposed a year-long state of national emergency. During the national emergency, public demonstrations are banned. The declaration also allowed replacement of senior federal and state government officials. State governors will be replaced with military generals. President Bashir also appointed a new prime minister. In the face of expanding protests and indications that the majority of Sudan’s people want to be rid of him, Bashir is doubling down, indicating he has no intention of leaving office peacefully. The national emergency gives security forces wide powers to arrest demonstrators. (Austin Bay)
February 21, 2019: In Sudan, nation-wide protests against the three decade old dictatorship continue to expand in size and ferocity. The main opposition party (NUP) called for Bashir to step down as president.
February 17, 2019: In Sudan, three demonstrators were injured in the capital when security forces fired on a protest march with live ammunition.
February 13, 2019: South Sudan announced that by the end of 2019 it will be producing 270,000 BPD (barrels of oil per day). Current production is around 140,000 BPD. By mid-2020 South Sudan will produce 350,000 BPD. That is roughly what the country was producing in late 2013 prior to December 2013 when the civil war began.
February 12, 2019: In southern South Sudan (Yei River state), continued violence has internally displaced 8,000 people and an additional 5,000 refugees have fled to Congo. The army has been fighting with the National Salvation Front rebels. This latest outbreak began on January 19.
February 9, 2019: In Sudan, local media report that Russian “private military contractors” have been spotted in the capital. They appear to be advising local security forces who support the government.