July 13, 2020:
Sudan’s finance ministry has announced it will assume control of all Sudan state corporations, including companies currently owned by security forces. An IMF (International Monetary Fund) reform plan mandated that the Finance Ministry takes charge of the numerous state enterprises that really run as institutional fiefs and, in some cases, personal fiefs for senior government officials. Sudan is facing another round of rising inflation and the IMF rescue and reform package helps buy time to reorganize public finances. The IMF deal stipulates the government further reduce fuel subsidies and take steps to stabilize Sudan’s currency.
July 9, 2020: In Sudan, the prime minister Abdalla is replacing several key ministers and senior cabinet advisers. The health, energy, finance and foreign ministers were replaced. In all, interim ministers will lead seven ministries.
July 8, 2020: In Sudan, the SRF, a rebel coalition, indicated it will sign a peace deal with the transitional government. Members of another cooperative rebel group, SPLM-N, expect to receive ministerial-level positions. Earlier in the week the NCF, a coalition of democratic political groups, said that it was discussing a power-sharing agreement with the SRF.
July 7, 2020: In eastern Sudan, police made mass arrests in the city of Kassala in order to end tribal fighting between members of the Beni Amer and Nuba tribes. A new series of clashes began July 4. Casualties are estimated as one dead, 46 wounded.
July 5, 2020: Sudan’s transitional government has fired the director-general of Sudan’s Police Force (national police). His deputy was also fired. The government gave no official reason. However, the government has made it clear it intends to restructure the police and security organizations. Sudan media also report great public disenchantment over the death of one demonstrator killed last week during a peaceful protest. Protest “vigils” are occurring in several cities.
July 4, 2020: Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have resumed negotiations over the operation of GERD (the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) and filling its huge Blue Nile reservoir. Talks broke down –again-- in June when Ethiopia threatened to start filling the reservoir in July even if there was no mutual agreement. Egypt saw that as an act threatening international security and asked the UN Security Council to intervene. The trilateral discussions have broken down frequently since they began in 2011. Though Egypt and Ethiopia remain at odds, diplomats indicate the latest negotiations are detailed and extensive. Egypt gets 85 to 90 percent of its water from the Nile River. Egypt has several international agreements and treaties (some dating from the 19th century) that guarantee its Nile River water rights. Sudan is also concerned about its water rights. Ethiopia insists the dam is essential for its future development. The dam will provide Ethiopia with water reserves. Its hydro-electric generation facilities are a potential moneymaker; Ethiopia can sell electricity throughout the region. In fact, Ethiopia touts the fact the dam is Africa’s largest hydro-electric project. The reservoir is huge. According to one engineering estimate, the reservoir can hold 88 percent of the Nile River’s mean annual flow, as measured at the Egyptian city of Aswan. (Austin Bay)
July 2, 2020: In South Sudan 57 of the 16,000 peacekeepers have tested positive for covid19 and 47 of those have recovered.
July 1, 2020: In Sudan protests in numerous cities that began yesterday continued Large demonstrations occurred in Khartoum (the national capital) and Kassala. For the most part, the demonstrations were peaceful, though in one person was reported killed in a clash with police. The demonstrators are demanding faster government and economic reform and a speedier transition to civilian rule
June 29, 2020: In Sudan, the transitional government has arrested former Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour. The government also announced that several senior members of the National Conference Party and the Islamic Movement were arrested on similar charges. The Islamic Movement is now officially dissolved. Media reports claimed Ghandour was suspected of planning “sabotage” acts. Those reports echoed a statement by the opposition FFC coalition which claimed that pro-military government leaders and organizations were planning to launch a military coup.
In South Sudan president Kiir appointed governors for eight of the country’s ten states. Two of the eight appointed were selected by the SPLM-IO, the former rebel coalition that made peace and now runs parts of the government. The other six governors were selected by Kiir’s government. Kiir also appointed chief administrators for the Abyei, Pibor and Ruweng special areas. One of the newly appointed governors was a woman, Sarah Cleto Hassan of Ghar el Ghazal state. Critics pointed out that the 2018 peace agreement stipulated that 35 percent of posts in the South Sudan unity government would be filled by women. The SPLM-IO has yet to name the governor of Upper Nile state. The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) was supposed to select the governor of Jonglei state but may not do it. The SSOA contends it should have been given the right to name the governor of Upper Nile state.
In eastern South Sudan (Jonglei state) months of ethnic and clan violence About two thousand have died so far and several hundred died since late June.
June 28, 2020: In eastern Sudan (Darfur) security forces arrested over 120 people suspected of agreeing to go fight as mercenaries in neighboring Libya. A senior Rapid Support Forces (RSF) officer claimed that 72 of the people arrested were members of the Sudanese Awakening Revolutionary Council, a militant group commanded by the former janjaweed militia leader Musa Hilal, who faces UN sanctions for his actions in Darfur. He is currently under arrest in the capital (Khartoum). Several of the militiamen arrested face charges of attacking a military post and recruiting child soldiers. Sudan transitional government vehemently denies charges that Sudanese forces are involved in Libya’s ongoing civil war.
June 25, 2020: In eastern South Sudan, tribal warfare continued
in what used to be Boma State but recently renamed the Greater Pibor Administrative Area. The Pibor area has oil fields. Peacekeepers are protecting nearly 10,000 civilian refugees at its base in Pibor. Several towns in the area have suffered heavy damage from the tribal warfare. Cattle raiding is the main cause of the latest violence which has forced thousands of people to flee their homes to avoid the fighting. Several thousand of these civilians are literally living “in the bush” without shelter. Since May armed Murle and Lou Nuer tribesmen have been fighting near Pibor and its oil fields.
June 23, 2020: In eastern Sudan, Qadarif state soldiers defended the Anfal military camp from an attack by Ethiopian troops. There was no information on the size of the attack. Sudan and Ethiopia are currently discussing a border demarcation disagreement. In May three Sudanese soldiers stationed in the area were killed in an incident involving Ethiopian forces.
June 21, 2020: Sudanese officials believe that the United States will completely lift sanctions only when a new government is elected. That is supposed to take place in three years. Sudanese media report the U.S. has given Sudan a six-step plan for normalizing relations and that senior Sudanese officials are aware of it. One of the requirements is reform of the security forces. The RSF and other militia-type forces must be under the direct command of the Sudanese military. The UN would supervise the “merger” of paramilitary organizations into the military. Sudan must also fight terrorism and permit religious freedom. Many Sudanese agree with all that but making it happen will be difficult because a lot of heavily armed and angry Sudanese are being asked to change the way they operate, including no longer receiving regular payments from the government.
June 20, 2020: Sudan has apparently taken steps to disband the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) militia which operates in West Kordofan state. The Sudanese Army is now collecting weapons from former PDF members. Former dictator Omar Bashir’s military established the PDF as an Islamist militia. The PDF fought in the Sudan Civil War. It was allegedly used for training tribal militias. However, many of its members were accused of vicious attacks in eastern Sudan (Darfur) and in what is now South Sudan. In the past few years, Sudanese rebel groups in southern Sudan (South Kordofan state) accuse PDF militiamen of theft, assault and robbery.
June 17, 2020: South Sudan announced an agreement for selecting the governors of its ten states. The Kiir government will nominate six governors. The former rebel alliance SPLM-IO will nominate three. The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (the peace deal’s third signatory) will nominate the governor of Jonglei state. The government will select the governor of Central Equatoria (where the capital Juba is located) and oil-producing Unity state. The SPLM-IO will select the governor of another oil producing state, Upper Nile.
June 16, 2020: Sudan’s health ministry confirmed as of June 14 June the country has 7,740 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and that 477 people have died. The majority of confirmed cases are in Khartoum state. Put another way Sudan has 234 confirmed cases per million population and 15 confirmed deaths per million. In South Sudan its 180 and three per million. In Ethiopia, it’s 66 and one. In Egypt, it’s 802 and 38.
For all of Africa (including North Africa) there have been 468 cases per million and 10.4 deaths per million people. That’s far lower than anywhere else. So far, the global total is 1,673 cases per million and 73 deaths per million. In most parts of Africa, there is no awareness of covid19, even if it is present. Awareness of covid19 is more common in urban areas, especially where senior politicians and the wealthy live. Covid19 precautions are taken and medical care is available. The politicians and their wealthy associates are often older and more vulnerable to a fatal covid19 infection. Out in the countryside, it’s different, as it usually is.
June 15, 2020: In Sudan (Khartoum, the capital), a mass grave was found southeast of the city. It is believed the grave contains the remains of military conscripts who died in 1998 when they tried to desert by escaping from the al-Eifalon military training camp The grave will be exhumed. No one is quite sure how many bodies are in the grave. Supposedly at least 55 conscripts tried to escape from the camp and they drowned when their boat capsized in the Blue Nile River. Opposition political groups say that over 100 died and claim that government security forces killed them. No one really knows and an examination of the remains in the mass grave may answer some of the questions.
In southern Sudan (South Kordofan state), four members of the RSF are accused of killing a policeman and wounding another in Kadguli , the state capital. The RSF militiamen approached three policemen who were guarding an antenna north of Kadguli. The attackers fired on the policemen then attempted to steal fuel from the facility. The two surviving policemen were certain the attackers were RSF militiamen. So far, the suspects have not been arrested.
June 11, 2020: Sudan has decided to expand a reforestation project begun in 2017. The program has planted about one million trees (various Acacia species) on over 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres) of semi-arid land. The project has focused on the White Nile state, which has suffered severe deforestation in the last two decades. Refugees fleeing conflict have cut trees for firewood and for constructing temporary shelter.