Sudan Briefing: 2011-03-21
Following South Sudan’s referendum on independence, Insight on Conflict will be producing a weekly round-up of the news. To subscribe to receive the updates via email, please contact email@example.com or complete the form below.
- The South Sudanese ruling party, the SPLM, has produced documents claiming to ‘prove’ President Omar al-Bashir is at the head of a conspiracy aimed at toppling the leadership in the South. The North Sudan’s Minister of Defence dismissed the documents as forgeries, adding that the Northern army is ready for ‘jihad’ if necessary. Despite the accusations, and the South’s announcement last week that they were pulling out of talks, the joint presidency met in Khartoum on Thursday.
- Fighting between the SPLA and rebels in South Sudan showed no signs of abating last week. Up to 70 people are believed to have been killed in clashes with General Athor in Jonglei. The UN says that 20,000 have fled their homes because of the violence. In addition to the violence in Jonglei and Upper Nile states, there has also been fighting in Unity state with a third rebel group, led by former SPLA officer Gatluak Gai.
- The Carter Center has said that unless the South Sudanese government improves relations with opposition parties and promotes an “inclusive transition” to independence there are risks of further conflict. On 7 March opposition members quit the committee overseeing the transition, citing the SPLM’s dominance of the agenda. There are also concerns about freedom of press in the new country.
- The North is to deploy 1,500 additional police officers in Abyei to bolster security. The SPLM has criticised the move, calling it an ‘open invasion’. A UN human rights expert last week said that violence in Abyei could ‘derail’ the whole peace process.
- Three journalists have been charged with ‘defamation’ by local authorities for reporting on the alleged rape of Safiya Eshaq, a female activist, by security services last month. Six activists who helped Eshaq leave Khartoum after the incident say they were arrested and charged with abduction over the weekend.
- There has been some progress in the Darfur peace talks. All parities in the conflict will meet in Doha in April after the government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) rebels reached agreement on four areas of a potential deal. A student was killed after police opened fire on a protest against political restrictions at Darfur’s main university on Thursday.
News in detail:
Bloomberg: Southern Sudan party says documents prove North arms militias
15 Mar: Southern Sudan’s ruling party said it has documents to prove Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s government supplied weapons to militias in the region, which is due to become independent in July.
Sudan Tribune: North Sudan army alleges forgery of South-leaked documents, says ready for “Jihad”
16 Mar: The North Sudan army has strongly denied the authenticity of documents disclosed by South Sudan which allegedly prove the army’s involvement in supporting armed groups in the South ahead of the region’s independence in July, warning that its forces are ready for “Jihad” despite being keen on peace.
Sudan Tribune: Sudanese presidency convenes today as North-South rift widens
16 Mar: The Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan leader Salva Kiir are scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the deteriorating relations between the North and South a few months before the country officially splits into two.
Sudan Tribune: Sudan’s SPLM ridicule North’s claim of uncovering source of leaked documents
20 Mar: The Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Saturday dismissed claims by the North that they were able to identify the person behind the leaked documents that emerged this week showing the National Congress Party (NCP) support to militias in the South.
Bloomberg: Southern Sudan fighting displaces 20,000, UN rights expert says
14 Mar: Clashes between Southern Sudan’s army and rebels in Jonglei state over the past two months killed more than 200 people and displaced as many as 20,000, an expert of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council said.
Reuters: Over 100 orphans caught in South Sudan raid – officials
14 Mar: More than 100 orphans were caught in the middle of gunfire in an attack on the capital of South Sudan’s oil-producing Upper Nile state that killed more than 42 combatants, aid and military officials said.
AFP: South Sudan clashes in key oil border regions – army
17 Mar: Fighting between the Southern army and rebels broke out Thursday in two separate areas close to Sudan’s tense North-South border, a Southern army spokesman said.
Bloomberg: Media fights for free press in new nation
17 Mar: Six weeks after Southern Sudan voted for independence in a widely praised referendum, security agents stormed the region’s first printing press and arrested a top journalist, the latest assault on reporters fighting to create a free press here.
BBC: SPLA and Athor clashes ‘kill scores’
18 Mar: Two days of fighting between the South Sudan army and rebels have killed about 70 people, officials say.
Associated Press: Carter warns of conflict unless South Sudan opens govt
18 Mar: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s democratic rights group, The Carter Center, says that Southern Sudan’s ruling party risks future conflict in its oil-rich territory if it doesn’t include opposition parties in decisions during the run-up to its July independence declaration.
Reuters: Egypt shelled trucks bringing arms from Sudan
14 Mar: Egypt’s army shelled at least six vehicles trying to smuggle weapons into the country from Sudan last week, security sources told Reuters on Monday.
AFP: US, Norway, Britain want Sudan talks to resume
15 Mar: The United States, Norway and Britain on Tuesday called for the resumption of talks between Khartoum and Southern Sudan ahead of the South’s planned independence later this year.
AFP: Sudan urges US to accelerate debt relief
16 Mar: Sudan’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that negotiations on its eligibility for foreign debt relief were taking too long, and urged a visiting US Treasury delegation to speed up the process.
Sudan Tribune: Sudan President forms taskforce to review oil production
14 Mar: President Omar al-Bashir has formed a high-level committee to select a foreign firm to review figures of oil production in Sudan during the last five years in order to “refute allegations” of non-transparency in the oil-sector.
Sudan Tribune: Sudan charges journalists with defamation over rape case
19 Mar: Three Sudanese journalists have been charged with defamation by the local authorities for writing about the rape of a Sudanese female activist last month, in the latest assault against press freedom in the highly-censored country.
Reuters: Six Sudan activists charged with abducting rape victim
21 Mar: Six prominent Sudanese civil society and political activists said on Sunday they had been charged with kidnap after trying to help a woman who said she had been raped by security forces.
Reuters: Police kill Darfuri at university protest – witnesses
18 Mar: Police opened fire and killed one student after a demonstration in Darfur’s main university against government restrictions on political activity, witnesses said on Thursday.
Sudan Tribune: All Darfur stakeholders meet in April as agreement reached over four chapters
20 Mar: All Darfur stakeholders are to meet in Doha next April to discuss the outcome of the ongoing process for peace as the government and rebels agreed to sign four chapters of the peace agreement.
Reuters: Abyei violence may derail Sudan peace – rights expert
14 Mar: A surge of violence in Sudan’s contested Abyei border region could derail the country’s North-South peace process, a U.N.-appointed human rights expert said on Monday.
Sudan Tribune: SPLM rejects deployment of additional Northern police in Abyei
20 Mar: The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) announced on Sunday its rejection of the deployment of additional Northern police in the oil producing region of Abyei, describing the move as “an open invasion” of the area at the center of tension between the North and South.