Archive for December 29, 2011

Sudan – First Civil War

Posted: December 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History
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In February 1953, the United Kingdom and Egypt concluded an agreement providing for Sudanese self-government and self-determination. The transitional period toward independence began with the inauguration of the first parliament in 1954. With the consent of the British and Egyptian Governments, Sudan achieved independence on January 1, 1956, under a provisional constitution. The United States was among the first foreign powers to recognize the new state.

However, in the run-up to the granting of Sudan’s independence, the civil service and administration were placed increasingly in Northern Sudanese hands – largely excising the Soutern Sudanese from the government. The British failure to ensure equity for both the north and the south would create have lasting effects. The Arab-led Khartoum government reneged on promises to southerners to create a federal system, which led to a mutiny by Southern troops in the Equatoria Province. Feeling disenfranchised and cheated,these separatist Southerners began an initially low-intensity civil war aimed at establishing an independent South. This war would last seventeen years, from 1955 to 1972.

For these 17 years, the southern region experienced civil strife, and various southern leaders agitated for regional autonomy or outright secession. This chronic state of insurgency against the central government was suspended in 1972 after the signing of the Addis Ababa Accords granting southern Sudan wide regional autonomy on internal matters. This led to a period of ten years of hiatus in the civil war.

The origins of the civil war in the south date back to the 1950s. On August 18, 1955, the Equatoria Corps, a military unit composed of southerners, mutinied at Torit. Rather than surrender to Sudanese government authorities, many mutineers disappeared into hiding with their weapons, marking the beginning of the first war in southern Sudan. By the late 1960s, the war had resulted in the deaths of about 500,000 people. Several hundred thousand more southerners hid in the forests or escaped to refugee camps in neighboring countries.

By 1969 the rebels had developed foreign contacts to obtain weapons and supplies. Israel, for example, trained Anya Nya recruits and shipped weapons via Ethiopia and Uganda to the rebels. Anya Nya also purchased arms from Congolese rebels and international arms dealers with monies collected in the south and from among southern Sudanese exile communities in the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. The rebels also captured arms, equipment, and supplies from government troops.

Militarily, Anya Nya controlled much of the southern countryside while government forces occupied the region’s major towns. The guerrillas operated at will from remote camps. However, rebel units were too small and scattered to be highly effective in any single area. Estimates of Anya Nya personnel strength ranged from 5,000 to 10,000.

Government operations against the rebels declined after the 1969 coup. However, when negotiations failed to result in a settlement, Khartoum increased troop strength in the south to about 12,000 in 1969, and intensified military activity throughout the region. Although the Soviet Union had concluded a US$100 million to US$150 million arms agreement with Sudan in August 1968, which included T-55 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and aircraft, the nation failed to deliver any equipment to Khartoum by May 1969. During this period, Sudan obtained some Soviet-manufactured weapons from Egypt, most of which went to the Sudanese air force. By the end of 1969, however, the Soviet Union had shipped unknown quantities of 85mm antiaircraft guns, sixteen MiG-21s, and five Antonov-24 transport aircraft. Over the next two years, the Soviet Union delivered an impressive array of equipment to Sudan, including T-54, T-55, T56 , and T-59 tanks; and BTR-40 and BTR-152 light armored vehicles.

In 1971 Joseph Lagu, who had become the leader of southern forces opposed to Khartoum, proclaimed the creation of the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM). Anya Nya leaders united behind him, and nearly all exiled southern politicians supported the SSLM. Although the SSLM created a governing infrastructure throughout many areas of southern Sudan, real power remained with Anya Nya, with Lagu at its head.

Despite his political problems, Nimeiri remained committed to ending the southern insurgency. He believed he could stop the fighting and stabilize the region by granting regional selfgovernment and undertaking economic development in the south. By October 1971, Khartoum had established contact with the SSLM. After considerable consultation, a conference between SSLM and Sudanese government delegations convened at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February 1972. Initially, the two sides were far apart, the southerners demanding a federal state with a separate southern government and an army that would come under the federal president’s command only in response to an external threat to Sudan. Eventually, however, the two sides, with the help of Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie, reached an agreement.

The Addis Ababa accords guaranteed autonomy for a southern region–composed of the three provinces of Equatoria (present-day Al Istiwai), Bahr al Ghazal, and Upper Nile (present-day Aali an Nil)–under a regional president appointed by the national president on the recommendation of an elected Southern Regional Assembly. The High Executive Council or cabinet named by the regional president would be responsible for all aspects of government in the region except such areas as defense, foreign affairs, currency and finance, economic and social planning, and interregional concerns, authority over which would be retained by the national government in which southerners would be represented. Southerners, including qualified Anya Nya veterans, would be incorporated into a 12,000-man southern command of the Sudanese army under equal numbers of northern and southern officers. The accords also recognized Arabic as Sudan’s official language, and English as the south’s principal language, which would be used in administration and would be taught in the schools.

Although many SSLM leaders opposed the settlement, Lagu approved its terms and both sides agreed to a cease-fire. The national government issued a decree legalizing the agreement and creating an international armistice commission to ensure the well-being of returning southern refugees. Khartoum also announced an amnesty, retroactive to 1955. The two sides signed the Addis Ababa accords on March 27, 1972, which was thereafter celebrated as National Unity Day.

The 1965 massacres in Juba and Wau

Voice of Southern Sudan, Vol. III No. 2.pdf Voice of Southern Sudan, Vol. III No. 2.pdf
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Fleeing Sudanese Fill Refugee Camps in South Sudan

Posted: December 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Moni Basu, CNN
December 29, 2011 — Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
A worker lays out bags of grain at the Doro refugee camp about 26 miles from the border in South Sudan's Upper Nile state.
A worker lays out bags of grain at the Doro refugee camp about 26 miles from the border in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
  • Fighting in two border states has intensified and displaced thousands
  • Many are arriving at refugee camps where malnutrition and disease are rampant
  • A Doctors Without Borders staffer says the charity is addressing an acute emergency
  • South Sudan became gained independence last July

(CNN) — Last July, the world celebrated the birth of its newest nation as South Sudan officially separated from the north. It was hoped then that after decades of bloodshed, the people of of both nations would finally know peace.

But just a few months later, refugee camps are filling to the brim as fighting in the border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile has intensified and displaced more than 400,000 people.

They arrive at the camps in trucks, on camels and even by foot, said Jean-Pierre Amigo, a field coordinator with Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders.

“The number of people is increasing every day,” Amigo said.

Fighting erupted between Sudan’s army and South Sudan rebels in Southern Kordofan even before independence was formalized. The violence spread to Blue Nile in September.

The Enough Project, which works to expose genocide and crimes against humanity, recently documented killings and rape by Sudanese forces in Blue Nile.

“The civilian toll from an indiscriminate aerial bombardment campaign is rising,” said a field dispatch from the Enough Project.

The United Nations has appealed for money to help civilians caught in the violence.

“We are looking at a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the areas out of which the refugees in neighboring South Sudan and Ethiopia have fled,” Peter de Clercq, the United Nations’ acting humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, said this month.

That in addition to the crisis in the Darfur region — where war broke out in 2003 and 3.75 million people still need help — qualifies Sudan as one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, according to the United Nations.

The world body is asking for $1.06 billion to help 4.2 million people in 2012.

Amigo of MSF is witnessing firsthand the human suffering caused by protracted conflict. The medical charity has ratcheted up efforts in the area to deal with a full-scale emergency.

Amigo said among the new arrivals at Alfuj refugee camp was a 70-year-old woman who was brought in a donkey cart. She had traveled days with six bullet wounds in her back. Half of one her hands was gone.

Many of the people seeking refuge at Alfuj are suffering from respiratory disease, malaria and malnutrition, Amigo said.

They told MSF they had been on the move since September, at first hiding in wooded areas near their crops but eventually fleeing their homes altogether.

At Alfuj, mothers are delivering babies under trees, Amigo said. MSF has set up a 24-hour maternity ward.

No one here has a mosquito net. They share drinking holes with cattle. Or women and girls wait for up to 12 hours to fill a plastic can from a water pump. MSF installed a massive water bladder to bring some relief.

MSF has also been feeding children high-nutrition biscuits. Without any other aid agency at Alfuj, it has been difficult for the MSF staff, Amigo said.

“As a medical organization, we cannot help everyone there,” Amigo said. “We cannot meet all the needs.”

Earlier this month, the United Nations refugee agency airlifted relief supplies from neighboring Kenya. The C-130 Hercules transport planes carried plastic sheets and rolls, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, buckets, jerry cans and kitchen sets.

“These supplies are desperately needed,” said Vivian Tan, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in the South Sudan capital, Juba. “Families often arrive here exhausted, hungry, cold or sick. We have already distributed whatever we had on the ground, including aid from Juba and Malakal. Our local warehouse is almost empty now.”

But few of those supplies have reached Alfuj, where access is difficult because of bad road conditions.

South Sudan is independent now, Amigo said, but not free from crisis. The MSF staff saw 400 malnourished children in one day at Alfuj.

There is no doubt in Amigo’s mind that they were addressing an acute emergency.

Authorities Call for Calm Amid South Sudan Escalating Violence (Video)

Posted: December 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Authorities call for calm amid South Sudan violence
Reuters Video
Dec. 28 – South Sudan’s vice president, Reik Machar Teny, urges calm in the aftermath of an attack. Deborah Lutterbeck reports…

Family of slain father of 5 seeks justice, answers
He was shot in the head at point-blank range outside his apartment complex near Mississippi Avenue and South Xenia Street just after 3 am Monday. He and his family fled South Sudan as war refugees to escape the violence of a civil war.

South Sudan Accuses Sudan of Killing 17 Civilians
Voice of America (blog)
South Sudan’s military says Sudanese forces killed 17 civilians from the south during the second day of airstrikes Thursday in a disputed border area. A South Sudan military spokesman said the people killed in the Western Bahr al-Ghazal state were

Fleeing Sudanese fill refugee camps
CNN International
By Moni Basu, CNN A worker lays out bags of grain at the Doro refugee camp about 26 miles from the border in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state. (CNN) — Last July, the world celebrated the birth of its newest nation as South Sudan officially separated

South Sudan says 17 killed in Sudanese air raids
JUBA — Sudanese air raids killed 17 people in the South Sudan border state of Western Bahr al-Ghazal on Thursday, the second day of stepped-up bombing along the northern frontier, Juba’s military spokesman said. Khartoum dismissed the allegations as

UN Assists Sudanese Refugees Fleeing Conflict
Voice of America
The fighting between government forces and rebels is taking place in two Sudanese states – Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. As a result, many civilians have sought safety in South Sudan. De Capua report on Sudanese refugees download iconDownload: MP3

South Sudan: Reasonable Prices of Building Materials Needed in South Sudan
Throughout the Republic of South Sudan there is a great need for building materials to enable citizens to construct modern houses as residences or business holdings. In fact throughout the more than five decades of South Sudan being an appendage of the

South Sudan: Bor Witnesses Momentous Christmas, Prayers and Music Echo
It was only during this feast that one had arrived in the town that when the town awoke to hear South Sudan Artist Garang Ateng singing to stir up the citizens. Thousands of people crowded in the South Sudan hotel- Bor to refresh their minds,

South Sudan: Pibor MPs Call for Humanitarian Aid, Stoppage to Conflict
Pibor — County Members of Parliament from Jonglei state in the national assembly have appealed for humanitarian aid to last week victims of Lou Nuer attack in Lukangole Payam. Addressing the press at Nile Beach Hotel in Juba, David Okwier,

WFP to Ramp Up Food Aid in South Sudan Next Year
Voice of America
December 29, 2011 WFP to Ramp Up Food Aid in South Sudan Next Year Lisa Schlein | Geneva The World Food Program reports it is scaling up its humanitarian operation in South Sudan next year to support 2.7 million people affected by hunger and conflict.

17 Southerners ‘killed by Sudan air raids’

Posted: December 29, 2011 by nyanyung in Junub Sudan

29 December 2011 Last updated at 14:11 ET

A terrified mother looks out of a cave as she takes shelter from an aircraft flying over the hills surrounding Lwere in Sudan's Nuba mountains on 1 July as hundreds of families have fled their villages in South Kordofan following recent bombing by the Sudanese armed forces
Conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes

Seventeen South Sudanese civilians have been killed during air raids by Sudan’s military, an official has told the BBC.

South Sudan’s military spokesman Philip Aguer said those killed were cattle herders in West Bahr al-Ghazal state – further west than other recent clashes.

Sudan has denied the allegations but Col Aguer said no other power in the region could carry out the bombing.

The south seceded from Sudan in July but there have been numerous clashes along their common border.

The UN estimates that several hundred thousand people have been displaced by fighting in the border areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Unity state.

“This [attack in West Bahr al-Ghazal] is a hostile aggression that Khartoum has been conducting against the civilian population,” Col Aguer told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

‘Amassing troops’Sudan’s army had also bombed areas in Unity state since Wednesday, he said.

It wanted to draw up the north-south boundary by force and annex Unity state because it was rich in oil, Col Aguer said.


Pro-northern and southern groups have clashed in the past in West Bahr al-Ghazal state over grazing and water rights.

Sudan’s army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad denied they had carried out the air strikes, the AFP news agency reports.

“This information is completely incorrect,” he is quoted as saying.

Mr Saad said South Sudan was, in fact, amassing troops in Unity state to launch attacks across the border.

Both countries accuse each other of backing rebels operating in their territory.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman Al-Obeid Meruh said that 350 members of a Darfur-based rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) had crossed into South Sudan on Wednesday, AFP reports.

He said the international community should put pressure on South Sudan’s government “to stop supporting these troops and disarm them”, AFP reports.

Jem’s leader Khalil Ibrahim was killed a few days ago by Sudanese government forces.

Sudan’s army said he had been killed in fighting as he tried to cross into South Sudan, but Jem said he died in an air strike.

Various mediation efforts to end the conflict in Darfur, and to ease tension between Sudan and South Sudan, have so far failed, analysts say.

South Sudan says 17 killed in Sudanese air raids

(AFP) – 

JUBA — Sudanese air raids killed 17 people in the South Sudan border state of Western Bahr al-Ghazal on Thursday, the second day of stepped-up bombing along the northern frontier, Juba’s military spokesman said.

Khartoum dismissed the allegations as “incorrect.”

“Those who are killed are innocent civilians who are looking after their cattle,” South Sudan’s military spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP, adding that the casualties came on the second day of bombing in the Boro El Madina area.

“This information is completely incorrect,” the Sudanese military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said in Khartoum.

In a separate statement, Sudan’s foreign ministry alleged that 350 members of Darfur-based rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had crossed into South Sudan on Wednesday.

The ministry’s spokesman, Al-Obeid Meruh, called on the international community to pressure “the government of South Sudan to stop supporting these troops and disarm them.”

South Sudan separated from Sudan in July after an overwhelming vote for independence that followed more than two decades of civil war.

Each side has accused the other of supporting rebels inside its borders.

Aguer said bombing had resumed over the past two days around Jau, a disputed area along the South Kordofan-Unity state border.

There were no casualty reports from that area “because the bombing was intensive,” he said.

“SPLA has placed its forces on maximum alert” since Christmas, he said, referring to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

“The intention of Khartoum is to annex some of these areas.”

Sudan’s military spokesman, Saad, in turn accused South Sudan of building up its own troops in the Jau area to attack inside Sudan.

Access to the areas is restricted, making independent confirmation of the claims difficult.

United Nations peacekeepers are based in South Sudan, but AFP was unable to reach any officials from the mission.

Oil-producing South Kordofan remained under Khartoum’s administration when South Sudan became independent, but fighting since June has pitted Nuba rebels, once allied to rebels in the south, against the Sudanese army.

A conflict also broke out three months later in nearby Blue Nile state.

The UN says 300,000 people have been internally displaced or otherwise severely affected by the fighting in South Kordofan, with 20,000 having fled to South Sudan.

Khartoum’s allegation that JEM rebels had entered South Sudan came days after the killing by government forces of the group’s leader Khalil Ibrahim, creating uncertainty as to the future of what was Darfur’s most heavily armed group.

Reminder: NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY 2012!!!

Posted: December 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

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Fresh Scars on the Body Politic

Posted: December 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan


Oh, to have been in that room in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on Oct. 16. That’s when the leadership of the world’s newest country met with Xanana Gusmão, the prime minister of East Timor, the first new country of the 21st century [1]. Surely, Mr. Gusmão must have lectured on the nitty gritty of starting up a brand new country. And undoubtedly, talk must have turned to borders: how to demarcate, secure and police them. (Yes, such are the daydreams of borderspotters like myself.)

Not that these borders are necessarily the stuff that daydreams are made of. New borders are to geopolitics what fresh scars are to medicine — painful, and potentially inflammatory, but, for both countries involved, also inevitable.

East Timor has a few advantages over South Sudan. As one half of a relatively small island, its total land border with Indonesia is only about 150 miles long. And even though it possesses a quirky coastal exclave in western Timor [2], there are no major outstanding territorial disputes to speak of [3].

South Sudan, on the other hand, is not an island — except metaphorically, in a sea of troubles. In the months leading up to its independence, it became fashionable to label the oil-rich but dirt-poor country a “pre-failed state” — a France-sized nation with less than 100 miles of paved roads.

When it declared its independence on July 9, it not only inherited long borders with five neighboring countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic), it was also endowed with about 1,300 miles of new international border with its former antagonist and parent state, Sudan [4].

Joe Burgess/The New York Times

Both countries agreed to demilitarize a six-mile zone on either side of the new border, but such goodwill (or mere public show) can’t hide the fact that this gigantic horizontal gash across Sudan, snaking its way from the Central African Republic to Ethiopia, is still very much a throbbing cicatrix. Even though the breakup concluded decades of armed conflict between north and south, the secession of a quarter of the country must have been traumatic for the central government in Khartoum. Formerly Africa’s largest country, Sudan is now relegated to third place, after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo [5].

”Rump Sudan” still looks unfamiliar on the map, incomplete, like a broken elephant tusk. Maybe it was a reluctance to officiate the passing of “Old Sudan,” a familiar cartographic Gestalt for its size if nothing else, that explains why Google Maps dilly-dallied for over two months after South Sudan won independence before finally putting the new country on the map, in mid-September. Old borders, after all, die harder in the mind than on the ground.

This new frontier, for all the blood that has been shed in its establishment, has proved to be far from a capstone on decades of violence. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which led to the referendum which led to independence, has transformed the rebels of the Southern People’s Liberation Army into a legitimate government. But in a depressing replay of what came before, it is now in turn fighting its own internal rebellions: as recently as last week, heavy fighting in Unity, a border state and the source of 98 percent of the new country’s oil wealth, claimed the lives of a large number of rebels — former and present.

And despite the “demilitarization,” tension between north and south remains, in no small part because of outstanding border issues. The peace agreement created the international border by dusting off the internal borders as they existed in 1956, when Sudan gained its independence from Britain. While that may have been the least-worst option — sidestepping both the border changes imposed by the north and those claimed by the south — it still is a bit like trying to fit into an old suit worn by a younger, thinner self. Expect discomfort, and be prepared for some ripping. In Sudan’s case, the likely conflicts center on two disputed areas, Kafia Kingi and Abyei.

Though historically a part of the south, Kafia Kingi, on the border with the Central African Republic, was transferred from the region of Bahr el Ghazal, now in South Sudan, to the region of Darfur, which remains in Sudan. But the South Sudanese would like it back, thank you very much. The (North) Sudanese can play pass-the-parcel with the issue, and claim — rightfully — that it wasn’t them what done it: the British colonial administration transferred the area in the 1930s.

Similarly, the British transferred Abyei from south to north in order to get to grips with a pastoralist conflict between tribes of Dinka (from the south) and Messiria (from the north). That ethnic conflict is still at the center of the local tug of war. Officially, the Abyei area has been declared a condominium: its inhabitants have dual citizenship of both the states of South Kordofan (in the north) and North Bahr el Ghazal (in the south), pending a referendum on which side of the fence they want to land on. But in fact, the (North) Sudanese army has taken over the area by force, clearing out officials and citizens whose loyalty lies with the South.

If, on a map, Abyei looks like the buckle on the belt of the intra-Sudanese border, the analogy is an apt one. The ongoing tension is a miniature version of the recently resolved conflict between the two states: the north has used its superior firepower to gain the upper hand and create “facts on the ground,” but South Sudan, now independent, can feed the resentment of its ethnically cleansed partisans with petrodollars. Abyei has the potential to become the flashpoint of the South’s irredentist frustrations.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, greets his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir on Oct. 8, 2011 upon the latter's first official arrival in Khartoum.Ebrahim Hamid/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesSudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, greets his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir on Oct. 8, 2011 upon the latter’s first official arrival in Khartoum.

If only that were the end to South Sudan’s border troubles. The world’s youngest state is also one of its poorest, and its government thus is relatively powerless to impose its will on its borders — which, even setting aside the tensions with its northern neighbor, are hardly settled. Recent months have seen the South Sudanese accuse the Ugandans of encroachment on their territory, for example. The underlying conflict is older, and involves cattle-rustling between the Madi and Kuku tribes, on the Ugandan and South Sudanese sides of the border, respectively. The South Sudanese feel, perhaps justifiably so, that the weakness of their state is compelling some within Uganda to force the issue.

The main area of contention is the unresolved demarcation in the Logoba/Moyo district. A recent meeting between presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Salva Kiir of South Sudan did not resolve the issue, let alone relieve the tension. “At every opportunity, the Ugandans take the advantage,” laments a South Sudanese blogger. “Now that the country shares borders with six countries, South Sudanese must think of guarding and maintaining” their “territorial integrity, no matter what cost. That is what it means and takes to be an independent nation.”

Indeed, inherent in the modern concept of a nation are its endowments with a capital; a government, with state regalia like a flag and an anthem; and not least fixed borders — plus the will and power to enforce them. Clearly, South Sudan still has a long way to go [6].

It will be interesting to see if South Sudan aims to honor this lofty ambition with regards to the Ilemi Triangle, a disputed area on the border with Ethiopia and Kenya. Ethiopia has always conceded that Sudan was the rightful claimant to this area, its uncertain status caused by vague wording in a colonial treaty.

As the current claimant, South Sudan could ask Kenya, the current occupant, to vacate the area. But some suggest that the Southern People’s Liberation Army tacitly granted possession of Ilemi to Kenya in exchange for support during the struggle. With more pressing matters on South Sudan’s table, my guess is that President Kiir will not be in a rush to ask the Kenyans to leave.

Ironically, in the way that enemies often tend to resemble each other, South Sudan’s border problems mirror those of its northern neighbor. Even after jettisoning the South, the Khartoum government has had to deal with a major internal rebellion — this time in Darfur, the enormous midwestern area of the country. Is a second Sudanese secession looming? Not likely — the desert region has been “pacified” by a combination of army firepower and local pro-government militia.

On top of that, Sudan is also subject to festering, if less-well-known border disputes with Egypt. The Egyptian-Sudanese border deviates from the otherwise straight line along the 22º north latitude in three areas, all of which are potential flashpoints. The first is the Wadi Halfa Salient, where Sudan juts north along the Nile for about 16 miles. This was intended by the British colonial authorities to facilitate the administration of several local villages, which were easier to reach from Sudan than Egypt. From the 1960s onward, Egypt flooded most of this area when finishing the Aswan Dam, displacing the inhabitants of around 50 villages — eliminating the salient in practice, if not on paper. Yet Sudan is not willing to concede the territory in either sense.

Two areas further east are the Bir Tawil Trapezoid and the Hala’ib Triangle. Bizarrely, both Egypt and Sudan claim the latter, but neither claims the former — making it the world’s only remaining terra nullius [7] outside of Antarctica.

In an otherwise harsh and unforgiving climate, both Sudans appear to have the right ecosystem where borders — and border disputes — flourish. It will be a region that borderspotters will keep their eyes on for decades to come.

Frank Jacobs is a London-based author and blogger. He writes about cartography, but only the interesting bits.