Posts Tagged ‘peoples liberation army’

Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) sing pro-war songs at April 23, 2012 at a base in Bentiu. Sudanese war planes launched a fresh bombing raid on a key South Sudanese town Monday, dashing hopes that a withdrawal of Southern troops from a contested area would end weeks of fighting. Several bombs were dropped on Bentiu, capital of the oil-rich South Sudan border state of Unity, killing at least one child and wounding several civilians, an AFP reporter witnessed.
 Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) sing pro-war songs at April 23, 2012 at a base in Bentiu. Sudanese war planes launched a fresh bombing raid on a key South Sudanese town Monday, dashing hopes that a withdrawal of Southern troops from a contested area would end weeks of fighting. Several bombs were dropped on Bentiu, capital of the oil-rich South Sudan border state of Unity, killing at least one child and wounding several civilians, an AFP reporter witnessed.

HEGLIG – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Monday there will be no more talks with South Sudan, as fresh Sudanese air raids dashed South Sudanese hopes for an end to weeks of fighting.

“No negotiation with those people,” Bashir said of the South Sudanese regime, which he earlier described as an “insect” that must be eliminated.

“Our talks with them were with guns and bullets,” he told soldiers in the main oil region of Heglig, which the South occupied for 10 days.

On Friday, Bashir and Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein – both wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region – declared the army had forced Southern soldiers out of Heglig.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir had already announced that his forces would leave under “an orderly withdrawal”. His army said the pullout was completed on Sunday.

Despite the end of the occupation, the governor of South Sudan’s Unity State, Taban Deng, said Sudanese bombs fell on a key bridge and a market, killing at least two children in the state capital Bentiu on Monday.

The bombs prompted heavy bursts of gunfire from Southern soldiers hoping to shoot down Khartoum’s warplanes, said an AFP correspondent who was 50 metres (yards) from where the ordnance hit.

In the market, stalls were on fire and large plumes of grey smoke rose high into the air, as screaming civilians ran in panic.

“They have been given orders to wipe us out, they have called us insects,” Deng said, referring to Bashir’s earlier speech.

“We have been pressured by the international community to pull out of Heglig and this is the consequence, we have brought the war to home,” Deng added.

There was no immediate comment from Khartoum but a foreign ministry statement on the “liberation of Heglig” said Sudan “stresses that the government of Sudan has not, and does not intend to attack the Republic of South Sudan”.

The continued fighting sparked anger in Bentiu.

“I’m fearing that even if we give them Heglig, there will still be a war,” said shopkeeper Suleiman Ibrahim Ali. “I’m not alone – everyone is fearing the Antonov (warplanes).”

The South’s deputy director of military intelligence, Mac Paul, said: “I think it is a clear provocation.”

The attack is the latest of several along the disputed border.

The international community had called for an end to Sudan’s cross-border raids, as well as to the South’s presence in Heglig.

Southern officials said Sudanese troops had pushed across the contested border on Sunday before being repulsed after heavy fighting, although it was impossible to verify exactly where the clashes took place.

Southern troops were digging into positions fearing renewed ground attacks by Sudan, said the South’s Lieutenant General Obuto Mamur.

Kamal Marouf, a Sudanese army commander, claimed in Heglig Monday that more than 1,000 South Sudan troops were killed in the clashes.

“The numbers of killed from SPLM are 1,200,” Marouf said in an address to thousands of his soldiers as a stench of death filled the air.

The toll is impossible to verify but an AFP correspondent who accompanied Marouf said the putrid bodies of dead South Sudanese soldiers lay beneath trees which are scattered about the area.

Sudan has not said how many of its own soldiers died in the operation.

The main oil processing facility in Heglig – providing about half of Sudan’s crude – was heavily damaged, an AFP correspondent reported.

A storage tank was destroyed by fire, eight generators which provided power to the facility were also burned, and some oil was leaking onto the ground at the plant operated by Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC).

Both sides have accused each other of damaging the oil infrastructure.

The violence in Heglig was the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after a 1983-2005 civil war in which an estimated two million people died.

The South pulled out from Heglig after international pressure, but is calling on Khartoum to withdraw its troops from the contested Abyei region, which it seized last May.

Tensions have mounted over the border and other unresolved issues, raising concerns in recent weeks about the possibility of a wider war.

After the Heglig occupation, US President Barack Obama, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the African Union urged Sudan and South Sudan to resume talks.

© Copyright (c) AFP
South Sudan Accuses Khartoum of Air Attacks
New York Times
NAIROBI, Kenya — Sudan attacked South Sudan with warplanes and ground troops, only days after Sudan said its military had forced the south’s forces out of a contested oil-rich region, South Sudan said on Monday. South Sudan said last week that it had

Sudan’s Bashir says no talks as new air raids hit South
Regina Leader-Post
Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) sing pro-war songs at April 23, 2012 at a base in Bentiu. Sudanese war planes launched a fresh bombing raid on a key South Sudanese town Monday, dashing hopes that a withdrawal of Southern troops from a contested 
Amid dispute over oil, Sudan bombs South Sudanese towns
Christian Science Monitor
When South Sudan declared independence from Sudan, it took three quarters of the formerly united country’s oil, which has since been a source of tension and conflict. By Tom A. Peter, Correspondent / April 23, 2012 A SPLA soldier walks in a market 

Sudan MiGs bomb market in South Sudan
Kitsap Sun
BENTIU, South Sudan (AP) — Sudanese warplanes bombed a major town Monday in South Sudan, hitting a market and killing a boy while wounding at least 10 people. South Sudanese troops fired back as the threat of full-scale war between the two nations 

South Sudan accuses Sudan of bombings, Khartoum denies
Chicago Tribune
KHARTOUM/BENTIU, South Sudan (Reuters) – Sudan and newly-independent South Sudanaccused each other of launching fresh attacks on their territories on Sunday as neither side showed any sign of bowing to global pressure to return to the negotiating 

South Sudan: UN condemns aerial bombardments in Unity state
UN News Centre
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) today deplored the continued aerial bombardments in Bentiu town in the country’s Unity state, and called on the country and its neighbour, Sudan, to take all measures to ensure the safety of civilians.

CP World Report: Chuck Colson, South Sudan, God Spot, Face Britain Project
Christian Post
As tensions between Sudan and South Sudan escalate into military combat on the border, ChristianSouth Sudan citizens are trapped in Sudan and living in fear. Many among the half million of them have never lived anywhere else, and now they have been 

Machar admits South Sudan’s poor diplomacy over Heglig occupation

Sudan Tribune
April 22, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar says his nine-month-old country performed poorly on the diplomatic front during its occupation of the contested Heglig oil region on the north-south border, which South Sudan’s army 
UN-AU peacekeepers attacked in Darfur, 4 wounded
Sudan Tribune
On Friday, Ibrahim Gambari, the head of UNAMID expressed concern that Darfur’s rebel groups were attempting to exploit the current border conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, which seceded last year. “In the climate of ongoing tensions between Sudan 
Sudan: Blue Nile Civilians Describe Attacks, Abuses
Human Rights Watch
As in neighboring Southern Kordofan, which Human Rights Watch visited in August 2011, civilians in Blue Nile continue to endure Sudan’s indiscriminate bombing and other abuses, even as new conflict between Sudan and South Sudan threatens to engulf the 
Sudan bombs South Sudan border area, kills 3 – witnesses
By Hereward Holland | OUTSIDE BENTIU, South Sudan (Reuters) – Sudanese warplanes carried out air strikes on South Sudan on Monday, killing three people near a southern oil town, residents and military officials said, three days after South Sudan pulled 

Official: Sudan bombs S.Sudan, killing a boy
Huffington Post
April 23, 2012 03:25 AM EST | AP BENTIU, South Sudan — An official and a witness say Sudanese aircraft have bombed an area near Bentiu, the capital of Unity State in South Sudan, killing a boy and leaving at least two people wounded. Maj. Gen.

EAC Council of Ministers Vets South Sudan Application
By Eric Kabeera, 23 April 2012 On Wednesday, the 24th Extraordinary Meeting of the East African Community’s Council of Ministers will discuss and set up a verification committee to probe if South Sudan meets the criteria to join the bloc.

In the World
Philadelphia Inquirer
MICHAEL ONYIEGO / AP A soldier in South Sudan, injured in the Sudan attack, has a bullet removed from his leg. BENTIU, South Sudan – Sudanese armed forces launched an attack more than six miles inside South Sudan’s border, an official said Sunday, 

Standard will open in South Sudan
Business Day
FEARS of an all-out-war with Sudan have not dissuaded Standard Bank from formally opening itsSouth Sudan branch within days. Standard Bank Africa CEO Chris Newson has said: “We have been doing business and supporting the government of South Sudan  

By Dengdit Ayok

Before I express my opinion on the ongoing aggression against our nation, I would like to commend our gallant soldiers, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA); for bravely repulsing the invading Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from Panthou. That is what the people of South Sudan have been enthusiastically waiting for to hear because their dignity and their integrity and their sovereignty as well; has been repeatedly disgraced and humiliated by the government of Sudan and its army.

I would also want to give a round of applause to the President of the Republic Sir Salva Kiir Mayardit for refusing the International Community’s unfair calls for withdrawal of our army from Panthou, and for courageously stating in his speech to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) that our army will advance into Abyei to liberate it if the International Community did not take a move to call on the government of Sudan to withdraw SAF from there. This is what the people of South Sudan have been keenly waiting for to hear from their government after series of aggressions and senseless wars waged against them by Khartoum’s Ingaz-Islamists government before and after independence.

The UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Security Council, the Arab League and the African Union and the US President Barack Obama have apparently showed to the people of South Sudan and proved to them beyond any doubt that they are biased and unfair, very unfair and backing up the Sudanese government in its failed attempts to invade and occupy areas that belongs to our country.

It is indeed very disappointing that President Obama called President Kiir to tell him to remain calmed without retaliating to protect the sovereignty of South Sudan in self defense; a right enshrined in the international laws and granted to states, groups and even to individuals, while SAF is occupying territories within South Sudan.

One wonders to hear President Obama whose country strongly stands against terrorism, calling on the President of a fledgling country telling him to remain calmed while the forces of invasion occupy its territories despite of his full knowledge that this nascent state is interested in peace and fully committed for peaceful settlement of the pending political differences between her and Khartoum through negotiations in Addis Ababa under African Union’s mediation.

One really wonders as to how President Obama could condone acts of terrorism being carried out against South Sudan by the very regime which once had hosted the most 21st century’s famous terrorist (Osama Bin Laden) who had inflicted death and destruction on the people of his country more than 11 years ago. What Khartoum has been doing on our borders is part and parcel of the global terrorism that the United States is fighting against, and so how come that President Obama, call on South Sudan to remain calmed in the face of terrorism that his government had hunted Osama Bin Laden for in the last 11 years and killed him last year? How come that he call on President Kiir to be calmed while he himself is ready to fight and deter any aggression that threatens the security of the people of United States such as Iran’s and North Korean’s Piong Yang nuclear programs as his government believes?

How come that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon gives orders to President Kiir to withdraw our troops from Panthou when our troops are actually implementing their natural constitutional mandate, protecting the lives of the people of South Sudan and the geographical territories of their state from Khartoum’s offensives? How come that Mr. Ki-Moon call on the government in Juba to withdraw its troops from the area when he himself and members of his Security Council have failed to convince the government of Sudan to withdraw its troops from Abyei since its occupation in May last year? Is this not interference into the internal affairs of South Sudan by the UN Secretary General at the expense of the people of South Sudan for the interest of Khartoum? Surely, it is, and the government and the people of South Sudan strongly reject that.

The message I would like to send here is that South Sudan is not the one attacking and invading the Republic of the Sudan or occupying its territories, it is the Sudan that is launching military offensives against South Sudan to invade it and kill its innocent civilians for nothing except its greed for oil. Al-Bashir and members of his government have a goal which they want to achieve. They want to occupy oil fields that belong to South Sudan on the borders. They are aggressive and they are the ones who initiate wars and military escalations on the borders by attacking oil fields in Unity State and carrying out aerial bombardments on oil fields and SPLA by their Iranian made warplanes.

Our government has proved to the whole world its seriousness and keenness in pursuing peace through talks, but Khartoum has been boycotting the talks, violating none-aggression agreement signed in Addis Ababa in February this year, violating agreement on four freedoms signed in Addis Ababa last month, agitating the Sudanese populace for war through mass media and calling for Jihad against the people of South Sudan, frustrated and sabotaged the summit scheduled to take place between Kiir and Al-Bashir on the 3rd of this month in Juba  and the list of violations goes on.

The statement read out by Mrs. Susan Rice, the US envoy to the Security Council and on Thursday saying that the 15 members of the Council “demands a complete, immediate, and unconditional end to all fighting; withdrawal of the SPLA from Heglig; end to SAF aerial bombardments; end to repeated incidents of cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan; and an end to support by both sides to proxies in the other country,” as reported by Sudan Tribune is completely unfair in our view because it is a backing up to Khartoum by the International Community and it is totally unacceptable because the people of South Sudan are now acting in self defense which is lawful.

Why then should the International Community waste its time in condemning the government of South Sudan and calling on it to withdraw SPLA from an area which originally belongs to South Sudan and now brought back by force after it was forced by the masters of war in Khartoum to do so? Moreover, the call by the International Community on Juba to withdraw its soldiers from Panthou is biased and does not serve justice at all for both sides. It only serves the political interests of the Ingaz regime in Khartoum and for this reason; it is vehemently rejected by the government and people of South Sudan; because it is very unreasonable for the International Community to waste its time in defending an indicted Sudan’s President for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Defending a criminal and fugitive by the International Community at this time, is something questionable. Our soldiers shall not withdraw from Heglig because it is part of our country and we cannot leave an inch of our land to the vampires of Khartoum. The International Community should now start calling on Khartoum to respect the sovereignty of South Sudan by withdrawing SAF from Abyei instead of unfairly calling on South Sudan to withdraw from an area which naturally, geographically, politically and historically falls under the jurisdiction of South Sudan.

We will win this war which Khartoum has imposed on us because we have the truth we have vowed to protect our nation and


“Though the cause of evil prosper,

Yet ’tis truth alone is strong;

Though her portion be the scaffold,

And upon the throne be wrong:

Yet that scaffold sways the future,

And behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow

Keeping watch above his own”. 

James Russell Lowell

Mr. Ayok is a South Sudanese journalist working with the Juba-based Al-Masier Arabic daily newspaper. He can be reached at

Brussels  |   18 Apr 2012

Sudan and South Sudan are teetering on the brink of all-out war from which neither would benefit. Increasingly angry rhetoric, support for each other’s rebels, poor command and control, and brinkmanship, risk escalating limited and contained conflict into a full-scale confrontation between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA). Diplomatic pressure to cease hostilities and return to negotiations must be exerted on both governments by the region and the United Nations (UN) Security Council, as well as such partners as the U.S., China and key Gulf states. The immediate priority needs to be a ceasefire and security deal between North and South, as well as in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. But equally important, for the longer-term, are solutions to unresolved post-referendum issues, unimplemented provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) (that ended the civil war in 2005), and domestic reforms in both countries.

The most recent fighting between the SAF and SPLA arose amid a murky mix of armed actors and interests in the contested borderlands, including a variety of northern opposition forces and proxy militias. The exact cause is vigorously disputed, but the flare-up is the predictable outcome of negative trends: conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile; lack of agreement on transitional economic and financial arrangements between the two countries; Khartoum’s seizure of Southern oil; South Sudan’s decision to stop oil production; and sporadic cross-border attacks and bombings. It occurs amid mutual recriminations: of Khartoum arming Southern rebels and the SPLA providing material support to its former brothers-in-arms now fighting for the Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, as well as political support to members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) seeking to topple President Bashir.

In part to prevent the resupply of the SPLM-N, the SAF has also bombed refugee camps and towns in South Sudan and recently attacked Bentiu, the capital of Unity State. Complicating matters are divergent views within the capitals and hardliners seemingly working to undermine negotiated settlements, as demonstrated by the scuttling of the much anticipated North-South presidential summit on 3 April.

The end result is that, following renewed clashes, the SPLA has taken control of the disputed Heglig oil fields and stopped about half of Sudan’s 115,000 barrels-per-day oil output. This has dealt a further blow to Khartoum’s economy, already reeling from separation and the additional fall in revenue that resulted from Juba’s decision in January to stop exporting oil through Sudan’s pipelines. The beleaguered Khartoum regime, which is under pressure on political, economic, and multiple military fronts and increasingly concerned about the prospects of an Arab Spring uprising, cannot afford to sustain such losses.

Risky strategies

A game of “chicken” appears to be underway, in which both sides embark on risky strategies in the hope that the other will blink first. If neither does, the outcome will be disastrous for both.

Some suspect that President Kiir’s tactics are intended to provoke a popular uprising in the North — that he is gambling the attack on Heglig may be the proverbial straw that breaks the back of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). However, little thought seems to have been given to the consequences if President Bashir is removed from power. Unlike Egypt, Sudan lacks a single, legitimate institution that could manage a peaceful transfer of power. Bashir, who became president following a 1989 military coup, and his close associates have fragmented the security services and rely on personal loyalty and increasingly expensive patronage to retain control. He and security hardliners continue to pursue divide and rule tactics to prevent the emergence of a unified counterweight to NCP dominance of the centre. Bashir’s fall could trigger a wild scramble by multiple armed actors for control of Khartoum and other parts of the country that would be hard, if not impossible, to restrain.

Kiir and the SPLM are also dangerously exposed. With South Sudan’s decision to stop oil production, 98 per cent of its governmental revenue has disappeared. Reserves and other stop-gap measures can only tide Juba over for some months, after which the SPLM would have to impose draconian budget cuts, including on the SPLA, which is a fractious force that includes many former foes. Khartoum has a long history of supporting its enemy’s enemies. At relatively little cost it could continue to support Juba’s opponents and compound domestic instability for a government already plagued by weak institutions, limited reach and increasingly untenable financial circumstances.

Khartoum and Juba need to exercise restraint and consider carefully the consequences of their actions. The decision to abandon negotiations and resort to increasingly bellicose posturing can only hurt both.  Each government, with its own domestic challenges, may reap short-term political benefit from externalising its problems, but there is no military solution, and both sides would suffer from all-out war. The destruction of oil infrastructure would have long-term economic consequences. Stability is necessary in both the North and the South for either to develop and prosper and, in turn, enjoy long-term stability.

Decades of mutual distrust

Decades of mutual distrust prevent either side from making good-will gestures and pursuing win-win negotiations. In such a febrile environment, the UN Security Council must reassert itself to preserve international peace and security. It should mobilise all possible leverage to bring the parties back to negotiations and agreement on the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), as well as encourage implementation of the border monitoring tasks outlined for the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) in Resolution 2024 (2011), particularly near Heglig and Jau.

The parties and UNISFA must operationalise the JBVMM to investigate and verify claims either side is undermining peace or violating existing and future agreements, including for the necessary withdrawal of SPLA forces from the Heglig area and cessation of SAF bombing of South Sudanese territory. The monitoring mechanism needs to be flexible with high mobility. Lessons should be drawn from previous monitoring missions in Sudan, during which building confidence among Sudanese parties and supporting mutually-agreed arrangements were at least as important as verifying and reporting on legal obligations.

Unimplemented CPA provisions and deferred post-referendum issues

Fundamentally, the current conflict is rooted in the CPA’s unimplemented provisions, such as the status of Abyei, the cancelled popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and disputed borders, as well as unresolved issues stemming from separation. While they have acknowledged their interdependence, the two countries must still reach detailed agreements on many divisive issues, such as the joint exploitation of oil, transitional financial arrangements, citizenship, security and trade. The time for posturing and brinkmanship is past; they must return to the table promptly and sustain the focus and commitment necessary to hammer out and implement deals. Otherwise, if these critical issues are allowed to fester, they will undermine any ceasefire or limited peace deal.

Absent the democratic transformation long overdue in Khartoum, Sudan remains unstable as power, resources and development continue to be overly concentrated in the centre. A “new South” has emerged in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile that – along with Darfur, the East and other marginal areas – chafes under NCP domination. Because of historic ties, and despite South Sudan’s separation, the North’s centre-periphery wars continue to draw in Juba.

The call by the North’s opposition parties for a national dialogue in the context of a wider constitutional review conference suggests a way forward. Such a conference should be seen as a more extensive national consultative process, to accommodate the stymied popular consultations in the transitional areas and the Darfur people-to-people dialogue. Those latter two processes, if run separately, will not lead to political stability and lasting peace in the whole country.

A new unified international strategy

With developments increasingly appearing to be spiralling out of control, a new strategy is needed to avert an even bigger crisis. As Crisis Group noted in its 26 September 2011 Conflict Alert, any solution must be comprehensive. The international community must focus not only on North-South issues or the situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, but also require the NCP to agree to an immediate, inclusive, national reform process. The first priority needs to be for a security deal that stops both the fighting between the North and the South, as well as Khartoum and the SRF, but for this to hold it must also be clearly linked to binding commitments to discuss and implement political reforms.

The UN – the Security Council – should exert pressure on the two presidents to meet and negotiate an immediate ceasefire. This should be based on the 29 June 2011 Agreement on Border Security and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism, as well as the 10 February 2012 Memorandum of Understanding on Non-Aggression and Cooperation. They also need to reach common ground on a security deal for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile based on the 24 June 2011 Framework Agreement, to be monitored by an enhanced JBVMM.

To encourage reforms in Khartoum, a united international community, particularly the African Union (AU), Arab League and UN, should put pressure on the NCP to accept a free and unhindered national dialogue aimed at creating a national stabilisation program that includes defined principles for establishing an inclusive constitutional arrangement accepted by all. A national reform agenda should include a program that accommodates all the people of Sudan and supports inclusive governance. The NCP must make genuine efforts to end impunity in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and allow humanitarian agencies unhindered access, as well as support the efforts of the AU-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and UNISFA to protect civilians.

If the NCP commits seriously to such a national reform agenda, regional actors and the wider international community should offer assistance. Major players like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the Arab League, China, the U.S., EU and AU must recognise that reform is necessary for stability and requires their support. If the NCP accepts an inclusive reform process, for example, the U.S. should provide incentives under its normalisation package to bolster that process. These could include easing debts, lifting economic sanctions and removing Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Meanwhile, North-South relations may also be improved by greater domestic stability in South Sudan. Building institutions, extending service delivery, bolstering economic growth, and calming inter-communal tensions are among the priorities, and will be served in part by advancing promised political reforms. This includes an opening of political space inside and outside the SPLM, and an inclusive constitution-making process, that should be supported by partners and donors.

Recent Reports from the International Crisis Group on South Sudan

China’s New Courtship in South Sudan, Africa Report N°186, 4 Apr 2012

Following its oil interests and other opportunities to Juba, China is building a new relationship with South Sudan but finds itself drawn into a dangerous dispute that risks bringing the Sudans back to conflict.

South Sudan: Compounding Instability in Unity State, Africa Report N°179 , 17 Oct 2011

Unity State, a territory of unique importance and complexity in the fragile new country of South Sudan, faces a perfect storm of political, social, economic, and security dilemmas.

Politics and Transition in the New South Sudan, Africa Report N°172, 4 Apr 2011

Now that South Sudan’s self-determination has been realised, long-suppressed grievances and simmering political disputes have re-surfaced, threatening instability on the eve of independence.

Negotiating Sudan’s North-South Future, Africa Briefing N°76, 23 Nov 2010

As South Sudan’s critical self-determination referendum looms, the foundation for a constructive relationship between North and South is yet to be laid.

Sudan: Defining the North-South Border, Africa Briefing N°75, 2 Sep 2010

Sudan’s North and South must take political action to define their mutual boundary if they hope to avoid future complications, including a return to conflict.

Sudan: Regional Perspectives on the Prospect of Southern Independence, Africa Report Nº159, 6 May 2010

If, as likely, South Sudan decides to secede from the North at its January 2011 self-determination referendum, it will need support from Sudan’s neighbours to ensure the decision is respected and new conflict is prevented.

Jonglei’s Tribal Conflicts: Countering Insecurity in South Sudan, Africa Report N°154, 23 Dec 2009

Conflicts among tribes have claimed several thousand lives in South Sudan in 2009, with the worst violence in and around the vast, often impassable state of Jonglei. Violence often afflicts pastoral communities, but in this area it has taken on a new and dangerously politicised character.

Ruweng Biemnom Community in Diaspora Condemns Biemnom (Abiemnom) Air Strike by Sudan Armed Forces; Brands it a ‘Bloodthirsty Army’

Ruweng Biemnom Community in Diaspora calls the government of South Sudan, the United Nations, and the International Community to protect South Sudanese civilians from Sudan air strike. We congratulate the Sudan peoples’ Liberation Army/Movement for defending South Sudanese civilians and territories. We are indebted to our martyrs and veterans for their sacrifice to bring freedom and justice to the people of South Sudan. On April 10, 2012, Sudan military aircraft bombed civilians in Abiemnom County in Unity State. The air strike targeted civilians and most victims are children and women. The Sudanes president Omar Al- Bashir has been violating the comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between North and South in 2005. However, the government of the Republic of South Sudan remained unresponsive to countless military aggressions perpetrated by the blood-thirsty SAF. South Sudan prefers peaceful resolution to outstanding issues of border demarcation, Abyei referendum and popular consultation for Southern Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains.

The Khartoum’s bombing of civilians infringes the Geneva Convention, which reveres the protection of civilians from inhumane treatment. Sudan’s continuing aggressions against South Sudan are portrayed by the recently aerial bombardment on the oil facilities and civilians in Panrieng County, and the invasion of Abyei which resulted in massive civilian casualties in 2011.Sudan must stop air strike against civilians in South Sudan. Therefore, on behave of the Ruweng people in Biemnom (Abiemnom) County of the Unity State, we the Ruweng Biemnom Community in Diaspora; applaud the government of South Sudan for its military triumph: the capturing of Heglig town from the infamous Sudan Arm Forces (SAF). We urge the government of South Sudan to maintain its military presence in the town of Heglig as well as in other border-towns, since these territories are significant to recognizing the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan.

The Khartoum regime under the leadership of President Al-Bashir in particular proved to Africa and the world that it is incapable of meeting the expectations of its citizenry in the North: president Al-Bashir is a wanted-war criminal. Since he ascended to throne through military coup in 1989, President Al-bashir, like his predecessors, incessantly wages war on the Sudanese citizens, who demand social, economic, and political change. As a result, the southern region of the country, through referendum with nearly 99% turnout, seceded and became an autonomous state known today as the Republic of South Sudan. The rest of the country continues to resist the regime, particularly in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile. Bashir must end his aggravated attack against South Sudan, and must withdraw in South Sudan territories. For more details, see the Unity State’s (Biemnom) Abiemnom County map below to prove South Sudan’s territories which have been annexed to Northern Sudan’s Southern Kordofan:

President Al-Bashir confirms his criminal status by intervening militarily into the sovereign state of the Republic of South Sudan. Sudan air force bombed Biemnom County, injured and killed children and women. Ruweng Biemnom Community in Diaspora condemned this criminal act against our civilians in South Sudan. The UN Security Council should order President Omar Al-Bashir to withdraw their troops immediately in South Sudan territories to 1956 border.  Apparently, Al-Bashir becomes the enemy of two states, Sudan and South Sudan.

Concluding remarks, we urge the United Nations’ Security Council, IGAD and all the CPA partners to advise Sudan government to implement the following:

1. Acceptance of peaceful resolutions of border demarcation between North and South.

2. Complete withdrawal of Sudan arm forces in South Sudan’s territories of Parudeng, Karassana, Ding Thon, Rubajuch, Aniin, Thuba, Bar, Puth, Ajach, Kol lek (kellek), Abangwuot, Manajonga Payam, Tor Aliny, Ror Lou and Boak Alei and must not claim Hegilig, otherwise South Sudan would protect her boundary with the North.

1. Abyei referendum.

2. Popular consultations for the following areas:

  • Nuba Mountains
  • Southern Blue Nile

The International community should refrain from blaming the Government of South Sudan for current fighting in Hegilig because the government of South Sudan has the right to protect her citizens and territories. International community witnessed the bombing of Biemnom County which resulted in the deaths of children and women in Unity State, South Sudan.

We wish speedy recovery not only to the victims of Abiemnom air attack, but to all victims of SAF both in Sudan and South Sudan. Ruweng Biemnom Community encourages the government of South Sudan to protect its citizenry and sovereignty. SAF has led numerous military interventions in South Sudanese territories, and it is likely going to provoke more attacks in the unforeseeable future. Thus, the government of South Sudan should deploy more troops on the border areas to protect South Sudanese’s civilians.

Signed by: The Chairman of Ruweng Biemnom Community in North America, Canada and USA:

Lal Mabil Achuil, Chairman

Shangath Miaker Ador, Secretary

Biem Gook Nuan, Treasure

Following the January 2011 referendum, South Sudan became the newest African state on July 9, 2011, in line with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army and the Government of Sudan which provided for a referendum to determine if the people of South Sudan want to remain in one Sudan or form their own separate country. An overwhelming majority voted to form their separate country, hence the creation of South Sudan as a separate country on July 9, 2011.

In so many ways, that was a watershed event. For one, it was the first time that the colonial boundaries of independent Africa were tampered with. It also set a precedent for all secessionists in Africa on how to go about separation. It also produced a template for micro-nationalism in many disparate African countries. This is not the time to apportion blames, but after more than 50 years of staying together, the pains of separation in Sudan can only be imagined.

But, less than one year after the event, what many visionaries have foreseen is now coming to pass. Jonglei state of South Sudan became a disaster zone where some 100,000 people have fled recent clashes between rival ethnic groups. Some 6,000 ethnic Lou Nuer fighters attacked the area around Pibor town, outnumbering the army and UN forces. Food, medicine and shelter were now badly needed there.

This is the latest round in a cycle of violence which has lasted several months – in one incident last year some 600 Lou Nuer were killed by attackers from the Murle community, the group which fled from Pibor. The clashes began as cattle raids but have spiraled out of control. There have been some reports that more than 150 people had been killed but government sources say that between 20 and 30 had died.

UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Ms Lise Grande, said that “hundreds, if not thousands” of people had started to return to Pibor. But she said the humanitarian situation was “pretty grim”. But, according to Ms Grande, besides the looting of a Medicins Sans Frontieres clinic, the town had not suffered much damage and the government was beginning to deploy 3,000 extra soldiers and 800 police officers to the area.

Mr. John Boloch of South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission and a member of the Murle community had earlier said that people who had fled Pibor had since been hunted down and killed near River Kengen, south-east of the town. He accused local politicians of exacerbating the longstanding rivalries for their own ends and also asked why UN peacekeepers and the army were protecting government buildings in Pibor, rather than the people.

Mr. Boloch told Sudan Catholic Radio News that children and women were massacred in that area from January 2 up to 3 of 2012. There were also reports that many people may have drowned in a river as they fled the attackers. Government is trying to organize a “peace forum” where leaders from the two communities would be invited to discuss how to put an end to the cycle of violence.

Cattle vendettas are common in South Sudan, as are other clashes between rival groups. The UN says some 350,000 people were displaced because of inter-communal violence last year. This presents a major challenge to the government of the newly independent state, which also faces cross-border tensions with its northern neighbour, Sudan.

Any time there is an alliance due to a common enemy, once that enemy is no more, old conflicts resurface and new conflicts emerge. That is an iron law of history. When the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army was fighting the north, there was unity in the south due to a common goal of overcoming the north and or separating from the north. But soon after achieving that objective, South Sudan is now conscious of its heterogeneity. There are over 80 ethnic groups there with Dinka having more prominence than the rest.

Apart from diversity, South Sudan is also one of the world’s poorest regions. It hardly has any roads, railways, schools or clinics following many years of conflict, which has left it awash with weapons. However, it has enormous goodwill from the world’s major powers. It has enormous resources and huge potentials as well as great opportunities.

The government of South Sudan is already coming to terms with the fact that running a rebellion or liberation movement is not the same as running a government or a country. The task ahead requires statesmanship, patience and perseverance. There is need to carry along every segment of the society. In other words, a sense of belonging must be created for every South Sudanese.

And, at the end of the day, whatever may be the support they are getting from outside, developing their young nation lies with their people, who must accommodate each other equitably and fairly as well as live with their neighbours in common African brotherhood. In South Sudan, there is a lesson for all of us Africans.