Crisis in the Sudans - ALERTNET

Crisis in the Sudans

Weeks of border fighting between neighbours Sudan and South Sudan have brought the former civil war foes closer to a full-blown war than at any time since the South suceeded in July

  • Sudan carried out airstrikes on South Sudan on Monday, killing three people near an oil town, residents and military officials said, three days after South Sudan pulled out of a disputed oil field.

    A Reuters reporter at the scene, outside the oil town and Unity state capital Bentiu, said he saw a fighter aircraft drop two bombs near a river bridge between Bentiu and the neighbouring town of Rubkona.

    Read more:

    www.trust.org
  • The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) issued a statement on Monday saying it “deplores the continued aerial bombardments in Bentiu town, which is heavily populated by civilians”.

    "These indiscriminate bombings resulting in the loss of civilian lives must stop,” said Hilde F. Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan.

    "I remind the parties to the conflict of their obligation to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law, take all measures not to harm civilians, and guarantee the safety of international aid organizations and United Nations personnel and assets."
  • Between 10 to 40 percent of South Sudanese living along the border could be displaced and have their livelihoods disrupted by escalating military activities, according to the UN.

    Caseloads of hungry people could increase by at least 50 percent along the border areas, it said.

    “These activities will curtail the flow of food and non-food supplies from Sudan, exacerbating food scarcity and increasing market prices, thereby worsening food insecurity,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported in its latest weekly update.

    There were clashes and/or bombardments in all five border states between Sudan and South Sudan last week.
  • The European Union called on the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on Monday to cease attacks on each other's territory and return to talks on clarifying their border, after Sudanese warplanes carried out air strikes on South Sudan.

    "The EU urges both to return to the existing negotiating process under the auspices of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel and renew their efforts in good faith to reach agreement through peaceful dialogue," the EU Council said. Read more www.trust.org
  • Sudan conflicts: Brutal wars in Africa's biggest country www.trust.org
  • Video: New violence fuels Sudan, South Sudan war fears www.trust.org
  • Humanitarian aid organization World Concern temporarily suspended work in Raga County, South Sudan, last week because of clashes between the militaries of Sudan and South Sudan near the border.

    After bombings were reported in the border area north of Bora Medina, and the SPLA began commandeering trucks from local traders to move troops to the border area, World Concern halted work. Staff was able to resume work in Raga after about two days. www.trust.org
  • When petrol started running low in South Sudan's capital this month, Peter Bashir Gbandi sensed a sinister force at work.

    Rather than blaming a severe shortage of dollars, which the newly-independent country needs to buy imported fuel, the lawmaker pointed to arch rival Sudan - likely in league with Horn of Africa immigrants running filling stations, he said.

    A few days later, a member of Sudan's parliament railed against the hundreds of thousands of ethnic southerners living in Khartoum, many of whom do not hold passports and have never been to the South, demanding the "fifth column" be expelled. www.trust.org
  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Sudan's bombardment of a market in the capital of South Sudan's oil-producing Unity State on Monday and urged Khartoum to stop fighting.

    "The Secretary-General condemns the aerial bombardment on South Sudan by Sudanese Armed Forces and calls on the Government of Sudan to cease all hostilities immediately," Ban's press office said in a statement. www.trust.org
  • Sudanese military soldiers cheer and hold up their weapons during the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (not seen) in Heglig April 23, 2012. Sudanese soldiers cheered, hoisted rifles in the air and showed off a battered South Sudanese tank and dozens of corpses in the Heglig border region on Monday, leaving no doubt who was in control of the hotly disputed oil area. Heglig was at the centre of the worst violence between Sudan and South Sudan since they split into two countries under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war. Seen in the background is the Sudanese flag. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

  • Refugees International's Statelessness Program Manager reports from Juba today: "At least 30,000 individuals are stuck in border areas exceptionally vulnerable to the conflict heating up around them. No longer considered Sudanese and without any documents proving their South Sudanese nationality, for many their presence is neither documented nor considered when bombs fall."
  • A Sudanese engineer points at the damage to an oil pipeline in a largely damaged oilfield in Heglig April 23, 2012. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed on Monday not to negotiate with South Sudan after it occupied the oil-producing Heglig region. Weeks of border fighting have brought the neighbours closer to a full-blown war than at any time since the South split away from Sudan as an independent country in July. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

  • Sudanese military troops travel in their vehicles during the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (not seen) in Heglig April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

  • Sudanese military soldiers stand at a Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) tank during the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (not seen) in Heglig April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

  • RT @SudanSentinel: #SouthSudan President Salva Kiir, in #China, says #Sudan has "declared war": BBC t.co
  • RT @FAOemergencies: #Returnees are expected in from #Sudan in #SouthSudan: #UNFAO is urgently calling for funding to support agriculture t.co
  • #South Sudan News Bashir Orders Army to Avenge South Sudan's Attack On Heglig, 'Purge' Borders of Re... bit.ly #southsudan
  • #South Sudan News Arman Holds 'Racist' Bashir Responsible for Church Attack in Capital: [Sudan Tribu... bit.ly #southsudan
  • Have you seen #Obama's message to #Sudan and #SouthSudan? "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxtydXN3f1U&feature=youtu.be
  • @StateDept: #Sudan must immediately halt the aerial and artillery bombardment in #SouthSudan by the Sudan Armed Forces ow.ly
  • Former US president Jimmy Carter has said that he believes Sudan and South Sudan should accept UN peacekeepers on either side of their contested border.
    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Carter said: "I believe that both Bashir in the north and Kiir in the south would go along with a ceasefire as long as they knew that there were international peacekeepers along the border".
    There are three UN peacekeeping missions operating in Sudan and South Sudan but none with the mandate to monitor the border.
    In June 2011, UN resolution 1990 established the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) consisting of Ethiopian troops.
    In South Sudan, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was established after independence, tasked with consolidating peace and security and helping to establish conditions for development in the world's newest nation.
    This has meant that in the recent border clashes the UN has been able to monitor events on the southern side of the border but not north of the border.
    Carter's suggestion will face many challenges. Not only is Khartoum likely to be reticent to another UN mission but it the UN Security Council would have to agree on the forces mandate - often a lengthy process.
    allafrica.com
  • China's Hu calls for Sudans to exercise restraint

    BEIJING, April 24 (Reuters) - Chinese President Hu Jintao called for restraint from the two Sudans on Tuesday after South Sudan President Salva Kiir told Hu that his country's larger northern neighbour had declared war on the newly-independent state.
    Hu "stated that he very much hoped that both Sudans would proceed from the broader considerations of the fundamental interests of both countries' people and regional peace and stability and adhere to choosing peace, respecting each others' sovereignty and exercising calm and restraint," state television said.
    He urged both sides to settle their disputes through peaceful negotiations and give and take, it added.
    "The urgent task is to actively cooperate with the mediation efforts of the international community and halt armed conflict in the border areas," the report paraphrased Hu as telling Kiir during a meeting in Beijing.
    www.trust.org
  • South Sudan accuses Sudan of new air strikes
    BENTIU, South Sudan, April 24 (Reuters) - South Sudan accused Sudan on Tuesday of launching new aerial bombardments deep within its oil-producing Unity State, in a fresh escalation of tensions which have brought the two countries close to a full-blown war.
    Sudan's army spokesman, al-Sawarmi Khalid, denied the air force had bombed anywhere inside South Sudan, which became independent in July.
    South Sudan's army spokesman Philip Aguer said Sudanese Antonov aircraft had crossed up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) into its territory to bomb the settlements of Teschween, Panakuach and Roliaq. "We don't have a ceasefire with Khartoum. Khartoum is declaring war day by day," he said.
    A Reuters reporter in Bentiu, capital of Unity State and about 80 km (50 miles) from the contested and poorly marked border with Sudan, said he had heard heavy bombardment in the distance and also saw tracers fired into the air all night.
    "Yesterday evening and yesterday night there was heavy bombardment by Antonov aircraft of the Sudanese army of the areas of Lalop market and Panakuach," Unity State governor Taban Deng Gai told reporters.
    www.trust.org
  • President Kiir, accompanied by @RepSouthSudan delegation, arrived yesterday in #China for a five-day visit #SouthSudan
  • President Kiir met yesterday with the President of the People's Republic of #China, H.E. Hu Jintao, in Beijing #SouthSudan

  • Alex de Waal, a leading authority on Sudan, dissects the root causes of the current crisis on African Arguments website:

    • The respective leaderships of North and South Sudan are not sufficiently strong with respect to special interests within their ruling parties and military establishments, to be able to enforce compromise positions.

    • Issues deferred during the CPA remain unresolved – these included the status of SPLA soldiers in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States.


    • The parties have not agreed on the common borderline. The delineation of the agreed border, as it stood on 1 January 1956, is not the problem. Rather it is the status of the five disputed areas, and whether the South is permitted to make additional claims to territory beyond those that were agreed during the CPA period.

    • The shutdown of oil production in South Sudan in January created a situation in which there is an objective deadline for the resolution of key issues, before the South uses up its cash reserves.

    He also offers solutions...!
    africanarguments.org
  • H.E. Kiir: Visit to #China came at critical moment for @RepSouthSudan because our neighbour in Khartoum has declared war on #SouthSudan

  • 35,000 displaced by recent fighting - UNHCR
    JUBA, April 24 (UNHCR) – Recent fighting near the border between Sudan and South Sudan has displaced some 35,000 people in areas around Heglig, Talodi and other parts of Sudan's South Kordofan province.
    The UN refugee agency does not have access to the areas in question, but UNHCR is channeling aid through local agencies. The figures for the number of displaced come through these partners.
    In South Sudan, a spate of aerial bombings in recent weeks hit parts of Unity, Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal states.
    UNHCR said the three refugee sites in Unity State - Pariang, Nyeel and Yida - have thus far not been directly affected.
    "We have, nonetheless, seen an increase in the number of Sudanese refugees crossing the border, some of them seriously malnourished," said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards.
    In Unity State’s Yida settlement, more than 1,300 new arrivals were reported in the last four days.
    Recent average daily arrivals (230) have been triple the rate seen in March and February.
    Refugees say they left Sudan because of food shortages and fighting.
    The escalating hostilities are heightening concerns about the safety of refugees in Unity state.
    Yida is only a few kilometres from the border and has seen direct and indirect bombing and shelling over the past six months.
    “We are advising them to urgently move to safer areas," Edwards noted.

    www.unhcr.org
  • Col. Philip Aguer: Sudanese Antonovs dropped eight bombs overnight in Panakuac #SouthSudan
  • H.E. Kiir is scheduled to meet with China's top legislator Wu Bangguo & Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday #SouthSudan
  • Sudan Sets Conditions For Engaging Normal Ties With South Sudan
    KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 (Bernama) -- Sudan has set four conditions to engage normal relationship with South Sudan.

    South Sudan government must be held accountable for all its destruction of infrastructure in Heglig in accordance with international law.


    Sudan's Ambassador to Malaysia Nadir Yousif Eltayeb said that South Sudan must recognise and abide by the Six Agreements on Security between the two states.

    The South must also officially recognise the border line which existed since Sudan's independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956.


    He said South Sudan must also stop acts of aggression against Sudan and refrain from supporting the insurgency in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and the Darfur insurgency movements which refused to sign the Doha Agreement.


    "Sudan government reiterates its commitment to the stability of the region and preservation of peace and security within the international law...Sudan will have normal relations under four conditions and South Sudan has to commit to these," he told reporters at his office here, Tuesday.

    www.bernama.com
  • @RepSouthSudan @ghostpolitics dont wait for the #UN to help!
  • @RepSouthSudan it is high time for the RSS to sharpen her diplomatic tools, Nhial is up to no good for the foreign affairs job.
  • #Sudan: is the time for negotiations over? Put your questions to Sudan officials @ #Khartoumcalling on 26/4 bit.ly/HV7MTX #SouthSudan
  • @RepSouthSudan remains committed to a peaceful solution. We call on Khartoum to end its indiscriminate bombardme... bit.ly
  • @RepSouthSudan & #China are economic & strategic partners. We are grateful for their continued support of the people of #SouthSudan
  • #UN chief #Ban called on #Sudan and #SouthSudan to immediately end their use of force and negotiate a solution. t.co
  • Save the Children South Sudan Country Director Jon Cunliffe said:

    "Fierce fighting in the Sudan/South Sudan border regions is threatening a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of people have already fled their homes and we know that thousands more are trapped beyond our reach with little access to food, clean water or emergency medical care.

    "April has seen a huge surge in fighting, putting children under new and greater threat. We are incredibly concerned about the wellbeing of children fleeing in terror from aerial bombardment, separated from their families, seeing homes destroyed and at risk of violence and deprivation as the conflict continues.

    "Even before the latest round of fighting, Save the Children was helping thousands of children forced to flee their homes. All are in urgent need of help. Humanitarian groups need guaranteed safe access to families cut off from help, and urgent support to help as many displaced people as possible.".
  • IOM responds to Sudan/South Sudan border fighting, speeds up the evacuation of stranded returnees from border areas

    On Monday, 23 April 2012, an IOM organized barge movement of 1708 stranded returnees departed the border town of Renk for Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The convoy is made up of three passenger barges and four luggage barges.

    Most of the returnees are travelling to the greater Bahr el Ghazal region and those that are travelling beyond Juba will be provided with transportation assistance by IOM to reach their final destination. This is the fourth barge convoy organized from Renk since June 2011; IOM has provided transportation assistance to over 12,000 stranded returnees in the last year, bringing the total number of individuals that have received transportation assistance to over 22,000.

    IOM is speeding up the evacuation of returnees from the town of Renk as fighting along border areas remains a concern for the safety of returnees. IOM is organizing barge and road convoys to Malakal and Juba. The rainy season has now begun and access to Renk will be further complicated as roads further south become impassable. IOM is concerned that the escalation in fighting may spread to Upper Nile State where skirmishes already occur on a regular basis. The operational constraints in handling these movements have significantly increased as there is a shortage of barges and other transport assets, a scarcity of fuel, and a shortage of goods and materials since the border with Sudan has been closed to commercial trade. IOM worked closely with the UN Mission in Malakal to secure fuel for this barge movement. These shortages impede assistance and delay the organization of the movements which can lead to protracted displacement in temporary transit sites

    IOM is also providing return assistance to a group of 1,300 Southern Sudanese who had left Khartoum in late March in a convoy and became stranded in the town of Heglig, before being re-routed towards Renk. The situation of the group was of concern to the humanitarian community and all efforts are underway to relocate the group by road to Malakal and by air to Aweil and Kuajok in Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal State. An IOM organized convoy of buses departed Renk yesterday and arrived in Malakal this morning carrying the first of 650 returnees. The group will remain in Malakal until they are cleared to fly. IOM and humanitarian partners are establishing a transit site, located on the outskirts of the town, with capacity to accommodate up to 30,000 stranded returnees. IOM is currently constructing emergency latrine facilities and trenches for over 1,000 returnees and has secured water tankers for the distribution of safe drinking water.

    IOM responded to the recent bombing of civilians in Bentiu (Unity State), by organizing the airlifting of emergency medical supplies to Bentiu Hospital. IOM organized three flights to transport just under three tons of emergency medical supplies (donated by WHO) and on the return journey, the planes airlifted patients injured during the bombings from Bentiu hospital to Juba where they have received treatment at Juba Teaching Hospital.

    Heglig, the scene of recent clashes, is only 60km east of the disputed area of Abyei. IOM continues to monitor the increasingly tense situation in Abyei. Fighting in May 2011 resulted in the displacement of over 100,000 into South Sudan. IOM responded by providing emergency medical assistance, with the distribution of NFIs and emergency shelter materials, and by constructing latrines and providing safe drinking water in temporary settlement areas. In October 2011, towards the end of the rainy season, IOM tracking and monitoring teams noticed a marked increase in the number of displaced communities returning to Agok.

    IOM is concerned at the increasing tensions between the Sudan and South Sudan on populations in border areas, migratory groups, and returnees who become stranded on their way home. Increased insecurity in border areas limits the abilities of humanitarian organizations to provide direct and pro-longed assistance to affected communities within conflict zones.

    For further information, contact Samantha Donkin, Information and Reporting Officer – IOM South Sudan, on sdonkin@iom.int or +211922406728
  • It is worth thinking about the backdrop on which the last weeks' fighting has been happening. South Sudan is in the grip of multiple crises right now: 110,000+ refugees from Blue Nile State and South Kordofan; thousands still displaced by inter-communal violence in Jonglei State; and a measles outbreak in Warrap State that serves as a reminder of the threat of epidemics. And most recently the clashes along the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

    This means that the emergency-response capacity of humanitarian organisations is already stretched very thin and, if the border troubles escalate further, could quickly reach breaking point. MSF has been warning for some years about the risks of letting emergency-response capacity peter out as development agendas take centre-stage for humanitarian organisations and donors. With the numerous situations already happening in South Sudan that require emergency humanitarian action, and now this extremely worrying development of clashes along the border, it's a reminder to all that all available emergency humanitarian response apparatus should be primed and ready for deployment.
  • Additional comment, for those interested, in brief: MSF’s team in Agok have provided complex surgery for severely wounded patients from Abiemnom (they are all now recovering) and has distibuted shelter and basic survival kits in Rumamer where MSF has identified IDPs fleeing Abiemnom. The team is also assessing new IDPs in villages both North and South of River Kiir near Agok.

    Another MSF team is supporting the MoH hospital in Bentiu with an Operating Theatre nurse and a support health worker. And further MSF war wounded surgery capacity is flying into the country to be prepared in case the situation calls for further life-saving interventions.
  • @alanboswell: any idea whether SAF are in south sudan territory?
  • Video: Sudan fighter jets bomb South Sudan www.trust.org
  • Sudan foreign minister says ready to talk to South Sudan about security issues - Reuters
  • I've seen a few great journalistic pieces from Human Rights Watch and al-Jazeera regarding the Yida refugee camp, but I haven't learned much about the state of these camps. In a post below, I read that UNHCR has not been operating directly within the camps and I wonder about the psychosocial/mental health services being provided for children. I assume schools and/or access to existing schools have not been established, but I'd like to know what level of services exist in such newly established settings. With the fear of escalated violence, has there been conversation on the ground regarding continued fleeing, even perhaps into Kenya?
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