Juba Accused of Massing Troops on Eastern Darfur Border

Article Summary
Khartoum has accused Sudan's southern neighbour of amassing troops along the South Sudanese border with Eastern Darfur, while rejecting a partially demilitarized zone, writes Al-Nour Ahmad al-Nour. 

Khartoum yesterday [Jan. 29] accused South Sudan of mobilizing forces reinforced with heavy weapons, armor and vehicles along the border with eastern Darfur. Idris Mohammed Abdul Qadir, minister of state for Sudanese Presidential Affairs and Sudan’s top negotiator with South Sudan, suggested the possibility of extending the African mediation process once the current extension ends in July if negotiating parties fail to reach an agreement.

Following the return of President Omar al-Bashir from Addis Ababa, and after the two rounds of talks failed with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Qadir said in a statement that the mediation report did not include any text that referred the issue to the UN Security Council. He added, “Such a text was not included and would be impossible to include in the report.”

Qadir confirmed that Khartoum was committed to hold a referendum to determine the future of Abyei, the area disputed with South Sudan. He said that if the government of South Sudan is opting for something other than the referendum, “we are disposed to consider new options.” He explained that the mediators talked about the need to consider options other than the referendum, adding that the issue of the area is now in the hands of Bashir and Mayardit.

Qadir renewed the Sudanese government’s commitment to defining a demilitarized zone in the Mile 14 area, and rejected the idea of a partially demilitarized zone, saying that it would represent a security threat to the two countries given the presence of pastoral tribes in the area, and that any military presence would obstruct the citizens’ movement. He also accused the government of South Sudan of seeking to take the disputed issues out of the African context.

The Sudanese foreign ministry did not rule out the possibility that “American interests and Zionist lobbies in Western countries” stand behind the "intransigence” of South Sudan’s government in the recent talks, and accused Juba of seeking to bring the issue to the Security Council in New York.

Obaid Murawah, spokesman for the Sudanese foreign ministry, said that influential individuals in the US and other Western countries have been working to bring the negotiation issue between Khartoum and Juba to the UN Security Council, based on Security Council Resolution 2046.

In the same context, Ahmed Fadel, governor of Eastern Darfur by proxy, revealed that the military of South Sudan is moving with heavy armor toward the Arabian Sea and the border between the two countries. He said that the Southern army massed troops and heavy armor toward the occupied area of Samaha, which is occupied by Southern forces, and “we observed that [they are there].”

In a press statement yesterday [Jan. 29] — after visiting 16 people at the military hospital in Khartoum who were injured in clashes in Samaha — he said that the area “is targeted by the Sudan People's Liberation Army.” He also demanded that they be unified to “confront the aggression of South Sudan,” stressing the need to deploy the Sudanese army in order to protect the territory, which, according to him, South Sudan is targeting.

He mentioned that the presence of the Southern army in the area would obstruct the movement of cattle farmers when driving their herds looking for water, and added that the farmers and their cattle are located in western and eastern Samaha.

Furthermore, the quarrel between the Sudanese government and its opponents has escalated regarding the political agreement between the Sudanese opposition coalition and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, and its simultaneous signing in Khartoum and Kampala soon. Chairwoman of the Sudanese Parliamentary Law Sub-committee Badria Suleiman stressed the need to hold signatories of the Kampala Charter accountable and file criminal charges against them after they reached an agreement with the armed movements to overthrow the regime, and that weapons were a way to bring about the change. She described the new agreement as criminal, and said in a press conference that the move that they made was enough to bring these parties and their leaders to justice, and to prosecute them for cooperating with an enemy state and stirring up hatred. Punishment could include dissolving the political parties, suspending their activities and preventing them from running in the elections. She emphasized that the Sudanese government is the only body entitled to negotiate with the rebels, according to international law.

Found in: tribes, khartoum, darfur

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