Sudan and South Sudan on the Brink of War

SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN
The latest clashes have brought the two former civil war foes closer to an outright war (AFP/File, Adriane Ohanesian)

The latest clashes have brought the two former civil war foes closer to an outright war (AFP/File, Adriane Ohanesian)

Why is it that the month of April encounters the most horrid events and atrocities in history? In the midst of genocide awareness and prevention month, there is not only genocide by attrition going on within Sudan (Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofon States) but they are also on the brink of war with South Sudan.
South Sudan’s army (SPLA) on Tuesday attacked Heglig, a disputed area containing a significant oilfield. Heglig lies along the ill-defined border between the two African nations and has been the focal point of nearly two weeks of clashes between the armies. The region is home to oil facilities that account for around half of Sudan’s oil production. Juba said it attacked Heglig in response to ground and aerial attacks conducted by SAF deep inside South Sudanese territories.
“Heglig belongs to South Sudan. We did not start this fighting, but after the Sudan Armed Forces attacked us in Tashwin, we start to fight back. Before Numeiri (President of Sudan until 1985), Heglig always belonged to South Sudan and now we took it back. The issue is, that the government of Sudan never draw a borderline, it did not agree on the borders. But they continued to attack us, including aerial bombardments. We then finally decided to defend ourselves.” – South Sudanese spokesman Philip Aguer told Radio Dabanga
Sudan Information Minister Abdulla Ali Masar said Sudan’s forces would reorganize their ranks and prepare to drive back the aggressors and not rest before it recaptures control over Heglig.
The African Union, U.N. chief Ban Ki Moon, along with the US have urged immediate cease-fire on both sides to avoid further bloodshed. The US and UK have condemned South Sudan’s military attack on Heglig but what do they expect when they are being bombarded with ongoing aerial attacks? The root of the problem was never resolved, and now not only are negotiations halted between the two countries, but a full-fledged war is highly likely. When enough is enough, the South Sudanese have turned to hitting Sudan where it’d really hurt them, their source of income -oil.
“We decided to also capture all the other oilfields. All Sudanese know that the income from the oilfields is not going to the people of Sudan, but to the army, the security and some powerful individuals. We want to stop this and we will continue to fight until the government of Al Bashir will be replaced.” – Gabriel Adam Bilal, spokesman of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and part of SRF
In an effort to consolidate peace, Rwanda is contributing 850 troops to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
“We were abandoned in 1994, during this same period of commemoration. This is a historical day, we are not going to abandon others.” – Chief of Defence Staff of Rwanda Defence Forces, Lt Gen Charles Kayonga, at the departure of the initial 150 RDF peacekeepers to South Sudan.
That is a powerful statement by Rwanda, and I hope other countries, especially the ones who have the power to put an end to the bloodshed, learn from example and actively pursue Never Again.
Al Jazeera investigates the hidden atrocities in the remote state of Southern Kordofan in Sudan. Here is the video:
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