Sudan Update, Vol.VI, No.9

Sudan Update, Vol.VI, No.9



NEW OFFENSIVE IN LATJOR STATE: The South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM/A) claimed on 23 May that the Khartoum government had launched a new offensive in three parts of Latjor State, and alleging that this brought the total of government violations of the Carter-mediated cease-fire to 21.

`The NIF forces from Maban launched a massive offensive from 15th to 19th May 1995, in the area of Chotbura, resulting to the burning of 377 homes of the Thiang Cieng Kang and Cieng Lony and displacing many people. The SSIM/A forces killed 25 enemy soldiers and captured 15 AK47 rifles. Our forces repelled the attack,' says the SSIM press release.

`In the second front the NIF forces attacked our position near Ulang along the Sobat River on the 20th May 1995, five enemy soldiers were killed.

`On the 21st May 1995 the NIF forces opened a third by attacking SSIM/A forces at Kor Manyang 20 miles east of Nasir. 21 enemy soldiers were killed, 15 AK47, 4 G-3 rifles and quantities of AK47 and G-3 ammunitions were capture by SSIM/A forces.

`The NIF is making a desperate attempt to dislodge the SSIM/A from Latjor State at the end of the cease-fire brokered by President Carter. These attacks tally the 21 violations of the cease-fire by the NIF in the SSIM/A areas. This is an indication that the NIF is not at all serious about the cease-fire . What is the need for extension of the cease-fire as being proposed by President Carter? It is worth mentioning that the NIF has denied relief flights clearance to Mading, Longachuk, Maiwut, Pagak and Chotbura and in actual fact this is where it is concentrating its present offensive.

`We call on the international community, the IGADD, Friends of IGADD and the Carter [sic] to condemn the NIF for its continuous violations of the cease-fire and obstructing humanitarian relief assistance and the eradication of Guinea Worms, prevention of river blindness and immunization of children against polio and other diseases prevalent in South Sudan.' (SSIM 23/May/95)

LAFON DECLARATION: `Following the first rebel victory in years [on 31 March], when troops of Riek Machar's SSIM captured intact a government armoured convoy at the town of Lafon, in April both rebel factions [SPLA and SSIM] signed a peace and reconciliation accord called the Lafon Declaration,' reports the New Statesman.

Ex-US president Jimmy Carter's mediation of a cease-fire between the rebel forces and the government at the end of March was a `breakthrough', although `Carter's ambition of a total dry season cease-fire was never entirely realistic, as it is the only time the government can use its armour in the southern swamps: the day after the cease-fire was announced, Khartoum captured the strategic town of Nasir. But Carter's initiative greatly assisted confidence building measures among local commanders on the ground, resulting in local cooperation and a bottom-up peace initiative that the leadership could no longer ignore.'

SSIM spokesman Majok Gunjong is quoted as saying, "News of the cessation of hostilities has been welcomed by all sides. The formation of cease-fire committees in the border areas of the two southern movements has been welcomed by the majority of Southern Sudanese which they see will lead to the unity of common purpose between the two movements and among the Southern Sudanese at large."

`Disagreement still remains over some aspects of interpretation of the Lafon Declaration,' says the New Statesman. `SSIM says it is only the beginning of the reconciliation process, while the SPLA claims unity has already been achieved. At stake are the war aims and future political programme of the rebel movement: Garang and the [SPLA] Mainstream leadership are still holding out for the original programme of "a united, secular Sudan", whilst the dissident grouping want all-out independence for the South. SSIM points out: "Unity cannot be achieved overnight. After four years of hostility between the two movements we have to go slowly and surely to build confidence among the troops. We need the objective to be very clear. The right of self-determination for the people of the South must be the main objective of the liberation struggle."

`The undoubted strength of the grass roots movement for reconciliation means that soldiers on both sides of the rebel divide are now unlikely to resume interfactional fighting. It has long been clear that the war that the war can only be ended either by dividing Sudan between the Arab North and African South, or by abandoning the country's Islamic constitution. Until now, Khartoum hs refused to discuss either possibility, instead exploiting the divisions in the armed opposition. If the rebels stop fighting between themselves, the government will eventually be forced to come to a compromise solution, and an end to the war may finally be in sight.' (New Statesman 26/May/95)

WILLIAM NYUON AND KERUBINO RETURN TO S.S.I.M: The SSIM/A defeat of the government convoy at Lafon on 31 March marked another turning point in the fortunes of the rebel movement, according to Sudan Update sources. William Nyuon Bany, who was sacked earlier this year by SSIM/A leader Riek Machar, was sent out from the government garrison at Magiri with ten armoured vehicles to rescue the captured convoy, but instead joined forces with the rebels. He and Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, who was also dismissed earlier this year, were subsequently reinstated in their posts with the SSIM/A. Both commanders are early key members of the rebel movement, but personal animosities among the leadership and the failure to control the excesses of inter-tribal feuding caused severe damage to the rebel forces' effectiveness. Several rebel commanders, including Kerubino, William Nyuon and Arok Thon Arok [of Lam Akol's Western Upper Nile grouping], have at various times cooperated with government forces and have been accused of treachery. Khartoum benefited greatly from these divisions and did its utmost to add to the confusion. For the present, however, differences between Riek, William and Kerubino appear to have been muted in the name of Southern Sudanese solidarity.

Sudan Update sources in Nairobi report that the initiative for the Lafon declaration came not from the faction leaders but from the local commanders, including SPLA/M Cdr Oyai Deng Ajak and SSIM/A Cdr Gatdor Kiec Wuor, whose names as chairs of their respective factions' committees appear first on the document. William Nyuon appears to have re-etsablished his position as Chief of Staff of SSIM/A by virtue of his strength in the field.

Meanwhile, differences exist in the interpretation of the declaration. Cdr John Garang, whose stated aim remains the establishment of a united secular Sudan, and who has recently undertaken agreements with the northern Sudanese opposition to undertake joint attacks on northern targets, regards the move as a "return to the fold" for the dissident faction. The SSIM/A, as well as the SPLA-United faction of Cdr Lam Akol, still holds to the aim of independence for the South. Sources in Southern Sudan suggest that popular dissatisfaction with the behaviour of the leaders has acquired a momentum of its own. (SU 24/May/95)


ABYEI DELEGATION TOLD "MORE STATES IF NECESSARY": The government will not hesitate to establish more states and provinces if it finds it necessary, Vice-President Maj-Gen al-Zubeir Muhammad Salih told a delegation from Abyei province, West Kordofan State, on 19 April. `He called on the state government and local authorities to play their proper role in settlement of the problems facing Abyei area,' according to Sudan News, which says the Vice-President told the delegation that Abyei State had been established `in response to the citizens' aspirations and in the context of ensuring more power to the people.' Salih said the federal government was ready to offer support towards rehabilitating the province.

[SU notes that Abyei is an anomalous state whose inclusion in the north is at odds with its mainly Southern Sudanese culture and population.] (Sudan News 26/Apr/95)

Date: Wed, 24 May 1995 21:42:27 BST
From: Peter Verney sudanupdate@GN.APC.ORG
Subject: Southern News

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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