A summary of the news from the Sudans and the DRC the past two weeks. Click on the title for the full article.
SUDAN & SOUTH SUDAN
Sudans End Oil Dispute
On August 4, Sudan and South Sudan reportedly resolved one of the most important disputes that had brought these two countries close to war—compensation to Sudan for oil pipeline use by its landlocked southern neighbour. According to African Union (AU) mediator Thabo Mbeki, the Sudans will now move on to discussing plans for re-establishing South Sudan’s oil exportation, which was halted earlier this year in association with the dispute. Under the agreement, Juba will compensate Khartoum at a rate that is less than $10/barrel and also present a $3.2 billion compensation package to help Sudan cope with losing the majority of its oil resources upon South Sudan’s secession last year. Sudan claims that the agreement will be not put into effect until after security arrangements have been made and Ramadan has finished. Presidents Bashir and Kiir are due to discuss unresolved border issues upon their next summit.
Violence Prompts All 25,000 Residents of Darfur Refugee Camp to Flee
Fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and rebel groups in the Darfur region has pushed the entirety of the Kassab refugee camp’s population to flee the area. According to the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), many of the refugees lack water, food, and proper sanitation in their new areas, yet are reluctant to return to the refugee camp out of fear of being attacked. The violence reportedly began on August 1 following a carjacking that left two people dead, including the local district commissioner. The United Nations (UN) has estimated that since 2003, approximately 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur, with almost 3 million displaced.
UN Airdrops Food to Refugees in South Sudan
On Tuesday, the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) announced that it had begun a food airdrop to serve refugees in South Sudan who had fled from the bordering Blue Nile state, a hub of ongoing fighting between the Sudanese army and SPLM-North rebels. Approximately 120,000 of these refugees have entered South Sudan, home to 1.7 million people already receiving support from the World Food Program. Sudan has recently agreed to allow aid to enter its rebel-occupied areas; the UN is reportedly still determining how the food will be delivered to these areas.
‘Humanitarian Disaster’ Occurring in South Sudan, Says MSF
Medecins Sans Frontières has announced that children are dying each day at the Batil refugee camp at a rate that is twice that of the “established emergency threshold,” with the majority of fatalities occurring in children under five years of age. Because of the current rainy season, food and supplies can only be delivered via air. MSF’s medical coordinator Helen Patterson has described the situation as “nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe.” The BBC reports that “refugees—many of whom walked . . . weeks to get to camps—say they were forced from their homes by ground and air attacks by the Sudanese military, and are being chased away because of their ethnic origin.”
Thousands of Civilians Protest Violence in Eastern Congo
On August 1, protesters across the country rallied against the violent uprising of the M23 rebels, which has displaced 470,000 people in North Kivu over the past four months. Earlier in the week, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo reported that the Congolese army was lacking sufficient ammunition and had withdrawn from towns and villages, allowing rebels to overtake them.
ICC Asked to Investigate Rwanda President for War Crimes
On Friday, both Congolese and Rwandan groups opposed to Rwandan President Paul Kagame requested that the International Criminal Court investigate the head of state for war crimes in association with allegations that Rwanda has supported Congolese rebels. While the ICC has not confirmed any plans to investigate Kagame, Court Prosecutor Fatour Bensouda has already started questioning members of the M23 rebel group who are allegedly from Rwanda. Christopher Block, a lawyer representing one of the groups petitioning to the ICC, claims that the International Criminal Tribunal has a “mountain” of documents supporting the allegations against Kagame.
Need to get up to speed on the situation in Eastern Congo? Check out this installment of the Enough Project’s “Enough 101”.