Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Sudan on verge of north-south war, says official

The secretary general of the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said on Monday his country was on the brink of a new north-south civil war, and called on northern forces to leave a disputed oil town.

”We’re on the brink of war. Clashes have already happened,” SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum told a news conference, saying that northern government forces had been building up their positions. ”I’m sure this will get a response from the SPLA.”

But Amum said the SPLA — the armed wing of the SPLM and now the army of Sudan’s semi-autonomous southern government — was doing all it could to avoid war.

”For us, war is not an option. Moving forces out of the area is the most important step now,” he said.

Sudan has witnessed sporadic and sometimes fierce fighting in recent weeks in the disputed oil-rich Abyei region, an area claimed by both Khartoum and the southern government.

Twenty-one northern Sudanese army soldiers and an unknown number of southerners were killed last week in fighting in Abyei that followed a week of skirmishes sparked by a local dispute. The clashes have displaced tens of thousands of people.

Amum called for northern forces to leave Abyei town, and called for the establishment of joint north-south forces, or failing that a full United Nations peacekeeping force in a demilitarised area. Sudan’s ruling party denied last week southern accusations that Khartoum was sending more troops to Abyei.

Sudan’s northern government and southern rebels fought a two-decade civil war fuelled by ethnicity, ideology, and oil that ended with the signing of a comprehensive peace deal in 2005, when the SPLM formed a coalition government with the ruling northern National Congress Party.

But ties have been strained by the failure so far to agree on borders or a local government for Abyei. A nearby oil pipeline and surrounding installations produce about half of Sudan’s daily output of 500 000 barrels of oil. — Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

More top stories

Coal gets the cold shoulder as coal power fleets on...

Only Gambia has a plan that, if everyone acted the same way, would see global heating kept to below 1.5°C.

The sugar tax is working. Experts say we should double...

The financial and public health cost of diabetes, as well as diabetes-related blindness and kidney failures, is being overlooked, health advocates say

Coups are always a bad idea – even the popular...

Why are coups happening more frequently? The most significant trend is the deepening democratic deficit across many African countries, and a corresponding decline in effective enforcement of democratic norms

Almost two million voters register for local elections

Young people make use of online portal and women account for more than half of the total registered
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×