The threat of open conflict between Sudan and neighbouring Chad is rising, with each side accusing the other of seeking to destabilise their already tense common border. Sudan said on Sunday it was ready for any Chadian attack the day after Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno said his forces would pursue rebels into Sudan's region of Darfur.
A Darfur rebel group has attacked a Sudanese oilfield and kidnapped a Canadian and an Iraqi worker, a leader of the group said on Thursday, vowing further attacks. ''We attacked Defra oilfield and kidnapped two foreign workers, one is Canadian and another is Iraqi,'' said Abdelaziz el-Nur Ashr, field commander for the Justice and Equality Movement.
Crisis talks between Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and southern leader Salva Kiir ended on Thursday without agreement on getting his former rebels to rejoin the unity government they quit a week ago. The meeting at the presidential palace in Khartoum came the day after al-Bashir authorised a Cabinet reshuffle.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has reshuffled his Cabinet in a bid to ease tensions with southern former rebels who pulled out of the unity government last week, an official said on Wednesday. The most important change will be to the post of foreign minister, currently held by Lam Akol, which will go to Deng Alor, the official said.
The African Union on Monday began probing an unprecedented attack on one of its bases in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur that left 10 peacekeepers dead and 25 missing, vowing to punish those responsible. ''The inquiry is under way and we will make its conclusions public,'' AU Mission in Sudan spokesperson Noureddine Mezni said.
Some of its men have not been paid for four months and, with few helicopters or troop carriers, it has to rely on diplomacy to keep the peace, but the beleaguered African Union force in Darfur insists it is still making a difference. The force has paid a high price for its efforts to stem the violence in Darfur, which has killed at least 200Â 000 people.
South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday to join the global push for United Nations peacekeepers in Darfur, amid fears of a regional spillover after clashes between Sudan and Chad. He was expected to press al-Bashir to accept UN peacekeepers in Darfur to boost an African Union (AU) force that has failed to stem violence there.
Sudan on Monday rejected the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in pressing charges over the conflict in Darfur. ''The position of Sudan is that this court has no jurisdiction when it comes to trying Sudanese,'' said Minister of Justice Mohammed Ali al-Mardhi.
Four years after the conflict in Darfur erupted, violence and hunger continue to ravage the western Sudanese region as the international community fails to impose its will on Khartoum. ''Four years is far too much ... The fact that this goes on is a disgrace,'' said United Nations peace envoy Jan Eliasson.
The trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on charges including genocide for a brutal campaign against Kurds in the 1980s, which left 100Â 000 people dead, was set down on Tuesday for August 21. The court had announced in April that Saddam and six co-defendants, including Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as Chemical Ali, would face genocide charges.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will offer an amnesty to some rebel groups and call for the disarmament of militias as part of a 28-point national reconciliation plan to stem violence, a lawmaker said on Saturday. The plan, first mentioned by al-Maliki on June 6, was inspired by post-apartheid South Africa.