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News Round-up

  • In Abyei tension between the North and South rose throughout the week, culminating in the seizure of Abyei town by the Northern army, the SAF, on Sunday 22 May.
  • On Monday 16 May the Southern Army, the SPLA, said it had proof that fighting in Abyei at the beginning of the month was part of an attempted occupation by the North. On Thursday a convoy of SAF troops, escorted by UNMIS, was ambushed leaving Abyei. The SAF blamed the SPLA, whilst the South argued the North was looking for an excuse to launch an offensive. Fighting escalated on Friday and Saturday with shelling and aerial bombardment reported. By Sunday the SAF had taken control Abyei town and dissolved the administrative council after pushing back all SPLA troops in the region.
  • The South has called the move an “act of war”, and the UN and US have demanded that the North withdraw. According to Medicens San Frontiers Abeyi town was deserted after almost everybody had fled. There are reports that South Sudanese troops are amassing in the area. The violence coincided with a visit of the UN Security Council to Sudan.
  • At the same time as the fighting in Abeyi, SPLA troops clashed with the rebel South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) in neighbouring Unity state. The SPLA allege that the fighting was coordinated with the North’s offensive in Abyei.
  • There’s also been fighting in Darfur where SAF have launched airstrikes. UNAMID flights in the area have had to be suspended. The lead negotiator for the Sudanese government at the peace talks in Doha believes they are close to reaching a deal with the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), saying that they have reached agreement on all major issues.
  • The SPLM continue to contest the result of the recent elections in South Kordofan. The Carter Center, who were monitoring the election, says that the result was “credible”.

News in Detail


Sudan Tribune: North Sudan attacked Abyei - SPLM official 16 May: A senior member of the South Sudanese government in Abyei claims that attacks which took place in the region on 1 May 2011 were part of an attempted occupation by the Northern Sudanese army.,38900

VOA: Sudan Blames SPLA for Attack 20 May: Sudanese armed forces say rival Southern forces were behind Friday's attack on U.N. peacekeepers and Sudanese soldiers in the oil rich Abyei region.

AFP: Sudan rivals trade accusations after Abyei shooting 20 May: Sudan's two armies traded angry accusations on Friday after peacekeepers and Northern soldiers were reported wounded in the tense Abyei district on the North-South border.

BBC: Abyei seizure by North 'act of war', says South 22 May: South Sudan has denounced as an act of war the takeover by North Sudan forces of the contested border town of Abyei.

VOA: Sudan Government Cancels UN Meetings, Captures Disputed Abyei Town 22 May: Sudan has rebuffed attempts by the United Nations Security Council to intervene in a territorial dispute that threatens to mar the birth of a new Southern Sudanese state. The council responded with a strong warning that nothing should come in the way of the South’s independence in July.

Bloomberg: North, South Sudanese Clash in Oil Town of Abyei During UN Mission's Visit 22 May: Clashes continued in Sudan’s disputed region of Abyei after the main town was taken over by the Northern Sudanese Armed Forces, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sudan said.

AFP: UN demands Khartoum pullout from flashpoint Abyei 22 May: The United Nations demanded that Khartoum withdraw its troops from Sudan's Abyei district after what the South branded an "invasion" by Northern troops of the flashpoint border region.

US condemns Sudan army’s takeover of Abyei and dissolution of council 21 May: The United States on Saturday rebuked the Sudanese government over its army’s move on the disputed border region of Abyei which elevated fears of a full-scale war between the North and South.,38978

South Kordofan

Sudan Tribune: Sudanese journalists arrested over polls coverage, rights group says 16 May: Two Sudanese journalists have been arrested and interrogated for several hours by security authorities following their coverage of contentious elections in the country’s central state of South Kordofan, according to a local press-freedom watchdog.,38929

BBC: SPLM rejects South Kordofan win for Ahmed Haroun 16 May: Sudan's former rebels have rejected the election victory of Ahmed Haroun, indicted for alleged war crimes committed in Darfur.

AFP: Sudan state poll results 'credible' - Carter Centre 19 May:  Hotly contested elections for governor in the tense Sudanese state of South Kordofan state were "credible", the Carter Centre said on Thursday, despite being won by a fugitive charged with war crimes.

South Sudan

AFP: South Sudan improves business climate - World Bank 17 May: Southern Sudan, poised to become Africa's newest nation in July, is making progress in creating a business-friendly environment, the World Bank said Tuesday.

BBC: South Sudan border row 'causing shortages' 18 May: A blockade along the border between North and South Sudan is causing a shortage of goods in the South, a Southern minister has told the BBC.

Radio Dabanga: SPLA fight with Gatdet militia intensifies east of Abyei 23 May: Peter Gatdet’s militia fought with SPLA troops at Mankien in Unity State on Friday, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. The following day, Gatdet moved his force South-east to Buaw, where he attacked an SPLA encampment and took over the area, according to an UN security source.


AFP: Sudan 'stages new Darfur air strikes' 18 May: Sudanese government warplanes have staged new air strikes in Darfur, prompting the United Nations to halt flights in the stricken region, UN officials said on Wednesday.

Bloomberg: Sudan’s Army Strikes Darfur by Air for Second Time in Week 18 May: The Sudanese army attacked a village by air yesterday in the western region of Darfur, leaving possible casualties, the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission said today. It was the second air attack in a week on areas of Darfur.

Sudan Tribune: Sudan and LJM finalizing details of a peace deal in Darfur – top negotiator 22 May: The government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) are finalizing the details of a peace agreement as the parties have agreed on the major issues, said Sudan’s top negotiator on Sunday.,38989

North Sudan

Reuters: North Sudan faces economic crisis after split - Turabi 17 May: Sudan will see an economic crisis after the South secedes in July that could lead to protests and instability as inflation gets worse, opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi said on Tuesday.