Recent fighting in South Sudan -- marked by evident war crimes and crimes against humanity -- must be resolved through an inclusive peace process, according to an Enough Project field dispatch authored by Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast.
This dispatch is based on research and interviews conducted by the author in Kampala, Uganda between September 11–18, 2013 at the site of Kampala Peace Talks between the Government of Congo and the M23. It is part of an ongoing Enough Project series on issues related to the peace process in Congo and the Great Lakes region.
On Sunday, July 14, 2013, fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel group resumed on the outskirts of Goma in eastern Congo, with each side blaming the other for initiating the hostilities. This field dispatch explores the recent fighting and lays out the implications for peace in the region.
This report is based on recent field research conducted by Enough Project field staff in Uganda, at the site of the Kampala Peace Talks, and on the front lines of combat between the Congolese military and M23 rebels near the area of Mutaho, just north of Goma, North Kivu province. It addresses the escalating security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and calls for a single, coordinated peace process to ensure peace in the region.
The Sudanese government’s campaign of repression against opposition groups in its Blue Nile state has developed into an armed conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces and a coalition of rebel groups, the Sudan Revolutionary Forces. This report, based on visits to the front lines in central Blue Nile in late 2012 and early 2013, and details the current situation of the armed conflict there and its effect on the civilian population.
On November 20, the M23 rebel group seized Goma, a major city in eastern Congo. This new field dispatch discusses the aftermath of the recent siege and urges the international community to push for high-level committement for a sustainable peace process in the region.
“They were shooting everyone. Women, men, children, and the old,” said Omer, a 28-year-old refugee from the town of Maganza in the Sudanese state of Blue Nile.
“I was in the market,” he recalled, selling goods harvested from his farm. “I saw the soldiers coming and shooting and I heard the Antonovs.” Immediately, he ran from the market back home to find his family. But in the chaos, Omer left his three-year-old son. “The war was too much,” he said quietly. “There was not time to look for him.”
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia–On June 28, the latest round of negotiations between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan adjourned after the Sudanese delegation requested leave to conduct political consultations with President Omar al-Bashir and other key political leaders in Khartoum.
With the withdrawal of Sudanese government forces from Abyei town in early June, largescale returns of the estimated 110,000 mostly Ngok Dinka displaced population and the reconstruction of Abyei can finally begin. Since May 2011 when Sudanese government forces violently took over the contested area of Abyei in response to alleged South Sudan army provocation, little progress has been made in the implementation of the June 2011 agreement that was signed to defuse the crisis.
Nearly two years have passed since the governments of Sudan and South Sudan started negotiations on post-secession issues. Today, the two sides remain much as they were in July 2010, when the full negotiation teams first met for an initial exposure session and signed the guiding principles for the process.