Africa Matters is a blog that follows the news and offers analysis of African affairs. Our aim is to delve deeper into the issues of African politics and development. We don’t presume to be experts, and we don’t presume to have all the answers—we are just trying to ask the right questions.

Tuesday, August 14

Sudan news roundup

Edmund Sanders of the L.A. Times provides a helpful examination of the recent influx of Arabs from Chad and other parts of northern Africa into areas of Darfur that residents have fled due to fighting, in what many observers believe is a deliberate attempt by Khartoum to "Arabize" the region. Among others, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - the former rebels who are now leading the government in the semi-autonomous South - have expressed concern that Khartoum is encouraging such immigration to influence the national census and the upcoming national elections. Meanwhile:

  • AU Chairman Alpha Konare said that African nations will be able to contribute all the troops necessary for the recently-approved AU-UN peacekeeping mission, a claim which seems to go against the statements of the UN, which has indicated that the mission will draw on Asian nations like Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh - in addition to African countries - for troops. Senegal recently announced that it will triple its troop deployment as part of the new mission. Germany says it will expand its involvement as well.
  • Former UN envoy Jan Pronk says that Khartoum succeeded in weakening the mandate of the peacekeeping mission that was approved and warns that the operation could run into trouble if it s not prepared to deal with an uncooperative Sudanese government.
  • Khartoum has suggested that it might release influential Darfur rebel Suleiman Jamous for upcoming peace talks. Jamous has since indicated that he will try to leave his house arrest at a UN hospital in Kordofan in coming days and fly to Kenya for medical treatment.
  • The SPLM has proposed new boundaries for the oil-producing Abyei area, one of the major sticking points in the peace process between the North and South. SPLM officials suggested they would appeal to the United States for arbitration of the issue if it is not resolved soon.