The recent referendum in Sudan held the opportunity for the birth of a new state and the possibility of a realigning of regional relationships in East Africa’s fractious political sphere. These hopes are being steadily undermined.
On the 14th march the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) walked out of talks with the northern National Congress Party over issues such as post-secession access to oil, the sharing of national debt and the exact location of new international boundaries. While the process of talking through the forming of a new country between two old adversaries was never going to be easy the situation has become increasingly tense as violence escalates in the new southern state in-waiting.
The north, since the referendum, has continuously criticised instability in southern Sudan; it seems likely, however, that much of this apparent ‘instability’ is being encouraged and funded by Khartoum. (As yet unverified) information obtained by the McClatchy Newspaper group indicates direct links between northern resources and southern rebels. Key papers reveal that the north armed rebels such as George Athor (a renegade former senior general in the southern army who killed 200 civilians in an attack last month) within the last year. Although, this information remains unverifiable it fits a clear pattern of proxy warfare in the south throughout the civil war and even, many have argued, post 2005. If the north continues in this vein it could once again destabilise an already volatile region. People in northern Uganda in particular will be watching closely in the hope that the north doesn’t turn back to its old ally the LRA in further attempts to render a new Southern Sudanese state unviable.
Sources: Sudan Watch Blog; The Kansas City Star; The Guardian