Some 60 are confirmed dead, 100 wounded and an undetermined number displaced following clashes this week between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and supporters of a local militia commander whose forces are officially integrated with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Malakal, capital of Upper Nile state. The flare-up has renewed fears that conflict could resume in the region, two years before the end of the six-year interim period designated by the 2005 Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The fighting erupted Feb. 24, one day after the surprise arrival in Malakal of Gen. Gabriel Tang Ginye, who has been under arrest orders by the president of the SPLA-led government of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, since 2006. Tang, wanted in connection with November 2006 clashes in Malakal that left some 150 people dead, is believed to have been in Khartoum, under the protection of the national government. SPLA forces attempted to arrest Tang upon his arrival back in Malakal, and his followers resisted, sparking the deadly clashes.
Tang’s militia had been independent but allied with Khartoum during the long war that ended with the CPA. Under the CPA, all militia forces were to be merged with either the SAF or SPLA, and Tang’s militia was formally absorbed by the SAF. Khartoum ostensibly assigned the former militia fighters to the Joint Integrated Units (JIU), comprised of equal numbers of troops from the SAF and SPLA. In the recent fighting, the JIU in Malakal appears to be again splitting along lines of former loyalties. (Sudan Tribune, Feb. 28; AFP, Feb. 27; IRIN, Feb. 25)
See our last post on the struggle for Sudan.
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