|Africa News Digest
Conflict in Abyei Could Lead to War, Isolation of Sudan
May 24 (EIRNS)With less than seven weeks until the formal separation of Northern and Southern Sudan, fighting has escalated in the town of Abyei, a heavily contested area on the 2,100 kilometer border that will divide Sudan into two countries on July 9. According to all accounts, on May 19, the army of South Sudanthe Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA)ambushed troops from the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and soldiers from United Nations, as the SAF were being escorted by a UN convoy in an orderly withdrawal to the town of Goli.
This was the second ambush of SAF by the SPLA in May. There has been no explanation given by the government of South Sudan or its President Salva Kiir, leader of the Sudan Liberation Peoples Movement, for this unwarranted attack.
In response to the ambush, which killed 22 SAF troops and wounded UN soldiers as well, over the weekend the government of Sudan based in Khartoum has militarily occupied Abyei, and says it will remain in control of the town until there is a political resolution between the two governments. Leaders of both North and South Sudan maintain they do not want to see the country return to civil war, a war that could be more deadly than the previous protracted military conflict; yet that potential exists, which is frightening to all of Africa, as well it should be. Abyei could be the fuse that ignites new bloody combat between North and South.
This geometry of war has its own illogic, which must be broken by establishing a counter-geometry; one of development. That would require leaders of Sudan to commit themselves to feed all the people of Sudan and their neighbors by developing their huge agricultural potential of 80 million hectares of arable land.