Chronology: Sudan and South Sudan

The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Sudan and South Sudan


Apr. 16: Sudan's parliament adopted a resolution branding South Sudan an "enemy," and vowing to retake the Heglig oil field captured by the South on April 10. Speaker Ahmad Ibrahim al-Tahir went so far as to suggest that Khartoum would strive for regime change in Juba. A UN facility was struck in Khartoum's aerial bombardment of South Sudan; no casualties were reported. [Reuters, 4/16]

Apr. 20: South Sudan withdrew its forces from the disputed Heglig oil field more than a week after seizing the area from Sudan on April 10. South Sudanese information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said that the withdrawal was a response to international pressure to create an environment more suitable to peace with Khartoum. Sudanese president 'Umar Hassan al-Bashir announced that Sudan would refuse to transport any of the South's oil through its territory, further dampening prospects for peace. [Reuters, 4/20]

Apr. 25: South Sudan freed 14 Sudanese prisoners of war captured during the April 10-15 battles over the Heglig oil region. Clashes between Khartoum and Juba appeared to wind down as part of a cease-fire brokered by Egypt's foreign minister during his visit to South Sudan on April 15. On April 24, Sudanese Foreign Minister 'Ali Ahmad Karti said that Sudan was ready to resume talks with the South on security-related issues. [Reuters, 4/25]

Apr. 29: Sudan declared a state of emergency along much of its 1,800-mile border with South Sudan, giving authorities in the area wide power to make arrests and set up special courts. President Bashir issued the state of emergency one day after the South accused Khartoum of continuing attacks on Panakuach, a town near the border of Unity State. [NYT, 4/29]

Apr. 29: South Sudan reported that at least 21 people died after two days of clashes between the South Sudanese Army and militias backed by Khartoum in South Sudan's oil-producing Upper Nile state. Khartoum denied supporting any rebel groups in South Sudan. [Reuters, 4/29]

May 7: More than 200 Sudanese soldiers defected to South Sudan. The soldiers, many of whom were originally South Sudanese, accused Khartoum of deliberately trying to destabilize the new state and reported that they were ordered to attack disputed oil fields in South Sudan's Upper Nile state. The soldiers claimed they would join the South Sudanese army to fight against Khartoum. [AJE, 5/7]

May 8: Rebels in Sudan's Western Darfur region captured the town of Girayda, south of Nyala. The African Union/UN Mission in Darfur issued a statement claiming that the rebels carried out acts of indiscriminate killing and looting. The Sudanese troops forced the rebels out on May 9 and began combing the surrounding regions for additional rebels. [Reuters, 5/8]

May 11: Under threat of UN sanctions, South Sudan removed its police forces from the disputed border region of Abyei. Abyei was a flashpoint between Sudan and South Sudan during the recent border conflict; Khartoum took control of Abyei in May 2011, and the UN stationed a force of 3,800 peacekeepers in the area. [Reuters, 5/11]

May 20: Khartoum released four prisoners accused of spying for South Sudan - a Briton, Norwegian, South African, and South Sudanese national - after three weeks of detention. The four men were accused of entering a disputed oil-producing border region illegally in order to gather intelligence for South Sudan. 'Abdel Rahim Hussayn, Sudan's defense minister, said that Khartoum decided to release the men, who claimed they worked for the UN, after talks with South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki. [AJE, 5/20]

May 21: South Sudan accused Sudan of launching attacks on its territory via aerial bombardments and artillery shelling in what it described as an attempt to sabotage peace negotiations. Attacks on May 21-22 targeted the Wegheut area, about 19 miles inside South Sudan's territory. [Reuters, 5/22]

May 30: Patrick Noonan, a worker for the UN World Food Program, was released from captivity after being held for 86 days in Sudan's western Darfur region.

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