John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Sudan Is Far From Over, Too

by John Campbell
February 17, 2011

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) waves to the crowd during a rally in Kararey locality at Omdurman February 16, 2011. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

Sudan has also disappeared from the front pages, despite its historic January 9 referendum vote and continued signs of instability. Earlier this week, militia attacks in Jongeli, an oil rich state in the south, left at least 211 civilians and thirty militants dead. In the Darfur region, the situation seems to be getting worse, with thirty-two thousand displaced during December 2010 and claims of attacks by the Sudan Armed Forces.

Further, the Khartoum government recently expelled a French humanitarian aid organization, Medecins du Monde, accusing it of spying and supporting a Darfur rebel group. Khartoum levied similar accusations against major aid organizations in March 2009. In Abyei, the disputed oil rich state straddling the north and the south, three people were also  killed this week. With the mainstream media coverage dwindling, the international community must  continue to be vigilant about Sudan, and that means being prepared to pressure the parties to adhere to the CPA.

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  • Posted by Linda Morse

    I have written to a couple of places looking for thoughts on a question I posed to my high school students recently:

    How has the election in Sudan impacted the current turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc? Although the vote for independence was a couple of years in the making, did both the thought of voting for independence and then the act of doing so encourage other nations to seek changes in their leadership?

  • Posted by John Campbell

    Causation is always tricky, and often big events have obscure roots. Nevertheless, I am skeptical that the South Sudan referendum played any significant role in the events of North Africa–which seem to me to be the result of purely internal dynamics. That said, I do think the South Sudan referendum is going to have considerable impact on how Africans look at the often irrational national boundaries they inherited from the colonial period. For example, I think that the South Sudan referendum ends the rationale for not recognizing the Republic of Somaliland.

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