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Security and Fighting Terrorism in the Japan-Africa Summit (TICAD)

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (Sundanow.info.sd) - During his recent participation in the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, (TICAD-VI), Sudanese First Vice President, LT Gen Bakri Hassan Salih, met with presidents of Chad Idris Debby, Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, South Africa, Jacob Zuma and the Vice president of South Sudan, James Wani Igga, separately.

The common theme was realization of peace in South Sudan, on the background of the multi-facet aspect of the question. The current situation in South Sudan seems impossibly complicated with many layers after layers of problems that would render any individual and one party attempt to resolve it, exuberantly difficult to envisage.

The meetings of the First Vice President, LT Gen. Salih, with those heads of state and government and with the South Sudan Vice President, came at a time the UN has rolled up its sleeves to send troops to South Sudan, following the ouster of former First Vice President Dr Rick Machar by his boss, President Salva Kiir, and the instatement of First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai.

The UN has cried foul play by the parties to the conflict and charged that gross human rights violations, including sex-related crimes, occurred in South Sudan, including ethnically directed physical liquidations. The two parties to the conflict in the south denied these were premeditated or plan, promising to take action.

But the UN refused to budge off, saying the insecurity and the looming resumption of clashes should be deterred by UN presence there. South Sudan shyly nodded to the move, apparently bowing to American pressures, but under conditions it set. Sudan backed off from participation in any forceful intervention or military presence in South Sudan, within or without, the umbrella of the UN.

The De-facto first Vice President Gai has established himself in his new position, paying visits to main IGAD countries. The de-Jure First Vice President, Machar, who flew to Sudan seeking urgent medical care is not likely to toss away his towels on the floor and declare defeat.
Many incidents in his history prior to the separation of South Sudan, and after, stand proof to this.

Again within South Sudan, despite politicians denying this, ethnicity looms very high in any action or reaction within the nascent nation.
The dominant ethnic group, by cheer numbers and control of the state joints, the Dinka, remains a power to reckon with if the UN entered the country. The Dinka, by their folklore, and their heritage and transmitted tradition vie for dominance and could not be expected to bow in submission to UN presence, even if other ethnic groups do so in the South.

Northern areas ethnic groups known in their history as being peaceful and law abiding, such as the Shuluk, forced by repeated attack on their strong hold in Upper Nile, and others in Bahar Gazal and Equatoria and other areas, would not be expected to continue that docile attitude, after seeing some of their leaders, such as Abdurrahman Shule, disappearing and other like the savvy politician, Dr Lam Akol, relegated to relatively marginal ministerial posts.
Coupled with lack of education, poverty and dashed hopes of a prosperous nation, people in desperate situation tend to take desperate action and veer towards desperate solutions.

To neighboring countries, who are no doubt hurt by the lack of security and stability in South Sudan, the presence of UN troops is not, to say the least, highly welcome.

It could be argued that the presence of UN would stabilize the situation and inhibit the influx of refugees to Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia and Zaire. It could also have argued that the presence of the UN troops would drive away rebel movements who found safe haven in South Sudan, from which they attacked Sudan and from which they replenish and re-attack a new.

It is all but logical for the Sudan to want to see those negative movements eliminated: thus the South Sudan Firs Vice President who paid a three day visit to the Sudan in August, Gai, has made it clear and stressed in more than a way that his government would not tolerate, any more, the presence of those rebel elements in the South Sudan. He promised to have the security agreement and border reopening measure in place within three weeks. You could not have more incentive for the Sudan to not welcome UN troops in the sound in support of the position of the government of South Sudan.

And this Sudanese attitude comes in line with the policy Sudan declared at home that it no longer wants to see the UN-AU peace keeping force UNAMID in Darfur. Thus it would be logical for the Sudan not to welcome, albeit, not vehemently announcing rejections, of the UN force in South Sudan.

Uganda is not an exception to this rejection. It is no secret to say that Kampala, has in many ways benefited from the new situation in South Sudan, the separation of South Sudan. Goods and services from Uganda into South Sudan are countless. Troops presence is no secret. With the UN presence, the strong say of the Ugandan government in South Sudan could possibly slip away from the hand of President Yoweri Museveni. Would it be possible for Kampala to let go such gains? The answer to that question would decide the attitude of Uganda towards the presence of the UN there.

To “far away country” such as the United States of America who was the force majeure, one could say, behind the separation of South Sudan, the presence of the UN force could be a blessing. It would remedy a shamble state department foreign policy case and avoid any American troops presence in the South. But would that please another far away policy as China with its heavy oil investment in South Sudan? Would it like to see a continuation of the chaos or a UN-led force that would be controlled behind the scene by the US?

To a third far away country such as the EU, would they tolerate to see South Sudan serving as a haven for terrorist groups, a crossing point and a no man’s land, for groups from Boko Haram in West Africa, irritating states from Niger to Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Mali and others, to Al Shaabab in East Africa looking as a thorn in the back for each of Ethiopia and Kenya, to the ISIS and al Qaeda, destabilize the whole of West Europe, would the EU like to add yet a new wave of South Sudanese refugees and other surrounding African countries pouring into Europe if the chaos continue in South Sudan and neighboring areas?

For such an array of reasons and other arguments, the recent encounters on the sideline of the (TICAD-VI) held from 27 to 28 August 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, and despite the lack of implicit statement to the issues, one would speculate that these heads of state have extensively dwelt on the security issues.

Haven’t president Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Idris Debbi of Chad and Chairman of the African Union, stressed – as reported from Nairobi by the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) the need to fight terrorism as it would be a sin qua none for any economic prosperity called for by the TICAD? These pronouncements and strong statements on the outset of the summit, show the importance African leaders pay to the issue which remains on top of the agenda, even if it receives little coverage at the time.

 

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MO/AS

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...

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