Thanks to Roving Bandit for identifying this infographic by Smith College professor Eric Reeves showing the extent of Sudan’s bombings of its neighbor, South Sudan. This long-running conflict may have become a bonafide war.
Researchers at AidData say that Mapping makes it easier to identify links between climate change, violent conflict and assistance projects. Here’s one such map that reportedly shows this:
Above is just a screen grab that is probably somewhat incomprehensible to you. So go to this link and see how it really works, as an interactive tool. AidData says:
The goal of the project is to shed light on the links between three major forces that play a role in shaping development in a number of countries in Africa: climate change, conflict, and development assistance. Parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, southern Somalia, and South Sudan, for example, are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. CCAPS researchers are investigating the interplay of climate-related hazards and incidents of violent conflict, and the way conflict dynamics are changing over time and space.
The BBC reports that ethnic clashes continue in Southern Sudan:
Gunmen have killed at least 51 people – mostly women and children – in the latest clashes in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, regional governor Kuol Manyang has said. At least 22 others were injured after attackers raided and burned the village of Duk Padiet, he added…. The cycle of violence has lasted months and killed hundreds of people. It began as cattle raids but has spiralled out of control.
This might sound like a relatively small problem compared to conflicts elsewhere. But it is a disturbing indicator of instability in a war-torn region the international community was not too long ago celebrating as the world’s newest nation, South Sudan.
One Seattle man, a refugee from South Sudan, I interviewed last week says the problem is a lack of government, of law enforcement. Gai Bol Thong was accused by some media of funding a massacre. Bol Thong says he has been raising money here in the U.S. to help his friends and family defend and care for themselves — because nobody else will.
“Yes, just as the United Nations and the South Sudan government did nothing when the Murle came and killed our people,” Bol Thang said. “If the government and the international community do nothing to defend us, we need to defend ourselves.”
There are a number of perils now facing South Sudan, which include threats of conflict from former countrymen (north Sudan), poverty and now increasing internal conflict.
Did a refugee from Sudan living in Seattle help raise money here for a massacre there?
That seems to be what the New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman is saying about a man he identifies as Gai Bol Thong, a Seattle man who leads an organization known as Nuer Youth in North America, in his latest report on the increasingly deadly violent conflicts in South Sudan:
The trail of corpses begins about 300 yards from the corrugated metal gate of the United Nations compound and stretches for miles into the bush…. Eight thousand fighters just besieged this small town in the middle of a vast expanse, razing huts, burning granaries, stealing tens of thousands of cows and methodically killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of men, women and children hiding in the bush.
The attack was presaged by a fund-raising drive for the Nuer militia in the United States — a troubling sign that behind the raiders toting Kalashnikovs and singing war songs was an active back office half a world away. Gai Bol Thong, a Nuer refugee in Seattle who helped write the militia’s statement, said he had led an effort to cobble together about $45,000 from South Sudanese living abroad for the warriors’ food and medicine.
“We mean what we say,” he said in an interview. “We kill everybody. We are tired of them.” (He later scaled back and said he meant they would kill Murle warriors, not civilians.)
GlobalPost has followed up on the NYTimes report, adding:
So a refugee in Seattle admits to fund-raising for a 6,000-strong army of young men with AK-47s who go on a rampage to steal cattle and kill hundreds of their tribal rivals in a bid to wipe them out while simultaneously destabilizing one of the US’s newest allies?
Mr. Gai Bol Thong might not find himself quite so welcome in the US after this admission.
Seattle NPR affiliate KUOW radio included an interview today with Bol Thong on Weekday. Here are some other earlier, related stories:
Upper Nile Times (from January 6) : Nuer Youth White Army plans massive attack
GlobalPost South Sudan: 3,000 dead in ethnic massacre
South Sudan News Nuer White Army ends operations against Muerle Tribe