AFRICANGLOBE – Fierce battles have taken place in two states in South Sudan. Unity state, an oil-producing area, was retaken by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
Other gains in Jonglei state by Juba around the capital of Bor have occurred with the assistance of the Ugandan military during the first full week of January.
The intervention of Uganda, a close political and military ally of the United States, demonstrates the side in the conflict in which Washington has taken. There has been increased military and political pressure on the forces loyal to ousted Vice-President Riek Machar to drop demands for the release of political prisoners and to declare a ceasefire along with the government of President Salva Kiir.
In Jonglei state, the capital of Bor is poised for an attack by the SPLA in order to drive out the final bastion of control by the dissidents loyal to Machar within key areas inside the country. On January 12 it was announced by the U.S. State Department that a special envoy had met with Machar to urge him to reach accommodation with Kiir.
Earlier in the week on January 6, Republic of Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir visited Juba the capital of South Sudan. He held talks with his counterpart Salva Kiir on developments involving the factional power struggle that erupted on December 15 in Juba.
Later reports indicated that there was a secret agreement between Bashir and Kiir to form a joint military force to contain the expansion of territory controlled by the units of the SPLA that are aligned with Machar. Bashir denied that such an agreement had been reached with South Sudan.
Nonetheless on January 11 the spokesperson for the SPLA acknowledged reports that forces loyal to Machar were prevented from entering the Republic of Sudan around the oil-producing area of Heglig. The dissident troops under the command of Machar denied that such an incident took place.
According to Phillip Aguer, the spokesperson for South Sudan army (SPLA) confirmed reports from his Sudanese counterpart, saying they are still pursuing remnants of the Machar-allied forces. “We have reports that some of those who fled towards Sudan have reported themselves to Heglig. And we are told some have been disarmed by the Sudan Armed Forces. Other refused and retreated”, he told the Sudan Tribune.
Aguer said the Sudanese Armed Forces had tracked down a number of them in Karasana, north of Heglig, saying, “They reached there yesterday [Friday, January 10] evening”.
Central African Republic Government Removed at Regional Meeting
Also in the neighboring Central African Republic the government of interim President Michel Djotodia was forced to resign during a meeting with regional leaders on January 10 in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. The entire regional council appointed by Djotodia last year was flown to Chad where France and the host country’s government expressed their deep dissatisfaction with developments inside the CAR.
After the announcement of Djotodia’s removal, there were scenes of jubilation in the streets of Bangui, the capital. An effort to broker a truce between the former Seleka coalition groupings and the Anti-Balaka militias took place on January 11. (January 12)
Although groups within the respective camps pledged to work together to repair the damage done to the country since last March, there were reports of fighting throughout the weekend. Some mosques were reportedly looted as youths sought to exact revenge on what was perceived as a Djotodia regime that represented a religious minority who total 15 percent of the population in the country of 4.7 million people.
France has deployed 1,600 troops to the CAR which has drawn the scorn of one religious minority community. Chad has approximately 800 troops along with other forces from the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).
Paris has continued to appeal to the United Nations Security Council for additional peacekeeping soldiers. A report surfaced that the European Union would possibly send a contingent of troops to the CAR as well.
Both the CAR and South Sudan are a reflection of the crisis in the post-colonial and neo-colonial state in Africa. Imperialism still dominates the economic relations of production inside its former colonies. France and the U.S., which is supporting President Francois Hollande’s military interventions in Africa, are seeking broader avenues of economic exploitation on the continent.
U.S. Admits to Military Advisers in Somalia
The Pentagon also revealed in the Washington Post during early January that it has military advisers operating in the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia. This comes as no surprise to anti-imperialists who have followed the situation inside the country for the last two decades.
Even though U.S. Marines were forced to withdraw from Somalia during 1993-94, they have maintained a presence through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Special Forces for many subsequent years. The CIA maintains an office in the capital of Mogadishu and a drone station exists in Somalia which is coordinated with similar operations throughout the Horn of Africa region out into the Indian Ocean islands Seychelles.
Over 20,000 troops are occupying Somalia with the full financial, intelligence, diplomatic and military support of Washington. The African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) is staffed largely by troops from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Sierra Leone, states that are closely aligned with the U.S. and Britain.
The ongoing factional conflicts in Central and East Africa provide a rationale for the deepening of military involvement by the U.S. and other imperialist states and their allies. The Kenyan Defense Forces, which has several thousand troops in southern Somalia, was reported to have carried out aerial bombardments of areas in the region where the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance organization has bases. (January 10)
These interventions will continue until an anti-imperialist foreign policy is adopted by the majority of African Union member-states. The genuine independence of Africa cannot occur as long as the various military apparatuses of the nation-states are controlled and directed by the imperatives of imperialism.
Interventions by the imperialist states in Africa and in other parts of the world are not a reflection of their strength but of their weaknesses. The crisis in world capitalism provides very few alternatives to war abroad and increasing economic exploitation and repression within their own borders.
By: Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire