Week’s Summary: Interview with Contacts in Kauda 1/21/12

This past week there was a positive international diplomatic development–the US making a formal call for humanitarian aid and warning of coming starvation.  We need aid now and a cessation of all violence against civilians, but even this will not be enough to secure peace.  We also need calls for a true reconciliation process that would be an alternative to war and conflict.  The call needs to come from both Muslims and Christians–really, from all sides.

OK, next subject. We’d like feedback.  What do you like about these reports?  How can we improve the reports?  Is there anything information that would be helpful to your organization or group? Can we be more precise in some way?  Please tell us in the comments.

Further, we know that it’s been difficult for us to get a broad picture of the conflict because our contacts are mainly in Kauda. We hope to change this.  We’re working on broadening our interviews across the region as our coalition expands across the US and Canada.  If you would like to help in this effort, please let us know about this too in the comment section.

Finally, the report:

This week we don’t have too much to report, which unfortunately is a reflection of the fact that our sources are limited to one region and not a reflection of the conflict’s severity.  We would like to note our source this week made a risky trip in the dark , leaving a very sick spouse, to come and provide us this information. Our sources are incredibly brave and selfless–we sincerely hope that we do them justice and honor with these reports.

1) Bombing- This past week, there were no bombs or missiles dropped on Kouda or the surrounding area.  Our source says that there’s been heavy bombing in the Al Buram and Um  Durein regions–but we have no specifics or eye witness accounts.  This aligns with information that the Army is moving west to east trying to cut off all routs between South Sudan and South Kordofan… particularly routs to Yida.

2) Militia Attacks- There were two militia attacks this week in the regions surrounding Kouda.   1. Last Friday, 1/13/12, there was an attack in the bush outside of Um Durdu.  One man was killed and five escaped.  The men were reportedly hunting for food when then encountered the nomadic militia/group traveling with camels (the source speculated for unknown reasons that they were from Kologi).  The man who died was shot twice. Once in his abdomen, and once, point blank, in the mouth.  This was reportedly an attack by an independent militia part of the “public defense forces,” but it seems to be a relatively isolated attack, not part of a larger coordinated effort, and thus the motivation is unclear.

The other attack took place the previous day in the bush around Alubai on Thursday 1/12/12.  Again it occurred in the bush while men were hunting and seems to have resulted from an accidental encounter.  This time two men were hunting. One was shot in the shoulder and was injured in his neck but he managed to run back to town.  He died at the hospital in Kouda this monday, 1/16/2012.

3) Food-scarcity continues.  Prices are extremely high–between 20 and 25 South Sudanese Pounds for a package (somewhere between 2 and 3.5 Kg) of Simsim (sesame seed flour), cowpeas, and sourgum. The market seems to be based mainly on bartering, though we have reports that three currencies are in use: the old Sudanese Pound, the new Sudanese Pound, and the South Sudanese pound. (There’s real research and work do be done here on currency value during the conflict and siege… we’d love to sart a meaningful conversation about this with some economists.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.)

4) Migration-There’s a lot of work being done on this and we don’t have much to add–except to say that our anecdotal evidence supports the idea that large numbers of people are continuing to travel south towards Yida.  Apparently the roads in the south east remain largely controlled by SPLM forces.



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