For months, the two Sudans have been facing off along their contested border. In September, they agreed to establish a buffer zone, 10 km north and south of the agreed upon center line, to separate their armed forces and reduce tension in the region. In the past week, both the governments of Sudan and South Sudan finally reported that their troops have withdrawn on their respective sides of the center line and will withdraw from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone, or SDBZ.
South Sudan pledged on January 17 that its withdrawal south of the SDBZ would be complete by February 4, 2013. The following day, the Sudanese government pledged to withdraw its forces north of the SDBZ, but did not share its projected timeline. Although delayed, the recent and mutual commitment to withdraw forces is an important step towards ameliorating border violence and complying with their obligations under international agreements.
The border between the Sudan and South Sudan remains under dispute. In the past few months, the lack of an internationally monitored buffer zone has allowed continued violence and cross-border incursions to severely jeopardize civilian security. For example, November 2012 aerial attacks by Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF, along the contested 14-mile border area in South Sudan's Northern Bahr el Ghazal state resulted in 4,000 displaced people in Jaac.
It has been almost four months since September 27, 2012, when Sudan and South Sudan signed an agreement on security ...[view whole blog post ]