Khartoum’s Continuing Military Support for the SPLA/in Opposition
Update: Eric Reeves, 7 June 2015 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Jl
[ For an excellent, scalable map of Upper Nile, see | 17 Upper Nile April ’12 ]
Reports from local sources make clear that the Khartoum regime is continuing to supply arms to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/in Opposition (SPLA/iO) throughout Upper Nile, where fighting is most intense and most consequential. Notably, more than a dozen fixed-wing cargo flights have been observed landing at Mendeng village, some ten miles southeast of Nasir (08° 32′ 00″ N / 033° 07′ 00″ E). Notable also is the proximity of Mendeng to a dry season road that is listed by the UN as suitable for small trucks (up to 10 metric tons); as the road reaches Dome to the northwest (on the way to Malakal) the road becomes suitable for trucks of over 10 MT. What we are seeing may well be a last intense effort by Khartoum to supply the SPLA/iO before the rains make Mendeng useless as a weapons drop location.
This comports with a “Dispatch from the Field” by Conflict Armament Research (June 2015) | “Weapons and Ammunition Airdropped to SPLA-in Opposition Forces in South Sudan”
http://www.conflictarm.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Weapons_and_ammunition_airdropped_to_SPLA-iO_forces_in_South_Sudan.pdf [URL may require pasting into Web browser]
The key finding in the dispatch:
Notably, the weapons and ammunition documented display clear evidence of damage sustained during airdrops to SPLA-iO units, which reportedly took place in September–October 2014. Furthermore, the materiel is identical to previously documented arms and ammunition airdropped by Sudan to rebels in South Sudan in 2012, which provides strong indication of new, direct supplies from Sudan to SPLA-iO operations.
As an already desperate Khartoum regime finds itself facing the prospect of losing oil transit fees for the oil moving from Upper Nile to Port Sudan for export, it will be forced to make critical decisions about how to respond militarily; it simply cannot afford to lose this key source of foreign exchange currency. Heavy military re-supplying of the SPLA/iO in Upper Nile is an ominous sign.