The Rendon Group Snapshot Report -23 December 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 23, 2013

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report




Each week The Rendon Group Alert Team will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent.  The Snapshot Report is intended to provide a summary of events on a given issue over the past week as well as a sample of experts who cover that issue.  The Rendon Group does not endorse the positions on issues that the listed experts hold nor does The Rendon Group hold a position on any of the topics chosen for the Snapshot Reports.  As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request.  For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.


South Sudan Unrest


Photo credit: Reuters

This week’s snapshot concerns the fighting that erupted in South Sudan. On 16DEC, officials reported an attempted coup carried out by ousted former VP Riek Machar was thwarted. However, violence and clashes with rebels continued to escalate. Conservative estimates of the death toll so far place it at 400-500 casualties, with fears of the fighting collapsing into an ethnic civil war. A humanitarian crisis is looming, as 42,000 are reported to be seeking refuge at UN bases. The rebels now control the oil-producing Unity state, and fighting continues as government forces try to retake key areas.


News summary of events related to the during the week of 16DEC-23DEC


  • On 16DEC, S. Sudanese FM Barnaba Marial Benjamin said some military factions led by former VP Riek Machar, sacked in JUL13, attempted to carry out a coup.  (AP)
  • On 18DEC, after continuing and escalating clashes, the South Sudan army lost the town of Bor to the rebels. (Reuters)
  • On 19DEC, US President Obama deployed a 45-person military contingent to S. Sudan, to bolster security of US citizens and property in the country. (AP)
  • On 20DEC, a UN peacekeeping base in Jonglei state was attacked, with 11 civilian casualties, and the death of two Indian peacekeepers. (Reuters)
  • On 21DEC, US aircraft on their way to Bor to evacuate Americans came under fire, resulting in four injuries and a force return to Uganda. (AFP)
  • On 22DEC, rebels took control of Unity state, in which much of the oil-producing regions of the country are located. (BBC)
  • On 22DEC, about 15 Americans at a UN refugee camp Bor were safely flown out of the area. (CNN)


Sample of Twitter handles regarding the South Sudan unrest


@JamesCopnall – James Copnall, Reporter and writer on Sudan/South Sudan

@HannahMcNeish – Hannah McNeish, Freelance journalist covering East Africa

@Lesley_Warner Lesley Anne Warner, Africa security analyst

@GrantBrooke – Grant Brooke, freelance writer in Nairobi

@africawriter – Sudarsan Raghavan, Africa bureau chief, Washington Post


Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the South Sudan unrest


Casie Copeland, Analyst, International Crisis Group

“Day by day we are moving closer to a civil war. We are seeing reports of horrific ethnic violence.” – Attack on US Aircraft Foils Evacuation in South Sudan, New York Times, 21DEC13


Toby Lanzer, Humanitarian Coordinator, United Nations, “People who were being lined up and executed in a summary fashion. This is done by people who are simply out of control.” – UN’s Ban Ki-moon warns over South Sudan violations, BBC News, 23DEC13


Jacob Dut, Political science lecturer, University of Juba, “Division 4 (Koang’s unit) is adjacent to the border with Sudan. That means there is more military hardware and that means that this defection is a big loss.” – U.S. aircraft hit by gunfire in South Sudan as conflict worsens, Reuters, 21DEC13


Ezz al-Din Ibrahim, Economist and former state minister of finance in Sudan, “Civil war might trigger a breakdown in trade and an influx of refugees, burdening the government with security and humanitarian support costs.” – South Sudan Aid Agencies Need $1.1 Billion, Official Says, Bloomberg, 22DEC13


Daniel Bekele, Africa director, Human Rights Watch, “We are deeply concerned that ethnically based attacks on all sides will lead to revenge attacks and more violence. The awful accounts of killings in Juba may only be the tip of the iceberg.” – South Sudan: World’s Newest Nation on Brink of Civil War, TIME, 19DEC13



Sample of open source research by TRG analysts related to the South Sudan unrest:


1.  Foreign Minister: Attempted coup in South Sudan


Media: Associated Press

Byline: Tom Odula

Date: 16 December 2013


NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A South Sudanese official says a group of disgruntled soldiers and politicians led by a former vice president have attempted to overthrow the government.


South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Monday some troops within the main army base raided the weapons store and were repulsed. Benjamin says casualties from fighting Monday morning are still unknown.


He says some politicians have been arrested but could not confirm if former Vice President Riek Machar, who he said led the attempt, was among them.


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2.  South Sudan army says loses town as fighting spreads


Media: Reuters

Byline: Andrew Green

Date: 18 December 2013


(Reuters) – South Sudan’s army said it had lost control of the flashpoint town of Bor on Wednesday, its first acknowledged reversal in three days of clashes between rival groups of soldiers that have triggered warnings of a slide into civil war.


President Salva Kiir earlier said he was ready for dialogue with his sacked vice president Riek Machar – the man he accuses of starting the fighting, which diplomats say has killed up to 500 people, and plotting a coup.


But the United Nations said tensions was still spreading across South Sudan’s remote states as the violence, which first erupted in the capital Juba late on Sunday, moved north to Bor, the site of an ethnic massacre in 1991.


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3.  Obama deploys small military group to South Sudan

Media: Associated Press
Byline: N/A
Date: 19 December 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has deployed a small military contingent to South Sudan to help bolster security at the U.S. Embassy amid escalating violence.

In a letter to Congress, Obama says 45 military personnel were sent to South Sudan on Wednesday. He says they are equipped for combat but their purpose is to protect U.S. citizens and property.

The president says the Americans will stay in South Sudan until the security situation improves.

Violence broke out in South Sudan, the world’s newest country, late Sunday when the presidential guard splintered along ethnic lines. Violence in the capital of Juba spiraled from there, and then extended out into the country.


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4. At least 11 civilians killed in attack on South Sudan base: U.N.


Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 20 December 2013


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations estimated on Friday that at least 11 people from the ethnic Dinka group in South Sudan were killed during an attack by thousands of armed youths from a different ethnic group on a U.N. peacekeeping base in Jonglei state.


About 2,000 ethnic Lou Nuer youths overran the U.N. base in Akobo on Thursday, killing two of the 43 Indian peacekeepers and fleeing with arms and ammunition, the United Nations said. Dozens of Dinka civilians who were killed had sought refuge at the base.


The United Nations mission in South Sudan is still trying to verify the exact number of dead. The United Nations had earlier estimated that at least 20 civilians had been killed.


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5.  Four US troops wounded in S. Sudan incident: Pentagon


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 21 December 2013


WASHINGTON, Dec 21, 2013 (AFP) – Four US troops were wounded in South Sudan when their aircraft came under fire as they were headed to Bor to evacuate Americans, the Pentagon said on Saturday.


Three helicopters were forced to return to neighboring Uganda with one of the aircraft hit and leaking fuel, diplomatic and Ugandan military sources earlier told AFP.


“The injured troops are being treated for their wounds,” a Pentagon statement said. It did not confirm if the aircraft involved were helicopters.


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6. South Sudan rebel Riek Machar ‘controls key state’


Media: BBC

Byline: N/A

Date: 22 December 2013


Former South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar has said rebel troops have captured the key oil-producing state of Unity and control much of the country.


Mr Machar also confirmed to the BBC that the forces fighting the government were under his command.


The country has been in turmoil since President Salva Kiir accused Mr Machar a week ago of attempting a coup.


The BBC’s former Sudan correspondent James Copnall says the situation now looks very much like civil war.


At least 500 people have been killed since the fighting began.


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