Sudan: As the international community continues its negotiations with the Khartoum regime over access to the hundreds of thousands of civilians facing starvation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, violence has escalated in Darfur. 25,000 people have fled the Kassab camp in Darfur after increased fighting in the area, and last week one UN peacekeeper was killed in the clashes. The US is appealing to Sudan’s allies – China and other Arab states – to meet the more than $3 billion shortfall in Sudan’s budget that will not be covered by South Sudan’s concessions in the oil deal penned last week. Activists nationwide are highly concerned that facilitating payment to the Khartoum regime’s budget directly supports its continued attacks on civilians in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and elsewhere. Take action here.
Congo: A summit this week between leaders from Congo, Rwanda and other regional countries in Uganda to solidify plans for a neutral force to fight rebels in eastern Congo ended in failure. The failure is evidence of rapidly deteriorating conditions between Congo and Rwanda, the latter of which is accused of supporting the M23 rebellion attacking Congo’s North Kivu province. Another meeting is scheduled for four weeks from now – analysts have expressed concerns that in the interim, the position of the M23 rebels has been strengthened. In a small piece of good news out of Congo, M23 rebels holed up in Congo’s Virunga National Park allowed park rangers to return long enough to find four of seven gorilla families that had been missing since the violence began. Congo represents 25% of the world’s endangered mountain gorilla population – tourism centered on the gorillas is critical for Congo’s economy.