SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990607]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990607]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs

Masalit and Arab tribes sign peace accord

The tribal leaders of African Masalit farmers and nomadic Arab cattle traders in Western Darfur State on Saturday signed "a comprehensive agreement" to settle a feud over water, grazing and land rights which claimed almost 300 lives earlier this year, according to media reports. A peace charter included the demarcation of cattle routes away from Masalit land, agreement on water rights and a mechanism for the resolution of differences. The state of West Darfur is to pay almost US $60,000 to the Masalit and US $2,400 to the Arab tribes in diyah (blood money) and compensation for their respective deaths and damages in January and February. Masalit insistence on adequate compensation, and Arab refusal to accept collective responsibility, had earlier threatened to undermine the peace conference, the BBC reported.

Agreement reached on humanitarian operations

The government and rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) last week confirmed their commitment to a humanitarian ceasefire in Bahr el-Ghazal at a meeting of the Technical Committee on Humanitarian Assistance in Oslo, Norway. Both parties reaffirmed their ceasefires pending the outcome of peace talks mediated by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), as well as to protocols concerning security and minimum operational standards for rail and cross-line road corridors under Operation Lifeline Sudan.

In particular, a detailed agreement on modalities for implementing the Babanusa-Wau rail corridor was reached, as was a model implementation plan for cross-line road corridors, according to a communique received by IRIN. The Lokichoggio-Kapoeta corridor was secured and six other road corridors identified. In the wake of last month's attack on a WFP food barge, both delegations committed themselves to "taking all necessary measures to guarantee the safety and security of OLS personnel and property in all geographical areas under their respective control". The UN, in turn, agreed to review its suspension of food aid shipments along the barge corridor.

Khartoum turns down Eritrean bid for full ties

The Sudanese government has turned down an Eritrean proposal that the two countries reestablish full diplomatic relations and reopen their respective embassies in Asmara and Khartoum, citing security concerns, according to media reports on Sunday. Sudan also objected to the continuing use by the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of the Sudanese embassy building in Asmara, while Eritrea wanted to maintain relations with both the Khartoum government and the opposition, AFP reported.

Gadaffi plans Sudanese peace conference

Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi is to attempt to reconcile Sudanese government and opposition groups at a peace conference planned for later this month, according to Sudanese media reports cited by Associated Press on Saturday. Gadaffi met separately with first vice-president, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and the chairman of the NDA, Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani, last month as part of his mediation efforts. Gadaffi is personally supervising the conference and has also invited Umma Party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi to attend the peace conference, AP quoted Idris al-Bana, head of the pro-Libyan People's Congress, as saying.

Inquiry into military plane crash which claimed 50 lives

The government's armed forces spokesman, General Mohamed Osman Yassin, on Saturday announced that an inquiry has been launched into the cause of a military plane crash which claimed the lives of 50 soldiers near Abudlaiq town, about 50 miles east of Khartoum, on Thursday. Yassin emphasised in a press briefing that the area had been "free of hostile elements", and provisionally attributed the crash to sandstorms.

Rebel command claims 40 army soldiers killed in battle

Meanwhile, the Joint Military Command of the NDA has claimed to have killed 40 government troops and repulsed an attack which included bombing by Antonov aircraft on Turgandi garrison in the east of the country. A statement by JMC spokesman Said Abd al-Rahman on Sudanese opposition radio also claimed that government soldiers had deserted the garrisons of Kadako and Hamalet, north of Kassala, which were now occupied by the JMC.


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ETHIOPIA: WFP approves funding for drought stricken areas

WFP has approved a US $40.5 million emergency operation in Ethiopia for a period of seven months from June through December. A WFP statement said the operation will provide approximately 103,250 mt of food aid to assist some 1.2 million people in drought-stricken areas of the country. It is also intended to alleviate food insecurity due to the failure of the belg [short] rainy season ending in May. "Drought-prone areas such as Tigray, Wello and Haraghe are most severely affected by food insecurity, but some of the high rainfall regions such as Arsi and highland Bale have transitory food insecurity caused by erratic rainfall," the statement said. The target recipients are pregnant and nursing mothers, children under five, the disabled and the elderly.

A statement from Ethiopia's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission on Friday said that up to 4.6 million people were facing food shortages resulting from "natural and man-made disasters". Meanwhile, a senior Eritrean foreign ministry official, Tesfamariam Tekeste, blamed the current food shortage in Ethiopia on the country's military spending, ERINA news agency said.

UNCEF allocates 27 million birr for infrastructure development

UNICEF has allocated 27 million birr for a coordinated district infrastructure development and other programmes in Tigray, Amhara and Benishangul-Gumz regional states for next year. Out of this amount, over 13 million birr will be used for coordinated development programmes in health, education, water, nutrition, hygiene and other sectors. The remaining funds will be used by the regions in collaboration with the federal government. A UNICEF official in Addis Ababa told IRIN on Monday the money would be divided according to the needs of an area and its population and geographical size.

Kenyan security delegation arrives in Addis Ababa

A 19-man team of Kenyan security officers arrived on Sunday in Addis Ababa for an Ethiopia-Kenya joint border administration committee meeting. Ethiopian television quoted the head of the delegation, Maurice Makhanu, as saying the team will discuss the current situation in the border areas and seek solutions for "problems that may exist". Ethiopia's deputy commissioner of police Alemseged Gebreyohanes said the sides would also discuss security issues, refugees, health and other matters.

SOMALIA: Relief food shipment arrives in southern Somalia

A WFP shipment of 5,000 mt of maize for drought-stricken southern Somalia arrived in Merca on Friday, a WFP press release said. It was the last shipment before the onset of monsoon winds and the first direct shipment from Europe to Somalia since 1995. "We are racing against time to get this food unloaded, as the water is so choppy the barges are really struggling to shuttle the food onto dry land," WFP's Logistics Officer for Somalia, John Hayes, said. The donation, which is from the European Union, will feed about 500,000 people and will be distributed over the next four months.

Ethiopian forces reportedly capture southwestern town

Ethiopian forces, supported by a Somali National Front (SNF) splinter faction, captured Luuq in Gedo region, southwestern Somalia, a local Somali newspaper 'Qaran' claimed on Sunday. Quoting an SNF spokesman, Umar Haji Masaleh, the paper said Ethiopian forces subjected the town to heavy shelling before capturing it.

RRA hands over 13 Oromo rebels to Ethiopia

The Rahaweyn Resistance Army (RRA) has handed over 13 Oromo rebels to the Ethiopian government, the local 'Mogadishu Times' newspaper reported on Wednesday. The rebels were captured during clashes in Baydhabo while fighting alongside militia leader Hussein Aideed's forces.

Heavy fighting in Baidoa

Heavy fighting between RRA and Hussein Aideed's militia was reported over the weekend in Baidoa. The BBC reported that 21 people were wounded and taken to Mogadishu. It quoted one of the injured as saying there had been bullets everywhere and that the fighting had been extremely intense.

Faction leader Hussein Aideed in Libya

Somali faction leader Hussein Aideed led a delegation to Libya on Thursday to meet Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, pro-Aideed radio said. The delegation was to hold discussions with Gadaffi and other government officials on strengthening bilateral relations.


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Item: irin-english-968

[This item is delivered in the "irin-english" service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information or free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: or fax: +254 2 622129 or Web: . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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