UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 6 May
Government dispatches mujahadeen to defend oil fields
Khartoum has sent out a first batch of "Protectors of Oil Brigade" mujahadeen (Islamic volunteers) to defend the industry, army spokesman Lieutenant-General Mohamed Osman Yassin said on Sudanese TV on Wednesday. He accused the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) "and those who supply them with funds and equipment" of wanting to deny the Sudanese people their resources. He said the mujahadeen were ready "to repulse any aggression and defeat conspiracy". Sudan is building a 1,000-mile oil pipeline from southern oilfields to Port Sudan and plans to export its first shipment of crude oil by 30 June.
Rebels reportedly targeting oil facilities in the south and east
Government forces also claimed on Wednesday to have repulsed rebel attacks on oil installations in the south and east of the country. In a radio statement, Yassin said the SPLA had attacked Ler in southern Unity state on Sunday, and other unnamed "traitors and agents" had attacked Rasai in the eastern state of Kassala. "The attack on Ler targeted the country's oil production, while that on Rasai aimed at the oil pipeline and highway", Yassin said.
AFP news agency reported a claim on Wednesday by the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that it had destroyed a government military convoy in Kassala state, causing "massive destruction". NDA forces are trying to cut off the Port Sudan-Khartoum road, the NDA statement said.
Eritrea denies bombing Rasai
Asmara has denied that its forces shelled a Sudanese village along the countries' joint border. A report in a Sudanese government-owned newspaper, 'Al Anbaa', said the attack took place in the Rasai region, but the BBC on Thursday quoted an Eritrean government spokesman as saying the report was totally false and made no sense in the wake of Sunday's reconciliation accord.
Unfreezing of businessman's assets shows up US "falsehood"
Sudan has said that the US Treasury's decision on Monday to unfreeze the American assets of Saleh Idris, owner of the pharmaceutical plant destroyed in a US air raid last August, "testifies to the falsehood of the accusations against Sudan and to the erroneous attack on the factory on grounds that it produced chemical weapons". Junior foreign minister Ali Abdel Rahman Al-Nimeiri on Wednesday called on the US to pay compensation to those affected in the air strike and to reconsider all measures it has imposed on Sudan, "including all forms of political, economic and commercial sanctions".
Opposition leaders expected to return
Sadeq al-Mahdi, opposition Umma party leader and former prime minister, will return to Sudan soon, after a self-imposed exile, according to Speaker of Parliament Hassan al-Turabi, quoted by Reuters on Thursday. Mahdi was deposed in the 1989 military coup that brought President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to power.
Turabi, who met Mahdi for talks in Geneva earlier this week, said there had also been contact with other opposition figures, neighbouring states and western countries to promote reconciliation and end the civil war in the south. On Tuesday, former Sudanese president Jaafar Nimeiri said he planned to end 14 years of exile and return to Sudan to set up a political party with the government's consent.
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 17:20:13 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: SUDAN: News Briefs 
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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