UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
======================================================================== S U D A N : N E W S & V I E W S ======================================================================== Issue No 6 16 March 1995 ________________________________________________________________________ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Sudan: News & Views is a fortnightly Electronic Newsletter + + distributed free of charge. + + Reposting and reproduction are allowed (with acknowledgement). + + Questions and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to fax + + number +44-181-933 2870. + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In this issue: * CLASHES BETWEEN DEMONSTRATORS AND POLICE IN OMDURMAN * NEW FACE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS * CORRUPTION AND MALPRACTICE * DELEGATION TO NY TO SUPPORT DEFENDANTS IN TERRORISM TRIAL * SENEGAL REFUSES ENTRY VISA FOR A SUDANESE OFFICIAL DELEGATION * SOUTHERN SUDAN UPDATE * SUDAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURS * SUDAN DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL * UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CONDEMNS SUDAN * OAU SECRETARY GENERAL TO VISIT SUDAN * WEAK RESPONSE TO ELECTION CALL * ECONOMIC POINTERS * SHORT NEWS ITEMS -----------------------------------------------------* CLASHES BETWEEN DEMONSTRATORS AND POLICE IN OMDURMAN
Riots broke out in Umbaddah area (a suburb in western Omdurman) on Tuesday night, 7 March 1995, in a protest by residents in the area (Hara 14 - known as Angola), against the demolition of their houses, considered by the authorities as illegal and unplanned. The demonstrators set fire to the local Land Registration Office which houses more than 6 thousand documents. The demonstrators, armed with sticks, knives and axes, sought out and burnt down the houses of the Chairman and members of local Popular Committee. Sixty people, including five women, were arrested and are being interrogated at present.
* NEW FACE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Ali Osman Taha, the new Foreign Minister, in a speech in the 'Media Platform' (a regular press briefing) in his Ministry, said that his Ministry will provide a new model for dealing with foreign affairs. He said that "Sudan should have a loud and audible voice in international and regional forums. Our embassies abroad should be light sources that express Sudan's face and strengthen our relations with others".
He said that the coming period will see a concentrated diplomatic effort to present a positive and beautiful picture of Sudan and to erase the false claims and accusations against our country. On another hand, it is speculated that Hussain Abu Salih, the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs is a strong candidate to head Sudan's Permanent Mission to the United Nations. It is also speculated that Abu el-Gasim Mohamed Ibrahim, one of the top aids of former President Numairy, will be given a Ministerial position.
* CORRUPTION AND MALPRACTICE
The TNA had endorsed a report by an investigation committee into the financial and ethical practises of one of the major pharmaceutical companies in Sudan. The report confirmed that Badr Pharmaceutical company was found guilty of the following:
- Storage of 75 thousand bottles of an antibiotic syrup at a time of acute shortage in the market.
- Importation of drugs without proper licenses or permission.
- Importation of medicines that contain alcohol and deleting all references to alcohol in the documentation.
- Fraudulent invoices and accounting practices resulting in the making of huge profits to the company.
The case is referred to the Attorney General to take action against the company and the Ministry of Health was directed to revise its regulations governing the importation and distribution of pharmaceuticals and drugs.
Another report by the Investigative Committee on the sale of the government-owned companies to the private sector was also presented to the TNA. The report claimed that malpractice had accompanied these deals. The report cited a number of examples of companies that has been evaluated and were supposed to be paid for in foreign currency, but were sold for local currency. These included Abu Ni'ama Jute Factory and the White Nile Tannery. The report also criticised the Ministerial Committee responsible for the sale of public companies for failing to advertise or open for bidding the sale of these companies. Other findings in the report included the under-estimation of the value of these companies which include the Commercial Bank, Public Telecommunication Corporation, Friendship Palace Hotel and Gezira Tannery. The government also failed to implement the penalty clause on the buyers who failed to pay up in due time.
Dr. Taj el-Sir Mustafa, the Minister of Trade and Rapportuer of the Ministerial Committee for Privatisation, dismissed the report and said the investigation committee is made up from employees and it not acceptable that an employee should investigate a Minister.
* DELEGATION TO NY TO SUPPORT DEFENDANTS IN TERRORISM TRIAL
Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, the Secretary General of the Sudanese Friendship Council (one of the many GONGOs - Government-Owned Non-Governmental Organisations), and Chairman of the Sudanese People's Committee for the Defence of the Sudanese standing trial in the USA for terrorism charges, said that his committee is sending a delegation to New York to stand by and to hold public and private meetings in support of the accused.
In a response to reports of the confession of Siddig Ali, one of the Sudanese defendants, Dr. Ismail stated that this confession is surrounded with many doubts and serves a political goal. He added that "there are certain international quarters known for their enmity to Islam and are working hard to show Islam as a religion against the American People and the West in general". He added that the confession of Siddig Ali is part of a deal with the American secret services.
* SENEGAL REFUSES ENTRY VISA FOR A SUDANESE OFFICIAL DELEGATION
A Sudanese official delegation was unable to attend a seminar on 'Prisoners Rights in Africa', held in Dakkar, Senegal on 3-10 February 1995. The Senegalese authorities refused to issue entry visa for the delegation. The seminar was attended by representatives of human rights organisations from 27 African countries and discussed topics such as prison conditions, detention, torture, secret detention centres and denial of medical treatment to prisoners.
* SOUTHERN SUDAN UPDATE
Despite the statement by Mohamed El Amin Khalifa, Chairman of the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), that the town of Nimuli in Equatoria in Southern Sudan (near the Sudan-Uganda border), had fallen to the government forces, and that it is a matter of clearing the mines around the town before the victory is announced as a gift to the Sudanese people on Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan festival); the announcement never came. Reliable sources in the area reported that the government army and militia attacking Nimuli had been repelled by the SPLA forces and that the government forces had retreated after suffering heavy casualties estimated as more than a thousand dead and injured.
On another development, the SPLA-main stream, led by John Garang, announced the formation of the 'New Sudan Brigade'; a new political and military organisation from both northerners and southerners which will carry out guerrilla war in government-controlled areas including Khartoum.
The Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) led by Riak Machar, on the other hand, issued a statement accusing Lam Akol of attacking and looting civilians in Kurkan and Wadi el-Zeraf areas south of Malakal in Upper Nile and of collaborating with Khartoum government. The statement also said that four of the SSIM fighters and five of Lam's men were killed in a clash between the two factions on 11 March 95.
* SUDAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURS
Lt. Gen Omer al-Bashir, President of Sudan, had expressed his government's desire to re-establish normal relations with Eriteria. He said that the Eriterian side showed no desire for the normalisation of relations, but we are not convinced with their reasons.
In a press statement, published in Khartoum, Bashir said "we do not see any reasons for severing diplomatic relations with Eriteria. Therefore reasons for establishing the relations are still valid". He attributed Eriteria's actions to its inexperience in dealing with other countries and organisations. He pointed out that Yemen had made an extensive effort to mediate, but the lack of desire from the Eriterians had resulted in the failure of this initiative.
On the other hand, the Eriterian President, Isayas Afowerki, had said, in an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper (11 March 1995), that Sudan is building up its military on the border between Sudan and Eriteria. He said "We are not worried because we know Sudan's military capability and its inability to stage any military action against us. This is just a show-off which has no military, political or moral effect on us".
In another interview with Al-Hayat (12 March 1995), the President of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, said that his country will not hesitate to declare war against Sudan if it does not stop interfering in Ethiopia's internal affairs and stop supporting fundamentalist Islamic groups in Ethiopia.
Khartoum had also accused Uganda of collaborating with Eriteria against Sudan. The government-owned al-Sudan al-Hadith newspaper said that the visit by the Ugandan army chief, Major-General Mugisha Muntu to Asmara recently, is part of a conspiracy against Sudan. It also accused Uganda of assisting the SPLA in its fight against the government in Southern Sudan. It also claimed that Uganda, acting on a request by the SPLA, is now detaining 7 dinka people who had deserted the ranks of the SPLA.
* SUDAN DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
The Sudanese authorities had staged a counter campaign to Amnesty International. Many government-owned organisations and trade unions had issued statements denouncing Amnesty International's report on Sudan. A statement by the government-appointed Sudanese Labour Union, said that "the report targets Sudan and its religious and traditional values which are based on the respect of human rights". Another statement by the Sudanese Businessmen Association condemned the report and added that "this Organisation and those behind her are trying to exert pressure on Sudan to abandon its Islamic orientation and its civilised project. These accusations against Sudan are baseless and not supported by any proof. All Sudanese people live in peace and harmony in all its cities, towns and villages".
At the same time, the Sudanese government demanded an apology from Amnesty International before it could give permission for representatives of the Organisation to visit Sudan. Abdel Aziz Shiddu, Minister of Justice, was reported saying that "Sudan may agree to an application made by AI to visit Sudan if the Organisation made an apology about its hostile judgement against Sudan". He said he still considers AI an enemy of Sudan and of Islam because of its unfounded and untruthful reports about Sudan. Shiddu also declared that Sudan will not accept any human rights monitors.
* UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CONDEMNS SUDAN
The UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, had on Wednesday 8 March 1995, expressed 'deep concern at continued serious human rights violations in Sudan'. The resolution condemning Sudan for abuses including torture, summary executions and slavery, was endorsed by a vote of 33 for, 7 against and 10 abstentions. The countries that voted for the resolution are: Algeria, Australia, Austria, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, UK, USA, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Those who voted against are: China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan. Abstained are: Angola, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and Togo.
Shiddu rejected the resolution and described it as illogical and repeats charges made in previous resolutions and does not reflect the reality in Sudan.
* OAU SECRETARY GENERAL TO VISIT SUDAN
Salem Ahmed Salem, General Secretary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), will visit Khartoum on 6 April 1995 in an official visit for 5 days. Mr. Salem will meet President Bashir to discuss issues of the Horn of Africa and the situation in Southern Sudan. The visit has been postponed three times before based on requests by the Sudanese government. The reason given for the last request to postpone the visit from its scheduled date of 9 March to 6 April, was that the President will be busy and the Minister of Foreign Affairs will not be available.
* WEAK RESPONSE TO ELECTION CALL
The Chairman of the Election Commission, Abdel Moniem al-Nahas, had expressed his worry that the elections might fail due to the lack of funding and the weak response for voters registration. He said that the next stage of campaigning requires large amounts of money as candidates are not allowed to use their own financial resources on the campaign. However, candidates are allowed to use posters and to meet voters in public places without the use of loudspeakers. He also revealed that the response for voter registration was very weak, which prompted his commission to use the lists of the Popular Committees used for the distribution of rations and basic commodities. Foreign observers have declined invitations to monitor the elections, which are scheduled to begin first in Northern Kordufan province on 8 March 95.
Although al-Nahas told journalists, only a week ago, that foreign observers had already arrived to monitor the polling, he now disclosed that "The international observers have not turned up as requested". "We shall now rely on local observers consisting of senior magistrates and advisers from various Sudanese institutions to monitor the elections" al-Nahas said on Tuesday.
* ECONOMIC POINTERS
 Minister of Finance, Abdalla H. Ahmed, had declared that the negotiations with the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) had reached a deadlock. He said that the AMF had stopped financing the project for the Rehabilitation of the Sugar industry in Sudan and did not honour its agreement to pay 187 m dollars. The AMF demanded that Sudan pays back its debt of 240 m dollars. The Minister said that Sudan, in no way at present, could pay that amount of money.
 Abdel Rahim Hamdi, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Khartoum's Stock Exchange Market, has admitted that trading activities are weak. Since the opening of the market in January this year, only 163,620 shares (totalling 10 million S.P. or 20 thousand dollars) had exchanged hands. He said that this amount is insignificant compared to the potential volume of capital available.
* SHORT NEWS ITEMS
- After the ban on importation of cars had been lifted, custom duties on imported cars had been increased dramatically (from 100% to 300%). Senior government officials, who enjoy Custom exemption for importing cars for use in their public duties, had been selling their exemption to car dealers for amounts ranging from 16 to 35 million Sudanese Pounds.
- New regulations were introduced for obtaining exit visa for Sudanese Working Abroad (SWA). The following conditions should be met before an exit visa is issued:
1. Payment of taxes (special taxes for SWA to be paid in foreign currency).
2. Payment of Zakat (an Islamic tax newly introduced for SWA). 3. Compulsory transfer of a set amount of foreign currency through the official channels.
4. Certificate of exemption from compulsory military training.
5. Certificate showing that all financial obligations towards the government are satisfied.
6. Proof of payment of entry fees at Airport (paid also in foreign currency).
- The Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council had recently refused an application by Sudan to send meat to Iraq by air. The objection was mainly for the use of cargo planes in the operation. If Sudan wants to send meat to Iraq, it has to use land transport for this purpose, the Committee decreed.
- The Sudanese Ba'ath Party issued a statement in London, signed by Shawgi Mallasi, the representative of the Party in the NDA in London, announcing the dismissal of two of its prominent leaders: Tayseer Mudathir and Omer Muhajir Mohamadeen. The reason was given as "the deviation from the Party line of opposing the current regime in Sudan and their joining the regime by accepting official positions".
- Two weekly magazines: 'Darfur al-Jadidah' (new Darfur) and 'Zilal' (shadows), were banned and had their licenses withdrawn by the authorities last month. 'Darfur al-Jadidah', owned by a group of pro-government NIF members, published an article by a retired army officer who criticised the government policy. 'Zilal', on the other hand, published an interview with Brigadier (retired) Faisal Medani Mukhtar, an ex-member of the Revolutionary Command Council, who resigned his post before the RCC was dissolved. He fiercely attacked the government, resulting in an angry reaction from the authorities and the closure of the magazine.
- Lt. Gen. Omer al-Bashir had directed all state governors to recruit at least 30 thousand mujahideen in each wilaya (province or district) to meet the target of one million recruits set by the government.
- The Ministry of Health has revealed plans to ban the importation of medicines that contain alcohol. This follows calls by some members of the TNA to ban all medicines that violate the Shari'a.
- Sudan is demanding 33 million dollars in compensation from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for ecological damage claimed to be caused by Eriterian refugees in Eastern Sudan. Sudan claimed that The refugees had cut down up to two million acres of forest land over the past 20 years, for which the UN body was held responsible. The compensation was demanded to be paid, at the latest, by June this year.
***************************************************************** * 'Sudan News & Views' is an independent (non-partisan, * * non-governmental) electronic publication based in London * * working to advocate peace, human rights and humanitarian * * aid for the Sudan. * * Editor: Dr. Yasin Miheisi * ***************************************************************** Message-Id: [199503161508.KAA09462@orion.sas.upenn.edu[ Date:Thu, 16 Mar 1995 11:49:30 GMT From: Yasin Miheisi [yasin@GN.APC.ORG[ Subject: Sudan News & Views - 6