UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
======================================================================== S U D A N : N E W S & V I E W S ======================================================================== Issue No 5 16 February 1995 ________________________________________________________________________ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Sudan: News & Views is a fortnightly Electronic Newsletter. + + Questions and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to fax + + number +44-181-933 2870. + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
In this issue:
* APPOINTMENT OF ALI OSMAN TAHA AS FOREIGN MINISTER
* UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION DISCUSSES SUDAN
* SUDAN MISSION TO THE UN UNDER SUSPICION
* BASHIR ATTACKS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
* BAN ON IMPORTS LIFTED
* SEVERE FIGHTING REPORTED IN SOUTHERN SUDAN
* UNREST IN EL-FASHIR ARMY BASE
* EXECUTED FOR VISITING ISRAEL
* ECONOMIC POINTERS
* SHORT NEWS ITEMS
APPOINTMENT OF ALI OSMAN TAHA AS FOREIGN MINISTER
In a limited cabinet reshuffle last week, Lt. Gen. Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir removed Dr. Hussain Sulieman Abu Salih as Minister of Foreign Affairs and was replaced by the regime's strong man Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, who used to hold the position of Minister of Social Planning.
Dr. Ghazi Salah el-Din, who was the Minister of Political Affairs for the Presidency, was appointed as State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both men are leading members of the National Islamic Front (NIF), the real force behind the regime in Sudan, and are known for their extremist and hard-line views. This highly unexpected appointment has raised many questions as to the intentions of the Sudanese government in the face of its regional and international isolation and its deteriorating relationships with many of its neighbours. Many observers, however, expect that certain bold decisions in foreign affairs will follow shortly.
Other appointments included Mohamed Osman Khalifa, who took over the Ministry of Social Planning, and Badr El-Din Sulieman, a long-serving minister and ally of former President Ja'afer Numeiry, as Minister of Industry. As a member of the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), Sulieman was an outspoken critic of the government's economic policies. Mahdi Ibrahim, a well-known NIF leader, is appointed Political Affairs Minister for the Presidency.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION DISCUSSES SUDAN
The UN Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur for Sudan, Dr. Caspar Biro, had presented his report to the annual meeting of the Commission in Geneva, on Tuesday 14 February 1995. He reported that the human rights situation in Sudan was deteriorating, with women and children most vulnerable to abuse. He said that grave and widespread violations of human rights are committed by the government agents, as well as by members of the different factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Dr. Biro, a Hungarian lawyer, was attacked by the Sudanese authorities and was described as an "enemy of Islam" after his damning report last year, and was banned from entering Sudan. The Commission is expected to discuss and vote on the report. The Sudanese government sent a large delegation to Geneva headed by Abdel Aziz Shiddu, the Attorney General, while the Opposition is represented by Dr. Amin Mekki Medani, the President of the Sudan Human Rights Organisation.
It is worth noting that the UN General Assembly had voted on Dr. Biro's report in December 1994, with 93 members FOR, 13 against and 47 Abstentions. The countries that voted against the report are: Cuba, China, Vietnam, Mianmar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.
SUDAN MISSION TO THE UN UNDER SUSPICION
The U.S. federal prosecutors have placed the Sudanese mission to the United Nations on a list of possible conspirators in the bombing of New York's World Trade Centre in 1993.
A statement issued by the Sudanese Foreign Ministry denied the charges and challenged the U.S. to provide evidence. The statement also protested the ill-treatment of the five Sudanese charged with involvement in the bombing. It claimed that the accused were detained in isolation, prevented from praying in groups and were forced to eat pork.
Earlier this year, the Sudanese Friendship Council in Khartoum, had asked for donations to hire lawyers for the defence of those accused of plotting terrorist attacks in the USA. One of the accused Siddig Ali, however, is reported to have confessed. The Friendship Council issued a statement denouncing him and accusing him of being tempted by money to tell lies.
BASHIR ATTACKS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
In a public address in El-Gadaref town in Eastern Sudan last week, and on the occasion of the graduation of 55,000 recruits for the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), Lt. Gen. Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir re-iterated his government's holding to the Islamic orientation and the application of Shari'a laws. He said that Sudan wants to be a model for all persecuted Muslims who are subjected to liquidation, terror and torture. He said that "the banner we raised will not come down because it is soaked with martyr's blood and there are millions more who are ready to defend it". He attacked Amnesty International which, he said, is launching a campaign against Sudan to abandon Shari'a. He added that "this nation, with its many martyrs from the young, the old and the elite, will retaliate firmly against all its enemies and will never abandon God's Shari'a, whatever the cost. We have a message and an orientation and all our lives belong to God."
AI launched its campaign on Sudan, which will continue for six months, by issuing a 132-page report at the end of January 95. AI accused both the government and the armed factions fighting in Southern Sudan of committing a wide range of grave human rights violations. The Organisation accused the Sudanese government of trying to "fashion the Sudanese society according to its radical interpretation of Islam".
The Sudanese government denied the allegations in a statement issued by the Sudanese Embassy in London, and accused AI of using unreliable sources of information.
On the other hand, the Secretary General of the Advisory Council for Human Rights, Ahmed Al-Mufti, said that his Council had decided to ban AI from visiting Sudan. He added that AI did not wait till they visit the country, but issued their report which is based on unfounded allegations and that the Organisation is targeting our Islamic beliefs.
BAN ON IMPORTS LIFTED
The ban on importing certain goods, which included electrical appliances and cars, had been lifted in January 95. In a statement by the Minister of Trade, Dr. Taj El-Sir Mustafa, it is announced that imports of all types of goods are now open. The only goods which remain forbidden are alcoholic drinks, narcotics, gambling equipment, firearms, ammunition, unlicensed explosives and SUGAR. (imports of sugar are monopolised by the son of a top leader in the National Islamic Front).
The Minister said that the objective is to help bring down prices and to prevent further decline in the value of the Sudanese Pound (S.P.) against the US dollar.
In a few days from this announcement, however, the value of the dollar shot up from S.P. 480 to S.P. 520.
SEVERE FIGHTING REPORTED IN SOUTHERN SUDAN
Reports from Southern Sudan indicate that fierce fighting in taking place between the government forces and the SPLA-main stream led by John Garang, with both sides bearing heavy casualties. The fighting is centered around Nimule and Maridi in Western Equatoria. The flow of humanitarian relief aid had been stopped to those areas, but aerial dropping of food supplies continue to other parts of the South.
South Sudan Independence Army (SSIM), led by Riek Machar, had declared last week that the Sudanese army had attacked their positions using a river barge with UN markings. SSIM had previously agreed to allow the UN World Food Organisation Program, to recover two rivers sandals owned by the Sudan River Transport Department. The government army seized on the opportunity to attack Machar's positions in Adok in southern Upper Nile.
In a press conference in Nairobi on Friday 10 Feb., Machar announced that he had ordered his field commanders to cease all hostilities against Garang's forces, in a bid seeking "reconciliation and peace" between the factions.
On another development, the remaining five aid workers, kidnapped on 8 February from Wat in Upper Nile province by the forces of commander Gordon Kwang Banbeni, had been released unharmed. The kidnappers negotiated with the UN and demanded food supplies and fuel in exchange. Banbeni was a commander with the SSIM, but fell out with Machar, who put him under arrest, but was later released. He is believed to be commanding his own militia now.
UNREST IN EL-FASHIR ARMY BASE
Due to the delay in payment of salaries and the withdrawal of certain privileges, army officers and soldiers in the barracks in El-Fashir, Headquarters for the Western Division, had protested openly. It is reported that 135 officers and soldiers had been arrested and were secretly flown, under chains and heavy guard, to Khartoum. Their fate is not yet known.
EXECUTED FOR VISITING ISRAEL
Two Sudanese citizens, Nelson Nebio and Joseph Tomba, were reported executed in Khartoum for visiting Israel. The two were deported from Israel to Jordan, who handed them over to the Sudanese authorities. The case was revealed by the legal advisor to the Israeli Human Rights Committee, who is trying to block the expulsion of 31 Iraqis to Jordan, who entered Israel and demanded political asylum.
 The Minister of Finance, Abdalla Hassan Ahmed, declared, in a statement to the Transitional National Assembly, that his Ministry's efforts had succeeded in reducing the rate of inflation to 85% and that the rate of growth of the Sudanese economy is 8%.
 The Minister of Finance told the TNA that the foreign debt amounts to US $15.4 billion. The actual figure has been a source of much guesswork. The World Bank had estimated the debt as $9.7 billion in 1991.
 Huge increases has been made to the cost of international telephone calls from Sudan. The new tariff: S.P. 2,000 per minute to the Arab countries and S.P. 3,000 per minute to Europe and the U.S.
 China has signed an agreement with Sudan to build five factories for the production of electrical appliances, paper, plastics and textiles. Another agreement has also been reached between the two countries in which China will build six cargo ships for Sudan Shipping Lines.
SHORT NEWS ITEMS
- Dr. Mahmoud Sharif, Chairman of the Board of the Sudan Telecommunication Company (Sudatel), was reported killed in Equatoria in Southern Sudan. Dr. Sharif, who also worked as Chairman of the National Electricity Corporation and as Lecturer at the Gezira University, volunteered with the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) to fight the SPLA in Southern Sudan. Vice President General Zubair Mohamed Salih had sent a letter to the President Lt. Gen. Bashir congratulating him, and the Sudanese people, on the martyrdom of Dr. Sharif.
- The Sudanese authorities refused to grant an entry visa for a Belgian Catholic leader, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, to attend an Episcopal conference in Southern Sudan on 11-14 Feb.95. Khartoum had accused the Belgian Air Force of dropping arms and ammunition in Southern Sudan on 15 January 1995, to be used by the SPLA.
- 162 army officers had been dismissed in February 1995. They included 49 Brigadiers, 24 Colonels, 32 Lt. Colonels, 35 Majors and 22 Captains.
- The Ugandan government made an official complaint to the Organisation of African Unity OAU and the UN against Sudan, accusing it of bombing villages and of supporting Ugandan rebels in Northern Uganda.
- The U.S. State Department had warned all American citizens not to travel to Sudan; as the country is experiencing a civil war and there is possibility of violence flaring up.
- A malaria medicine imported from China by an NIF businessman, was found to be out of specs by the Pharmaceutical Department, who demanded the drug be destroyed. The Ministry of Health ignored the finding and continued using the drug.
***************************************************************** * '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. * ***************************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 Mar 95 14:36:10 BST Message-Id: [9503281336.AB26039@gn.apc.org[ From: email@example.com (Yasin Miheisi) Subject: Sudan News & Views - 5
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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