UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
======================================================================== S U D A N : N E W S & V I E W S ======================================================================== Issue No 7 6 April 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 email@example.com or to fax + + number +44-181-933 2870. + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In this issue: * SUDANESE OPPOSITION UNDER ATTACK * ROW OVER THE 'NEW SUDAN BRIGADE' * GOVERNMENT FORCES RECAPTURE NASIR * SUDAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURS * AL-BASHIR DISMISSES SEVEN SENIOR TNA MEMBERS * ELECTION UPDATE * CEASE-FIRE UPDATE * TURABI SAYS BRITISH INTELLIGENCE FUNDS AMNESTY * NEW REGULATIONS FOR FOREIGNERS * THREE SUDANESE DETAINED IN PAKISTAN * ACUTE WATER AND ELECTRICITY SHORTAGES IN KHARTOUM * ECONOMIC POINTERS * SHORT NEWS ITEMS -----------------------------------------------------* SUDANESE OPPOSITION UNDER ATTACK
Edward Brian, deputy assistant for Africa in the US State Department, described the Sudanese Opposition as `weak' in his statement before the US Congress Africa Subcommittee on 22 March 1995. He added that "if a strong alternative to the National Islamic Front (NIF) should emerge, we believe that the Sudanese people will take the necessary steps to regain their freedoms and democracy and end their suffering". The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), (a forum for the Sudanese Opposition which consists of the political parties - Umma, DUP and Communist -, trade unions, SPLA, Legitimate Army Command and independent personalities), has also been a focus of much criticism from its own members as well.
General Abdel Rahman Saeed, deputy leader for the Legitimate Command, described the situation of the NDA as stagnant. He said that co-ordination and co-operation between its members is lacking and that the Higher Co-ordination Committee has not met since December last year. The preparations for the planned 5th NDA Conference had also slowed down to a halt. It is not clear now whether this conference will take place or not.
Tigani El-Tayeb, representative of the Communist Party in the NDA, had also attacked the NDA for its inefficiency and lack of direction. He called for the convening of the 5th conference as a way to resolve the many difficulties and disagreements hindering the progress of effective opposition.
* ROW OVER THE 'NEW SUDAN BRIGADE'
This is another dramatic example of the lack of common objectives, strategy and vision among the NDA members.
Colonel John Garang, Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA, declared on 21 February 95, the formation of the `New Sudan Brigade' (NSB), as an "organic and special unit of the SPLA", falling under direct political guidance and military command of the Chairman himself. The NSB shall be composed of political cells inside Sudan and abroad; and military units in the country-side and armed cells in government- controlled areas.
The NSB is said by Col. Garang to be a response and contribution to the on-going dialogue between the SPLA and the Northern opposition on how to topple the NIF regime and build a new Sudan. Being open to all Sudanese patriots, it is supposed to extend the war to the countryside and urban areas of the North. Through it, the SPLA hopes to transfer itself into a national, rather than a regional movement.
If Col. Garang had expected his initiative to be warmly received by the Northern opposition, he was definitely guilty of gross miscalculation. The leaders of the (major) opposition parties came out promptly to condemn the NSB in no uncertain terms and to flatly contradict Garang's assertion that the NSB was a product of prior consultations that continued for years with the very same parties.
Sadig el-Mahdi said that the Umma Party "strongly condemns guerrilla war tactics and the destruction of public utilities, and considers these tactics as symptoms of despair". Mohamed Osman el-Mirghani said that his party (DUP) "was not consulted about the NSB and that terror, destruction and murder can never be justified as political means".
The Legitimate Command expressed similar sentiments. Irrespective of the truth or falsehood of prior consultation, the standpoint of these political parties and forces shows confusion and lack of direction. The Umma Party had signed an agreement with the SPLA, not later than a few months ago, which explicitly says that the SPLA and the Umma Party have agreed to pool their military forces and efforts in the struggle against the Khartoum government. The DUP, represented by el-Mirghani personally, signed an agreement with the Sudanese Allied Forces (SAF), a military group that speaks the same language as that of the NSB.
Both parties and the SPLA are all signatories to the NDA Charter which also calls for 'armed struggle' against the NIF regime. Many observers believe that this position had exposed the opposition parties as not meaning what they say and not saying what they mean.
On the other hand, the wisdom of forming the NSB and the way it has been formed still remains in serious doubt. Many questions are being asked such as why should a branch of the SPLA achieve what the mother organisation had failed to achieve?, and what is new in the `New Sudan Brigade' that will make others join while they had refrained all this time from joining the SPLA?.
* GOVERNMENT FORCES RECAPTURE NASIR
In the last week of March 95, the government forces had recaptured the strategic town of Nasir on the Sobat river in Upper Nile, which has been under the control of the Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM), led by Riak Machar, since his breakaway from the SPLA in 1991.
President al-Bashir, addressing a rally organised by the government to celebrate the occasion, said that his government will never abandon the application of Islamic Shari'a, and would not negotiate with anybody on this issue. He added that "from now on, our talking would be through the gun's muzzle only. Fighting is the best way of liberating Southern Sudan from the rebels."
* SUDAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURS
Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, had threatened that Uganda would shoot down any Sudanese plane that violates its air space. He reiterated his claim that the Sudanese government supplies the rebels in Northern Uganda with arms and land mines which caused the death of many victims in the region adjacent to the Sudanese border.
Sudan, at the same time, repeated earlier charges that Museveni provided the SPLA with supplies and men during the rebel faction's recent attack on Kapoeta in the Eastern Equatoria. Uganda has denied the charges.
On the other hand, Libya had initiated a mediation effort to improve relations between the two countries. Colonel Abu Bakr Younis, the Libyan Minister of Defence, chaired a meeting with Sudan's first Vice-President al-Zubair Mohammed Saleh and Uganda's Vice-Prime Minister Eriya Kategaya on 3 April. The outcome of this mediation initiative has not yet been disclosed.
On another front, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Osman Taha, described his meeting with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Amr Musa, as being positive. According to Taha, the meeting discussed issues confronting the Arab nation and bilateral relations between Sudan and Egypt. Taha said `the meeting discussed clearly and objectively all outstanding matters between the two countries which will open the way for a common understanding and a new page in our relations'. The meeting which took place in Cairo on 28 March 1995, was the first since Taha took over Foreign Affairs. Musa promised to visit Khartoum for further meetings.
* AL-BASHIR DISMISSES SEVEN SENIOR TNA MEMBERS
Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir ordered the dismissal of Amin Banani and six other members of the National Transitional Assembly (a government- appointed parliament), following a heated debate in which a report by the Investigation Committee on the sale of the government-owned companies to the private sector was discussed. The report accused the Ministerial Privatisation Committee of malpractice and corruption in the sale of profitable state enterprises (see Sudan News & Views - 6).
Amin Banani is the Chairman of the Investigation Committee and had vigorously attacked the government's program to privatise state-owned companies. Banani said some of the firms that were sold off had made profits while others were offered in hard currency, but paid for in Sudanese Pounds.
* ELECTION UPDATE
Sources inside Sudan had reported a very poor participation in the elections that started on 21 March in many parts of the country. The authorities decided to extend the voting for an extra four days because of weak response from the voters. The authorities explained the poor attendance as 'because the people are busy celebrating the recapture of Nasir'.
In Al-Sahafa district, only 475 people, out of 7,000 registered, voted in the four days of voting. In Khartoum-3 district, only 414 out of 7,100 registered, cast their votes. In some areas, the election committees were reported going from house to house with ballot boxes.
* CEASE-FIRE UPDATE
Col. John Garang, leader of the SPLA, had announced his acceptance for the cease-fire declared by Omer al-Bashir, for 60 days starting 30 March 95. Garang demanded the presence of international monitors to ensure that the cease-fire holds. He said he doubted the seriousness of the government, and would consider any troop movements as a violation of the cease-fire unless carried out under international supervision and with the approval of the SPLA.
He added that his acceptance of the cease-fire comes from a position of strength since the Sudanese army had failed in its recent dry season offensive and had suffered heavy losses during the last 3 months; estimated at 9,000 killed and 15,000 injured.
The truce was brokered by former US President Carter to allow a campaign to cure the parasitic guinea-worm disease. It is reported that there are more cases of guinea-worm in Sudan than all of the rest of the world combined (Sudan has an estimated 150,000 guinea-worm cases representing 80% of the world's total).
Garang also confirmed that he agreed to a meeting with Dr. Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the NIF, to take place in April in Nairobi. He demanded that the meeting should also be attended by the Kenyan President, Daniel Arap Moi.
Riak Machar, leader of the Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM), had also declared a cease fire effective from 3 April 95. Machar claimed that on 30 March the government forces bombed Maiwut, a village in Upper Nile and on 31 March, his forces had repulsed an attack by government forces on Lafon, 120 km east of Juba, inflicting heavy casualties on the government forces and capturing its commander, Colonel Khalid Mohamed Osman, two tanks and other vehicles.
* TURABI SAYS BRITISH INTELLIGENCE FUNDS AMNESTY
The NIF leader Hassan al-Turabi accused Amnesty International, which has condemned Sudan for gross human rights violations, of being in the pay of British intelligence services.
"I have spent seven years of my life in prison, but my name was not mentioned in (Amnesty) reports because I am what they call the 'fundamentalist' doctor Turabi," he said in a news conference marking the end of the Popular Arab and Islamic conference. "Who is it who funds them? It is the British intelligence service," Turabi said.
On the same subject, Ahmed al-Mufti, Raporteur for the Advisory Council for Human Rights in Sudan, accused the USA for pushing the UN Human Rights Commission resolution that condemned human rights violations by the Sudanese government. He said that the US had mobilised the Western media to focus on the issue of human rights in Sudan. He added that he considers the result of the vote in the Commission last month as positive. Compared with last year, he said, 33 countries voted against Sudan this time, compared to 35 last year and 10 countries abstained while only 9 abstained last year. However, 7 voted with Sudan this year in comparison to 9 last year.
* NEW REGULATIONS FOR FOREIGNERS
Minister of Interior, Brigadier el-Tayeb Ibrahim Mohamed Khair, announced new regulations restricting the movement of foreigners in Sudan. Speaking before the TNA, he said that foreigners are now required to register with the police within 3 days of arrival and a permit should be obtained for movement from one region to another. He also told the TNA that the police force is under-staffed, ill-equipped and under-paid. To tackle this problem, the Minister announced the formation of a Popular police force, to which 9 thousand volunteers had already been recruited.
* THREE SUDANESE DETAINED IN PAKISTAN
Pakistani police is interrogating six people including 3 Sudanese, an Iranian and two Pakistanis. The group was arrested in mid-March in Peshawer in North West Pakistan, in connection with terrorist plots. The three Sudanese were named as Adil el-Tayeb, working for the Islamic Aid Agency, Fadl Omer, an engineering student and Baha el-Din, a university lecturer.
* ACUTE WATER AND ELECTRICITY SHORTAGES IN KHARTOUM
Daily power cuts and shortage of water are reported in Khartoum in the past few weeks. Out of the required daily consumption of water in Khartoum of 600,000 cubic meters, only 390,000 are now available. Water authorities explained the reason as lack of financing. All planned projects for improving the water situation had been suspended due to lack of financing.
The capital is also experiencing power cuts on a daily basis for up to five times a day.
* ECONOMIC POINTERS
 On March 18, the Minister of Finance announced price increases for petrol and gas. One gallon of petrol now costs 1,100 Sudanese Pounds (S.Ls), while refilling a butagas bottle costs 3,600 S.Ls. Sugar had also been increased from 50 S.Ls per pound to 135 S.Ls per pound.
The Minister attributed the increase to the increase in the value of the US dollar in the local market.
However, when he made his announcement two weeks ago, the dollar was worth 613 S.Ls. Recent reports from Khartoum had shown that the dollar had now exceeded the 700 S.Ls mark. Prices of other essential commodities had rocketed in the last two weeks. One kg of lamb meat had reached 1,200 S.Ls and a pound of milk sells at 160 S.Ls.
 The newly-privatised Sudan Telecommunication company (Sudatel), had announced its plans to install new modern telephone exchanges. It also announced that for its customers to make use of the new facilities, they have to pay a fee of 200 thousand Sudanese Pounds (S. Ls), or else be disconnected, even from their old exchanges. The Company also sent out telephone bills with a back-dated, ten-fold increase in prices. If you require an itemised bill, you have to pay 2,000 S.Ls to receive details of your calls.
 Energy and Mining Minster, Salah Karrar, announced that a new company for Gold exploration and mining has been established as a joint venture between Sudan and France. The company was given concessions for the exploration and mining of gold in three areas in Eastern and Northern Sudan. He said that the agreement places no financial obligations on Sudan during the exploration stage.
* SHORT NEWS ITEMS
- The authorities in Khartoum, last week, confiscated the house and properties of Dr. Omer Nur el-Dayem, Secretary General of the Umma party. Twenty security officers raided the house in Riyadh district in Khartoum and ordered all the family out and confiscated the house and all its contents.
Nur el-Dayem, who held many Ministerial positions during the sixties and also during the last democracy, has been actively involved with the opposition in exile in the last two years.
- Al-Sudan Hotel, on the Blue Nile bank in Khartoum will become a specialised hospital for kidney patients. The project which is funded by the Social Insurance Fund, will be executed in co-operation with the Islamic Hospital in Jordan and under the auspices of Mohamed el-Amin Khalifa, speaker of the TNA.
- Two AIDS-infected monkeys, refused entry into the United States from Sudan, were killed by Cairo airport officials on Wednesday, according to Reuters News Agency.
The monkeys, flown to New York via Egypt from Sudan, had tuberculosis and were sent back to Cairo when U.S. officials diagnosed them as having the deadly disease. The monkeys were killed by lethal injection and their bodies burnt.
***************************************************************** * '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: [99504061905.PAA16102@orion.sas.upenn.edu] Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 12:37:28 BST From: Yasin Miheisi
Subject: Sudan News & Views - 7
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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