SUDAN NEWS & VIEWS - 18
SUDAN NEWS & VIEWS
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
|Issue No 18
|| Februray 1996
|'Sudan News & Views' is an independent electronic Newsle
working to advocate peace, human rights and humanitarian aid
for the Sudan.
Editor: Dr. Yasin Miheisi
- Distribution is free of charge.
- Reposting and reproduction are allowed (with acknowledgement).
- Comments and Subscription Requests To:
In this issue:
NINETY PEOPLE KILLED IN PLANE CRASH
Ninety one people aboard a Sudanese military transport plane were killed when it
crashed on February 26, 40 km south of Khartoum.
The plane was flying from southern Sudan via El-Obied, carrying 102 passengers,
12 of whom got off in El-Obied and one passenger picked was picked up. The plane
, Hercules C-130, lost contact with the Khartoum control tower 10 minutes before
Witnesses said the plane was in flames as it went down and the wreckage and bodi
es had scattered over a large area near Jabal Awliya.
The authorities ruled out sabotage and said a mechanical problem caused the cras
Those killed in the crash included several state ministers of Warab State in sou
thern Sudan, 21 members of the armed forces, 15 police officers and many civilia
ns including 14 women and all crew members. They include the following: Air Forc
e Brig. Sharif Zaydan, Air Force Capt. Lu'ay Ali Fath Al-Rahman, Col Eng. Badr A
bdel Gadir, Lt Technician Ali Ismail, Lt Technician Abdel Azim Mohamed Babiker,
Police Gen. Sadig Awadalla salih, Mr. Abdel Nasir Nyigor, the Minister of Social
Affairs in Warab State Mr. Joseph Bai, Abdel Rahman Mustafa, Salah El-Din Hussa
in, Lino Gabriel Diu, Samuel Daniel, James Mat Galwak, Osman Abdel Gadir and Bru
US WITHDRAWS EMBASSY STAFF FROM SUDAN
The US State Department ordered 25 diplomats and guards (all of its embassy staf
f) to leave Khartoum because of the 'continuing concern for the safety of Americ
an officials in Sudan.'
Washington also urged all American citizens living in Sudan to consider leaving
at this time. US officials said they were concerned about the safety of diplomat
ic personnel in Sudan who were under threat from militant Islamic groups. Offici
als said they did not believe the Sudanese authorities were capable of controlli
ng the groups or protecting Americans in the country. The State Department said
it was not cutting diplomatic relations, but will set up a scaled-back embassy i
n Nairobi to maintain contacts with Sudanese officials.
It was later revealed that the US administration had received information of imm
inent operations against its embassies and diplomats in specific areas, includin
g Sudan. An American source said the threats and information received by the US
were specific and were so serious that the US had to withdraw all its diplomats
and their families from Khartoum.
Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Osman Taha, said the American move was unjustifie
d and was aimed at isolating Sudan in the Islamic, regional and international fo
Dr. Ali El-Hag, Local Government Minister, on the other hand, told a local paper
that the withdrawal of the American diplomats is purely for economic reasons. H
e said the US had reduced the number of its diplomats in many countries due to e
conomic problems, so this whole episode is a purely US internal matter and has n
othing to do with Sudan.
SUDAN ASKS SUSPECTS TO SURRENDER
In an attempt to show cooperation with the UN Security Council, Sudan asked 3 Eg
yptians suspected of involvement in the assassination attempt on Egyptian Presid
ent, Hosni Mubarak, to surrender within a week.
The Chief Public Prosecutor, Abdel Rahman Ibrahim, issued a statement in which h
e said 'since their whereabouts are unknown to the authorities, the 3 suspects a
re required to report to the nearest police station within a time limit not exce
eding one week.'
Ibrahim also told a news conference in Khartoum that investigations has shown th
at one of the suspects, identified by Ethiopia as Hussain Ahmed Sheet Ali, had a
rrived at Khartoum airport, and had carried a Sudanese passport with the name Fa
isal Lutfi Abdel Latif.
Ethiopia dismissed the move as trickery of the international community. 'Since S
udan knows full well where the three gunmen are being sheltered and protected by
its own security personnel, the notice issued by its prosecutor is the latest c
onfirmation that Sudan is not about to comply with the request of the Security C
ouncil.', said the statement.
The opposition NDA spokesman, Faroug Abu Eisa, said the steps taken so far by th
e NIF government regarding the three suspects, paint a very poor and incompetent
picture, which the government presents every time the rope is tightened around
ERITREA HANDS OVER EMBASSY TO NDA
Eritrea has handed the Sudanese embassy building in Asmara to the National Democ
ratic Alliance (NDA - Sudanese Opposition group in exile), to use as their head
The NDA chairman, Mohamed Osman El-Mirghani, received the keys in a handover cer
emony attended by other opposition leaders and Eritrean officials.
The NDA spokesman, Faroug Abu Eisa, said the handover means 'additional recogni
tion of the NDA as the legitimate representative of the Sudanese people. It impl
ies withdrawal of recognition from the NIF-government in Khartoum'. He also call
ed on other countries to follow suit.
Sudan condemned Eritrea for handing over the Sudanese embassy. 'The Eritrean gov
ernment decision to handover the Sudanese embassy in Asmara to groups which stic
k to violence to overthrow the current government is more proof of the violation
s of Afewerki's regime of international law', a Foreign Ministry statement said.
It should be recalled that the three-story building has belonged to the Sudanese
government since former President Ibrahim Abboud received it as a gift from Emp
eror Haile Selassie in 1960. The building has been empty since Eritrea severed r
elations with Sudan in December 1994.
FRESH FIGHTING IN SOUTHERN SUDAN
Fresh fighting between government troops and the SPLA had resulted in the killin
g of 120 government soldiers and PDF militia, according to a statement by the SP
LA. The statement said that on the 7th and 8th February, the government forces m
ounted a massive attack on SPLA positions on the Kit, Labonok and Canal Mouth fr
onts. The SPLA forces succeeded in foiling the attack and inflicted heavy casual
ties on the government army and the supporting Popular Defence Forces (PDF).
In the kit battlefield, the army lost 35 men killed and 129 wounded. In the batt
le of Labonok, the government forces lost four of their very important mujahidee
n, including Osman Hassan Al-Bashir, the younger brother of President Omer Al-Ba
shir. On the same front the army lost another 81 killed, most of them were membe
rs of the PDF.
PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
The international human rights organisation Amnesty International had
issued two urgent actions in February on behalf of the following:
AI expressed fears that the above are facing torture following their arrest in l
ate January and the first week of February. All are reported to be held incommun
icado without charge or trial in an unknown location in Khartoum. They are suspe
cted by the authorities of being involved in opposition political activities. AI
believes that they may be prisoners of conscience, arrested for their non-viole
nt political opposition to the government, and fears that they are at risk of to
rture or ill-treatment.
- Moslih Salim Said, truck driver
- Lt. Gen. (Retired) Ahmed al-Badawi
- Farah Hassan Suleiman, lawyer
- Atif Mohamed Idris, medical doctor
- Mohiadin Ali Daoud, pilot
- Babiker Mohamed Ghariballa, mechanic
- Osman Mohamed Ghariballa, mechanic
- al-Sir Mekki Abu Zeid, teacher
- Hassabu Ibrahim, trade unionist
- Walid Abu Seif, businessman
- Ahmed al-Tom
VATICAN ACCUSES SUDAN OF TORTURE
The Vatican had accused Sudan of resorting to torture in order to extort a confe
ssion from a local priest accused of plotting against the state.
The Vatican said in a press release its diplomatic representative in Khartoum
had written to Social Affairs Minister to protest the torture of Father Mark Lo
It said Archbishop Erwin Joseph Ender, the papal nunzio in Khartoum, accused
the Sudanese government of resorting to "torture, intimidation and death threats
" in order to incriminate Father Lotede.
The letter, dated Jan. 25 1996, said the Sudanese authorities tortured both F
ather Lotede to obtain a confession and a student, Simon Peter, to force him to
accuse the priest.
Lotede was arrested in December accused of plotting to blow up military insti
tutions in the southern town of Juba and of helping students to escape to southe
rn areas controlled by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Lotede was released Jan. 16 after making a public confession.
Ender said the false accusations contradicted all the government's declarations
of good will and its claim to desire good relations with the Catholic church.
 The State Minister for Finance, Abdel Wahab Hamza, told a seminar in Khartoum
that his ministry is concerned about the marked deterioration in the value of t
he Sudanese currency. He emphasized the need for plans that encourage exports an
d curb government and private imports. He expressed objection to importing margi
nal goods, such as mineral water and toilet paper. He also revealed that, in the
last six months, 1,158 cars (costing $146m) had been imported for government of
ficials' use. He said this is done in spite of the war conditions and the econom
ic siege on the country.
 The Finance Minister, Abdalla Hassan Ahmed, told an Arabic paper that
there are many difficulties facing the Sudanese economy. He said 'per
capita income in Sudan is rather low, amounting to less that $500 yearly.
Approximately 20% of the population, that is one million families,
are suffering from poverty'. He said those earning 30,000 Sudanese pounds (equiv
alent to $25) are below the poverty line.
 The Sudan had opened its airspace to Nigeria. Sudan had earlier closed its ai
rspace to all flights of the Nigerian Airways, following a dispute over non-paym
ent of flight charges. The decision to re-open the airspace was taken at the rec
ent meeting, in Abuja, between the two heads of state, General Abacha and Presid
ent Al-Bashir. The two airlines were directed to solve their debts. Nigeria is o
wing Sudan $1.5m as overflight charges.
SHORT NEWS ITEMS
- The Egyptian Islamic group, Al-Jama'a Al-Islamiyya, who claimed respo
nsibility for the failed assassination attempt on President Hosni Mubarak in Add
is Ababa last year, had issued a statement denying that three of its members wan
ted for taking part in the attack were in Sudan. Despite the denial, the stateme
nt warned Sudan against cooperation with the UN Security Council demand to hand
over the suspects to Ethiopia for trial. 'We warn the Sudanese government not to
respond to the blackmail of the Egyptian regime and the Security Council or its
land will be turned into a battlefield with mujahideen, as happened in Pakistan
', the statement said.
- Six hundred Sudanese nationals had demonstrated in the streets of Valetta, M
alta, in late January, demanding political asylum, after they had been deported
from Libya. The demonstrators, who were from both northern and southern Sudan, d
o not wish to return to Sudan and had failed to obtain entry visa to any other c
An official from the Sudanese embassy in Libya, met with the authorities in Malt
a and demanded they be returned to Sudan, with a promise that his government wil
l take no action against them.
Malta had previously sent back to Libya 60 Sudanese after refusing to grant them
- The US Administration had accepted the nomination of Mahdi Ibrahim for the p
ost of Ambassador to the US. Mahdi is a prominent member of the National Islamic
Front and the last post he held was State Minister at the Presidency.
Washington had previously refused the nomination of El-Fatih Erwa for his respon
sibility of grave human rights violations as security advisor to President al-Ba
- The leader of the black American movement, Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan,
visited Khartoum and was received by President Bashir and Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi.
Farrakhan declared that some 40 million American Muslims are behind the regime
- Mr. Abdel Aziz Shiddu, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, said that t
he American court, which tried Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman and nine co-defendants i
n New York for the World Trade Center bombing, had passed unjust sentences on fo
ur Sudanese and had concealed some evidence. He added that the defence counsels
declared that the proceedings had numerous clear legal flaws. He described the t
rial as unjust and based on political rather than legal facts. Shiddu said appea
ls had been submitted against sentences passed in this case. He called on the Is
lamic nation to support the accused and to continue to fight their case consider
ing that their trial was regarded as a concern to all Muslims.