Issue No 19 June 1996
'Sudan News & Views' is an independent electronic Newsle tter working to advocate peace, human rights and humanitarian aid for the Sudan.
Editor: Dr. Yasin Miheisi
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In this issue:


Starting from this issue, we are introducing a new feature in the newsletter. Gu est writers are invited to contribute an article of their views and analysis of the current situation in Sudan. We are pleased to start this feature by an artic le written to 'Sudan News & Views' by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Leader and C-in-C of the SPLA-United. Dr. Lam was a lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering - Universi ty of Khartoum, before he joined the SPLA. Dr. Lam and Riek Machar headed the sp lit from the SPLA mainstream, led by John Garang, in 1991. Later Lam and Riek fe ll out and Riek became leader of the Southern Sudan Independence Movement and Ar my (SSIM/A). Recently Riek Machar signed a peace deal with Khartoum.
Please note that articles by guest writers express the writer's views which do n ot necessarily coincide with the editor's.

By Dr. Lam Akol

The NIF fundamentalist dictatorship in Khartoum is running out of tricks. It has pulled several out of the hat but to no avail.
In February/March, in an attempt to legitimize the dictatorship, the NIF organiz ed an election for the Presidency and a Parliament. The elections results were k nown before the voting took place. When the votes were counted, there were no su rprises at all. The fact, however, remained that the voters failed to turn up an d, according to independent observers, the voter participation was less than 20% . The whole undertaking turned out to be an expensive exercise in futility. Yet, the regime boasted of a free and fair election, high voter turnout and of havin g got a mandate from the Sudanese people !! Everybody in Sudan knew that the who le affair was a sham and people wonder who the regime was trying to fool. Following immediately after the 'election', the media controlled by the regime w ere full of statements that it was carrying out extensive contacts with the vari ous political forces inside the country with a view of forming a broad-based gov ernment. After several weeks of such contacts, the ministerial line-up was annou nced. Far from being broad-based, the new cabinet was characterized by the inclu sion of NIF zealots in key portfolios in bigger numbers than before. There was n o doubt the NIF had decided to monopolize power in an open way. All the masks we re dropped.
Then in April, the NIF pulled out what it believed was its greatest propaganda c oup. This was the so-called charter signed with SIMM/A leaders in Khartoum. The government propaganda machine presented it as the acme of success of their 'Peac e from Within' policy, and that peace was at long last at hand. Not long after t he propaganda hullabaloo, the reality dawned on the NIF leaders that the trick c ould not hoodwink the people - least of all the southerners. People recognized i t for what it was: a propaganda stunt to portray the NIF regime as a peace maker at the time when the UN Security Council was about to debate the measures to be taken against it for promotion of state terrorism. The signatories to the chart er had surrendered to the regime well before the charter was made public. The on ly significant thing about the agreement was the military alliance between the N IF and Riek Machar to fight the two SPLA factions. This can hardly be a 'success ' to the regime. For all this time the NIF have not been short of manpower to fu el its war endeavour. It has the regular army, the Popular Defence Force and the southern militias (the so-called friendly forces). These military and paramilit ary units and formations were ruthlessly used to persecute a dirty war against t he southern Sudanese. There is nothing new or special the joining of Riek will a dd beyond the above role. Southerners were loud and clear in their rejection of the deal. They would have nothing to do with it.
Realizing failure to attract support to the 'charter', the NIF regime resorted t o cheap disinformation. The latest in this direction was the claim by the regime that the Deputy Chairman of the SPLM-United had signed the charter on behalf of the Movement. The man they were talking about, James Othow Along, was and still is an NIF government Commissioner of Toga province since November 1995!!. There is no way he could have been a member of the SPLM-United, which is fighting the regime, let alone being a Deputy Chairman. In desperation, the regime did not c are to consider the implications of such a blatant lie. This can only be done by the NIF since one of their favourite principles is that: 'a lie in the advance of God's cause is permissible'. The jihad the NIF is undertaking in the south, n o doubt, passes as God's cause!.
While the NIF continues to hide its head in the sand, the world is not blind to its theatrics nor will realities be different from what they are. The war contin ues to rage in the south, the economy continues to decline and life continues to get more difficult for the common man both in the north and south. These issues will have to be confronted headlong if the regime hopes to survive.
Peace is the most central issue in the resolution of the problems facing the reg ime. The NIF knows quite well that the only realistic way to arrive at a meaning ful peaceful settlement is for the regime to return to the negotiating table it left in September 1994. That is the IGAD-mediated peace talks between the GOS on the one side and the SPLM-United and SPLM-Torit on the other. It is time the NI F zealots abandoned tricks and come down to earth and face the stark realities o f the war-ravaged Sudan. Otherwise, they will find themselves swimming against a very strong current.


The UN Security Council had voted on April 26 to impose diplomatic and travel sa nctions on Sudan, to take effect on May 10. The resolution 1054, which warns of additional possible sanctions if Sudan did not surrender three Egyptians wanted for trying to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa last year, was approved by a vote of 13 for and none against, with abstentions by Russia and Ch ina.
The failure of the council to implement tougher sanctions, sought by the US, Eth iopia and other western countries, was mainly due to the campaign led by Egypt a gainst imposing economic and military sanctions, on the pretext that they would hurt ordinary Sudanese people, and the reservations of Russia and China, who hav e their own political and economic interests. Both have signed deals for oil exp loration in Sudan.
Although being the main victim of Sudan's activities, Egypt objected to an arms embargo for fear it would benefit southern rebels, lead to southern secession an d complicate its interests in the Nile waters.
The US was the first country to implement the UN resolution. On May 14, the US o rdered the information attaché, El-Sadig Bakhiet, to leave the country, thus red ucing the Sudanese diplomats in Washington to five. The movement of the remainin g embassy staff and Sudan's UN mission was restricted to a 25-mile radius of Was hington or New York. The US had, last month, expelled the second secretary of th e Sudanese mission to the UN, Ahmed Yousif Mohamed, for his connections with the terrorist group convicted for plotting to blow up the UN building in New York.
Britain followed suit by expelling 3 Sudanese diplomats and restricting the move ment of other embassy staff. This was followed by other countries; France, Germa ny and Canada had each ordered the expulsion of one diplomat from its Sudanese e mbassy. Egypt had asked Sudan to reduce its diplomatic staff in Cairo from 45 to 7.
Some countries indicated they will ignore the resolution. Hassan al-Turabi, parl iament speaker and leader of the NIF, attended a meeting of Arab parliament memb ers in Syria, Vice-President Zubair Mohamed Salih returned from an official visi t to Iran last week and State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ghazi Salah el-Din, visited Holland, despite the UN resolution's call to restrict the entry of Sudan ese officials. Several other officials are scheduled to visit Turkey, Algeria an d Iran.
Under pressure and fearing additional measures from the SC at the end of the 60- day ultimatum, Sudan embarked on a campaign to win support and to improve its st rained relations with both Egypt and the US. There are reports that talk of a se cret deal between Sudan and Egypt, reached after a secret visit by an Egyptian o fficial to Khartoum and a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two count ries in Cairo. Khartoum reportedly agreed to get rid of all Egyptian Islamic gro ups in Sudan in exchange for better relations with Egypt.
Sudan, in the past few weeks, sent mixed signals. President Al-Bashir was quoted as saying his government was expelling all opposition groups. A few days later, a statement issued by the Presidency denied the remarks and said that Sudan had not asked any Arab national to leave and that anything published was baseless. At the same time, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which has an office and bases in Sudan, said they had no intention of leaving Sudan and that their offic e in Khartoum will continue with its activities as normal.
The implicit acknowledgment that militants had indeed received refuge in Sudan, was further confirmed by the Foreign Minister, Ali Osman Taha, who said in an in terview published last week, that they had asked Arabs suspected of terrorism to leave Sudan. He also revealed that the Saudi businessman, Osama Bin Ladin, who is believed to be the financier of many radical Islamic groups, had voluntarily left Sudan to Afghanistan to 'put an end to pretexts'. However, some reports all eged that yet another deal was struck with Saudi Arabia to deport Bin Ladin in e xchange for oil.
Sudan had also made overtures to the US and Israel, in a desperate attempt at br eaking its strong international isolation. President Al-Bashir, and other Sudane se officials, had repeated calls for 'the continuation of dialogue between Sudan and the USA, with the view to resolving issues of difference between the two co untries'. Recent news had reported that the ex-Vice President, Joseph Lagu, had presented the Sudanese authorities with an American proposal for improving relat ions. Lagu had returned to Washington with Sudan's answer to the proposal, the c ontents of which are not yet known.
Contact with Israel was reportedly made by Salah el-Din Karrar, Minister for Cab inet Affairs, in a visit last month to Morocco and Qatar, where he made contacts with Israel officials, in view of establishing a non-official relation.


As widely expected, Omer Al-Bashir won by a 75% vote in the election for the Pre sidency, which took place from 6 to 17 March, in which he faced 40 little-known candidates. The presidential elections were held simultaneously with parliamenta ry elections.
Last January, 125 people were appointed to the 400-member parliament. Fifty parl iamentary candidates, including most of the government ministers, won unconteste d (termed by the government media as 'silent consensus'), and eleven southern co nstituents did not vote because of the civil war, making the number of seats con tested as 214.
An overwhelming majority of parliamentary seats were swept by supporters of the National Islamic Front (NIF). Hassan al-Turabi, leader of the NIF, was elected, unopposed, as speaker for parliament, thus putting him back in public office aft er more than six years as an ideologue active behind the scenes. All the major political parties and opposition forces boycotted the elections. A ccording to the Election Commission, about 5.5 million out of the 10 million eli gible voters participated in the election. However, opposition sources estimated a much lower figure. The opposition NDA dismissed the elections as a 'desperate attempt to legitimize an isolated dictatorship rejected by the Sudanese people and the international community'.
After much waiting and speculation, the new cabinet was announced last month, re flecting very few changes. The key positions of foreign affairs, defence and int erior remained unchanged. The Minister of Economics, Abdalla Hassan Ahmed, howev er, was sacked and given the position of Governor of the Bank of Sudan.
The following are the members of the new cabinet:
- Brigadier Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussain, Minister at the Presidency.
- Brigadier (retired), Salah el-Din Karrar, Minister for Cabinet Affairs.
- Lieutenant General Hassan Abdel Rahman Ali, Minister of Defence.
- Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- Brigadier Bakri Hassan Salih, Minister of Interior
- Abdel Basit Sabdarat, Minister of Justice.
- Brigadier Eltayeb Ibrahim Mohamed Khair, Minister for Culture and Information.
- Dr Ali Al Haj Mohamed, Minister of Federal Affairs
- Dr Abdel Wahab Osman, Minister of Finance and National Economy
- Osman Al Hadi Ibrahim, Minister of External Trade
- Badr el-Din Suleiman, Minister of National Industry
- Dr Nafei Ali Nafei, Minister of Agriculture and Forests
- Moussa Mak Kour, Minister of Animal Wealth
- Dr Yagoub Moussa Abu Shoura, Minister of Irrigation
- Dr Awad Ahmed Aljaz, Minister of Energy and Mining
- Major General (retired) Albino Akol Akol, Minister of Transport
- Major General (retired) Al Hadi Bushra, Minister of Roads and Communications.
- Colonel Galwak Deng Garang, Minister of Survey and Construction Development
- Major General (retired) Tigani Adam Al-Tahir, Minister of Aviation
- Mohamed Tahir Aila, Minister of Environment and Tourism
- Dr Abdel Whahab Abdel Rahim Bob, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
- Dr Kabashour Kuku, Minister of General Education
- Mohamed Osman Khalifa, Minister of Social Planning
- Angelo Beda, Minister for Public Service
- Ms Ihssan Abdalla Ghabshawi, Minister of Health
- Mohamed Al Amin Khalifa, Secretary General of the High Council for Peace
- Abu el-Gasim Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister for Relations at the Parliament
State (junior) Ministers:
Foreign Ministry: Father Gabriel Rurec, Dr Mustafa Osman Ismail
Ministry of Finance and National Economy: Dr Izz el-Din Ibrahim, Dr Sabir Moh amed Hassan
Ministry of Federal Affairs: Dr Ibrahim Abu Aouf, Brigadier Abdalla Safi El-N our, John Dor
Ministry of Social Planning: Brigadier Yousif Abdel Fatah Mahmoud, Dr Majzoub Al-Khalifa, Dr (Mrs) Sayda Mohamed Bushara
Ministry of Transport: Omar Salman
Ministry of Roads and Communications: Major General Sayed Elhusseini Abdel Ka rim
Ministry of Public Service: Abdel Rahman Nur El-Din, Dr Adam Mohamed Baluoh < BR> Advisors to the President of the Republic: Brigadier Bakri Hassan Sali h, Advisor for Security Matters; Major Ibrahim Shams el-Din, Advisor for Defence ; Ahmed Ibrahim El-Tahir, Legal Advisor with the Status of Federal Minister.


The SPLA mounted a new offensive along the Ethiopian border, thus shifting its c ombat activities northwards. Since March, the SPLA launched a major offensive ag ainst government forces in the northeastern part of southern Sudan and southern Blue Nile province.
In mid-March, the SPLA announced it had captured the garrison town of Khor Yabus in the Blue Nile province. The same week, the SPLA forces overran the army garr ison in Pachalla in Upper Nile province. The SPLA said, in a surprise attack, 1 ,500 government troops stationed in Pachalla were killed, wounded or dispersed.
The SPLA also said its troops ambushed a Sudanese army brigade between Chali and Khor Yabus, which was apparently attempting to recapture Khor Yabus. 'In a fier ce battle that lasted 40 minutes, the army brigade of about 1,500 men was comple tely annihilated', the SPLA statement said.
On April 10, the SPLA captured the settlements of Tami, Shima and Uza in areas b ordering Ethiopia, after heavy artillery shelling.
The Sudanese authorities confirmed the take over of the army garrisons and accus ed Ethiopia of carrying out the attacks. Ethiopia denied any involvement and ac cused Sudan of deploying troops near the border and killing peasants in cross-bo rder raids in preparation for war.
Last month, Sudan claimed Ethiopian troops killed 860 people during cross-border bombardments in support of the SPLA.
On May 12, the SPLA said it ambushed an army convey proceeding from Waw to Warab in southern Sudan, where seven government troops were killed.
On another development to the armed struggle in Sudan, The Sudanese Allied Force s (SAF), headed by Brigadier Abdel Aziz Khalid and includes former army officers and soldiers, mounted two successful attacks on military camps near the northea stern town of Kassala. SAF say they killed 15 government militiamen on a dawn ra id on April 20, and 6 soldiers in a raid on May 19. The group said they had seiz ed rockets and radios from the government bases near the Eritrean border.

There were also recent reports of mutiny by some army units in the south. One re port claimed that 3 battalions of the 3rd brigade, currently deployed between Ju ba and Torit, refused to obey orders and held two senior officers for some time before releasing them. The soldiers fired in the air to express their protest at a number of issues. The soldiers had not been paid salaries for the last three months, their term of duty in the south had expired three years ago, and some of ficers objected to the way the war is being conducted. A senior military officia l from the General Command in Khartoum was sent to meet with the soldiers and di scuss their demands.


Riek Machar, leader of the Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM), had sign ed a peace charter in Khartoum with the government of Sudan on April 10. The agr eement was signed by first Vice-President Zubair Mohammad Salih for the governme nt, Riek Machar for SSIM and Karbino Kwanyin Bol for the SPLA-Bahr al-Ghazal fac tion.
Bol was a founding member of the SPLA in 1983 and was Garang's deputy until 1987 , when he was arrested and imprisoned by Garang. He was released in 1991 and soo n after joined SPLA-United, which had split from Garang's mainstream SPLA in 199 1.
The ceremony was held in the grounds of the republic palace, and attended by Pre sident al-Bashir, Hassan al-Turabi and several ministers and officials.
The agreement calls for the resolution of the conflict through peaceful and poli tical means, re-affirms the unity of Sudan with its known boundaries which shou ld be preserved. 'Its entity shall be secured against all internal and external dangers. The two parties shall endeavour to keep peace, justice and supremacy of values of right, good and virtue,' the charter said. It stated that after peace and stability and a reasonable level of development had been established in the south, then at the end of an unspecified interim period a referendum should be held to enable the people there to determine their political aspirations. Under the charter, shari'a (Islamic law) and custom are given as the source of legisla tion.
The agreement was criticized by many as a worthless piece of paper since the SPL A, led by John Garang, the main actor in the conflict, was not party to it. Gara ng accused Machar of treachery, describing the charter as 'a consummation of sur render and treachery.' According to a press statement reporting on the agreement, the pact between both parties was reached after secret and persistent talks between the SIMM and the government during the last few months. Machar reportedly surrendered to the gove rnment garrison in Nasir on March 11, and was then flown to Khartoum.
It is now reported that Machar had returned to Nasir in southern Sudan to mobili ze his forces, which will be transported to Malakal and merged with the governme nt forces to form a united front that would undertake military operations agains t the SPLA in the Bor area. SIMM, however, said in a statement issued on May 26, that SPLA forces attacked its units at Pagak in Upper Nile region, killing one man and wounding two.


A passenger plane, on a domestic flight, crashed near Khartoum, killing all 47 p assengers and six crew members. The plane, a Russian-built Antonov 24 owned by t he private Federal Airlines, crashed at 10pm on May 3, when attempting to make a n emergency landing.
The flight originated in Waw in southern Sudan. It stopped in El-Obied en route to Khartoum. When reaching Khartoum airport, the visibility was so poor due to a dust storm. The plane circled at low altitude over Khartoum for 90 minutes befo re attempting an emergency landing. The plane struck a newly-built, empty house in the suburb of Haj Yousif, 9 miles north of Khartoum, killing all on board.
This incident is the fifth in a series of plane disasters in the last five month s, which resulted in the killing of 144 people. In February, a military transpor t plane crashed near Jabal Awliya, killing 91 people. In March, a cargo Antonov aircraft, which belonged to the private Farnas company, crashed at El-Obied, but the 16 passengers and crew escaped unhurt. Two other planes crashed at Waw airp ort.
The incident provoked a row over the licensing of private companies to operate p assenger airlines, without proper regulations to ensure sound technical and safe ty qualifications. The incident was debated by the new parliament, after accusat ions were traded between the Civil Aviation authority and Federal Airlines. Avia tion Minister, Tigani Adam al-Tahir, told members of parliament that the plane c aptain had been warned that Khartoum airport was closed. Federal Airlines said, in a statement, that the plane had clearance to land at Khartoum airport and tri ed to do so eight times before it crashed in Haj Yousif. The Minister, however, admitted shortcomings on the part of his ministry; namely manpower and proper eq uipment.
A pilot, interviewed by Sudan TV, was asked what he would do if he encountered a technical problem while flying. He produced a small book of the Koran from his pocket and said 'I will rely on this'.


The two leading human groups, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), had both published reports on May 29, accusing Sudan of continued human rights violations, including slavery.
AI report, titled 'Sudan: Progress or Public Relations?', details the many atrocities committed by government forces, including the deliberate and arbitrary killings of villagers, the abduction of children, torture and ill-treatment of suspected government opponents. AI said children in Sudan were kidnapped and enslaved by troops and militiamen. Some of the children are held for ransom, some appear to be taken into domestic slavery while others end up in government schools run like military camps. Some children have reportedly been shot when trying to escape from these schools. AI urged UN members to deploy human rights monitors in Sudan.
The 259-page HRW report, 'Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Sudan', said violation of political and civil rights in Sudan is the norm.< BR> HRW called for the UN to impose an arms embargo on all parties to the civil war in Sudan in an effort to halt human rights abuses.
Both groups accused the government of indiscriminately bombing civilian areas in the south and carrying out a scorched-earth campaign in a struggle the government has termed a "jihad," or holy war. The report in March, by Caspar Biro, the UN human rights rapportuer for Sudan, had made similar allegations.
Both groups criticized rebel forces in the south for not protecting human rights in the areas under their control, and accused them for atrocities, including detention, looting, hostage-taking and summary executions.


[] According to official sources, Sudan's total earnings from exports in the first quarter of this year was $120m, 55% less than anticipated by the budget. Inflation has also risen to 83.9% from 71% in December last year. Commodity prices has also risen by 25% during February and March this year.

[] Sudan Lines had decided to sell off two of its fleet, to be able to partly pay its debt of $6m. The liners will be sold for $750,000 for 'Nyala' and $2.2m for 'Marawi'.

[] Huge tariff increases were announced by the Nationality and Passport Department as follows:
Increased From To
New passport 6,700 SP 15,000 SP
Replacement passport 10,000 30,000
Business passport 100,000 250,000
Renewal of business passport 20,000 200,000
Exit visa 2,750 10,000

[] Following the closure of its kidney dialysis unit and its morgue, Khartoum Hospital, the largest in the country, had closed its operations' theater after six women died of poisoning under Cesarean surgery in mid-May. The hospital morgue was closed in March due to lack of funds to bury the bodies, and, therefore, had become full and could not receive any more bodies.


Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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