UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
======================================================================== S U D A N : N E W S & V I E W S ======================================================================== Issue No 4 23 June 1994 ________________________________________________________________________ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Sudan: News & Views is an Electronic Newsletter published irregularly+ + Questions and comments can be sent to email@example.com or to fax + + number +44-81-905 0057. + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
In this issue:
* ARREST OF SADIG EL-MAHDI
* HUGE TAX INCREASES IN THE NEW BUDGET
* THIRD ROUND OF PEACE TALKS ON JULY 18
* JOHN LUK ARRESTED IN WAT
* SUDAN IS AN OPEN COUNTRY FOR ISLAMISTS
* GENERAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION LIQUIDATED
* TENSE RELATIONS WITH EGYPT
ARREST OF SADIG EL-MAHDI
The security forces in Khartoum has arrested Sayed Sadig el-Mahdi, the former Prime Minister and President of the Umma Party. The arrest took place on the evening of Monday 20 June 1994. He is now being held in one of the ghost houses in central Khartoum.
Mr. el-Mahdi, an outspoken critic of the current regime, is constantly being harassed by the government Security. He was detained, put under house arrest and picked up for questioning many times since Lt. Gen. el-Bashir, backed by the fundamentalist National Islamic Front, seized power from the democratically-elected government headed by el-Mahdi in 30 June 1989.
This time, however, the authorities accused el-Mahdi of conspiring to plot to assassinate Dr. Hassan el-Turabi (the leader of the National Islamic Front), Osama Ben Laden (the Saudi businessman and financial backer of the NIF who lives in Khartoum) and other senior members of the government.
This latest arrest comes one month after the arrest of Hammad Bagadi (a professor in the Faculty of Veterinary Science in the University of Khartoum and a member of the Executive of the Umma Party) and Abdel Rahman Farrah (the former Head of Security in el-Mahdi's government and also a member of the Executive of the Umma Party).
The two men were accused of collaborating with foreign powers to carry out an assassination and bombing campaign. Both Professor Bagadi and Farrah were severely tortured. A video film, secretly filmed during the interrogations and clearly heavily edited, was shown on Sudanese Television on Tuesday night (21 June 94) in which both men were claimed to have confessed to being guilty of the charge and indicated the involvement of Sadig el-Mahdi and the Egyptian government in the plot.
The government issued a statement reporting the arrest of Sadig el-Mahdi and that all the accused will be put to trial after the conclusion of the investigations.
HUGE TAX INCREASES IN THE NEW BUDGET
The Minister of Finance, Abdalla Hassan Ahmed, presented his annual budget for the coming financial year 1994/95 to the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), on Monday 13 June 1994. The most important features of the new budget are as follows:
- The budget forecasts a deficit of 104 Billion Sudanese Pounds (S.P.), an increase of 33.3% over the deficit of the current financial year which ends on 30 June 1994.
- The budget estimates 44 Billion S.P. in foreign aid, although the Minister said that the amount received of the estimated foreign aid of 42 Billion S.P. for the financial year 93/94 amounts to 2% only.
- The total expenditure is estimated at 349 Billion S.P., of which 245 Billion are running expenses while the rest (104 Billion) represent the capital expenditure.
- The total earnings are estimated at 245 Billion S.P. The distribution of which is as follows:
80 Billion direct taxes (an increase of 32.6% overthe previous year) 95 Billion indirect taxes (customs and duties - an increase of 38.8% over the previous year) 70 Billion department fees, land and water charges and national certificate fees (an increase of 28%)
The Minister attributed the large increase in the running expenditure to the projected increases in salaries and wages, increased support to defence and security, the media and the police, and the increased cost of the new provinces.
THIRD ROUND OF PEACE TALKS ON JULY 18
The government of Sudan and the SPLA (Sudanese People's Liberation Army), main stream, has agreed to conduct a third round of peace talks on 18 July 1994 in Nairobi. Both parties exchanged accusations for the responsibility for the failure of the talks to reach any agreement. The second round of talks took place in Nairobi from 17 to 22 May 1994. Both sides initially accepted that humanitarian issues are to be addressed separately from the political issues. A working committee for humanitarian relief aid managed after a series of meetings (from 2 to 17 May) to reach an agreement to open air corridors for relief aid to reach 73 locations in Southern Sudan, land passages to 5 locations, free river passage between Akobo and Bibor, in addition to three safe corridors with Kenya and two with Uganda.
On the other hand, a number of international aid organisations and relief agencies working in Southern Sudan issued a statement in a press conference held in Nairobi, warning that, unless the international community acts promptly by making available more aid, and unless both the government of Sudan and the SPLA honour their agreement, tens of thousands of Sudanese will die as a result of starvation and disease.
JOHN LUK ARRESTED IN WAT
Lam Akol, who has split from SPLA-United and issued a statement attacking his former colleague Riak Machar and accused him of dictatorial practices, has returned to Upper Nile where he declared the he is now taking command in the area.
Recent news from the area reported the arrest of John Luk in Wat in the first week of June 1994. Luk, who worked as the London representative of the SPLA under Garang, joined the Nasir Group when Machar and Lam split from Garang. He represented SPLA-United in many rounds of the peace talks. He, together with some assistants, took a plane from Nairobi to Wat. When they arrived in Wat, the military commander in the area, acting on Machar's instructions, arrested them all. Although Luk ranks as one of the top five in the SPLA-United hierarchy, it was claimed by Machar that they had no permission to fly in the area. Observers, close to the movement, believe that the reason for Luk's arrest is the suspicion by Machar that he sympathizes with Lam Akol.
SUDAN IS AN OPEN COUNTRY FOR ISLAMISTS
The Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee in the Transitional National Assembly, Hassan el-Beeli, in a discussion about the action to be taken towards more than one million Africans living in the country and are not eligible for Sudanese nationality, has stated that "Our nationality and passport under Shari'a is 'No God but Allah' and Sudan is an open country for all Muslims especially those who fight for the Islamic state and those who are persecuted in their own countries and who look to Sudan as a safe haven."
It is worth mentioning that the newly-adopted 'Nationality and Passport Bill' gives the President the right to grant Sudanese Nationality to anyone who might not meet the eligibility conditions. This provision is said to be intended to help solve the problems of prominent Islamic activists who are persecuted in their own countries and are needed by Sudan.
GENERAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION LIQUIDATED
The Minister of Energy, Salah eldin Karrar, has disclosed that the liquidation of the General Petroleum Corporation (GPC), was a result of the inefficiency and corruption. In a statement to the Economic Committee of the Transitional National Assembly, he disclosed that hundreds of millions of Sudanese pounds were stolen or misappropriated. He said that 238 million S.P. were stolen by a businessman who was given the money to buy dollars from the black market on behalf of the GPC. He also said that the petrol shortage experienced a few months ago was due to the fact that one client of the GPC has diverted a sum of 7 million dollars to his personal account and failed to deliver the goods. He also showed that the deficit in the GPC budget is 9 billion Sudanese Pounds.
TENSE RELATIONS WITH EGYPT
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement, in late May 1994, accusing the Sudanese government of seizing houses and offices that belong to the Egyptian government and which are occupied by Egyptian families. The Sudanese authorities replied that those properties were rented and their contracts had expired. The incident resulted in a marked deterioration in relations and an array of angry exchanges and accusations.
SHORT NEWS ITEMS
 The Dean of Students in el-Gezira University has disclosed that around one thousand students had been arrested following the students' demonstrations at the end of April 94. He described those arrested as being politically active. He also confirmed the dismissal by the University administration of 26 students, 12 of whom are the Executive Committee of the Student's Union, which he described as illegitimate. He described the students' living and study conditions as poor. He said that "although we adopted all the slogans of the Higher Education Revolution and implemented them to the letter, we did not receive any support. The university is more than 100 million Sudanese Pounds in the red now."
 The former President, Ga'afer Numeiri, who was deposed in a popular uprising in April 1985, held a press conference in London on 25 May 1994, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his taking power. He called for all political parties and opposition groups to co-ordinate to bring to an end the current regime in Sudan. He described his 16 years of rule as the best that Sudan has ever experienced. Numeiri also launched his newly-formed charity organisation called 'Child Aid' for which he became President. He said that the organisation will provide aid to Sudanese children both inside and outside Sudan.
 Private owners will now be required to pay the Fire Brigade for any fire-fighting on their premises, according to a directive issued by the Ministry of Interior last month. The charge will depend on the amount of materials and man-hours used in fighting the fire. The fee is intended to raise funds for the fire brigade to meet the rising cost of fire-fighting materials and equipment.
TO 'SUDAN NEWS & VIEWS' READERS
- From now on, Sudan News & Views will be published irregularly, instead of fortnightly, due to logistical and financial constraints.
- SNV is now seeking financial support from funding organisations. Any suggestions or ideas in this respect are highly welcome.
- SNV readers are requested to send comments about the publication to the editor. Positive comments will help in fund-raising and negative comments will help in improving the publication. So, please, send us your comments.
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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