UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
Journalists arrested / Highway warning / Riek regrets? / Egyptian 2step / Sudatel / IGAD postponed / Alier's initiative Oil for weapons / Blue Nile advance / Darfur crucifixions / Meningitis / USUganda / Fallguy? / Sir Laurence Kirwan
JOURNALISTS ARRESTED AS "SUSPECTED AGENTS": Several Sudanese working in the media have been arrested by security police in Khartoum. They are suspected of 'serving as intelligence agents for foreign circles', said Khartoum newspapers on 16 April.
The official AlAnbaa reported earlier that security authorities had obtained a list including civil servants, recruited as agents for an unidentified neighbouring state.
On 17 April the news broke that advocate AlBagir Hassab alRasul and Mohamed AbdelSeed, a journalist and Khartoum correspondent for the Londonbased AshSharq al Awsat newspaper, had been arrested and taken to unknown locations by security officers.
Mohamed AbdelSeed, in his midfifties and a father of four, was arrested by five security officers at his home in Al Kalakla district on 14 April. His wife was denied access to him and her request to give him his regular IBS medication was refused. A relative said he was under suspicion of spying for Egypt.
Mutasim Mahmoud, chief editor of the Political Section of alRai alAam newspaper was arrested on April 17. Abdel Gadir Hafiz, a correspondent for Saudi Arabia's al Gezira newspaper, was also detained. On April 18, Ms Maha Hassan Ali, an editor at the national news section in the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) and correspondent for Egypt's Middle East News Agency, was arrested at her home in Kalakla. Their whereabouts remained unknown.
A few days before the arrests, progovernment papers undertook a wide hostile campaign against journalists. They claimed there is a network of journalists working as agents of a foreign country.
Torture and ill treatment of detainees are systematic in Sudanese security detention facilities, notes the International Secretariat of OMCT which together with SVTG, Amnesty International, SHROCairo, Sudan Future Care Amal trust and the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern for the detainees' physical safety and psychological integrity. Lawyers and the secretarygeneral of the Journalists Trade Union, Al Nur Ahmed AlNur, demanded that Abdel Seed be charged or set free.
In its first comment, on 21 April Sudan's Information Ministry said, 'The arrests of the three have no connection with the practice of their professional activities but are concerned with specific charges falling under the national security law," according to the government newspaper AlAnbaa. It gave no details of the alleged security violations. Maha Hassan Ali was released on bail put up by Najeeb Adam, chairman of the Sudan Journalists Union. But attempts to locate Mohamed AbdelSeed and AbdelGadir Hafiz at police stations and prosecution offices around Khartoum proved fruitless and authorities denied their presence. "The three journalists have been apprehended under the oppressive public security act," said opposition lawyer Ghazi Suleiman. He said even if the journalists have been arrested under security laws, their detention violates international human rights conventions and Sudan's own constitution, which prohibit holding a person in custody for more than 72 hours without taking him to court. Counsel for the journalists, Mustafa Abdulgadir, told reporters on 28 April his clients were being released after he had appealed to the Sudanese minister of justice. And junior Information Minister Amin Hassan Omar told Akhbar alYom newspaper on 28 April that Mohamed Abdel Sid and Abdel Qadir Hafez would be released and their papers handed over to the attorney general's office. A decision whether to prosecute the journalists "will be taken in accordance with the available evidence," Justice Minister Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin told the paper.
But AshSharq alAwsat newspaper of April 30 said Mohamed Abdelsid was still in jail. (AFP / Akhbar alYom / AlAnbaa 16/Apr/99; OMCT/SVTG, SHROCairo, SFC Amal Trust 17/Apr/99; Reuters 19/Apr/99; DPA / alRai alAkhar 21/Apr/99; AFP, PANA 28/Apr/99; AshSharq alAwsat 30/Apr/99)
N.D.A 'OCCUPY KHARTOUMPORT SUDAN ROAD': Opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) forces claim their operation "Last Warning" scored 'a major victory' over government forces in Eastern Sudan.
On 11 April 1999 'at 6:00 a.mS the First NDA Unified Brigade supported by Commando units from Umma Liberation Army (ULA) and elements from the New Sudan Brigade (NSB) attacked and overran the enemy garrison of Dar el Umda Hamid on the Khartoum Port Sudan road between Kassala and Khashm el Girba towns. Dar el Umda Hamid was a new army garrison manned by a unit of the socalled National Highway Protection Forces. The NDA force occupied the garrison and closed the Khartoum Port Sudan road for the whole day,' says an SPLM press release.
The government of Sudan army at the garrison suffered 'more than twenty killed in action and several others wounded,' it says. Four enemy soldiers were captured and taken prisoner. These are: SgtMaj Jamal Merih of Battalion 108, 4th Brigade, Cpl Mohammed Obeid Yakoub of Battalion 105, 10th Brigade, Lance Cpl Nazar Emal Abdalla of Battalion 188 and Pvte Hassan Mohammed Adam of Gebeit Infantry school. Equipment captured in good condition include: four RPG 7, three PKM, sixteen AKM rifles and ammunition. Eight vehicles were destroyed in the fighting.
On the same day at 7:00 hrs the New Sudan Brigade reportedly fought off a government attack with tanks and artillery on the NDAheld town of Tahdai, SW of Tokar, off the Khartoum Port Sudan road. 'NSB forces routed the enemy and captured a T62 tank.'
'Chairman of the Joint Military Command (JMC) of the combined NDA forces Cdr John Garang de Mabior hereby serves final warning to any and all users of the Khartoum Port Sudan road to stop forthwith movement on that road. By this operation code named "Last Warning", the NDA has shown the regime that their so called Highway Protection Force cannot protect the road. The road is henceforth closed to all traffic.' (SPLM 13Apr/99)
KHARTOUM ADMITS FIVE SOLDIERS KILLED: Five Sudanese army soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a clash on April 11 with rebels near Kassala, eastern Sudan, Sudanese newspapers quoted Defence Minister Gen Abdel Rahman Sirr al Khatim as saying.
The minister told parliament that "a group of traitors, some wearing police uniforms," captured three army trucks. Khatim said government troops pursued the rebels and recovered the trucks, losing five killed and nine wounded. (AFP 15 /Apr/99)
UMBIREIGA GARRISON CAPTURED BY N.D.A: In an operation code named "Leopard Jump" (Nathbal ElFahad) forces of the National Democratic Alliance Unified Brigade attacked and captured the government garrison of Umbireiga near Kassala on the Khartoum Port Sudan road on 15 April, according to the SPLM.
Ten government soldiers were reported killed in action, many wounded and three POWs taken: Sgt Kamal Ahmed Mohammed, Sgt Jackson Andula Baba and Sgt Hassan Idris Osman. Three NDA men suffered slight injuries but 'were discharged this morning from our nearby makeshift (mobile) hospital after minor treatment.' Government soldiers 'fled in disarray and panic leaving behind the following weapons and supplies: four 12.7 mm HMGs, three SPG9 A.T.L, two 82 mm Mortars, two 6mm Mortars, eight RPG7 guns, six G.3 Rifles, 11 AKM Rifles, 100 A.T. mines, one medium and three short range radios as well as large quantities of Ammos and Shells. Large quantities of food rations and medicines were also left behind..' A statement from Gen. AbdulRahman Saeed AbdulRahman, spokesman of the joint military command of the National Democratic Alliance, said the rebels were fighting back a government counterattack. The NDA later said that a commando unit of the Umma Liberation Army also attacked army defenses east of Showak, 96 km S of Kassala, and captured Dot Kiok Amor, whom it described as the chief officer.
(SPLM 16/Apr/99, AP/NDA17/Apr/99.
CRUCIFIXION: A tribunal has sentenced 10 people to death by crucifixion for involvement in clashes in western Sudan in which more than 100 people were killed. Akhbar alYom newspaper said Judge elAmin elTayeb found the defendants guilty of initiating the clashes in West Darfur in February. The sentences have yet to be approved by the Supreme Court. The killing of three Arab nomad chiefs sparked the disturbances in and around the state capital Geneina, close to Chad. Some 131 people were killed and 85 wounded. West Darfur has been under a state of emergency since then. (Reuters 14/Apr/99)
WOMEN CLASH USING BROOMS: Khartoum newspaper AdDar reports a battle in Geneina, western Darfur, in which the fighters were exclusively women. In a dispute between two women over a commodity price, the two attacked each other with brooms, pulled from a nearby shop, as weapons. Other women took sides and hundreds of brooms were soon flying. 'Males, apparently fed up with clan fighting that claimed 10 lives in the area February, wisely preferred to keep the distance until police rushed to the scene to calm the situation and arrest the female offenders,' says PANA. (PANA/AdDar 25/Mar99)
GOVERNMENT HITS AID AIRSTRIPS: In the government drive to recapture areas in the central Nuba mountains, reports SUNA, 'the armed forces are presently carrying out military operations for liberation of areas used as airstrips for planes supporting the rebel movement, in addition to clearing other scattered rebel pockets in the state.' Governor Baballa Biraima Baballa said the army, police and popular defence forces have managed to clear pockets of SPLA rebels in most of the state and "confined the rebels in the Ajroun mountains and parts of Jilid mountains." Baballa said numerous civilians fled the SPLAheld areas to camps and model villages established by the government. (AFP 12/Apr/99)
The Sudan People's Liberation Army says it has taken Samaa Ardieb garrison in southern Blue Nile province. Its forces claim to have killed 107 Sudanese soldiers and wounded more than 300.
After the government siege of Ulu was broken on 27 March, "Some (government troops) ran to the other towns (such as Samaa Ardieb) and now we have now taken all of those," SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje told Reuters. The SPLA also said it had taken the garrison towns of Samaa West and Adbrob, killing 128 government soldiers. The government denied the report and said it remained in control of the area.
The SPLA destroyed three T55 tanks and disabled one more, destroyed or captured five trucks and captured artillery and other weaponry. It lost 13 troops and another 70 were hurt, Kwaje said. (Reuters 15/Apr/99)
WAR / PEACE TALKS
RIEK REGRETS FAILURE OF 1997 ACCORD: The independent newspaper alRai alAam quotes Riek Machar as expressing "deep regret" for what he said was the failure of the 1997 Khartoum agreement which his and five other former SPLA rebel factions signed with the government. Although Machar was made chairman of the South Sudan Coordinating Council and assistant to president Bashir, some of the militias who signed it have since clashed among themselves, notes Reuters.
Machar said clauses of the peace accord 'were still frozen and have not been executed,' referring to articles dealing with resettlement of southerners, a consultative council for south Sudan, and joint military and security committees. The council was meant to set up a referendum for southern self determination within four years. (Reuters / alRai alAam 13/Apr/99)
'DR MACHAR AFFIRMS GOVERNMENT'S KEENNESS FOR REALIZING LASTING PEACE': 'Assistant of the President of the Republic and Chairman of the Coordination Council for the Southern States Dr Riek Machar has affirmed the government for realizing peace and implementing Khartoum peace agreement, which represented the basis for achieving durable security and stability in the southern states,' says SUNA. In an interview with the Director of alMustaqila TV, Mohamed AlHashimi AlHamidi, 'Dr Machar desribed the President's declaration of comprehensive ceasefire as affirmation of the government's keenness to put an end to the civil war in south Sudan. He said that the outlaws movement has been impeding and aborting all the endeavours aimed at realizing peace through the IGAD and its partners.' (SUNA 25/Apr/99)
EGYPT 'MAINTAINING SUDAN'S STABILITY' ISMAIL: During a stopover at Cairo, Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail hailed Egypt's role in helping maintain Sudan's stability and in facing up to conspiracies threatening Sudan's unity and security.
Stability and security in both Egypt and Sudan will further promote Arab reconciliation, solidarity and security, and enhance the development process in Africa, the minister said. (Xinhua 15/Apr/99)
BASHIR'S ULTIMATUM TO EGYPT: President alBashir told the Londonbased alMustakillah television station that Egypt must stop hosting and backing Sudanese opposition groups in Cairo if it wants to normalise relations with Khartoum. In August 1998 it slammed a decision by Egypt to allow the Sudanese opposition to hold its leadership council meeting in Cairo for the first time. Bashir said the Egyptian occupation of the disputed Halaib border area 18,500 square km (6,950 square miles on the Red Sea coast was another obstacle. (Reuters 25/Apr/99)
TAKING BLAME FOR ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT?
Lt AlTayeb Mohamed AbdelRahim of the Sudanese external secret services who allegedly played a role in planning the attempted assassination of Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa is currently in prison in Sudan, says Indian Ocean Newsletter. In June 1995 Khartoum security authorities were unable to repatriate him from Addis Ababa with other personnel. He had to hide in the Ethiopian capital, eventually crossing the border on foot. On his return he accused his superiors of having abandoned him; they reintegrated him in the service, but, traumatized, he spoke of his mission to several close friends. His superiors allegedly want to get rid of him by making him take the blame for the murder of an opponent.
(ION no854 17/Apr/99)
KEEP EGYPT OUT OF PEACE TALKS NYABA: A member of the SPLM/A, Peter Adwok Nyaba, took issue with a recent suggestion by Khartoum that Egypt be invited to the IGAD talks. "We cannot allow this," he told IRIN. "Egypt is party to the conflict. It is part of the Arab expansion ploy to Arabise and colonise Africa." "Although the ongoing armed conflicts in parts of Sudan and the EthiopianEritrean war could mar the impending round of peace talks, the way forward should be forged by all parties and will depend on the military situation in the country," Adwok added. (© UN Integrated Regional Information Network 12/Apr/99)
HOPE OF "NEW MOMENTUM" FOR I.G.A.D: The Sudan peace activity of the InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is under increased attention from donors in the IGAD Partner's Forum (IPF) who last met in Oslo on 10 March. The IPF hopes for "urgent enhancement" of the IGAD peace process. Its slow progress and long adjournments between meetings have attracted criticism from within and outside Sudan. An offshoot of the IGAD process designed to consider humanitarian issues the Technical Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (TCHA) is set have its second meeting next month in Europe. Another conclusion of the IPF meeting was that "the current aid flow from the donor community to Sudan would be difficult to maintain in the long run, without an accelerated and strengthened political process toward peace.." In Oslo, the IPF discussed providing financial support to a "dedicated secretariat" to support a new Kenya special envoy to "mount a concentrated and continuous mediation effort." A recent review of the Kenyaled IGAD Sudan peace process, sponsored by the US Institute for Peace (http://www.usip.org), suggested that the four other countries of IGAD: Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda (Somalia's participation is in abeyance) disagree about the best overall solution. The EthiopiaEritrea conflict, and shifting regional and international alliances "may have paralysed the [IGAD] secretariat", the report continues. Other diplomatic and media sources suggested that the weakening of the UgandaEthiopiaEritrea coalition opposed to Khartoum would help the peace process. A regional analyst told IRIN that the SPLM also was "a bit disorientated" by the shifting alliances in the Horn, but the IGAD process was now threatened by other problems "being drawn into it".
WADI ELNIL PARTY WARNS AGAINST SEPARATION: SUNA says the Wadi ElNil party has warned against separation of Southern Sudan, and 'pointed out that the IGAD group itself was not qualified for the solution of the Southern Sudan Question.
In a statement calling for the participation of all forces in the IGAD negotiations, the party says, 'The displacement of Southerners and their influx to the north was practically a referendum in which people had chosen between unity and separation, saying what was currently going on was mere theoretical conflict being fuelled by S foreign circles known for their hostilityS'
Sudan's ambassador to Cairo, Ahmed Abd al Haleem, told ArabicNews.com that 'the Sudanese opposition has a hidden agenda and receives support from foreign countries aimed at establishing a state in the south, which is rejected by the south itself.' (Arabic News.com 4/17/99) (SUNA 19/Apr/99)
CEASEFIRE VIOLATED IN BAHR ALGHAZAL: The SPLA accused the Sudanese government on 28 April of violating the newly agreed ceasefire meant to allow delivery of relief food. It said a government offensive had begun in two locations in Bahr alGhazal region.
One column of government troops moved from Wau, and headed southeast toward rebelheld Tonj, and a second column is reportedly fighting in Twich and Aweil counties northwest of Wau. (AP 28/Apr/99)
PEACE TALKS POSTPONED BY KHARTOUM: Khartoum has postponed the IGAD peace talks scheduled for 20 April in Nairobi, in order to give time for "additional consultations and preparations." Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said that peace talks in, which had been scheduled to take place on April 20, were delayed in part "to give (Abel Alier's) efforts a chance to materialize."
With the Nairobi talks expected to be rescheduled for next month, Kenyan Foreign Minister Bonaya Godana told IRIN: "We are disappointed that the last talks did not take place here as planned. We heard the explanation from Khartoum ... They have insisted they are still committed to talks and are just asking for postponement ... we have no option at this point but to see how we can assemble the parties concerned again". (AP, IRIN 26/Apr/99)
WARY RESPONSES TO ABEL ALIER'S MEDIATION: Augustino Aremo, secretary of the southern Sudan department in the National Congress party, has criticised recent war mediation efforts by former vicepresident Abel Alier. "The proposals ignore all the opinions of other southern Sudanese except the SPLA," he told Reuters. Abel Alier, vicepresident from 197182 under former President Jaafar Nimairi, met Garang in London and Uganda last week. 'A member of the Dinka tribe, as is Garang, Alier has rejected offers to join the current government or align himself with the rebels,' notes AP. His proposals call for President al Bashir and John Garang to form a supreme authority to run Sudan for a twoyear interim period ahead of a proposed referendum on selfdetermination for the south. Garang would administer the south during the interim phase. 'In essence, northern issues would be decided by Bashir and southern issues by Garang.'
Aremo asked, "What will happen to the people who have had differences with the SPLA when the South is handed to the rebels?"
The SPLM also reacted warily. The SPLM spokesman in Nairobi, Samson Kwaje, said, "He [Alier] just came to touch base with us". Kwaje said Alier's proposals met SPLM demands for selfrule, says AP. "We may take him seriously, but we don't think Khartoum does," Kwaje said. "They just want to use him to buy time and make agreements they will later breakS We told him we would look at it, but advised him to pass it through IGAD. He doesn't have the enforcement and implementation aspects like IGAD." 'Past peace efforts have met with little success because they have dealt only with breakaway rebel factions, rather than the main rebel Sudan Peoples Liberation Army,' notes AP. (Reuters , AP, IRIN 26/Apr/99)
TURABI'S SECRET DIALOGUE: Hassan alTurabi has revealed secret talks between Khartoum and the northern opposition, Akhbar alYom newspaper reported on 30 April. Turabi said the two sides had "pledged to abstain from revealing the content of the talks until they end."
"Our goal is to unify all Sudanese," he said at a meeting in Atbara. He warned against the division of Sudan, saying that if this happened the south "would have the fate of Afghanistan where the strong crush the weak." April 30 (AFP)
NIMEIRI TO RETURN? Middle East News Agency reported that former president Jaafar alNumayri is to visit Khartoum on 25 May for the first time in more than 14 years, when he will announce the formation of a new political party: The People's Toiling Forces.
REGIME REJECTS DIALOGUE WITH OPPOSITION: The ruling National Congress said on Sudan TV on 14 April that it will accept negotations with individual political parties only on the basis of its own new constitution. It rejects the National Democratic Alliance and others who are demanding a constitutional conference, although it accepts a "self determination" referendum for South Sudan. "The National Congress declares in clear terms that there will be no dialogue with the socalled Alliance which has based its charter on violence, war and uprooting the regime," the party said in a stronglyworded statement. It added that, although it accepts a "self determination" referendum for South Sudan. current constitutional bodies, including the National Assembly and the presidency, will continue in office until their terms expire and will not be dissolved in favour of a national or coalition government. (AFP / Sudan TV 14/Apr/99)
SADIQ WILL MEET QADHAFI AFTER ALL? Libya's Col Gaddafi is going to meet in Tripoli with the head of the opposition Umma party, Sadeq ElMahdi. 'ElMahdi said that Libya is seriously concerned with the situation in Sudan and that "our strong relation with Libyan president push him to hold meetings so as settle the crisis in Sudan," adding that the discussions will focus on means of restoring the natural situation in Sudan,' according to Arabic News. 'The Libyan call included all leaders of the opposition National Democratic AllianceS'
(Arabic News 14/April/99)
TURABI'S SECRET DIALOGUE: Hassan alTurabi has revealed secret talks between Khartoum and the northern opposition, Akhbar alYom newspaper reported on 30 April. Turabi said the two sides had "pledged to abstain from revealing the content of the talks until they end." "Our goal is to unify all Sudanese," he said at a meeting in Atbara. He warned against the division of Sudan, saying that if this happened the south "would have the fate of Afghanistan where the strong crush the weak." (AFP 30/Apr/99)
OIL EXPORTS TO FUND WEAPONS MANUFACTURE: The Sudanese government is building several factories to produce tanks and missiles, Speaker Hassan alTurabi was quoted by Akhbar alYom.newspaper as saying on 30 April. "We are currently building several factories to produce our needs in weapons, and we plan to manufacture tanks and missiles to defend ourselves against conspirators," Turabi, secretarygeneral of the ruling National Congress, said, and the government would use oil export earnings to finance the factories. (AFP/ Akhbar alYom 30/Apr/99)
MALAYSIA MAY TAKE SUDAN OIL TO SOUTH AFRICA: Malaysian stateowned Petronas is studying the option of taking its share of crude from the new Sudan oilfields to its Engen refinery in South Africa, industry sources said on 28 April. Petronas' share amounts to 37,500 bpd. "It is one option being considered. The final decision depends on what happens to price," one source said. If spot prices soar, then selling into the merchant market would be a more lucrative alternative.
Engen is processing Middle East crude at its 100,000 bpd refinery in Durban which Petronas owns following a takeover last October. But this can easily be substituted, in part, by the new Sudan Nile Blend crude which is of comparable quality to Saudi Arabia's Arab Light crude. 50,000bpd of the new crude have been earmarked for consumption in Sudan where the 50,000bpd Jayli refinery, built in a joint venture with China National Petroleum (CNPC) at a cost of $600 million, is slated for completion by the end of the year.
CNPC's China National United Oil Corp (Chinaoil), will market the new crude. Apart from China, the marketing team will focus on building up customers in Europe and the Far East. Customers in the United States are out of bounds.
LUNDIN OIL 'SPUDS FIRST WELL': Lundin Oil AB through its wholly owned subsidiary, IPC Sudan Limited, 'is pleased to announce the drilling of its first exploration well in Block 5A, onshore Sudan. The well is being drilled on the Thar Jath prospect and was spudded on April 7th.' 'The prospect is on one of the largest structural features identified to date in the basin and is believed to hold significant potential for oil. Drilling to a total planned depth of 3,200 metres is expected to take between 30 and 45 days. Primary objectives are the Cretaceous Bentiu and Darfur sandstones which have been proven successful in the adjacent block being developed by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating CompanyS' (Business Wire 8/Apr/99)
IRAQ TRAINING OIL TECHNICIANS: On April 8, says SUNA, 'Minister Of Energy and Mining Dr Awad Ahmed al Jaz received at his office the Iraqi ambassador. Dr AlJaz praised the bilateral cooperation and Iraq's permanent support for the Sudan, particularly the country's oil project via training the Sudanese technicians in the Iraqi institutes.(SUNA8/Apr/99)
MORE GULF WAR ESCAPEES GET COMPENSATION: The UN has offered Sudan 26 million US dollars to be paid to the fifth batch of Sudanese workers affected by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Some 12,000 persons will benefit >from the sum with each of them receiving 2,500 dollars. Four batches a total of 21,000 persons have already benefited from the sum, each receiving 2,500 dollars.
After the liberation of Kuwait, the UN obliged the Iraqi government to compensate people who lost their jobs, were killed or lost properties as a result of the invasion. The compensations are being drawn from a special fund arranged for by a UN Security Council financial project called 'Food For Oil Programme.'
The chairman of the Organ for Sudanese Working Abroad, Taj Eddin el Mahdi, told journalists that batches six and seven which are still pending compensations, include technocrats and Sudanese businesses forced out of the area as a result of the war. He named Sudan Airways and Sudan Shipping Lines, which were forced to quit the area, among the businesses claiming compensations.
U.A.E STAKE IN SUDATEL: Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) has acquired a majority stake in the Sudan Telecommunication Corp, SudaTel, for 45 million dirhams ($1=AED3.65), the Khaleej Times reports.
Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates' statecontrolled telecoms monopoly, bought more than100,000 of the 200,000 publicly traded shares of SudaTel, causing a surge in SudaTel's stock price on the Khartoum exchange. Shares issued at $100 (20,000 Sudan dinar) almost doubled in price. Etisalat sources said the company is confident about its investment: "We are planning to put more money [in] if this attempt proves to be a success, and if we are allowed by the management to buy more."
Telecommunications in Sudan, installed more than 50 years ago, have deteriorated for lack of investment. But a feasibility study suggested there could be more than three million telephone subscribers in Sudan by the end of 2000. The number of mobile phone users in Sudan is bigger than the number of users in the UAE despite the fact that the mobile call rates are almost twice as expensive. SudaTel was privatized in 1994 and recently joined the service providers of the UAEbased Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company.It serves about 5% of the country's 35 million people. Dr Abdullah Hassan Ahmed, Sudanese Minister of International Trade and Investment, said the Sudatel share offer had received overwhelming response from both foreign investors and Sudanese expatriates in the Gulf countries. He was in Doha to attend the Sudanese Business Forum at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Besides telecommunications, he said there was big potential for investments in many other sectors. 'Sudan has recently been listed among the first five countries of the world to have enough food reserves, along with Canada, Australia and India, he said.' (Dow Jones Newswires, Khaleej Times 14/Apr/99)
SMUGGLED SUGAR STIFLES LOCAL MARKET: The director of the General Corporation for Sugar Trade, Mohammed el Sayed, told journalists that "35,000 tonnes of cheap sugar smuggled into the country through the eastern border city of Kasala had caused buyers to shun locally produced sugar."
A bag of smuggled sugar now sells at 480 Dinars compared to 570 for a bag of locally produced sugar. The corporation now has 250,000 tonnes of sugar stuck in the stores without any buyers; further congestion of sugar in the corporation's store yards could be spoilt by early summer rains. State Minister of Finance Abubakr Yahya said he suspected that the smuggled sugar "must be sugar distributed by relief agencies for refugees and displaced persons in the region. 'The Sudanese Standards and Metrological Organisation should move quickly to check this sugar, "he urged. Sudan produces 500,000 tonnes of cane sugar annually, out of which 100,000 tonnes are exported. (PANA 26/Apr/99)
AGROPRODUCE TRADE FOR INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS: Businessmen from Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have concluded trade agreements worth 50 million US dollars, according to Isam Kambal of the Sudan Chamber of Commerce.
Sudan will export meat, sugar, vegetables, fruits and cooking oil to UAE in exchange for industrial and chemical products. At the annual Dubai Marketing Festival some 34 Sudanese companies displayed products at the "Sudan Village", winning a cup and medals. (PANA 20/Apr/99)
SYMPOSIUM ON SUDANESE ECONOMY: The Economic Information Centre, recently established by ministerial recommendation, is to organize a symposium on the Sudanese economy during the coming ten years. The State Minister for Finance, Dr IzzEddin Ibrahim, the economic expert, Dr. AbdulRahim Hamdi, and the Director General of the Saudi Sudanese Bank, Dr Sidahmed Taifur, are to address it. (SUNA 25/Apr/99)
SUDANAIR TO INCREASE FLIGHTS: The Director of Marketing at Sudan Airways, Ahmed Ismail Zumrawi, said the company plans to expand its services in West Africa and Europe. Flights from the Middle East will link to Niamey (Niger), and connect Central Africa Republic with Cameroon via flights to Bangui and Duala. A new KhartoumCairo London route wil operate beside the old KhartoumCairoParis route. A new Airbus plane is to join the company's fleet. Sudan Airways announced it is resuming its flights to Libya with effect from 6 May. Zumrawe said he expects "a high economic yield from this route, rendering services to thousands of Sudanese working in Libya." The resumption of flights comes after Libya handed over two of its nationals suspected to have masterminded the bombing of a Pan Am passenger plane over Lockerbie, Scotland. (SUNA 25/Apr/99, PANA 27/Apr/99)
REHABILITATING ROADS: On April 19, says SUNA, First VicePresident Ali Osman Mohamed Taha met Roads and Communication Minister AlHadi Bushra and got acquainted with the recent visit by the South African Posts and Communication Minister. They discussed preparations for the general assembly of ARABSAT in Khartoum May 23 24, and Sudan's participation in the Middle East Communication Conference in AbuDhabi May 9 21. Bushra also acquainted Taha with plans for 'rehabilitation of some parts of PortSudan highway in the coming days.' The First Vice President 'asserted the importance of rehabilitating roads, especially the Peace Highway.' (SUNA 19/Apr/99)
AFROARAB FAIR: Foreign Trade Minister Adam AlTahir Hamdoun represented Sudan at the 4th AfroArab Fair in Senegal, where 63 Arab and African countries participated in a symposium. (SUNA 19/Apr/99)
L.R.A. IN DISARRAY AS LEADER "ARRESTED": The Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony is reported to have been apprehended by government authorities in Sudan.
The Ugandan newspaper New Vision said Kony was no longer at his base at Jebelein in southern Sudan and was under house arrest at an unknown location. Other LRA officials had their passports seized, and another senior LRA member, Yassin O'jwang, had fled to Aden.
Relations allegedly soured 'after DR Congo President Kabila offered cash and military support to the LRA to destabilise Uganda. However, a DRC embassy spokesman in Nairobi denied any contacts with the Ugandan rebels. Kony drew a US $7,000 monthly salary from the Sudanese Armed Forces, the New Vision claimed, but his payments were stopped in February. (IRIN 20/Apr/99)
U.S. DELEGATION VISITS UGANDA: Members of a US delegation in Uganda from April 6 to 8 included John Prendergast (US State Department special adviser and USAID adviser on Sudan), Donald Teitelbaum (US embassy chargé d'affaires in Khartoum, based in Nairobi), and Michael Miller (assistant to Dr. Bill Frist, Republican chairman of the Senate SubCommittee on African Affairs). According to other sources, says Indian Ocean Newsletter, the delegation included a Pentagon representative, Vince Kern, and was part of an appraisal of the Sudanese political opposition and US policy towards the Khartoum regime (ION 807).
Uganda's deputy PM and foreign minister Eriya Kategaya supported the idea of maintaining Sudan's unity, backing off from the idea of secession by Southern Sudan. He said that a government that brought in Sudan's various political groups would be the best option. Kampala officials and US delegates agreed that IGAD was the best framework for finding a solution to the civil conflict. Uganda, absorbed by the civil war in DR Congo, may seek a modus vivendi with Khartoum. Kategaya is believed to have had talks with Sudanese emissaries. Relations between the UPDF (Ugandan army) and SPLA have worsened, with skirmishes at Kit II and Nimule, and the arrest and disarming of 104 SPLA members. UPDF has nevertheless authorized SPLA to open an office (headed by Maj Peter Onima and staffed by Capt Jack Okweny, Lt Aziz Yunus and Lt Zakaria Moses) at Lungujja, Kampala, in the former home of the late LtGen Jet Mwebaze, the former coordinator of UPDFSPLA relations who was replaced by Lt Col Jackson Bells. (Indian Ocean Newsletter no854 17/Apr/99)
UGANDA DENIES MASSING TROOPS ON BORDER: Al Anbaa newspaper quoted Sudanese loyalist militia official Ali Karte as declaring that his paramilitary troops "are ready to defend the gains of the nation and the oil sites and deter the enemies" if the Ugandans attacked. It charged that Ugandan armoured battalions were "poised for an offensive on vast areas in Equatoria region.."
In Kampala, however, a military officer in the Ugandan defence ministry denied the reported buildup.
U.S. FOOD AND MEDICINE SANCTIONS LIFTED: President Clinton is changing U.S. foreign policy to exempt food and medicine from future economic sanctions. Commercial licenses to sell agricultural and medicinal products under existing U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Sudan will be reviewed. Clinton announced last summer that food and medicine should not be used as a tool of foreign policy except under extraordinary circumstances.
"It will be one less shot in our own foot," said a Clinton administration official. "I believe the change came from a lot of pressure from [Congress], from agricultural senators who want to sell their wheat [to Iran]." (AP, Reuter /Apr/99)
U.S. BAN LIFTING 'SHOWS FAILURE OF SANCTIONS': The U.S. decision to lift food and medicine sanctions proves the failure of Washington's policy, SUNA quotes Hassan Abdin, foreign ministry undersecretary, as saying. Abdin said the decision revealed contradictions between the administration and economic pressure groups in the US, adding that it did not indicate an improvement in ties between Khartoum and Washington. Sudan was once a big importer of US wheat, but imports stopped after 1989. (AFP, Reuters 30/Apr/99)
ERITREA TO EJECT OPPOSITION GROUP? Eritrea has agreed to expel Sudanese opposition groups as a condition for joining the Community of SahelianSaharan States (COMESSA), the Sudanese governmentowned newspaper Al Anbaa reported on 21 April. The paper said that Eritrea had agreed to expel the armed Sudanese opposition under pressure >from Libya and Qatar.
Eritrea and the Central African Republic were the latest countries to be admitted into the organisation. Sudan's al Bashir met Eritrea's Afewerki in Libya on the sidelines of a summit on 14 and 15 April in Sirte. They agreed to continue talks under the mediation of Libya and Qatar. The Sudanese and Eritrean foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding in Doha last November, but about a month later Sudan accused Eritrea of shelling Sudanese villages. (Reuters 17/Apr/99, Reuters/ AlAnbaa 21/Apr/99, Reuters 17/Apr/99, PANA 26/Apr/99)
HEALTH / FOOD
FOREIGN NGOS ACCUSED OF AIDING REBELS: The minister of state for social planning, MajGen Hassan Othman Dhahawi, quoted by Elsharee Elsyasi, said 19 foreign NGOs engaged in humanitarian operations in south Sudan "are pursuing illegitimate practices and have offered 20 million dollars to the rebel movement." He said the government had notified the United Nations of the behaviour of the NGOs, which he did not name. (AFP 21/Apr/99)
CHOLERA CONFIRMED IN AKOBO: Action by Churches Together (ACT) says an outbreak of cholera has been confirmed in the southeastern Sudanese town of Akobo. Over 200 people are reported to have died since April 5, according to Dr Margaret Itto, the Medical Coordinator the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC). The only medical NGO on the ground, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Belgium confirmed that out of 16 samples of stool brought to Nairobi for laboratory analysis, 12 were diagnosed to be carrying the cholera bacteria. MSF is trying to contain the epidemic which has spread to the outlying villages by treating patients in Akobo hospital and three other health units in the outskirts of the town. The medicines are reportedly not sufficient and there are no cholera vaccines so far.
Akobo town has a total population of 10,000 people and the outlying villages have a collective population of 60,000 people. Villages which are between two to six miles walking distance from Akobo town appear to be affected with the epidemic. Dr Itto said the epidemic is caused by lack of hygiene and clean drinking water. MSF in Akobo has launched an awareness campaign. Health workers go round the town with hand held loud speakers advising people to drink boiled water or drink water from the water pumps and to wash their hands after answering nature's call. There are three water pumps in Akobo catering for 10,000 people. (New Sudan Council of Churches/ ACT: http://www.actintl.org)
FOOD SHORTAGES: Over 4,000 returnees are facing food shortages in the Liethnom area of Bahr al Ghazal state, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). The UN food agency said returnees could no longer depend on kinship for their food needs. "At present, wild foods and fish are together thought to make up between 6080 percent of the returnees' food sources," it said.
Preliminary findings from another assessment in Aweil, also in Bahr al Ghazal, point to a food deficit during the upcoming "hunger gap" months, across all socioeconomic groups. "Food insecurity in the area is primarily due to a poor 1998 crop harvest, increased competition over food sources including wild foods, limited access to markets and reduced mobility due to insecurity in the north of the county," the report said.
RISE IN MENINGITIS CASES: The progovernment Alwan quoted Ahmed alBashir, the director general of the health ministry in alGezira state, as saying 920 people, about 70 percent of them under 15, were diagnosed with meningitis in the past two weeks. Eightytwo of them had already died, he said. Bashir attributed the spread of the disease to a shortage of vaccines, saying 88 percent of the state's four million people had not been vaccinated against meningitis. He said the state had only enough vaccines for 213 people. Tens of thousands of people in Sudan could soon be infected with meningitis the minister of health said. "We expect that more than 25,000 people are going to be infected in coming days," retired LtGen Mahdi Babu Nimir was quoted as saying by the privatelyowned Alwan newspaper. The minister said more than eight million people have been vaccinated against the disease and four million vaccines have been made available to continue the immunisation programme. (Reuters 21/Apr/99, 28/Apr/99)
RELIEF FLIGHT FOR KOSOVO MOSLEMS: A Sudanese philanthropic society said it planned to send a planeload of food, blankets and medicine to Moslems in Kosovo. Mohamed Abdallah Eisawi said on national television that the Zubair Philanthropic Foundation expected NATO to give clearance for the plane to land in Kosovo. On the same TV programme, Abdallah Dawla, of the Financial Committee for Supporting the Kosovo Moslems, said his group had so far received pledges of around 150,000 dollars. (AFP 30/Apr/99)
AFRICAN 'KOSOVARS' : Francis M. Deng writes in Washington Post on April 30, 1999: 'The scenes of hundreds of thousands refugees fleeing Kosovo recall tragedies the world over... Sudan is clearly a case in pointS Despite the ambivalence of the ArabMuslim north toward the United States, both sides concur that it is the only power capable of brokering and guaranteeing a viable peace agreement. [for] developing a global vision and tailoring responses to specific situations.
'What the Sudanese situation calls for is a concentrated diplomatic effort with commensurate incentives and disincentives carried out under a determined American leadership but in concert with regional and international actors. 'Despite the shortcomings of the IGAD process, it has acquired international legitimacy and should be strengthened financially, administratively and diplomatically. The IGAD Partners Forum, which includes the United States and a number of Western countries, should, with the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, contribute financial and technical support.
'The focus should be placed on ensuring self determination for the southS formally adopted in a binding and guaranteed agreement. Such a choice should motivate those in the north advocating national unity to strive harder to create conditions favorable to the option of unity. 'The National Democratic Alliance, which includes all the opposition parties, should be involved in the negotiations to address the need for reform in the whole country... ' © Washington Post
U.S. ON U.N. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: The United States 'believes that the resolution on Sudan passed by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights is deeply flawed. It fails to confront fully the practice of slavery there. The resolution's euphemisms "enforced or involuntary disappearance" and "abduction of women and children to be subjected to forced labor or similar conditions" do not begin to describe the slavery issue in the areas of Bahr ElGhazal and Darfur. As a consequence, the failure to use the word "slavery" in the resolution will be seen by some as ignoring an abominable practice, for which there should be zero tolerance. That failure also undermines the report of the Special Rapporteur, which uses the term and discusses the issue at length.
'The practice of religious persecution is also not adequately addressed in this resolution. Using the phrase "severe restrictions of the freedom of religion" in the resolution grossly understates the Government of Sudan's religious persecution of Christians, Muslims, and Animists. The Special Rapporteur's report, on the other hand, uses the word persecution, and that is a proper description. 'Indeed, the Government of Sudan's persecution of individuals and groups for practicing their religion goes much further than "severe restrictions." The Government of Sudan persecutes all religious groups that disagree with its policies. Churches and mosques in rebel areas, for example, have been special targets of government forces. As the Special Rapporteur's report notes, the Government of Sudan has jailed several Muslim and Christian religious leaders in government held areas to suppress their views. There are considerable restrictions on Christian practice in governmentheld areas in northern Sudan, as well as to a lesser extent on Christians and Animists in governmentheld areas in the South.
'The resolution expresses deep concern for extra judicial, summary, or arbitrary executions in the armed conflict, supposedly perpetrated by all parties. This attempt at balance is misplaced. It is the Government of Sudan, not the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, which does not take prisoners and instead executes all surrendered soldiers. The relevant international authorities have visited the POW camps of the Sudan People's Liberation Army. ' (U.S. Mission To United Nation, 23/Apr/99)
AFRICANS ADOPT HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION: On 14 April SUNA said a delegation headed by Justice Minister Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin would participate in the April 1216 Organisation of African Unity meeting in Mauritius. Yassin's address 'will focus on refuting the slavery practices allegations against Sudan,' and on the 'assassination' of four Sudanese by the SPLA.
In addition to signing the African charters on human rights and children's rights, Sudan would sign an 'agreement for establishment of an African human rights court' and the Bamako convention on importation of dangerous waste into Africa. In Mauritius the first OAU ministerial conference on human rights in member states wound up adopting the "Mauritius Declaration". It reaffirmed the universality of human rights which are "indivisible, interdependent and closely linked;" agreed that the state is most responsible in the promotion and protection of human rights, and urged governments to create national human rights institutions. It recognised the role of NGO's in the protection of human rights and urged governments to collaborate with them. It urged governments to draw up national action plans for the protection of human rights, and them the same priority as accorded to economic, social and cultural, civil and political programmes.
(SUNA 14/Apr/99, PANA 17/Apr/99)
"RUTHLESS": Ghazi Suleiman, jailed this month for holding a meeting on human rights, described the Islamist government as ruthless and called for a new constitution. "I was unjustly sentenced because we lack human rights," he told Reuters. Suleiman, head of the National Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, was sentenced on April 8 for 15 days and fined 500,000 Sudanese pounds ($2,000) for holding an "illegal" meeting.
"I did not organise an illegal assembly, I went to the bar association to give a lecture about the role of people in their communities, which is that they are expected to defend human rights," Suleiman said.
An appeal court released him but he was promptly sent back to prison when he refused to sign a pledge of good conduct. Suleiman was released a day later after an appeal by 60 lawyers. Suleiman wore a bandage on his left hand which he said was from injuries sustained from beating on April 7 during his arrest by riot police.
He said the people and not the government of President alBashir should draft Sudan's new constitution. "What General Bashir did was to collect the military orders he issued from 1989 until now and he called it a constitution, it is a very controversial document," Suleiman said. "We want to draft a new constitution that respects Sudan's ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, we want a new Sudan. In Sudan there are no democratic reforms and the government controls everything; the press, the security, the army and all civil institutions...," Suleiman said. (Reuters 25/Apr/99)
C.S.I. APOLOGY: 'Christian Solidarity International has delivered to the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Committee, currently convening in Geneva, a message of apologize on its errors and that of the outlaws movement's leader John Garang, represented in their violation of procedure and agenda of the meeting which prevented Garang to continue delivering his address before the committee.' (SUNA 8/Apr/99)
1,783 SLAVES: Swissbased human rights group Christian Solidarity International (CSI) said on 20 April it had bought the freedom of 1,783 slaves in Sudan, mainly women and children "captured as booty by the armed forces of the government." It paid the equivalent of $50 per slave in local currency to networks of Arab slave retrievers in Bahr El Ghazal, who are independent of the government but pay money to the slave masters to win the slaves' freedom and escort them back to their villages.
CSI has redeemed 7,725 slaves since 1995. The group said it was committed to continuing 'until such time as the international community creates more effective retrieval mechanisms.' UNICEF has called for a phased end to slavery in Sudan, overseen by international monitors. (Reuters 20/Apr/99)
SIR LAURENCE KIRWAN: Sir Laurence Kirwan, who led the Royal Geographic Society for three decades and helped organize the first conquest of Mt. Everest, died on April 16. He was 91. In 1929, he was appointed assistant director of the Egyptian government's archaeological survey of Nubia. From 1934 to 1937, Kirwan was field director of Oxford University expeditions to the Sudan, carrying out excavations of the royal tombs of the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. at Ballana and Qustal. >From 1937 to 1939 he continued extensive fieldwork as Tweedie Fellow in Archaeology and Anthropology at Edinburgh University. (AP 18/Apr/99)
ANIMALS PERISH IN BURNED FARM: Police say 158 spurred tortoises, six antelopes, 350 desert lizards, 33 cranes, nine rock hyrax, 19 sand foxes and seven sand grouse died.when a privatelyowned wildlife farm burned down in Khor Omar, 20 km N of Khartoum.
The farm is owned by a group of retired wildlife officers. A Wildlife Conservation Dept official put the value of the animals and birds at 15,000 US dollars. The owners put their losses at 222,000 dollars. Brig Haju Mohammed el Hassan, deputy director of Wildlife Conservation, said the police were holding farm guards for interrogation, but ruled out any malicious motive.
"The farm is positioned near a residential area and a passerby might have dropped a cigarette and started the fire," he told PANA. (PANA 19/Apr/99)
WIFE SET FREE: A prison inmate in Khartoum has divorced his wife to give her the freedom to find a better husband. According to the daily AdDar, the unnamed prisoner chose to divorce his wife because he "felt his years behind the bars could be very long so he found it very wise to set the woman free." "I am in jail because I have failed to pay a heavy debt. It could be very long before I can do so. So I thought it was unfair my wife stays chained with me in that way," he was quoted as saying.
"I gave her the chance to try her luck with somebody else who could give her happiness," he added. He said his wife had tried to stop him. "But that was my final decision," he insisted. "I did not want her to pay for my mistake." (PANA 15/Apr/99)
SUDAN UPDATE's international media review is published twice monthly to promote dialogue and education about Sudanese current affairs. It records news and comment from a broad variety of published sources, and presents a crosssection of views which are often contradictory. No claim is made for the accuracy of individual items. They do not represent the views of the editorial group, and readers should always refer to the original sources for complete versions.
Peter Verney, Editor, Sudan Update <firstname.lastname@example.org>
PO Box 10 Hebden Bridge HX7 6UX England
Tel/Fax: +44 1422 845827
========================================================== Sudan Update is an independent, nonprofit information and referral service which aims to encourage informed dialogue towards peace and reconstruction in Sudan. It publishes a media review twice monthly, available by post and by email. ==========================================================
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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