Sudan Update Vol. VI No.10 (06/07/'95)

Sudan Update Vol. VI No.10 (06/07/'95)


Cease-fire extended / Paryang taken / Inflation / BCCI fire / Heatwave `blessing' / Algeria & Sudan compared / Defector or deportee ? / Iran's navy / Palestinian links / Khalid al-Kid



CEASE-FIRE EXTENDED: The SPLA-Mainstream has accepted a two-month extension to the Carter-mediated cease-fire with Khartoum, although it has accused the government armed forces of violations. On 1 June SPLA leader Colonel John Garang agreed to the extension at a meeting in Nairobi with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi.

"We have extended the cease-fire from May 31 to July 31 on the request of President Moi and [ex-]President Carter," the SPLA's head of information, Pagan Amum Okiech, told Reuter. "This we do notwithstanding the violation of the cease-fire by [government forces] just days after Khartoum's pledge to President Moi," he added.

The Khartoum government announced a unilateral extension to the cease-fire on May 25 during a visit to Khartoum by President Moi. The initial two month cease-fire was mediated by former US President Jimmy Carter who, along with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development [IGADD] headed by President Moi, is seeking ways to end 12 years of civil war in Sudan. (Reuter 2/Jun/95)

GOVERNMENT TAKES PARYANG: The SPLA says that on 29 May government forces attacked an SPLA garrison and a relief centre at Panriang [Paryang] in Western Upper Nile province. Pagan Amum Okiech said the government troops quickly withdrew from the garrison but took two doctors hostage at the relief centre. Reuter adds that although Italian foreign ministry sources confirmed that medical doctors Guiseppe Meo from Italy and Hashim Ziada of Sudan were detained, they said the SPLA had lost the locality.

The SPLA spokesman said the government had been able to violate the cease-fire because there was no formal written agreement between the warring parties and no monitoring mechanism: "In principle we are for an internationally monitored cease-fire. Any troop movement should be a violation and yet Khartoum wants the freedom to move about." (Reuter 2/Jun/95)

`PEACE CONVOY' ENTERS PARYANG: `A Peace Convoy headed by the Governor of Unity (Wahdah) state, Bona Deng, has managed to enter Paryang this week following the signing of an internal peace agreement with [Mayik Jau] the rebel commander of the Mainstream [SPLA] Garang faction in the region,' National Unity Radio reported on 5 June, quoting `a security source'.

`In a statement to SUNA, the source said that another convoy, called Peace Convoy Number Four, organised by the authorities of neighbouring Southern Kordofan State through the Peace and Resettlement Administration, had earlier joined the Peace Convoy. He said the Peace Convoy left Kadugli and took the Kadugli-Talodi-Al-Obeid road and made it to Paryang, thus opening this road which had been closed for the past 14 years. This development is the result of the cooperation and unity between the two states of Southern Kordofan and Wahdah [Unity].

`The source told SUNA that the return of Paryang into the nation's fold had robbed the rebellion of a major supply line through which it obtained foreign assistance as well as training. It was also a major lifeline for the rebels in the region and in Southern Kordofan. The source went on to add that the outlaws [SPLA], assisted by foreign [relief] institutions and organisations, had managed to construct a 2,500 metre airstrip capable of receiving all types of aircraft.

`Reports say that Peace Convoys Number One, Two and Three are scheduled to arrive in Heiban, Talodi, Karin Gak and Abdallah respectively.' (NUR 5/Jun/95)

WHAT TERMS? AP says, `Jau reportedly called in the government after splitting with rebel leader John Garang... The action comes amid claims from the Sudanese government of rebel defections and disenchantment in the South over splits in the rebel leadership.'

AFP notes: `An agreement was signed between [defecting SPLA commander Mayik] Jau and a government official, Bona Deng, relinquishing rebel control of Paryang... However, [SUNA] said nothing about the number of rebel SPLA troops in the area, nor did it spell out the terms of the agreement...' (AFP 4/Jun/95; AP 5/Jun/95)

Republic of Sudan Radio reports that after the Sudanese authorities detained an Italian medical doctor, Guiseppe Meo, whose plane had entered Sudanese airspace without authorisation, the State Minister at the Presidency, Mahdi Ibrahim, held a meeting at the Republican Palace with Christopher Geiger, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme. He was given a letter from the UNDP director concerning Operation Lifeline Sudan. `The two also discussed the progress of OLS activities in the South, as well as the Italian doctor's unauthorised entry into Southern Sudan,' says RSR. `The minister stressed that the government would cooperate with the United Nations so as to facilitate OLS activities and pointed out the need [for the UN] to support the government's effort to achieve peace from within.' (RSR 4/Jun/95)


The current extremes of temperature (around 48oC) in the capital are being regarded as a blessing, according to SU sources in Khartoum. Government media have recently emphasised the beneficial effects of heat in keeping down populations of flies and mosquitoes, which spread diarrhoeal disease and malaria. No mention is made of the dust-storms which spread meningitis. (SU 1/Jun/95)

On 7 May, fire broke out on the premises of the former Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which now houses the Sudanese Telecommunications Company Limited (Sudatel), Sudatel's subscribers' account department and the Qatari airline. Republic of Sudan Radio says `these two institutions were not affected by the fire that destroyed the first and second storeys of the building, which also houses private business offices. The Civil Defence Force managed to bring the fire under control within one hour and fifteen minutes from when it broke out.' The director of the Civil Defence Force, Maj-Gen Babikr Ibrahim, told SUNA that the fire did not cause any loss of life, and that his force would work alongside the central investigations department. The Minister of the Presidency of the Republic, Staff Brig Eng Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Hussein and the Commissioner of Khartoum Province, Brig Sadiq Muhammad Sarim, visited the site to assess the losses. (RSR / SUNA / SWB 7/May/95)


On 20 May, four days after the arrest of Sadiq al-Mahdi, Khartoum said the former PM was arrested for his part in the agreement between the Umma Party and the SPLA, signed at Chukudum in Southern Sudan on 12 December 1994. `This was news to everyone ... surely he ought to have been arrested six months earlier if this was the real reason,' comments Sudan Democratic Gazette. (SDG Jun/95)

`FABRICATIONS': Justice Minister and Attorney-General Abd al-Aziz Shiddu held a press conference on 20 May with Siri Zaroug, a Sudanese who claimed to have `defected' from the opposition and to have been a member of the Sudan Human Rights Organisation. Zaroug said that he had been working in the SHRO office in London, `adding that he used to fabricate reports on the situation in Sudan,' according to the embassy bulletin Sudan News. `Zaroug said that he fabricated a sketch in the opposition bulletin an alleged torture place "ghost house" in Sudan, adding that he also contributed to issuance of a file on alleged torture in Sudan.'

`He admitted that he had written a false essay in London, alleging that the Government had been responsible for killing the late singer Khogali Osman, adding that the Sudanese renowned Singer Sayed Khalifa later told him that his colleague Khogali Osman was killed by an insane man and that the Government had nothing to do with Osman's murder.

`He said that he returned to Sudan in June 26, 1994 and didn't face any questioning or detention by any authority - a matter which made him reconsider his attitude regarding the Government in Sudan...' [SU notes that Khojali Osman was killed on 10 November 1994].

`... He state[d] that the opposition can work through parliaments inside the Sudan, adding he finally returned to the country on May 17, 1995.'

Sudan News says the Justice Minister and Attorney General `has asserted that western countries rely on met edible source [sic] for information on the situation of human rights in Sudan affirming that the country's human right record is free of any violations...' (SEB 31/May/95)

DEFECTED OR DEPORTED? According to the Sudan Human Rights Organisation, Siri Zaroug entered the UK in 1991 and applied for asylum claiming he was a member of the banned Democratic Unionist Party. However, he was at no time involved in Sudanese opposition activities in the UK, and was not known to opposition activists, even on social terms. He was granted exceptional leave to remain by the British government, but went back to Sudan in 1994 in contravention of the conditions of his status. When he attempted to re-enter the UK, his leave to remain was revoked by immigration officers, since he had demonstrated by travelling to Sudan that he had nothing to fear there. He made a fresh application and was allowed into the UK pending consideration.

In April 1995 Zaroug contacted SHRO at its London office for the first time, asking for support. After asking him a few questions, SHRO officials turned him down, unconvinced that his case was genuine. He then applied for SHRO membership, and it was explained to him that becoming a member would not automatically make him a deserving case. SHRO accepts applications for membership from any Sudanese who is not known to have committed human rights abuses and who agrees to abide by its constitution.

At no time did he have any involvement with SHRO publications, its Council, Committee, subcommittees or action groups; nor did he have access to SHRO files or records. He was not involved in the preparation of its publications, and had no prior knowledge of their content.

Eventually he was deported from the UK, his second application having been rejected on the grounds that he had no valid reason for asylum. [Sudanese sources in London have expressed concern that Zaroug may have invented the story in order to bargain for his safety after being deported back to Sudan. Some have asked whether he was forced by the Khartoum government to say what it wanted people to believe, or whether his original - unsuccessful - mission had been to infiltrate SHRO -SU]. (SHRO 6/Jun/95)

PERCEPTION AND REALITY: The London Sudan embassy publication Sudan News and the London-based pro- government Sudan Focus both give prominence to reports by Japanese researcher Masaki Kobayashi. `Japanese in Khartoum who have been in the country for some time do not take long to realise that the Sudan they had heard about in Japan is quite different from the Sudan they actually experience,' he writes in Sudan News. `Khartoum is safer and more relaxed than Cairo. Compared to other Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, the human rights situation in Khartoum is better. Although goods are in short supply and the income of people is very low - for example a hotel employee earned a monthly salary of 7,000 Sudanese pounds (about US$18) in January - they still care for others, for those less well off, for the elderly and for strangers like me. I felt that Sudanese people are more generous and less greedy than others. For example, on numerous occasions I saw young Sudanese people in the bus give up their seats for the elderly. I also witnessed on the streets the regular giving of charity. `Compared to Cairo, I hardly noticed the presence of the security forces in Khartoum, yet I still felt much safer. The President sometimes visits mosques to address the people without a single bodyguard at his side. `Despite the label of "militant fundamentalist state" attached by the West, the people of Khartoum are very moderate. For example, the dress of Muslim women is less restrictive than in Iran, yet still respectful of Islam, and satellites and videos have not been banned. `Sudan, we are told, is one of the most isolated countries in the world. However, reality is different. Of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Sudan can count on the friendship of China and the understanding of France. Of its nine neighbours, Libya, Chad and Ethiopia are friendly to Sudan, and C.A.R and Zaire are relatively neutral. In and around the Gulf, Iraq, Qatar and Iran are supportive of Sudan. `Sudan also has friendly relation with various Islamic organization and groups abroad. Moreover, Sudan's efforts in the area of inter-religious dialogue promise the evolution of a common religious cause in pursuance on common moral values. The gap between Western perception and reality seems to stem from the lack of effort to understand Sudan. Prejudice against Sudan is also influenced by the national interests of some of the Western countries.' (SEB 17/May/95)

TWO FACES OF SUDAN: Winter in Khartoum. Women are hitch-hiking along the road, some unarmed soldier walking around and busy traffic in the streets. The people seem relaxed and nothing shows this is a Muslim fundamentalist country which is heavily involved in a civil war,' according to the report by Dorcas Aid International and the Puebla Institute following their joint fact-finding mission.

`The stereotype image of a Muslim country with women veiled in black who walk behind their husbands and who are to travel separated from the men, does not match the reality in Sudan. Most Sudanese, women included, wear western clothing and an estimated 10 per cent of the Sudanese women do not wear a head-scarf. In the capital itself there are no travel limitations and since a year the curfew order after sunset is no longer in force.

`But behind this world of friendliness and merriment, there's another world. A world with a lot of secret police, with a control network comparable with the former Romanian Securitate. With a government who can force the facts to their will, who calls on the population via television as well as through newspapers to die as martyr for Mohammed by fighting in the south. A government who stir up tribes against each other to enable itself to stay in power, who packs up children and teaches them the Islam in a militant way in special children camps...' (Dorcas Aid International / Puebla Institute 22/Mar/95)


LOCAL MEDIATION FOR UGANDA-SUDAN DISPUTE: Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, chairman of Comesa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), has signalled the organisation's readiness to intervene in the dispute between Sudan and Uganda, and asked neighbouring countries to help bring the two sides to the negotiating table. Intervention will involve building upon existing peace initiatives by other organisations and countries, and will not be military, the Comesa Secretary-general, Bingu Wa Mutharika, said in Lusaka on 10 May. Comesa also intends to intervene in the growing argument between Sudan and Eritrea. (KNA / SWB 11/May/95)

FACILITIES FOR IRAN'S NAVY? `A Sudanese opposition politician claims that Sudan has agreed to grant the Iranian Navy facilities at Port Sudan on the Red Sea,' according to International Security Digest, published by the Centre for Defence Studies. `Following the visit to Sudan of a 70 member Iranian delegation, a joint statement issued in Khartoum said Iran and Sudan had agreed on joint steps to confront what was described as a "vicious Western assault" on Muslim fundamentalist regimes.' (ISD Vol.2 No.7 Apr/95; Washington Times 17/Apr/95

FRENCH MANOEUVRES: Newly-elected President Jacques Chirac of France has appointed Jacques Godfrain as Cooperation Minister, reports Africa Confidential, in a pointer on changing Franco-African relations. In the past, the Foreign Ministry has sometimes been sidelined in favour of the defence and security departments, as illustrated in the "Carlos" affair. Although there is pressure from some senior figures for a move towards `more "normal" relationships with African leaders', says AC, `the old imperial guard around Jacques Foccart [Godfrain's "political father"] is still powerful ... They want closer ties to French-speaking African presidents, without too much fuss about democracy and human rights...'

The Cooperation Ministry `is controlled by the Foreign Ministry, now under the modernising Herv de Charette, a friend and supporter of [Alain] Jupp.' Jupp has refused to allow Godfrain to take on Pierre Voita, a member of Foccart's team, as head of his private office. However, Godfrain is said to be `seeking approval for General Roques as a special advisor (ministers are allowed five official advisors). Roques is advisor on Africa and the Middle East to the Armed Forces Chief of Staff ... and supports dialogue with the Sudan government...' (AC 26/May/95)

PALESTINIAN CONNECTION: President Yasser Arafat has sent a message to Dr Hassan al-Turabi, `Secretary-general of the [National] Islamic Front in Sudan', via Amin al-Hindi, head of the Palestinian intelligence service, according to the Palestinian weekly newspaper Al-Manar. `The paper notes that investigations conducted by the Palestinian National Authority of several extremists revealed that the Sudanese regime had trained these extremists to carry out military operations in the self-rule areas,' says the Egyptian news agency MENA. (Al-Manar/ MENA / SWB 8/May/95)

PREPARING FOR POWER: PhD student Masaki Kobayashi discusses the difference between Algeria and Sudan in an article for Sudan Focus: `[The NIF] takeover didn't happen by chance, it was the result of lengthy preparation. The Sudanese Islamists learned the importance of the role of the army in their politics from their previous experience under coups such as those led by Ibrahim Abboud (1958) and Gaafar Mohammed Numeiri (1969). Consequently, the Sudanese Islamists started to seek support in the army after 1977. During the Numeiri period, although they could not approach the army directly, they used educational and training institutions to their advantage to re-educate young army officers. Members of the Islamist movement led by Hassan al-Turabi were able to obtain positions in such institutions.

`During the Sadiq al-Mahdi period, they started to approach the army more openly and exerted their influence more heavily. The NIF collected contributions for the army, and members of the front visited government troops in the South to entertain them. After the NIF was excluded from the al-Mahdi government in March 1989, the Islamists moved swiftly towards a takeover, and three months later they successfully carried out a coup. This was the result of patient preparations spanning over ten years.

`After the Islamist take-over, the new government expected a counter-coup. At least seven attempts (including unconfirmed ones) were made to overthrow the al-Bashir government, some were led by pro-Nimeiri officers...

`One of the main reasons for the regime's survival seems to stem from the wide range of support it has enjoyed within Sudanese society [sic]. This wide support was also the result of the Islamists' long-term preparation. While the Islamists were approaching the army, they were also masterminding various kinds of mass organisations - for youth groups and women. Another factor was their possession of coherent programmes and plans for the future. Despite some confusion accompanying the transitional period of the new government, the new Islamist government developed its programmes rather well. According to Dr al-Turabi, the Islamists started to develop their strategies shortly after 1969, while they were still in prison.

`Compared to Sudan, the Algerian case appears to be quite different. Two points need to be borne in mind are: the Algerian Islamists have no army support; and they do not have a programme for the future. The current drawn-out, bloody hostilities between the Algerian Islamists and the security forces has only increased the gap between the two sides. There is little to suggest that even after a take-over, the Islamists would secure the support of the military, and if Sudan's experience is anything to go by, a number of coup attempts may also occur.

`The Independent (December 3, 1993) reported Dr al-Turabi as saying: "I spoke to Abbasi Madani (the FIS leader) before the elections in Algeria... I asked him: `What's your programme like? What are you going to do after elections? Have you started a dialogue with the French? Have you begun talking to other European states?' And he just said: `No, no, we just want to win the election.'"

`This lack of preparation in the past and for the future is the main difference between Sudan and Algeria. An Algerian Islamist government, if it is established, would face a severe challenge from the army. Political stability in Algeria will be extremely fragile.' (Sudan Focus 20/May/95)


P.D.F. `NOT UNTRAINED EXTREMISTS': `The coordinator of Operation Lifeline Sudan ... Mr Philip O'Brien, has denied that he had described the People's Defence Force as untrained and composed of extremist elements supportive of the Islamic government in Khartoum,' reports National Unity Radio. (NUR / SWB 8/May/95)

KIDNAPPED MEN RELEASED: The World Food Programme Filipino employee who was kept hostage by a southern militia after the seizure of a relief barge, Romi De Los Santos, 57, was released on 14 May. He had been held for a week in Tonga village, and was said to be in good health. A WFP spokesperson in Rome said that he had been given food, was not physically maltreated, and had limited contact with international relief workers in the area. The 21 other relief workers who had been captured at the same time were released on 10 May. According to Republic of Sudan Radio, an Italian national released by the kidnappers, Mirko Rizzuto, arrived in Khartoum from Malakal after travelling from Fanjak in Upper Nile. (Reuter 16/May/95; RSR/SWB 15/May/95)


Dr KHALID AL-KID - 1942-1995: Khalid Osman al-Kid, writer, political activist and former lecturer in politics at Khartoum and Ahlia universities, died tragically on 15 May 1995. He was fifty-two years old.

Khalid al-Kid was born into a family with a strong nationalist tradition; his father and his uncle had been among the intellectual leaders of the inter-war generation of nationalists; his brother, Taha al-Kid, was a brilliant writer who died in his 40s of the angina that was later to plague Khalid. Khalid entered the army soon after leaving school and attempted to lead a coup in 1966, when only 24 and a second lieutenant. After the failure - it was more a typical idealistic gesture of defiance than a fully worked out coup - Khalid spent a short time in prison, and was allowed to rejoin the army, where he rose to the rank of major. In July 1971, at the time of Ja'afar Nimeiri's counter-coup against a communist coup three days earlier, he was rumoured (falsely) to have escaped into the desert with four tanks with which he would make a come-back. He was jailed for a year for his alleged involvement with Hashim al-Ata, the coup leader. The persistence of similar rumours meant that Nimeiri's government tended to imprison Khalid whenever it felt endangered for any reason. Between 1974 and 1975 he worked as a hospital administrator.

In 1979, tired of constant harassment, Khalid escaped from Sudan and came, via London, to Northern Ireland, where he studied Anglo-Irish literature. After the uprising against Nimeiri he returned to Sudan, while continuing his studies abroad. In 1987, having obtained a doctorate in political science at Reading University, he intended to stay in his home country, which by then was under democratic rule. It was no surprise that he was arrested only 17 days after General Omar al- Bashir's NIF coup in 1989. That time he was held for two years in prison, in Kober and then in the remote western desert at Shalla, despite his poor health.

A letter which he smuggled out from Shalla helped to uncover the poor condition of political prisoners there, and was widely cited in contradiction of the regime's claim that it was holding few, if any, political prisoners. It formed the core of the Africa Watch report on 8 May 1990, entitled "Lest they be forgotten: Letters from Shalla prison."

He was released in May 1991 and soon after managed to leave Sudan. Settling in London with his wife and children he devoted himself to writing and politics; publishing widely articles about culture and politics, and editing - from 1992-1994, the Sudanese magazine 'Afaq Jadida (New Horizons - not to be confused with the government publication of the same name). He also published a self-critical essay on the counter-productive nature of military coups, showing a rare ability for self-examination and admission of wrongs.

A communist or close to the party for many years, Khalid al-Kid split from the party in 1994 in the hopes of forming an opposition party which would be able to attract more of a mass following. At the Christian Solidarity International conference on peace held in Bonn in 1994, which he attended as a journalist, he played a vital role in editing a final resolution which most of the widely differing parties could sign, an action which reflected his ability to bring people together across a broad political spectrum. Cheerful, gregarious, a prolific reader and writer, he had no prejudice, and it was typical of his interests and his activities that he was on his way to a meeting between the Sudan Journalists and Writers Association and the SPLA when he was knocked down by a car at Kings Cross in London on 30 April 1995. With characteristic courage, he struggled against his severe head wound, and appeared to be pulling out of his coma when he suffered a massive heart attack. He leaves a wife, Bernadette, and three daughters, Azza (by his first wife), Sara and Reem. (EH)

`A LOST HERO': In Sudan Democratic Gazette, Bona Malwal adds: `[Khalid] was truly an accomplished individual; versatile in the true meaning of the word... He never passed up the chance to learn something and never adopted an aloof attitude due to his intellectual and political achievements...

`[He] was partly brought up in Southern Sudan, where his father was a civil servant in the dying days of the colonial administration. Khalid al-Kid always seemed more at home with Southerners than he was with his Northern contemporaries. Never one to compromise his views, Khalid al-Kid was among the most outspoken of Northerners concerning the injustices inflicted on the South by the North. He seemed to despair in the last two years of his life that the politics of the Sudanese community in exile were no more progressive than the politics of the pre-Islamic Fundamentalist period before 1989... He and a group of close friends made news last year when they resigned from the [Sudan Communist] party, saying it had outlived its purpose as an ideology and was incapable of reforming itself...

`One thing that preoccupied him was the search for an agenda for a new Sudan that the opposition could rally round. He could not understand how after six years of the present regime's rule the opposition still has not agreed a single course of action for a future Sudan... The Sudanese community in the United Kingdom and everywhere have lost a leader and a hero and will sorely miss him. His coffin was accorded a hero's welcome and burial in Omdurman where it was returned...' (Sudan Democratic Gazette Jun/95)

SUDAN UPDATE is an international media review, published twice monthly, recording news and comment on Sudanese affairs from all quarters to promote dialogue and education. Reports quoted in SUDAN UPDATE represent a variety of published sources, often contradictory, and do not represent the views of the editorial board. Readers should always refer to the original sources for complete versions. Information added by the editors is signalled by square parentheses [SU]. SUDAN UPDATE can accept no responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the original reports nor for any claim for defamation or infringement of copyright arising out of their publication. As a non-profit-making body with minimal resources, we welcome donations and offers of assistance. ISSN 1352-0393

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Received-Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 18:46:52 -0400
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 22:55:48 BST
From: Peter Verney sudanupdate@GN.APC.ORG
Subject: Sudan Update Vol. 6 No. 10

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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