Sudan Update Vol.VI, No.7

Sudan Update Vol.VI, No.7


Arms embargo contravened? / Rupture with Uganda II / Slavery: Human blood banks? / Power and water shortage / Aid workers kidnapped / Faith healer beaten / Child refugees WAR AND PEACE


`Khartoum is going on an arms spree during the two-month cease-fire brokered on 28 March by United States' ex-President Jimmy Carter,' according to Africa Confidential. `In April the government signed a US$120 million contract for howitzer, mortar and tank ammunition with a private US-based company owned by a Middle Eastern arms dealer. This contravenes Washington's arms embargo on Sudan, which is on the US list of "terrorist states". Military sales would need Washington's approval - and approval would not be forthcoming, said a US source. Khartoum is trying to win friends by proposing its Horn of Africa security expert, Maj Fatih Erwa (who has excellent US contacts) as Ambassador to Washington.

`The April deal was struck through the Sudanese bank that handles military contacts and whose staff is handpicked by the ruling National Islamic Front. It was duly confirmed by central bank, the Bank of Sudan, with the goods listed as "drilling, mining and medical equipment". A Bahrain bank is understood to have been the conduit between Khartoum and the arms dealer's bank. Khartoum is to pay 25 per cent of the $120mn. on sight of the supplies, with the balance in monthly instalments over three years, at 8.5 per cent interest - raising the question of where Khartoum finds the money.

`Sudan is seeking further supplies, including from the USA. Thanks to the role of the then President, Ja'afar Nimeiri, as an ardent US Cold War ally, much of the army's equipment is American. Much is also Soviet, East European and Chinese; on 6 April, Khartoum announced it has "reactivated" its military cooperation with Moscow, which again raises the cash question: Moscow's main concern is now hard currency. Much of the Armed Forces' equipment is out of commission for lack of spares, including apparently most of its aircraft. These include old Anglo-French Puma helicopters, now subject to the European Union arms embargo. We understand Khartoum recently bought French-manufactured helicopters in an elaborate deal via Lebanese and Comoran businessmen.' (AC 12/May/95)


President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Addis Ababa on 17 April to participate in the economic summit of the IGADD states. (Sudan News 19/Apr/95) POLITICAL

REORGANISED SECURITY: `Sudan's security apparatus has been reorganised,' according to Africa Confidential. `Col Bakri Hassan Salih remains titular head, Gen Dahwi Hassan Dahwi heads Internal Security and the key man remains Naf'i Ali Naf'i, a State Minister in the Presidency who now heads External Security. Naf'i is an important contact for France and there are indications Paris helped in the reorganisation and is providing electronic listening equipment. It continues to train security officers...' (AC 3/Mar/95) FOREIGN

UGANDA EXPELS DIPLOMATS - SUDAN ALLEGES ATTACK: On 21 April Uganda served notice of expulsion on 11 diplomats in the Sudanese embassy in Kampala, giving four of them 48 hours to leave the country and the remainder 14 days. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the measure was aimed at equalising the two countries' diplomatic representation in Kampala and Khartoum. Neither embassy will have more than five officials. The Kenyan News Agency noted that the two countries `are undoing the pledge made by Sudan's Vice-President, Zubeir Muhammad Salih, and Uganda's Vice-Prime Minister, Eriya Kategaya, to normalise their relations.'

Those ordered to leave within 48 hours were: First Secretary Hassan Muhammad al-Tom; Military Attach Lt-Col Haidar al-Hadi Hajj Omar; and administrative attachs Adam Muhammad Abd al-Hadi Adam and Badr ad-Din Hussein Riziq Hussein.

Seven other Sudanese are to leave within 14 days, including: Mu'tasim al-Amin Muhammad al- Hassan; Awad Taha al-Tom Taha; Press Attach Hassan al-Umdah; Abdallah al-Badr al-Bari; First Secretary, Security, Khalid Mahmud Hamad; and Abdallah Abd al-Karim Abdallah. On 22 April the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported that `the Ugandan authorities were not satisfied with these measures, and ordered the Ugandan security forces to beat up and fire at members of the embassy. After this they laid siege to the office of the military attache, in a flagrant violation of the Vienna agreement on diplomatic relations.

`The [Sudan Foreign] Ministry wishes to draw attention to the fact that these measures were taken following the Tripoli Agreement reached through the mediation of the Libyan leadership. This confirms that Uganda is trying to escalate its hostile campaign against Sudan. Contrary to its claims, it is not interested in containing its differences with Sudan, nor in respecting the Tripoli Agreement.'

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry warned that it held the government of Uganda responsible for the safety of the members of the Sudanese diplomatic mission and its assets, and demanded `the immediate lifting of the siege...' (KNA/SWB, Radio Uganda/SWB 21/Apr/95; SUNA/SWB 22/Apr/95)

MASSACRE `LAUNCHED FROM SUDAN': On 20 April Ugandan rebels of Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army killed 155 people at Atiak Trading Centre in Kilak County, Gulu District. The dean of the diplomatic corps in Uganda, High Commissioner Joshua W. Opanga of Tanzania, on 23 April led a team of diplomats to the area, where he addressed families and friends of the victims of a massacre he described as `a tragedy of unimaginable proportions.'

Gulu Division Commander Brig Shef Ali `informed the envoys that the rebels had crossed into Atiak from Sudan,' according to Radio Uganda. He said they `were clad in Sudanese army uniforms and were carrying military weapons and ammunition clearly obtained from Sudan.'

Those who escaped the massacre `spoke of burning houses and well-armed young men and women who numbered more than 200...' (Radio Uganda / SWB 23/Apr/95)

ABDUCTED CIVILIANS KILLED: 82 civilians abducted by rebels in northern Uganda on 20 April were killed three days later, according to Radio Tanzania. Seven of the dead were wives of local soldiers. In a subsequent attack on a Ugandan military outpost on 22 April, at least eight security force members were killed. (Radio Tanzania / SWB 23/Apr/95)

SEVERED RELATIONS: On 23 April Uganda broke off diplomatic relations with the government of Sudan. Explaining the action, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said that it had been necessitated `because of past activities compromising the security of Uganda by the diplomatic staff of the embassy of the Sudan and lack of serious efforts by the Sudan government to improve relations...' The decision to cut off diplomatic relations was conveyed to the Sudanese ambassador, HE Inayah Abd al-Hamid Muhammad, at the ministry that afternoon. (Radio Uganda / SWB 23/Apr/95; Liberation 25/Apr/95)

`ARMS CACHE' AT MILITARY ATTACH'S HOUSE: On 24 April Ugandan police `carried out a search of the residence of the Sudanese military attach in Kampala, where numbers of unauthorised arms and ammunition have been found,' reported Radio Uganda. `The search, carried out in the presence of the Sudanese ambassador, the dean of the diplomatic corps, the Libyan ambassador to Uganda and the chief of protocol in the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, follows the waiver of the diplomatic immunity on the residence of the Sudanese ambassador yesterday.

`The search follows allegations that there were unauthorised arms and ammunition at the military attach's residence on Plot 29, Nakasero Road. A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [that] evening says that during the search, two MP-5 sub-machine guns, one shotgun, three pistols, 1,338 loose live ammunition for MP-5 sub-machine guns, 19 rounds of ammunition for AK47 guns, one live round of self-loading rifle... 76 rounds of live ammunition for pistols ... four high-frequency military field radios, one high-frequency transmission communication set and four Uganda and Sudan topographical maps were found in the Sudanese military attach's residence....

`In the absence of any reasonable explanation to justify the presence of such an assortment of military equipment, it was found necessary to attach them as evidence of Sudan's continued involvement in destabilising the internal security of this country under diplomatic cover.' Investigations were continuing.

Sudan responded that the `allegations, according to which a military arsenal of heavy artillery, mines and other weapons [were found] in the office [SU emphasis] of the Sudanese military attach,' were `fabricated', and reiterated its claim that Ugandan forces had `laid military siege to the office.' (Radio Uganda / SWB 24/Apr/95)

DISQUALIFIED AS A MEDIATOR? Sudan's Foreign Ministry said on 23 April that Uganda `no longer qualifies to mediate in the Southern Sudan civil war.' Mahdi Muhammad Ibrahim, Minister of State in the office of the President, said Uganda had `lost all credibility as a broker...' (PANA / KNA / SWB 23/Apr/95)

RESPONSE TO UGANDA'S ACCUSATION: On 5 May Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ghazi Salah ad-Din Attabani declared that Sudan was quite capable of defending its territory, in the face of threats by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to invade the country. Museveni, speaking in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu two days earlier, had accused Sudan of training Ugandan rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army in camps inside Sudan. He warned that he would send troops into Sudan to destroy the camps if Sudan did not stop. Attabani denied that Sudan was training Ugandan dissidents: "We are too busy settling our own problems and developing ourselves," he told the government-owned New Horizon newspaper. Instead, he accused Museveni of supporting the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and of trying to destabilise the region by aiding opposition elements in Kenya and Zaire. (Reuter / New Horizon 5/May/95)

CHANGING STRATEGIES? `Important shifts in policy and strategy are emerging in response to the continuing war in Sudan,' says Africa Confidential. Western officials have made a subtle switch from supporting the Nairobi peace process as such to hinting that a new government in Khartoum is needed to implement it. Officials of various factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), who once spoke as if a peace agreement with the National Islamic Front were possible, now talk of the prior need for a new government. And a new armed Northern opposition force now looks set to play an important role in the new alignments.

`The United States has caught and fed this mood. We understand that, following Sudan's incursions into Eritrea and Uganda and reports of Khartoum arming Egyptian Islamists, Washington plans "to strengthen the military capability" of neighbouring states, especially Uganda and Eritrea. This would open the way for arms supplies to the SPLA, which already gets arms via Uganda, and potentially to the Northern opposition via Eritrea.

`Yet superficially, little change is apparent. The NIF government ... has strengthened the hardliners by making National Islamic Front number two, Ali Osman Muhammad Taha, Foreign Minister, with his uncompromising ally, Ghazi Salah ad-Din [Attabani], as his deputy. The opposition remains ineffectual: with the ink still wet on December's Asmara Agreement with SPLA-Mainstream and the Sudanese Allied Forces, the two main Northern parties, the Umma Party and the Democratic Unionist Party, have been talking to the government. And the SPLA fragmented further in February when Commanders Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and William Nyuon Bany announced that they had dismissed Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon from his Southern Sudan Independence Army/Movement [SSIM].

`Beneath the surface the political dynamics are changing. The government is not as strong as it was. Two main factors keep it in power: its security network, which crushes opposition in the North, and the lack of coherence and cohesion of the exiled opposition...' (AC 3/Mar/95) HUMAN RIGHTS

SLAVERY REVIVED: `Alang Ajak's worst nightmare came true late one night when she was dreaming of her dead parents. It seemed that an intruder had grabbed her by the throat and was pressing burning hot metal on to her flesh,' reports the London-based Observer newspaper from Khartoum.

`As she opened her eyes, the terrified 10-year-old Alang realised it was no dream - she was the latest victim of slave branding, a phenomenon endorsed by some Sudanese Arabs who have revived slavery after more than 100 years. The civil war raging between North and South has given them ample opportunity to collect booty in the shape of human beings. Most are Christians or animists from the South, who have been forced to assume Arab names and convert to Islam.

`Across the river from where she was held in captivity lies the town of Shendi, 125 miles north of Khartoum, known as Sudan's slave-trading centre in the nineteenth century. Memories die hard as Shendi returns to its old activities.

`The town has lost none of its strategic importance of a century ago, when the notorious Zubeir Pasha enraged General Gordon by refusing to surrender his lucrative slave-trading business. Then, as now, Shendi was an important transit point for the export of slaves. `The Egyptian market for slaves no longer exists, but southern exiles claim Shendi still functions as a staging post for Port Sudan, from where young boys and girls are shipped to the Gulf. Slaves destined for Libya, Chad and Mauritania are sent west to Mellit in the province of Northern Darfur.

`Ajang might have ended up serving one of the richer Gulf families, but fate kept her in Sudan. The Sudanese trader who acquired her in the South as a six-year-old decided to offer her as a gift to his son, Abdel Rahman, and his daughter-in-law, Zeinab. It was Zeinab who decided Ajang should be branded "in case you get lost among the other black bitches". Displaying the scar that spreads above her knee, Alang, now 14, says of her former mistress: "Zeinab was a very bad woman. She would make me work very long hours. If she ever found me crying for my real mother, she would take out a kitchen knife and shout, `shut up or I will slit your throat.' After she marked me like an animal, I managed to cross the river to a hospital in Shendi."

`Two years later when she was back feeding Zeinab's goats, a stranger called out to her. "He asked me if I could remember my father's and mother's names. He also asked me for my name, and I told him the name they had given me in Shendi - Toma Abdel Rahman Sadiq. I could not remember my mother's name, but when I thought of her, I automatically replied, `Ajak'. This stranger then said, `I am your brother Ajong.' The following morning he arrived with the police and took me to Shendi."

`Abdel Rahman and his wife were arrested - and released because the police said they could find no evidence of their complicity in Ajang's kidnapping.

`The military regime of Sudan, accused of condoning slavery throughout the country, has mobilised its forces in an attempt to prevent independent investigations. Reporters are harassed by the secret police, and academics fare no better.

`Professor Ushari Mahmoud, author of Human Rights Violations in the Sudan, was held in jail for two years for exposing the revival of slavery in his country. The government refused to release him unless he changed the text of his findings.

`"What usually happens is that Arab armed militias go into the Southern villages or the Nuba Mountains," Mahmoud said. "Usually they call it a ghazzu

- or a raid. They burn the villages, the men are killed if they don't escape, and the women and children are rounded up. These survivors are tied up and taken to the Arab North. They are divided into lots, and everyone takes his share to his town. He can sell them, although there is no auction market in the classical sense. The women and children are put to work in the fields as shepherds and water carriers, doing domestic chores - all without pay. Women and children are available as khaddam - slave concubines. If they succeed in escaping, they cannot be returned because there is no legal framework to support it. But if caught, they could be killed. Slaves caught escaping are made to squat for hours on end, and the master's children are encouraged to ride them as if they were donkeys. To prevent slaves from escaping, their masters will sometimes brand them; often it's a beta or 8 sign on one of the ears."

`Evidence gathered by human rights activists shows that Sudanese army officers are personally involved in trading young children. Each officer may gather two or three children as war booty, later to be distributed as gifts for special occasions. `Eleven-year-old Majok Kwai was at school in the southern rebel-held town of Bor when the army attacked his village, killed his parents and took him prisoner. He was only eight years old when he was handed over to an army officer, Captain Adil Muhammad Haran, who renamed him Hasan Abdallah and sent him to a Koranic school. When Haran was transferred 600 miles north to Wad Medani, he took Majok with him.

`"He told me I would never see my parents again," recounts the young boy, who was rescued earlier this year by relatives living in Khartoum. "He warned me to be obedient or he would beat me. Later he did beat me, usually with a stick from a tree. He would hit me on the back, on the buttocks, anywhere. He did not like it if I went out to play without his permission. He used to love my massaging him. That is what I used to do for his mother as well. Another duty was cleaning the house or carrying pitchers of water."

`Sudan's military dictator, General Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, is also a beneficiary of such services, although he admits only that he has four "students" living in his house. One of them, a young boy from the Nuer tribe, escaped earlier this year.

`The allegations against me are all lies," al-Bashir told a Khartoum press conference [at the beginning of April]. "In my house I don't have any servants. I and my wife try to help ourselves and serve ourselves. I have four students, two Northerners and two Southerners, who live with us. This is part of Sudanese tradition. We cover all their expenses. Of course, the major market for slavery is America itself - black Americans are all originally slaves. Ninety per cent came from West Africa, which is Muslim. They built the US economy - it was built on the shoulders of our brothers and sisters from Africa. If the major market is there, where can we sell them? If there is slavery, someone must be sold at a certain place and for a certain price."

`One of southern Sudan's best-known lawyers, speaking on condition that he was not named, said there was another reason why the government turned a blind eye to the abduction of southern children. "The government's idea is to convert them so that they can fight in the South in the name of Islam.

`"They are also used as a living blood bank for northern soldiers. Six miles from Khartoum there is a camp called Um el Goz where hundreds of children are being held. Every time there is a major battle, they are rounded up to donate their blood. Afterwards they are given sweet lemon juice as a reward."

`The boys and girls the army captures are available free, but in other parts of the country every slave has a price, says a member of the recently formed Committee for Retrieving Kidnapped Children. A youth in Ed-Daein, Southern Darfur, may fetch 4,000 Sudanese dinars (About $65); in Garangshek, South Kordofan, the price rises to 8,000 dinars,; and closer to the Libyan border, in Gozwich, it reaches 13,000 dinars.

`"Thousands have probably been turned into slave chattels," says a spokesman for Amnesty International. "The conditions are all there: a war, a shambolic country, long distances, people doing things in far-flung places that would not be sanctioned by the government. These conditions have culminated in kidnapping and slavery."

`In response to international accusations, the Sudanese government insists that slavery is a figment of sick Western imagination. Young women such as Alang are characterised as shamasha, or children of the sun, abandoned by their families and living as vagabonds on the streets of Khartoum.

`"Now the government has a programme for cleansing the streets of these children," says the Justice Minister, Abdel Aziz Shiddo. "We send them to different camps and training centres where the aim is to make better citizens out of them. I assure you that slavery does not exist in Sudan and will not be condoned by the government." (Observer 9/Apr/95)


AID WORKERS SEIZED IN UPPER NILE: By 10 May militia fighters in Western Upper Nile had released all but one of 22 aid workers they kidnapped from a river barge on 7 May, according to Voice of America. Eight local and foreign relief workers were freed along with 13 crew, but Romi Santinos, a Filipino employed by the UN World Food Programme, was still held captive in Tonga. WFP expressed concern for the welfare of Mr Santinos, who has served as a programme officer on several barge operations. Its spokesperson, Brenda Barton, added, "We feel that he will be released, that he's just being held hostage in order to get some demands met."

The kidnappers, thought to be members of the splinter group led by Dr Lam Akol, had already looted a third of the relief supplies of food and medicine aboard the river barge, says VoA. They were demanding more food to release Mr Santinos, but Ms Barton said WFP would only distribute food to the needy, not to armed groups. UN officials flew to Tonga on 11 May to continue negotiations for the release.

VoA says The incident is the most serious since June 1994, when other rebels took 1900 tons of food aid supplies from a barge in Upper Nile, between Nagdiar and Beliot. In October 1994 a barge was attacked at Nasir, but the looted supplies were eventually returned. (VoA 10/May/95) ECONOMY

SEEKING I.M.F STAMP OF APPROVAL: An International Monetary Fund delegation ended a week of talks in Khartoum on 5 May. It was evaluating the Sudanese government's economic reforms, its budget, monetary policies and debt repayments, Khartoum newspapers said. Al-Sudan al-Hadith said the IMF team had praised Sudan for reducing inflation, which was already down to 80 per cent and was expected to come down to 55 per cent by June 1995, the end of the financial year. However, it noticed a fall in export revenues. The Ministry of Finance says the growth rate of the economy is between six and eight per cent.

The IMF reportedly assured Sudan that it would continue to provide technical assistance with tax reforms and national statistics. Since Sudan resumed periodic repayments to the IMF in January, the fund has lifted its ban on technical assistance and has halted the move to expel Sudan. It will report to its board on 26 May.

In April Finance Minister Abdallah Hassan Ahmad urged the IMF to give its stamp of approval to Khartoum's economic reforms to encourage foreign investment. (Al-Sudan al-Hadith 5/May/95)

POWER CUTS BLAMED ON LOW WATER: `The acting general director of the National Electricity Corporation, Eng Makkawi Muhammad Awad, attributed the shortage in the supply of national electricity network for this season to the drop of the water resources of the Blue Nile which is considered as one of the worst three years during the last 90 years,' reported Republic of Sudan Radio on 23 April. The hydro-electric power station at Damazin was producing only 80MW in seven hours, compared with 155MW in the past. Engineer Makkawi urged citizens to rationalise their power consumption. (RSR / SWB 23/Apr/95) RELIGION


TELEVISION BEATS FAITH: Bishari Abd al-Moneim Saleh, a 38 year-old faith healer, has been given 25 strokes of the cane and jailed for three months after his methods failed to work on television. In recent months he had become famous around Khartoum for allegedly curing paralysis and dumbness by spraying water over his patients and reciting verses from the Quran.

Although many vouched for the effectiveness of the treatment, the police insisted he perform on television, outside the Grand Mosque in central Khartoum. When he failed, a public order court on 3 May found him guilty of causing a public disturbance. Reuter notes that faith healing is a common practice in Sudan, `often with full knowledge of the authorities,' and Salih is one of the first to be prosecuted.

Two newspapers which had reported his work in a positive light were earlier ordered by police to suspend publication for a week. (Reuter 4/May/95)

REFUGEES / DISPLACED PEOPLE DELEGATION TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The Sudan News Agency quotes Ihsan al-Ghabshawi, Commissioner for Refugees, as saying that Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic want to return home. A group of one thousand was reportedly shortlisted for repatriation after a Sudanese government delegation visited the camps in CAR where SUNA estimates that 26,000 southern Sudanese have taken refuge from the civil war. Ghabshawi said that the refugees volunteered to return after the delegation told them of the government's efforts to restore stability in their home areas. Reuter notes that voluntary repatriation from CAR began in 1992, when 20,000 refugees were said to be there, and 543 were flown home. `SUNA did not say how the number of refugee had increased to 26,000...' (Reuter 14/Mar/95)

"ONE DAY WE HAD TO RUN!" As part of its newly launched campaign on behalf of the children of "forgotten wars", the Save the Children Fund in conjunction with UNHCR has published a book entitled One day we had to run! It tells the stories of three children who were forced to become refugees. `They fled from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, leaving their families and homes, and facing many dangers before they reached the safety of the refugee camps in Kenya... At first, the children found it easier to recount fairy tales from their homelands, some of which are included in this book. Their life stories come later. These were often hard stories to tell, and some of the children found that they could say more in paintings. Since then, the paintings have been exhibited around the world, and some of them appear in One day we had to run!, together with many stunning colour and black and white photos.

`The children's stories and paintings are set against background information about Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia which helps to explain why the refugees have been forced to flee from these countries. The roles of the United Nations High commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children are outlined, and ideas for using this book in the school classroom are also included.' (One day we had to run! - by Sybella Wilkes with a foreword by Anna Ford - published by Evans Brothers in association with UNHCR and Save the Children. Available from: Education Unit, SCF, 17 Grove Lane, London SE5 8RD. Tel: 00-44-171-703-5400 Fax: 00-44-171-793-7467)

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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Sudan Update, BM Box "CPRS", London WC1N 3XX England Tel/Fax: (01422) 845827 E-mail:

Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 11:59:16 BST
From: Peter Verney [sudanupdate@GN.APC.ORG[
Subject: Sudan Update 6.7

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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