Sudan Update Vol. VI, No.8

Sudan Update Vol. VI, No.8


SPLA-SSIM talks / Nuba newsletter / Museveni's misgivings / Sadiq detained / Ebola / Oil expectations / Power and water protests / Cultural cleansing / Amputees' advocate jailed


* SSIM-SPLA TALKS: Riek Machar, head of the Southern Sudan Independence Army/Movement (SSIA/M) announced in Nairobi on 26 April that an agreement on a permanent cease-fire had been reached between his movement and the SPLA led by Col John Garang. The agreement allows for continuing discussion on possible reunification between the two rival factions. Indian Ocean Newsletter adds that Machar announced the dismissal of the SSIM Secretary-general, Richard Mulla. He was accused of clandestine collaboration with the Sudanese government and the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army. (ION 29/Apr/95)

CARTER SENDS SON AS ENVOY: Former US President Jimmy Carter said on 30 March that he was sending his son Chip Carter to Sudan to help ensure the success of the cease-fire he had mediated. "For Rosa and me to send our own son there is obviously a demonstration of good faith and seriousness," he said.

Horn of Africa Bulletin comments: `There seem to be some unanswered questions around this cease-fire. It is unclear whether President Carter's initiative has any formal links with the State Department or with the existing peace efforts under the IGADD umbrella. It is equally unclear whether the cease-fire is tied to any new initiatives towards peace talks or whether the Nuba Mountains are included.' [See NUBA below - SU] (HAB/Reuter 30/Mar/95)

EXTREME OPTIMISM? `Two months is a very short period for tackling two endemic diseases in the South, even if the preparations for such an activity were already in place and ready to go,' comments Sudan Democratic Gazette. `There is no evidence of such preparation before the cease-fire was announced. Such a programme would be difficult enough to complete if the two month period fell during the dry season when the roads are passable and logistics less of a problem. To expect to carry it out once the rains have started is to be extremely optimistic. Even extending the cease-fire beyond the initial two months will not necessarily help because the period from June to September is when the rains are at their heaviest. A treatment programme begun in January, which had been prepared for in November and December, would have made far more sense. `Mr Carter could have helped the cause of peace better if he had associated the cease-fire with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) peace process. The IGADD committee has been calling for a cease-fire for many months, and this has been constantly ignored by Khartoum. The IGADD countries could have provided the necessary external monitors to supervise the cease-fire, something which is lacking from the Carter initiative. Bypassing the IGADD process has played into the regime's hands. The regime has been desperately searching for an alternative to the IGADD process because it has not been able to deal with this regional initiative which seriously tackled the root causes of the Sudanese conflict. The regime will now use the Carter initiative to try and kill off the IGADD process. Mr Carter would be better advised to work with the IGADD peace committee in the search for a permanent solution to the Sudanese conflict.' (Sudan Democratic Gazette May/95)

* TRAXLER ON NEED FOR CEASE-FIRE: According to National Unity Radio, the United Nations Special Envoy on humanitarian affairs in Sudan, Vieri Traxler, stressed the importance of the cease-fire in the south to enable organisations to transport relief supplies to the needy, in a press conference in Khartoum on 30 April. (NUR/SWB 30/Apr/95)


SADIQ DETAINED: The Sudan Human Rights Organisation (SHRO) reported on 16 May that former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi had been arrested that morning. `The arresting team headed by the security officer Hassan Muasalmi did not give any reasons for the arrest nor did it present any warrant.' [The former Prime Minister had given a speech to mark the end of Ramadan which was sharply critical of the government - SU] SHRO notes that `In April 1995, Sudan government issued a new law for preventive detention which enables the Sudanese Security Council to detain people for six months.' (SHRO 16/May/95)

POWER AND WATER PROTESTS: Two days of demonstrations in Omdurman towards the end of April were prompted by power and water shortages, according to Reuter. The privately-owned newspaper al-Rai al- Akheir (The Other View) reported that protesters burned tyres in the main street of Omdurman on 20 and 21 April. `Another newspaper, the Arabic Daily, said riot police were sent in to quell the demonstrations and a number of people were briefly arrested,' says Reuter.

Electricity and water shortages in Khartoum are the worst for several years, with power cuts for up to 18 hours a day, and water pipes empty until the middle of the night. The general manager of the public electricity company, al-Hindi Amin Bushra, has been dismissed, and the new acting general manager, Makkawi Muhammad Awad, warned that power cuts would continue for two weeks because of a drop in the level of the Blue Nile at Roseires. (Reuter / al-Rai al-Akheir / Arabic Daily 23/Apr/95)


OFFICIAL COMPLAINT TO O.A.U: On 30 April Sudan officially notified the Organisation of African Unity of the Ugandan government's actions against Sudan's diplomatic mission in Kampala. Sudan's ambassador in Addis Ababa, Maj-Gen (retired) Uthman al-Sayyid, said Sudan had refrained from similar action because of the principles on which its foreign relations were founded.

`Meanwhile, Ugandan security forces and their intelligence officers have continued harassing all Islamic organisations in Uganda, particularly those being run by Sudanese figures,' reports the Sudan News Agency. The director of the Islamic Call Organisation in Kampala was taken for questioning by the Ministry of Internal Security, and was asked to detail the organisation's activities in Uganda. (SUNA / SWB 2/May/95)

REQUEST FOR MEDIATION: President Bashir, through his envoy Gabriel Roric Jur, has asked the chairman of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, to intervene in Sudan's dispute with Uganda. (Malawi Radio MBC / SWB 4/May/95)

* MUSEVENI'S MISGIVINGS: Indian Ocean Newsletter comments that Uganda's decision to break off diplomatic relations with Sudan on 23 April was prompted to some extent by the massacre a week earlier of more than a hundred civilians - including the wives of Ugandan army officers - by members of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. This northern Ugandan force is allegedly backed by Khartoum. ION believes the escalation of hostility between Sudan and Uganda - only days after initialling the Tripoli Agreement of mutual non-interference - stems mainly from head of state Yoweri Museveni's `overall fear of what he sees as a Sudanese threat to destabilise Uganda, which is a major bridgehead for Col Garang's SPLA...

Museveni came to believe in recent weeks that `his personal safety was in danger and that the Sudanese leaders "wanted his head",' says ION. `Ugandan intelligence services, aided by US colleagues only too happy to be able to "criminalise" the Sudanese regime a bit more, seem certain that they had uncovered a plot against Museveni's life, with the leading role played, they claim, by the Sudanese military attach in Kampala, Lt-Col Haider al-Hadi Omar, who is suspected of being a member of Khartoum's intelligence service.

`The recent increase in the Sudanese embassy staff in Kampala has been interpreted as confirmation of something being planned against the Ugandan government. This thinking was behind Uganda's National Resistance Army siege on the Sudanese attach's residence on April 21. However, the search of the premises finally made on April 25 did not uncover the alleged "huge" cache of weapons: about half a dozen weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition...

ION says there are `crying deficiencies in Uganda's anti-rebel intelligence. One example is the NRA assault in February on Buseruka rebel encampment... near Hoima, in the west ... commanded by an NRA deserter, captain Ali Kyamanywa... [The camp] contained about two hundred rebels, with about 80 per cent young Muslims under the age of 30. The camp had been in existence for several months before the NRA located it...

`In a bid to remedy his difficulties, the Ugandan president is expected to turn to his Western allies, in particular the United Sates, for more military hardware and military counsellors. Even if this does make him appear, in Khartoum's eyes, as an active destabilising agent working against the Sudanese regime. (ION 29/Apr/95)

BORDER POLITICS: `Does Museveni have any moral justification to complain about Sudan?' asks UDC Newsletter, published by the opposition Uganda Democratic Coalition in the USA. First, Uganda harbours and supports SPLA rebels. SPLA benefits from the ethnic and tribal homogeneity across the common border where it has established safe sanctuaries inside northern Uganda. There are Acholis, Kakwas, Madis and Lugwaras on both sides of the border. SPLA's comfort inside Uganda was aided by the fact that up until Museveni's capture of power in 1986, all of Uganda's regimes were dominated by Northerners.

`Museveni's regime has been at loggerheads with northern Ugandans ever since it came to power. Many northern Ugandans fled to southern Sudan. NRA are reportedly fighting side by side with SPLA inside Sudan and also conducting a search and destroy of anti-NRM Ugandans among Ugandan refugees. The SPLA collusion with NRA in hunting anti-NRM Ugandans who used to conceal and assist the SPLA has serious consequences for southern Sudanese.

`Ugandan sources confirm that NRA, not SPLA, captured and are controlling Nimule, a Sudan town. SPLA's survival is very much dependent upon Uganda government support and the cooperation of northern Ugandan population...' says the newsletter. (UDC Newsletter, MD USA Apr/95)


NEW BRITISH AMBASSADOR: Alan Goulty, the new British ambassador to Sudan, issued a press release on 3 May expressing the hope of improved understanding between Britain and Sudan. He said he was sure that, with the cooperation and goodwill of both sides, it would be possible to overcome issues on which there had been differences. (RSR/SWB 3/May/95)

ALLEGATIONS OF U.S `INTERFERENCE': Recent statements by the United States' National Security Adviser and the Assistant Secretary Of State were described as `indications of intended interference' by the director of the Political Department at the Foreign Ministry, Dr Anwar al-Hadi. The Assistant Secretary of State is reported as saying that the USA would use bilateral and international pressure to bring about the changes it desired. (NUR / SWB 30/Apr/95)


EBOLA VIRUS RECALLED: Following the recent outbreak of Ebola virus haemorrhagic fever in Kikwit, Zaire, historical reference is made to two recorded outbreaks in Southern Sudan. The first was in Maridi and Yambio, Western Equatoria, in 1976, with hundreds of casualties. The second was in 1979, in the same area, and involved 34 cases with 22 fatalities. The EBO-S strain of the virus identified in Sudan is distinguishable from - but related to - the EBO-Z found in Zaire, and appears to have a slightly lower case-fatality rate. (Bowen et Al, Lancet 1977 - 1:571-573; Richman et al, Journal of Infectious Disease 1983; WHO Bulletin 1983)

A.I.D.S STATISTICS: In January the Second Scientific Conference of the Sudanese Medical Association was held. Dr Ahmed al-Tigani presented a statistical study of the spread of AIDS in Sudan. He said the first case of AIDS in Sudan was officially notified in 1986, and that the number of reported cases had risen to 494 by 1994. Most were in Khartoum and some southern states. (SEB 25/Jan/95)


OIL HOPES BOOSTED: State Petroleum of Canada, a subsidiary of Arakis Energy in Vancouver, says it has added 50 million barrels to its original estimate of recoverable reserves of oil in its concessions in southwest Sudan. Its revision is based on its recent discovery of `Sudan's biggest- ever single find', in the Heglig 8x well in the Lower Bentiu formation, with well-head flows of 50,000 barrels per day (b/d). State Petroleum now puts the recoverable total at just under 360 million barrels, and says the Greater Heglig structure may contain sufficient oil to give an output of 85,000 b/d. This, it claims, would allow it to use a 20-inch single pipeline, with a smaller parallel line to be added later. (Energy Compass 5/May/95)


`NAFIR' NEWSLETTER LAUNCHED: In an attempt `to break the isolation of the Nuba Mountains,' a newsletter has been launched by the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Society (NRRDS) and Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad (NMSA). The newsletter is entitled NAFIR, which stands for Nuba Action for an International Rescue. The word nafir in Arabic `means a call or cry for help, for example when a person is caught in a fire or flood or is fought by an overwhelming force', and `is also commonly used in western Sudan, including the Nuba Mountains, for a gathering of people freely to help one of them cultivate or harvest his or her farm. The Khartoum government is trying to stamp out the nafir communal work party, which is according to tradition paid in local beer.'

Published simultaneously in Nairobi and London, NAFIR `aims to be the Nuba Mountains information service and reference on human rights violations and humanitarian issues, on the culture and society of the Nuba peoples and other questions that lack answers...'

Its editorial says, `As the SPLA negotiates with the Khartoum government, an agenda for separation is coming to the fore - North and South will go their own ways. But where does the agenda of separation leave the Nuba Mountains? Is the whole of the North - including the Nuba Mountains - to be granted to the fundamentalist government, where they can pursue their extremist ambitions without hindrance, as a reward for making a deal with the Southerners? Nuba people have fought for their rights for more than ten years; even today they are fighting for the South under the command of the SPLA - but not to be abandoned in this way...' (Nafir 1.1, Apr/95)

CALL FOR RELIEF: The first edition of NAFIR calls for a new policy of relief for the Nuba Mountains. `The government aid programme is centred on the main towns of south Kordofan, such as Kadugli and Dilling. There are hundreds of thousands of Nuba in displaced camps (what they call "peace villages") around these towns. All of them are in need. But they are not there because of natural disaster: they are there because the government forces are systematically destroying the rural areas. They are withholding relief. They are halting trade. They are burning crops. And this season they have developed a new strategy of destroying wells, so that the remaining Nuba people in the SPLA-held areas are depending on surface water in pools in the mountains.

Rural people are forced to leave their villages to go to the towns to find medicines, food, seeds, essential commodities such as clothes and soap, even water. But then they are trapped by the government, and cannot return. Many of those who are now in the displaced camps were tricked when the SPLA and government signed a cease-fire in 1992 - and then the government reneged on it as soon as people had arrived in the towns to see their relatives and visit the markets. Trapped in the camps, the people need to be kept alive. Islamic relief agencies take the lead, but international agencies are following. Is this humanitarian aid? Or is it assisting a policy of war and ethnic cleansing?

`And we know that the displaced camps are centres for forcible Islamisation. The Khartoum government has no intention of letting the Nuba return home - at least until they have become transformed into Islamic extremists, and their native villages have become mechanised farms.

International aid agencies claim to be neutral. But what neutrality is it when aid is given to the oppressor, and the oppressed are left defenceless?

`The Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Society (NRRDS) is founded on solidarity with the Nuba people whose overwhelming wish is to resist the annihilation of their culture and society, and who wish to receive international assistance that is given freely and impartially, and in conformity with human rights. At the moment, relief can only be given freely and impartially in the areas of the Nuba Mountains not controlled by the government, and to Nuba refugees in Southern Sudan and neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Kenya. So that is where we exist. But, because of distance, expense, lack of infrastructure and lack of international support, NRRDS faces huge obstacles in meeting the needs of the Nuba people.' (Nafir 1.1, Apr/95)

RETURN TO THE MOUNTAINS: `At every turn there was evidence of the tragedy that is devastating this proud and beautiful region,' writes Mohamed Haroun Kafi in NAFIR, in an account of his first visit to the region since the war began.

`Khaypar, a Nuba man we met on our trek, told us how government forces had attacked his area earlier in the summer. How soldiers and militiamen advanced in waves - in trucks and tanks and everything in-between, burning villages, farms and harvests before retreating with all the goats and cattle.

`But it was at El Dar, 40 minutes' walk from the nearest government garrison, that we first saw for ourselves the devastation wrought by government forces. Instead of joining battle with the SPLA, they had burnt the entire village - houses and huts, chapels and schools. Everything was destroyed. There were no chickens, no donkeys, no pigs. Nothing. A town of 13,000 souls had been reduced to a ghost town.

`Then came Tabanya, where we stayed for three days. On market day there was nothing for sale but a few groundnuts, some greens and a little sorghum - a tin to be exchanged for a goat, or a bag for a cow. There was a little salt, some ten pounds' worth brought from Pariyang, but word had preceded it that this was stolen merchandise. So the salt, and the thieves, were sent back to Pariyang.

`Tabanya too had been looted. Zacharia Kuku lost his cattle, ten goats and six huts when a force of 2,000 armed men invaded the village in December 1992 and March 1993. We were told that men died in crossfire and women were carried off. Only a few cows escaped, out of the reach of the northern troops, at the top of the mountain. Zacharia's near farm looked too small to feed a family, but the far farm carried the risk of death at the hands of militias despatched by the NIF.

`The war has changed more than just the land. Nuba culture is being transformed and traditions smothered. Before the war, rites of passage from childhood to the age of consent and marriage were accompanied by pure songs of love. Today the refrains are altogether different: "God is angry, everything has gone wrong. People! Recruit yourselves, find a solution! Carry arms and let us defeat the Arabs!" Language skills are being lost because of forced migration; displacement is diluting the rich variety of Nuba tongues.

`On our last evening, we heard stories of the atrocities perpetrated in the Lagawa area in 1992- 93, of Nuba children being captured by government soldiers and sold to Arab nomads for 300-500 Sudanese pounds a head. Now the children are lost without trace. This kind of transaction has no receipt, no forwarding address.

`As we left, we looked over our shoulders and saw our friends, so generous with their hospitality despite their sorry need, gazing after us. Perhaps someone will read their story now, and send them aid.' (NAFIR 1.1, Apr/95)

NAFIR is obtainable from NRRDS, PO Box 76687, Nairobi, Kenya - Fax: +254-2-564647, and from NMSA, PO Box 196 Hayes, Middlesex UB3 3QG, England - Tel/Fax: +44-181-813-5548


ADILA AL-ZAYBAQ: Sudanese security forces arrested Adila al-Zaybaq on 20 March, according to the Sudan Human Rights Organisation. SHRO notes that Ms al-Zaybaq was a leading member during the democratic period of the now outlawed Sudan Women's Union, and has been subjected to persistent harassment under the current regime. Her arrest came after she had obtained an entry visa to the United States of America to attend a women's conference. The security forces confiscated her conference papers and searched her house. In connection with Ms al-Zaybaq's arrest, the office of Ms Majda Mohamed Ali, a member of a Sudanese NGO, was searched.

SHRO says that Ms al-Zaybaq was still in detention on 27 April and her whereabouts are unknown. There is concern for her safety, and serious fears that she may be subjected to torture and ill- treatment in a secret detention centre. (SHRO 27/Apr/95)

GORDON MICAH KUR: A former policeman and social worker, Gordon Micah Kur is being held without charge or trial in Kober prison, Khartoum North. According to Amnesty International he was arrested in February 1995 and held for a time in one of the "ghost house" detention centres. Amnesty says that his detention is `part of the ongoing pattern of harassment and detention without trial by the Sudanese authorities of their political and ideological opponents,' and fears that if Gordon Micah Kur is transferred back to a "ghost house", his past involvement with the Sudanese Amputees' Association will put him at particular risk of torture.

`Gordon Micah Kur has been repeatedly harassed by the authorities, apparently because of his social work between 1987 and 1989 with the Sudanese Amputees' Association (SAA), a welfare organisation set up to help the victims of hand and foot amputation sentences imposed by the courts between 1983 and 1985. The SAA was regarded as insulting to Islam by supporters of the National Islamic Front ... and the organisation was among many which were banned on 30 June 1989,'says AI.

`Gordon Micah Kur was previously detained between September 1989 and June 1991 and was adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. In 1993 he wrote to a friend: "Since my release from detention two years ago one finds himself in a wider prison. For instance, I am not allowed to leave the capital city nor the country, and above that, all possible means of getting a job are blocked. I have actually been living on help I receive from friends from time to time ... but most of the other people have their families broken down."' (AI 3/May/95)

CULTURAL CLEANSING: A team of international experts from the Puebla Institute in the USA and Dorkas Aid International in Holland has identified ways in which the Khartoum regime is trying forcibly to assimilate black Africans from Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains into Muslim and Arab society,' reports Sudan Democratic Gazette. `The evidence was gathered during a visit to Northern Sudan in January and February and was presented to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva [in March]. The delegation `documented widespread regime-sponsored abductions and disappearances of children, and a campaign of cultural cleansing aimed at minority groups - Africans, Christians and animists,' according to the team's leader, Dr Kevin Vigilante, Professor of Medicine at Brown University of Rhode Island in the USA. `The Puebla-Dorkas delegation defines cultural cleansing as "an attempt to eliminate a cultural group by stripping them of their unique cultural attributes, including religion, language and name." The delegation's report describes camps where thousands of children are being stripped of their cultural identity and forced to adopt a new one which conforms to the prevailing culture of the ruling regime.

`The leader of the National Islamic Front (NIF), Dr Hassan al-Turabi, provided corroborative evidence during a lecture he made to Arab scholars at Doha, Qatar, late last year. In that speech, Dr el-Turabi gleefully observed that "we have now completed the Arabisation and Islamicisation of Southern Sudan. This is finished. He added a word of caution when he said, "let us not talk about this, let us not let others hear of this because they will come down heavily against us." The Gazette is in possession of a video of Dr el-Turabi's speech...'

The best evidence for the allegations of cultural cleansing, according to Dr Vigilante, `comes from the regime's efforts to conceal the camps. If everything was above board and they served a genuine humanitarian function, there would be no need to conceal them. He then gave the example of Dr Kamal Tewdros, a Sudanese Christian who had been running schools in Khartoum for more than 36,000 street children. His schools were closed down by the regime and this large number of children disappeared into the clandestine cultural cleansing camps. Dr Tewdros was arrested and subsequently harassed by the regime's security forces. "Why would the regime victimise someone who has done so much good for the children?" asked Dr Vigilante.

`Dr Vigilante also spoke of another sinister practice carried out by the regime's Popular Defence Forces (PDF). These militias are largely made up of Arab recruits from Northern Sudan. They are now engaged in the systematic impregnation of African women through gang rape and intimidation. Large numbers of women are arrested, brought to the barracks and then sexually abused by the militia men. The idea would seem to be that the bastard children from these rapes will be more inclined to see themselves as Arab rather than African, and having no background of their own will in the years to come provide ready recruits for the regime's armed forces. The women themselves are left in an unenviable position. They are neither part of the PDF setup, nor able to return to their people because of the "shame" they bring with them. The Puebla-Dorkas report sums up this policy as follows: "It is an attempt to convert the vulnerable population into an ideologically pure and expendable fighting force."

Cultural cleansing is distinguished from ethnic cleansing: `The latter is an attempt to exterminate a genetically determined group through genocidal practices. The delegation received many reports of ethnic cleansing in the Nuba Mountains. Cultural cleansing, by contrast, is an attempt to eliminate a cultural group by stripping them of their unique cultural attributes... All parties engaged in the Sudanese civil war are guilty of human rights abuses and we condemn them; however, this brief statement focuses only on the issue of cultural cleansing.

`The delegation received numerous credible reports from families concerned and independent observers about children who had been snatched by government agents from public places and summarily taken to camps where they were detained far from their families. These children, who are largely African Christians or animists, describe high security, closed camps in remote areas where they are given new Arabic names, indoctrinated in Islam, and forced to undergo military-style training. The ultimate fate of these children is uncertain, but there are multiple reports that they are pressed into military combat... (SDG Apr/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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Sudan Update, BM Box "CPRS", London WC1N 3XX England Tel/Fax: (01422) 845827 E-mail:

Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 12:06:11 BST
From: Peter Verney [sudanupdate@GN.APC.ORG[
Subject: Sudan Update 6.8

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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