Sudan Update Volume 9 No 9

Sudan Update Volume 9 No 9


UN aid appeal / Flights permitted / Barges / Ailafoun "lies" / Lashes /

Segregation / Zaire threat

Uganda - bombs & visas / Egyptian property / SPLA frees PoWs / UN Rapporteur



REMOVING STUDENTS FROM WAR FRONT: Al-Gamhouriya said on 21 April the government has decided to remove all student recruits from the war front. Kamal Hassan Ali, spokesman for national service coordination, said "all students doing their national service in the southern states will be returned to the northern states."

AP notes: The move will be made immediately after Sudan school certificate exams, apparently because arrangements have been made to give the tests in the southern town of Juba. Al-Gamhouriya said student recruits were already in Juba for the exams, which start April 26 and run for about three weeks. (al-Gamhouriya / AP 21/Apr/98)

ARMED FORCES WILL BE 60% CONSCRIPTS: President al-Bashir said the armed forces would recruit some 655,000 youths within three years, and Sudan has no plans to relinquish compulsory military service. He said that 50,000 youths would be enlisted this year, and that the armed forces planned to be 60 percent dependent on army conscripts. (SUNA / Reuter 24/Apr/98)

PROTEST IN CANADA: Northern and Southern Sudanese gathered at the entrance of the Canadian parliament on 29 April to condemn the Ailafoun "massacre" of conscripts and the Sudan government's obstruction of aid to Bahr al-Ghazal. (Darb al-Intifada 29/Apr/98)

DROWNED CONSCRIPTS `NOT MARTYRS': President al-Bashir `indirectly criticized the behavior of those conscripts who took part in the mass escape as he described what happened as a test of faith, saying that those who lost their lives did not die in the fields of martyrdom. He said his government will continue pursuing its compulsory recruitment policy until all those who threaten the sovereignty of Sudan are crushed.

`General Bashir added that a new civil registry, currently underway, will help reorganize recruitment efforts in a highly civilized way instead of collecting youngsters randomly from streets and bus stops. No-one above 18 who is capable of carrying arms would be exempted from conscription.' (Arabic News 24/Apr/98)

"A SILLY LIE": On 13th April Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi dismissed the opposition's account of the Ailafoun incident as "a silly lie". He told the BBC what had actually happened was that while the conscripts were gathered for evening prayers, they found a small fishing boat which had capsized, with the result that the conscripts had drowned because most of them did not know how to swim.

`Asked if it was true that the conscripts had been fired on by guards because they had mutinied after request for a holiday was refused, Turabi repeatedly insisted that "not a single bullet was shot." He said everyone knew everything about what happened at Ailafoun. All the people who lost their children knew everything that had happened. "This is not a country where there are secrets," he concluded.' (BBC / AANA 27/Apr/98)


LESS FLOGGING OF WOMEN AND ELDERLY: Women and older people will no longer face

the punishment of flogging in most cases, Sudan's chief justice Obeid Hajj Ali announced on 18 April. The pro-government newspaper al-Wan quoted him as saying that women and people over 60 years of age could nonetheless face flogging for crimes such as adultery or drinking alcohol. (AP 19/Apr/98)

ON THE BUSES - SEXES SEPARATED: Mohamed Babkeir arrived in Khartoum from Western Sudan. He `boarded a bus and occupied a seat in a section reserved for women. Under the new regulations - the Public Order law - at least half of the seats in a bus or small commuter bus (known here as Dafar) - are reserved for women.

`Babkeir was asked by the driver to either get off or vacate his seat. He refused... The driver headed straight to a nearby Public Order Police Unit...

`Fined 10,000 Sudanese pounds (US$1 = ,Sud1,700) and whipped 40 lashes, Babkeir was made to sign a document to say that he will never take a seat reserved for women again...

`The division along sex lines in public transport was introduced in 1993... but ... only became law after it was endorsed by Sudan's parliament in 1997. Women are obliged to enter through the front door. The rear door is reserved for men. The driver is instructed to keep an eye on the two sexes to make sure they keep separate. If the driver fails to do so, he faces lashes and fines ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 pounds. If the offense persists, he loses his license...

`All drivers have now posted a copy of the order inside their buses... However a policeman told InterPress Service this week that the majority of victims were from the rural area where illiteracy is high.

`"Women are not always bold enough to ask men to vacate their seats... unless backed by laws and orders," the policeman said.

`The public was hostile to the new regulation. "I once attempted to separate a girl from her brother who was accompanying her after 8 p.m. They insisted on sitting together. We then ordered them out of the bus at gun point. I told them, please go and take a taxi if you want to share a seat with your brother," recalled the police officer. He said he was simply doing his job...

`Last year a policeman was nearly beaten to death when he tried to separate a group of young boys travelling on the same bus with a number of school girls... at night when there were few police officers on duty.

`Recently a symposium organized by the Union of Public Transport recommended two modes of transport: one for men and the other for women. But the public rejected the proposal, saying it would inconvenience passengers. Some mothers complained that they were separated from their young boys whom they were accompanying to school. The venture collapsed that same week. But the government says it is now working on an idea to separate the public commuter bus into two compartments, each side protected by a curtain. Abd al-Gadir Muhammad, head of Public Measures and

Specifications Department, said the proposal will help maintain order in public transport.

`"The most annoying thing about this order is that one cannot travel freely even with one's own relations. One is always scared to travel with her own father or brother for fear of falling victim of this order," said a female government official here. Scoffing at the order, she said there was no power on earth that can separate the two sexes from mixing freely.' (IPS 21/Apr/98)


UPPER NILE AND EASTERN EQUATORIA: WFP reported continuing fighting in Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria, with many people moving away from their homes and heading for refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda. (WFP / AANS 9/Apr/98)

STRIKE FORCE ON ZAIRE BORDER: A special strike force is being assembled in Garamba National Park in the NE of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the border with Sudan, the BBC correspondent in Kampala reported on 9 April. The force comprises soldiers of the former Zairean army, some Sudan government soldiers who had fled there in 1997 after being defeated by the SPLA, and about 1,500 Ugandan rebels who used to attack Uganda from bases in Sudan until they were driven out.

SPLA sources said the force was being organized by the Khartoum government and supplied by drops from Antonov aircraft. If the SPLA mounted a major offensive on Juba, then the force would attack them from the rear.

Uganda's acting defence minister, Maj-Gen Salim Salih, said he knew about the force in the park and that the Ugandan government was monitoring it. (BBC 9/Apr/98; All-Africa News Service 20/Apr/98)

EIGHT-HOUR BATTLE NORTH OF JUBA: Voice of the NDA radio reported on April 6 that a unit of the SPLA had been attacked by two government columns 60km N of Juba. The attack, on April 4, began with air raids followed by motorized infantry, and the ensuing battle lasted eight hours. The radio said that the government forces were repulsed with heavy losses, including five officers killed, and fled into the surrounding forests. The government media have made no mention of the incident. (Voice of NDA / AANA 20/Apr/98)

100 DIE IN DARFUR CLASHES: Clashes between rival tribes over water and grazing rights have left more than 100 people dead and about 45 villages gutted in West Darfur during the past four weeks, Muhammad Salih al-Sanousi, a West Darfur minister, said in Geneina.

He said the clashes between the Rezeigat and Masalit tribes began in January but "renewed fiercely" this month in 68 villages in violation of a reconciliation deal. Some 4,000 families were displaced, he said. No other details of the clashes were available. (al-Wan/AP 25/Apr/98)

`OUTLAWS PREVENT DELIVERY OF FOOD': `Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail has said Sudan will address the UN Secretary General to notify him on the dangers of the military operations being carried out by the outlaws movement in Bahr al-Ghazal areas on utilizing the corridors opened by the government for the delivery of food to the needy in response to a request by the Italian State Minister who visited the country recently to enable the relief organization carry out their work,' says SUNA.

At the Friendship Hall on 22 April, `the minister said the government can not sit idle and sees the citizens being killed. Dr Ismail explained that the outlaws movement forces attacked Rezeigat tribe in South Darfur on April 14, killing 42 persons and wounding 11 others and looting 5,000 head of cattle. He called on the international community to denounce the practices of the outlaws movement that exposed the lives of children, women and the old to danger.

`The government would be compelled to stop its responding to opening the corridors if the outlaws movement continued its military operations, referring to the government announcement earlier that it is ready for a cease-fire for humanitarian reasons for delivering food to the affected people and for creating a conducive atmosphere for the coming Nairobi round of peace negotiations.

`The minister said that the international community did not respond to the Sudan efforts for delivering food, pointing out that three weeks have elapsed since the opening of the corridors and the organizations are still talking about a famine in Bahr al-Ghazal.

`He wondered on the reasons that prevent the international community and the relief organizations from providing food, asking whether the donor institutions want to give the outlaws movement an opportunity to reorganize itself under the pretext of food delivery.' (SUNA 22/Apr/98)


"FORGOTTEN EMERGENCY": Kofi Annan described Sudan as one of the world's "forgotten emergencies... Where once funding was enough to meet 75% of Sudan's needs, today the UN can provide only 5%." (IPS 23/Apr/98)

DONATIONS APPEAL: The World Food Programme has received a donation of relief supplies worth at least 2.3 million U.S. dollars for victims of famine in southern Sudan, donated by the U.S government. The European Union Humanitarian Office has also donated food worth some 3.3 million dollars for refugees in the Great Lakes region.

WFP faces a serious lack of funds for the emergency operations over the coming months. US$31 million of the US$43 million requested in the UN Consolidated Appeal last February for operations to southern Sudan from Kenya and Uganda is still outstanding. In addition WFP needs US$6 million to pay for extra food and logistics costs from the recent Bahr El Ghazal emergency. (WFP / PANA 21/Apr/98)

WFP SEEKS TO STEP UP ITS AIRLIFT: The World Food Programme warned on 21 April that unless it received permission to double or triple its airlift of food aid to southern Sudan within a matter of days the Bahr El Ghazal region would face catastrophe.

`"The situation in Bahr el Ghazal has reached a critical and frightening level," David Fletcher, head of WFP's southern sector operation for Sudan, said... Other areas, such as Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria, are facing serious food shortages due to a combination of drought and insecurity.

`WFP is currently authorized to fly only one C-130 Hercules into southern Sudan, and Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) has appealed to the Government to grant immediate clearance for at least one more C-130 to boost food deliveries from Lokichoggio, Kenya. Food is also delivered by truck, but these deliveries will be severely curtailed when the rainy season now setting in makes roads impassable.

`At present, WFP is barely meeting 30 percent of the food needs in Bahr El Ghazal. WFP estimates this month's total deliveries to southern Sudan at only 2,500 metric tonnes of food against a minimum requirement of 6,000 tons.

`Concern is growing that the number of people in dire need may have soared beyond the 350,000 identified in February after heavy fighting erupted in Bahr El Ghazal. WFP sent an emergency [assessment] mission to nine key locations...

`"People have to rely more heavily on scarce wild foods which are quickly becoming consumed," said Fletcher. "One of the few remaining wild foods is leafy greens. However, a family of six needs to gather about 40 kilograms each day."

`"People need to be at their strongest to plant. They are consuming precious energy and time in their search for wild foods, which cannot sustain them."

`Most farmers in the Bahr El Ghazal region have eaten their household stocks of seeds and will not be able to cultivate a crop unless the international community acts quickly to provide seeds and tools. With the seasonal rains started and the ground moist, the next three weeks are a critical time for planting.

`"There is only one planting season a year in Bahr El Ghazal and it's now...."

`OLS said a scant 230 tons of seeds have been delivered to-date. An additional 110 tons currently in the base camp at Lokichoggio, Kenya, and 86 tons in Tambura, Western Equatoria, are awaiting delivery. NGOs in OLS estimate that the Bahr El Ghazal region needs double this amount. In order to help the NGOs and UNICEF deliver seeds, WFP has mobilised trucks in Koboko, Uganda, to collect UNICEF's seeds from Tambura and move them as far possible into Bahr el Ghazal before the rains cut the roads.' (WFP 21/Apr/98)

SIR BOB'S APPEAL: Sir Bob Geldof, who initiated the Live Aid concerts 14 years ago, appealed on BBC News for people to help avert a new widescale famine in Sudan.

"The individual is simply not powerless in this world in the face of that sort of inhumanity," he said. "You have got immense power ... to say, `this is still happening, we can stop it'. The political will is necessary to stop it happening in perpetuity. It almost appears impenetrable, but it's not.

Geldof said: "It would be relatively easy to create so much pressure on the government and indeed the rebels that allows some sort of compromise solution that would save, potentially, 350,000 people." It is "innocent people" who are suffering the most. (BBC 24/Apr/98)

FOOD SHORT IN DARFUR AND KASSALA: Arabic News reports: Ali Shammar, deputy governor of Darfur, said that Darfur is worried that it will face acute food shortages and called on the national government to pay attention to the worsening food conditions in the state, which was plagued with a widespread famine during the 1980s.

Yousif Amara, a Kassala member of the National Assembly, anticipated acute food shortages in some parts of Kassala state, especially New Halfa. He accused the authorities of aggravating the situation by imposing high taxes on farmers, often taken as payment-in-kind. (Arabic News 22/Apr/98)

SECOND PLANE TO JOIN AIRLIFT: Operation Lifeline Sudan has welcomed the Sudan government's granting of clearance for a second C-130 aircraft to participate in the airlift. The new aircraft will join the operation from next Monday. WFP said a third aircraft was also essential. (BBC 25/Apr/98)

`DEVASTATING AND INHUMAN': `Chairman of the Peace Committee at the National Assembly Engineer Juang Toj has reiterated the government keenness on arrival of food materials to the war-affected citizens in the south, even at rebel-held areas,' says SUNA.

`He denied the news being circulated by some hostile circles on Sudan's hampering to arrival of relief materials and humanitarian aid to the needy people. He said that the government has allowed all the relief organizations to operate at all the war-affected areas in the south.

`Toj said that such allegations against Sudan were aimed at insulting Sudan government. He expressed his astonishment over silence given by these circles toward the devastating and inhuman acts being perpetrated by Kerubino Kuanyin against innocent people, adding that the forces of Kuanyin had been looting thousands of cattle from tribes at South Darfur and Kordofan as well as killing citizens.

`Toj said that some foreign organizations and circles had used to circulate fabricated news about Sudan and to describe Sudan government as incapable of delivering food materials to the needy people.' (SUNA 25/Apr/98)

DELIBERATELY INFLICTED STARVATION: Britain's international development minister, Clare Short, told BBC radio: "The government of Sudan is deliberately preventing the food getting through, is deliberately inflicting this starvation on these people for its own ends." (BBC / AP 28/Apr/98)

FOOD BARGE CONVOY: The United Nations said on 30 April it was sending a seven-barge convoy down the Nile. The World Food Program said the convoy is making a six-week trip from Malakal to drop off food and medicine at 34 villages in both rebel- and government-held territories.

WFP said the barge convoy was carrying 2,040 tons of cereals and beans, most of which will go to Juba. The convoy is the first of three planned trips to Juba this year. Similar operations are planned for the Sobat, Zerat and Bentiu river corridors. (AP 30/Apr/98)


SENIOR SOUTHERNER DENIES ASMARA TRIP: On 20 April former vice president Abel Alier categorically denied reports that he was taking a delegation to Asmara to pursue reconciliation with NDA leaders. Questioning their sources, he added he knew nothing of a similar reported approach to the SPLA by Hilary Logali. (al-Khartoum 20/Apr/98)

PEACE TALKS DELAYED: Kenya proposed a delay in the IGAD peace talks until 4 May, to be preceded by a meeting of experts. Al-Gamhuriya said it was to avoid clashing with a visit to Africa by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and national celebrations on 1 May. (BBC 25/Apr/98)

MACHAR SEEKS PRE-TALKS TALKS WITH GARANG: Riek Machar, head of the government's

coordinating council for southern Sudan, said he wanted to talk to John Garang before the peace talks.

"If ever a meeting takes place between Mr Garang and the government, we would prefer it to be with the man who really wields the power, that is Hassan Turabi," SPLA spokesman Yasser Arman told AFP in Cairo. Arman said Machar "is not empowered to take decisive measures". (AFP 29/Apr/98)

MACHAR MEETS MUSEVENI: Riek Machar, with a delegation that included the governor of Juba, met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on 30 April in Mbarara.

Eliaba Surur, adviser to SPLA leader John Garang, said on 29 April his group will consider contact with the Khartoum regime only through the mediation of the Inter-Governmental Authority of Development (IGAD). "Riek Machar's action is taking a short-cut. We are not accepting these tricks," Surur said. (New Vision 30/Apr/98)

EGYPTIAN MEDIATION OFFER SNUBBED: Sudan Democratic Gazette notes: `The Egyptian

government made a written request to the IGAD peace committee to be given a role in the mediation process ... Meles Zenawi criticised Egypt for meddling in both Sudan and Somalia.'

A communique issued after a one-day IGAD Summit in Djibouti on 16 March said `The summit ... underlined the importance of transparency, impartiality and unity of purpose within IGAD as the basis for the success of the peace process. Further it cautioned against the impact of negative external influences detrimental to the peace process in Southern Sudan and encouraged the parties to the conflict to work together towards a cease-fire so as to provide a conducive environment for the next round of talks.' (Sudan Democratic Gazette Apr/98; IGAD 16/Mar/98)


STOP BOMBING CIVILIANS: The UN Human Rights Commission on Tuesday demanded that

the Khartoum government stop bombing civilian targets. A resolution passed by 31 votes for, six against and 16 abstentions expressed the United Nations' "indignation" over the inability of humanitarian organizations to deliver aid as a result of the fighting. (AFP 21/Apr/98)

NOTING "DETERIORATION", RAPPORTEUR RESIGNS: Delivering his final report to the Commission on 16 April 1998 before announcing his resignation, Dr Gaspar Biro, UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan, told the Human Rights Commission in Geneva:

`The situation of human rights in the Sudan has not improved in the past year, moreover, in certain areas we witness a significant deterioration both in the field of human rights, and regarding the humanitarian situation in general. In my report I indicated several details supporting this conclusion, regarding in particular the situation of women, the rights of the child and restrictions of the freedom of religion and abuses and atrocities committed against religious communities and their leaders by agents of the Government of the Sudan or individuals known for their close relationship with the Government...'

`I have decided to conclude at this point my five years' work as a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights. I am at the same time strongly of the opinion that the mandate should be renewed, continued and strengthened, because in all these type of situations, as we witness in these days in the Sudan for example, to report merely on the situation is little more than contemplation.' (UN / AFP 16/Apr/98)

`FALSE AND UNVERIFIED': Dr Ahmad al-Mufti, Sudan's `Rapporteur of the Consultative Council for the Human Rights' described the report presented by Dr Gaspar Biro at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Commission, as `not different from earlier prejudiced reports.. it neglected the positive developments which took place in Sudan - a matter which affirms that the report was politically motivated. The role of Mr Biro has been confined to gathering false and unverified allegations from unreliable sources ... before delivering them to the UN mechanisms.' (SUNA 28/Apr/98)

SPLA RELEASES 400 GOVERNMENT PRISONERS: The SPLA has released around 400 government soldiers from a jail in Yei, western Equatoria, Dan Eiffe, liaison officer for the Norwegian People's Aid agency, told Reuter.

`SPLM spokesman George Maker Benjamin in Nairobi confirmed the release, but could not confirm prisoners were taken into north Uganda. He said the International Committee of the Red Cross would be contacted to assist with any transfer of the prisoners across national frontiers and stressed that most of the prisoners came from south Sudan.

`Around 800 government prisoners were being held at Yei jail. Several were killed by shrapnel when government Antonov planes bombed Yei town last October. Sunday's release, which included colonels and some prisoners held for eight years, means the jail at Yei now stands empty... The other prisoners had been released piecemeal.' (Reuter 27/Apr/98)



were bomb attacks in Kampala at the Speke Hotel, Nile Grill bar and Bermuda Triangle, in which five people were killed and many others injured.

Uganda's President Museveni said on 21 April his government was considering reintroducing visas for Sudanese travelling to Uganda. Museveni said the people behind the recent bomb attacks in Kampala were linked to Sudan.

`Although police said they had arrested some suspects... no one has been charged in court so far. On the situation in the north, Museveni said it has been peaceful for some weeks now but a few days ago a group of Kony rebels [LRA] attempted to cross into Uganda from Sudan on the Kidepo side of the border.' (New Vision 22/Apr/98)

EGYPTIAN TEAM TO RECLAIM PROPERTIES: Egyptian officials went to Sudan on 16 April to reclaim seized Egyptian properties in the latest move by the two African neighbours to improve relations. The team of water, education and Foreign Ministry officials will stay for about four days to work out issues on receiving the properties. (Reuter 16/Apr/98)

DRAFT SECURITY AGREEMENT: Sudan's interior minister said he has presented a draft security agreement to his Egyptian counterpart.

"The draft agreement was sent to Egyptian Interior Minister [Habib el-Adli] just days before my visit to Cairo [last week]. It covers Sudan's views on security cooperation," Maj-Gen Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Hussein told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper. He said he discussed the draft with Adli last week on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab interior ministers.

Hussein said Cairo has presented a list of 17 wanted Egyptian militants. He did not elaborate on Khartoum's response. He said the draft was one of the results of work by joint committees established by both countries to improve the strained ties. (Reuter 25/Apr/98)

DIFFERENCES OVER TIMING: Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said Khartoum was committed to handing back all the confiscated Egyptian properties, "but we differ over the timing". He denied the reports that the 10-day Sudan-Egypt talks on returning the properties had failed, saying technical talks were going on. (Xinhua 30/Apr/98)

PALESTINE PLAN: A plan `to spearhead a move for reconciliation' between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority was announced by Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail in Khartoum on 21 April. (Xinhua 21/Apr/98)

NEW FOREIGN POLICY PAPER: Foreign Minister Dr Mustafa Osman Ismail `has reviewed the reasons and developments behind issuing a new paper on Sudan foreign policy and ways of implementing it.' (SUNA 22/Apr/98)

BASHIR TO VISIT CHAD: President al-Bashir will pay a brief visit to the Chadian capital Ndjamena to perform the [Friday] prayer besides the Presidents of Chad, Nigeria, Malaysia, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Malawi and the Arab Libyan Jamahiriya. (SUNA 28/Apr/98)

DEFENCE MINISTER IN SYRIA: Talks on military cooperation were held between Sudan's Defence Minister, Lt-Gen Ibrahim Suleiman, and his Syrian counterpart, Lt-Gen Mustafa Tlas, in Damascus on 29 April. (Reuter 30/Apr/98)

SUDAN UPDATE can accept no responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the original reports reviewed herein nor any claim for defamation or infringement of copyright arising out of their publication. Single quote marks `...' enclose source texts; double quotes "..." indicate direct speech. Information added for clarity by the editors is signalled by square parentheses [SU].

FREQUENT SOURCES: AC = Africa Confidential / AI = Amnesty International / HRA = Human Rights Watch Africa / ION = Indian Ocean Newsletter / MEI = Middle East International / MENA = Middle East News Agency (Egypt) / RSR = Republic of Sudan Radio / SEB = Sudan News (Sudan Embassy Bulletin) / SUNA = Sudan News Agency / SWB = Summary of World Broadcasts (BBC Monitoring Service)

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Sudan Update, PO Box 10, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 6UX England Tel/Fax: +44-1422-845827 E-mail: ISSN 1352-0393

Peter Verney (


Date: Fri, 15 May 1998

From: (Peter Verney) Subject: Sudan Update Volume 9 No 9

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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