Sudan Update Vol.6 No.12,[08/07/95]

Sudan Update Vol.6 No.12,[08/07/95]

Nuba revelations / University protest / Egypt & Sudan / Doctors freed / Oil finance / Taha warns Eritrea / Conscription / Registration of Sudanese abroad / US ambassadorial nominee

GOVERNMENT DESECRATES MOSQUES: `The Nuba Mountains lie on the great continental fault line between Sudan's Arab and Muslim North and non-Muslim South. For the past 12 years, the Nuba have been on the front line of the war between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army. For the past ten years, the mountains themselves have been war zone, an extension of the SPLA's fight against the greedy Northern elites,' reports Julie Flint in Middle East International.

`Reports of atrocities against the Nuba, a collection of African peoples united by their experience of exploitation, have filtered out of the mountains ever since the mid 1980s. In recent years, the little information available has pointed to the existence of an exceptionally severe campaign waged against the Nuba by the government troops and associated militias - a campaign designed to destroy the educated classes and integrate Nuba villagers through a process of forced relocation into an "Islamised" economy outside their ancestral homelands in South Kordofan.

`Attempts to investigate the veracity of these reports have been hampered by the government's refusal to allow anyone, relief workers or independent observers, into the mountains. A handful of outsiders, including the UN's Special Rapporteur Gaspar Biro were permitted into carefully selected government-controlled areas in 1993-but a long a supervised route that allowed them access only to what the government wanted them to see.

`The veil of secrecy that has permitted Khartoum to behave with impunity in the Nuba Mountains has been torn aside by this remarkable, 350-page report from African Rights. It not only confirms the "ethnic cleansing" operations of 1992,exploding government denials with meticulous detail and eye witness testimony, but describes the latest phase in the war against the Nuba, "genocide by attrition", witnessed at first hand by African Rights' Alex de Waal and Yohannes Ajawin over many weeks in the mountains.

`As remarkable as the report itself is the leg-work that preceded it - first in gaining access to the mountains, ignoring government warnings that anyone running its blockade would "face the consequences", then in establishing and training a network of human rights monitors to provide reliable, first hand information. International relief agencies abetting the government's displacement of the Nuba, by supplying the "peace camps", where more than 250,000 are held, would do well to consider African Rights' evidence that these returnees are in reality "internees" - burned out of their villages in raids designed to starve civilians of food and the SPLA of its human oxygen; ambushed and abducted anywhere, and at any time; and then subjected to deprivation, torture and rape.

`Two findings in particular should give pause to government still seduced by Sudan's supposedly Islamic credentials: the revelation that the government troops are systematically desecrating mosques, empowered by a 1993 fatwa declaring that "an insurgent who was previously a Muslim is now an apostate", and evidence that rape is not only tolerated but encouraged as a matter of policy. "When women bear children as a result of rape, their identities are unclear." African Rights concludes, "Rape is thus an instrument of genocide".

`The SPLA's record in the Nuba mountains, the subject of a future report, is only touched on here. But already it is clear that the Nuba leaders are in a class of their own, genuinely concerned for the welfare of civilians and intent on avoiding the abuses that have so discredited the Southern SPLA. African Rights' report leaves no doubt that the Nuba are fighting an uphill battle. Now no one can say they didn't know.' (MEI 4/Aug/95)


`HUGE HATE FABRICATED FAKE': `The tiny organisation "African Rights" has issued a hate fabricated faked report assembled from library pictures and archives material. It only aims to tarnish the reputation of Sudan Islamic Orientation,' declared the Sudan Information Office of the Sudan Embassy in London on 21 July.

`The tiny organisation is a Political Organisation operating under the shield of "Human Rights". Alex de Waal, the Director was kicked out of Sudan for security reason by the previous government.' [SU is unable to verify this claim.] `Since then he continues from outside campaigning against Sudan and Islam. We have invited the co-Director of the tiny organisation, Rakiyah Omar to visit Sudan and see for herself. Unfortunately she did not show any interest towards that.

`The huge faked report, 350 pages, is not made upon a field visit, it has just been "fixed" in the organisation's office in London.'

`What Mr De Waal does not know is that: One of the greatest Islamic Kingdoms in Sudan was the Nubian Kingdom of TAGALI. The Islamic Revolution that liberated Sudan from the 57 years Turk-Egyptian Rule departed from Nuba Mountain. The Nuba contributed significantly to the National Salvation Revolution coming to power. The first security boss of the NSR was a Nubian. The Federal Minister for Education is a Nubian. Reuters News Agency, just a few days ago televised the Nubian dancing the "Kampala" which reflect Nubian folklore and distinguished culture, celebrating the sixth Anniversary of the National Salvation Revolution where 90% of the Nubians are Muslims.

`The NSR accomplishments in the Nuba Mountains are numerous. There is Dalanj University, newly opened TV and Broadcasting Stations, fulfilling peace that set Nubians resuming normal productive lives, whereas Nuba Mountain production of fruits and sweet sorghum covered domestic Sudanese markets as well as foreign ones.

`Heavyweight Foreign witnesses who visited the Nuba Mountains, side positively with Sudan government. They include politicians, lawmakers, International Human Rights activists and dignitaries. Just to name a few of them, there is the President of the American organisation "CARE" which operates in the Nuba Mountains., Ambassador Traxler, the UN. Envoy Lord McNair, Mr. Grant, House of Commons member "Afro-British", not to mention major International media outlets which visit Sudan almost on a daily basis including the B.B.C., C.N.N., Reuters., AFP., MBC., The Financial Times, the Guardian etc.

`The kicked out/National Security threat, Alex De Waal, the biased hostile political enemy of Sudan Islamic Orientation is the only person sitting in isolation lying and dramatising the Archives material to assassinate Sudan Islamic reputation, and maybe he is making a living, and for sure enjoying false prestige and bogus air of importance out of that dishonest futile effort.

`On 4.7.95, The British High Court decided, based on the Broadcasting Act 1990, banning Amnesty International from British Commercial Airwaves. It said AI should be denied that access. The High Court refused the leave to appeal. We believe positively, by the same token that the tiny African Rights organisation must be measured and be banned. The Broadcasting Act 1990 state that groups cannot advertise if their work is wholly or mainly of a "Political Nature". The High Court decided that Broadcasting regulators were entitled to conclude that the Objectives of the Human Rights Group i.e AI, were mainly Political. This is a very important case. And according to this law and this legal precedent, African Rights must be judged.

`Going back to the Nuba Mountains, what must be really highlighted is the Child Soldier Plight, where 18,000 children were abducted by the rebels and taken to Cuba many years ago to form the "Red Army", and come back to fight the government. Sudan Government succeeded in securing the return of 4,000 of them. The UN is well aware of that.

`Interestingly enough, and sadly enough too, now the returned children speak Spanish besides their mother tongue. Many mothers and fathers are waiting for the return of the rest of their loved ones.' (SEB - Sudan Information Office 21/Jul/95)


DOCTORS FREED: The Sudan government has freed two doctors, an Italian and a Sudanese, who were arrested two months ago by government forces in southern Sudan, reports Reuter.

Guiseppe Meo and Hisham Ziyada, both employed by the Italian charity Comitato Collaborazione Medica, were released at the Foreign Ministry in Khartoum on 18 July. They had been detained in the southern village of Pariang when government forces captured it from the SPLA in May.

Before releasing Meo to the Italian ambassador in Sudan, the First Undersecretary at the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, Awad al-Kerim Fadlallah, said Meo had violated Sudanese law by entering the country without a visa.

He claimed that "The two doctors were rendering help to an outlaw group [the SPLA] which is at war with the Sudanese government, and their help could only perpetuate hostilities and exacerbate the suffering of the people of southern Sudan." However, Sudan had dropped all charges against the two men and they were free to go where they wanted. Meo and Ziyada made no comment except that they were grateful to be free.

Thanking the Khartoum government for releasing the doctors, the Italian ambassador said the two were fighting against sickness and had not taken sides in Sudan's 12-year-old civil war. (Reuter 18/Jul/95)


KHARTOUM READY FOR TALKS: On 27 July Khartoum announced that it was ready to resume peace talks with the southern-based guerrilla movement under a proposal backed by former US President Jimmy Carter. Foreign Minister Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha, returning from a meeting in Kenya with President Daniel arap Moi, told Radio Omdurman that he had conveyed a message from Lt-Gen al-Bashir expressing willingness to sit down with Col John Garang of the SPLA-Mainstream, and that negotiations could start within two weeks.

AP notes that Carter ended a five-day visit to Sudan and neighbouring countries on 23 July, during which Khartoum refused to renew the current cease-fire, mediated by Carter in March and due to expire on 28 July. (AP 27/Jul/95)


UNIVERSITY PROTEST: Students at the University of Khartoum staged a protest demonstration during a public meeting on the university campus addressed by Lt-Gen al-Bashir on 29 July, according to Cairo Radio. They shouted slogans against the Bashir regime and the harsh economic and social conditions experienced by the Sudanese people. In response, the police tried to break up the demonstration; the university gates were closed and security forces arrested demonstrators.

President Bashir was obliged to end the meeting prematurely when tear gas deployed against the students leaked into the auditorium. Interior Minister Dr al-Tayib Ibrahim Muhammad Kheir ["Tayib Sikha" or "Iron Bar"] came under attack as students smashed the windows of his car. Students later held a further anti-government demonstration near the scene of the gathering, overflowing into Sharia al-Gama'a and Sharia al-Nil, and prompting further violent action by the security forces. Several cars were smashed by the protestors, and twelve students were taken to hospital for treatment of their injuries at the hands of the police. Fifty-nine were arrested.

The Sudanese news agency SUNA reported that `a small group of students rioted' at the meeting, which had been organised by the Khartoum University Students' Union. It said the meeting ended peacefully and that no-one was hurt. (Arab Republic of Egypt Radio 29/Jul/95; SUNA 29/Jul/95)


EXILES SEEK TO BUILD ON MUBARAK'S SUPPORT: Exiled opponents of the Khartoum regime said at the end of June that the row between Khartoum and Cairo would help rally international opposition to the Sudanese government, reports the Guardian.

`After winning public support from the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, at a meeting on 28 June to celebrate his escape from an assassination attempt [in Addis Ababa], the opposition members said sympathy could be translated into material assistance.

`"This is a real breakthrough for us and we will not miss the chance to maximise on it," said Farouk Abu Eissa, a former minister based in Cairo for the last 11 years. The Cairo opposition - including such banned parties as the Democratic Unionists (DUP), the Umma Party, the Communists and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) - has been largely impotent since President Omar Hassan al-Bashir took power in a 1989 coup. But after pinning their hopes for his overthrow on the slim chance of a spontaneous uprising within Sudan, the opposition, according to Mr Abu Eissa, now expects regional support.

`President Mubarak has accused the Sudanese government and its spiritual patron, Hassan al-Turabi, of backing the gunment who fired on his car on the way to an African summit in Addis Ababa on Monday [26 June].

`On Tuesday night [27 June], Sudanese and Egyptian forces clashed in the Red Sea border area of Halaib, killing two Sudanese policemen and wounding 10 other men. Mr Mubarak yesterday [29 June] described Sudan's rulers as "the gang on our border". "The Sudanese people are a good people ruled by a criminal gang against we have to take measures," he told a rally.

`Mr Mubarak said a Sudanese named Mohammed Seraj masterminded Monday's attack, and that fundamentalists close to the Khartoum government had instigated the border fight. Earlier yesterday, Mr Mubarak ordered out the 70 Sudanese policemen who guard four posts in the Halaib triangle - ostensibly in retaliation for an incident on Wednesday night [28 June], in which Egyptians were evicted from Egyptian government-owned houses in Khartoum.

`The northern opposition groups were buoyed by a meeting in Eritrea this month, where they resolved long-standing rifts with the rebel SPLA.' (Guardian / Reuter 30/Jun/95)


CONSCRIPTION RESUMED: `The Sudanese authorities have resumed the conscription of youth for military service, suspended two months ago after sharp criticism of the way it had been carried out,' reported the Kenyan news agency KNA on 27 June.

The national service coordinator in Khartoum state, Salah Abdallah, said some coercion would have to be used "because a large section of youths wanted for military service are reluctant to show up."

`The conscription drew sharp criticism in April,' says KNA. `The Transitional National Assembly, the appointed parliament of Sudan, as well as some media, thought it had been improperly organised and that too much force had been used. Abdullah yesterday [26 June] denied any link between the search for conscripts and the military operations in the south. "The national service has nothing to do with the war in the south, as youths will be required to join the army even after the war ends," he said.' (KNA / SWB 27/Jun/95)


1990 COUP SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN DARFUR: Sudanese security forces have arrested four men in southern Darfur on suspicion of being involved in a coup d'etat against General Bashir's government five years ago.

The Pan-African News Agency (PANA) comments that the 1990 coup, `the first and most serious challenge posed to General Bashir', was `quickly foiled'. `The brains behind the plot, Brig Mohamed Osman Karrar, and 27 other senior officers, both in active service and on retirement, were tried by a court martial and executed in April 1990. Several others were sentenced to long prison terms.'

The government newspaper Al-Sudan al-Hadith on 25 June quoted Rahmah Muhammad Ali, the commissioner of Darfur, as saying that the four men had been arrested after they entered the region from a neighbouring country. [Sudan shares common borders with the Central African Republic and Chad.]

Rahmah Muhammad Ali said the four men, whose names were not given, had been transferred to Khartoum, apparently for trial. According to PANA, he added that an armed group, "probably from the Chadian opposition" had been engaging in terrorist activities in south Darfur. (PANA / SWB 26/Jun/95)


THREAT TO JOURNALISTS: Journalists who fail to register with the state Press Council are likely to be jailed and fined, reports the private newspaper Akhbar al-Yom. Al-Fatih al-Seed of the Journalists' Committee, linked to the government- appointed National Council for Press and Publication, warned that unlicensed journalists face one month in prison and a fine of Sud 500,000 ($910). He said members of his committee would make unannounced visits to offices to find journalists who were working without certification from the council, which was formed in 1993 and is supervised by Lt-Gen Omar al-Bashir.

Both local and foreign journalists must register with the committee, which has accredited 596 journalists so far. Those regarded as appropriately experienced are usually given accreditation without delay, but the committee insists that some must sit for an examination to prove their ability. (Akhbar al-Yom / Reuter 2/Aug/95)


TURABI'S PRAISE FOR ASSAILANTS: Sudanese Islamist leader Dr Hassan al-Turabi, described by Le Monde on 7 July as the `ideologue of the Khartoum regime', has paid homage to the members of the armed group responsible for the failed attempt to assassinate Egyptian president Husni Mubarak. In a speech carried by SUNA on 5 July he reportedly saluted the "group of mujahideen" who "grew from the Egyptian soil and hunted down the Egyptian pharaoh". He added, "Allah wishes for a revival of Islam out of Sudan and down the Nile to wipe Egypt clean."

Le Monde adds that at a conference of information ministers held by the Arab League at its headquarters in Cairo, on 5 July the Sudanese representative, ambassador Ahmad al-Tayeb al-Kordofani, walked out and slammed the door, claiming that Egyptian pressure was turning discussions against his government. (Le Monde / AFP 7/Jul/95; SUNA 5/Jul/95)


ASSASSINS SMUGGLED TO SAFETY? According to Voice of America, the Egyptian cabinet has reviewed security ministry reports linking Sudan to the assassination attempt against President Hosni Mubarak last month in Addis Ababa. One Egyptian newspaper maintains that three of the attackers in the failed assassination attempt were smuggled to safety in Sudan, including the alleged mastermind of the operation, who was believed to have been wounded by President Mubarak's bodyguards.

The Ethiopian authorities have said there were at least seven assailants and they believe all were Egyptian. But Egypt insists Sudan was involved, too. Official accounts of the cabinet meeting say the ministers also reviewed security reports showing the attackers used Sudan as a base for planning and preparing the attack. (VoA 18/Jul/95)


VISA REQUIREMENT: The Egyptian Interior Minister told a cabinet meeting on 17 July that he has ordered increased security measures since the attack on President Mubarak, including a recently-imposed visa requirement for Sudanese residents in Egypt. (VoA 18/Jul/95)


POLICE WOUNDED: Relations between Sudan and Egypt are also strained over a disputed triangle of land along their common border. Sudan's official news agency says Egypt is holding three Sudanese policemen who were wounded last month in a border clash in the Halaib area. Sudan's embassy in Cairo wants the men handed over so they can be treated elsewhere. (VoA 18/Jul/95)


DIPLOMATS ASSAULTED: On 17 July, Sudan ordered three of its diplomats in Cairo and their families to return home. The men had been beaten up on 16 July by unidentified gangs wielding iron clubs, one day after six Egyptian diplomats were attacked in Khartoum. (VoA; Financial Times 18/Jul/95)


NAVAL EXERCISES: Joint naval exercises in July by the Egyptian, American and British navies in the Red Sea constituted a threat to Sudan, and Khartoum believed their intention was to provoke a confrontation, according to Culture and Information Minister Abd al-Basit Sabdrat. Quoted in the independent daily al-Rai al-Akher on Friday 7 July, he said the exercises were part of an Egyptian conspiracy.

The exercises came at a time of extreme friction between Egypt and Sudan, notes Reuter, since they were taking place a week after Egypt accused Sudan of helping the gunmen who tried to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa. Sudan has denied the claim.

The week of naval exercises, entitled "Saluting Victory 1995," was scheduled to start on 5 July. Defence sources in Cairo said it would involve the participation of the US guided missile frigate Gallery and the British destroyer Gloucester. The exercises were planned months ago and had nothing to do with the tension between Egypt and Sudan.

Sabdrat told another independent daily, Akhbar al-Yom, that Sudan had always expected the Red Sea to be a zone of peace. (Akhbar al-Yom / Reuter 7/Jul/95)


TAHA ON ERITREA: Foreign Minister Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha said on 27 June that Sudan was in possession of `confirmed information concerning military activities directed against Sudan by Eritrea', according to Republic of Sudan Radio.

He said Sudan would not initiate any hostilities against its neighbours, but told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that the Eritrean government was providing assistance publicly to Sudanese opposition elements, and warned that Sudan was `ready to defend its territory and sovereignty.' (RSR / SWB 27/Jun/95)

U.S AMBASSADORIAL NOMINATION: On 20 June the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended approval of four ambassadorial nominations to Africa and forwarded them to the Senate for action, according to Africa News Report. They include Timothy Carney of Washington, nominated to the Republic of Sudan. (Africa News Report - US State Department 26/Jun/95)


REASSURANCE FOR SUDANESE IN EGYPT: Responding to allegations by the Sudanese government that Egypt might impound their assets, Egyptian Information Minister Safwat al-Sharif reassured Sudanese living in Egypt that they could feel safe `about their money, honour and property'. He said they should feel that they are among their kin. (MENA 28/Jul/95)


REGISTRATION OF SUDANESE ABROAD: The Sudanese Foreign Ministry has also issued a directive through its embassies worldwide to all Sudanese working or studying abroad to register with them, according to Taj ad-Din al-Mahdi of the Expatriate Affairs Department. Forms have been sent out which all Sudanese abroad must complete. Although the stated aim of the exercise is to determine the exact number of Sudanese abroad, "anyone failing to fill in the forms will not be able to renew his or her passport or get an embassy stamp for renewal of a work contract..." (IPS 7/Aug/95)


ARAB FUNDS FOR CANADIAN OIL PROJECT: `Sudan's hopes of developing its oil resources have been boosted by an announcement from Arakis Energy Corporation of Canada that it had arranged financing of $750m (470m) for an oil project in the Unity and Greater Heglig fields of central Sudan,' reported the Financial Times on 11 July.

`Mr Terry Alexander, president and chief executive officer of the Vancouver-based company, said that the agreement would help turn Sudan into a net exporter of oil in the next two years. Petroleum products at present make up about 30 per cent of the government's import bill. Mr Ghazi Salah Eddin [Atabani], minister of state for foreign affairs, said the Sudanese government was studying the financing but was confident the project would go ahead.

`Mr Alexander said that Arakis had entered into a contract with Arab Group International (AGI), an investment group chaired by Saudi prince Sultan bin Saud bin Abdallah al-Saud, under which AGI would purchase 23m new shares in Arakis, raising $345m and giving AGI a 43 per cent stake in the enlarged company. The rest would be covered by a letter of credit from AGI. The money will cover construction costs from the oil fields to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, along with further exploration, drilling and development of the concession, which is held by a wholly owned subsidiary of Arakis.

`Mr Alexander predicted production levels of at least 100,000 barrels a day by 1997 - current domestic consumption is about 50,000 b/d. Under a price-sharing agreement, Mr Alexander said the Sudanese government would receive an average of 50 per cent of the total oil revenues raised from the project.' (FT 11/Jul/95)


EURODISNEY OIL LINK: Africa Confidential comments that `Sudan's plan to produce oil has been saved from near collapse (again) by a massive cash injection by Saudi Arabia's royal family - for years the butt of abuse from Khartoum's ruling National Islamic Front.' It says that in addition to the new share purchase, AGI will extend a $400m interest-free loan facility.

The AGI chairman, Prince Sultan bin Saud bin Abdullah al Saud is `a grandson of the heir apparent Prince Abdullah, King Fahd's half brother. Sultan is set to become Chairman of Arakis, replacing Terry Alexander, who will remain a director. A key member of AGI - and of the royal inner circle - is Fahd's nephew, Prince Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, who recently bought into the ailing EuroDisney company in France and into Italian ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's media empire...

`Such an investment in Sudan without Fahd's approval is almost inconceivable: it signals a political decision. Riyadh may have concluded it can reduce Khartoum's hostility and its support for Saudi dissidents, such as Usama bin Laden, who backs Islamist groups in the Arabian peninsula from his base in Khartoum. Advice from Fahd's Red Sea and Horn security advisor, Abdullah Bahabri, will have been crucial.

`Faced with escalating pressure from Egypt and elsewhere, NIF leader Hassan al-Turabi wants an arrangement that strengthens his government. At Turabi's Arab Islamic Popular Conference in Khartoum in March, British-based Saudi dissident Muhammad al Mas'ari's Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights was conspicuous by its invisibility.

`The Saudi parties were also impressed by the project's economics. Their technical experts highlighted huge oil potential, with initial output expected at 80,000 barrels a day. This is reminiscent of Chevron's euphoria in the early 1980s, before the war drove it away.

`Architect of the deal is Pakistani entrepreneur (Mohamed) Lutfur Rahman Khan, founder of State Petroleum, Arakis' operating subsidiary in Sudan, who has access to NIF people. The deal follows June's collapse of talks between Sudan and Russia's Yuri Shafranik when it became clear Moscow was short of hard currency. Khartoum had earlier sought Iranian and Iraqi interest.

`Arakis may now seek more acreage. Oil companies from France (Total), Saudi and Australia are also buzzing around. And we hear French bank Paribas has approved $27m finance towards a mini-refinery in Khartoum.' (AC 21/Jul/95)


Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 11:16:09 BST
From: Peter Verney sudanupdate@GN.APC.ORG
Subject: Sudan Update Vol 6 No 12 (7Aug95)

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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