Issue No 17 January 1996
'Sudan News & Views' is an independent electronic Newsletter working to advocate peace, human rights and humanitarian aid for the Sudan.

Editor: Dr. Yasin Miheisi

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In this issue:


The UN Security Council had unanimously voted for a resolution calling on Sudan to comply, without further delay, with requests by the OAU to hand over three suspects sheltering in Sudan and wanted by Ethiopia, in connection to the assassination attempt on President Mubarak in Addis Ababa in June last year.
The resolution, drafted by the non-aligned members of the council, also called on Sudan to 'desist from engaging in activities of assisting, supporting and facilitating terrorist activities and from giving shelter and sanctuaries to terrorist elements.'
The UN Secretary general was asked to seek Sudan's cooperation and to report back within 60 days. No follow-up action was specified, but it is widely speculated that Sudan might face economic and diplomatic sanctions if it failed to comply.
Sudan says it had done everything to cooperate, but could not find the suspects. The Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Osman Taha, described the resolution as a plot aimed at imposing sanctions against Sudan.
Sudan had also lodged a formal complaint with the Security Council accusing Ethiopia of launching cross-border raids and occupying positions inside Sudan. Ethiopia denied Khartoum's accusations and described it as a tactic to divert the international attention from the issue of terrorism leveled against Sudan.
The council ignored Sudan's complaint and said it was seeking more information through the UN Secretariat and the OAU.


150 army officers had been dismissed from the Sudanese army this month. Those dismissed include 3 Major Generals, 30 Brigadiers, 25 Colonels, 14 Lieutenant Colonels and 78 Majors. It is speculated that the officers were dismissed because of a growing discontent among the officers, many of whom expressed their dissatisfaction with the way in which the war in the south is run, and the decision to push a large number of troops into areas difficult to secure, thus causing huge human and material losses over recent weeks.
The head of the army's Operations command, Major General Mamoun Hassan Mahjoub, had resigned his job a few days earlier, in protest to sending under-prepared and under-equipped forces to the operations zone in southern Sudan.
More than 6,000 officers had been dismissed from the army since 1989.


Remarks by the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar Al-Gaddafi, in which he referred to Sudan's harbouring of terrorism, had angered the authorities in Khartoum and strained relations between the two countries.
At a news conference, after 3 hours of talks with the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the Egyptian-Libyan border town of Sidi Barrani, Colonel Gaddafi said that there are groups in Sudan that do not recognize the Khartoum regime. He said that this wave of terrorism may bring down Bashir and Turabi. He noted that Libya's relations with Sudan are normal and they are trying to use these relations to head the rift between Sudan and Egypt and to help Sudan itself, because he believes that Sudan is pursuing a counter productive policy.


The Eritrean President, Isyas Afwerki, said in an interview with al-Hayat newspaper, that Eritrea is ready to train and supply the Sudanese opposition with arms.
'If we are asked for military help or training and weapons, we will not hesitate to help' Afwerki said. 'We do not intend showing any courtesy with regard to toppling the Sudanese regime, and we are not working secretly in this context' he added.
Eritrea broke relations with Sudan in December 1994, and had since hosted several Sudanese opposition meetings.


The state General Investment Corporation (GIC)had announced that an American car manufacturing company had applied to build a car manufacturing plant in Khartoum. The General Manager of GIC, Mohamed Fadlalla, said that the proposal was made by an agent of the company, a Pakistani who holds British citizenship. He said a license had been granted and a large plot of land allocated for the project in Ailafoon area of Khartoum. He added that two world-famous Japanese, and one Chinese car companies had also applied to build car factories in Sudan. He said the auto industry will allow other industries, such as plastic and tyre manufacturing, to flourish.
The GIC optimism is in complete contrast to the statement made by the Minister of Industry, Badr el- Din Suliman, to the Council of Ministers in the same month. The Minister said that the rate of growth of the industrial sector has decreased from 5.9% in 1989 to 1% in 1995, and that the contribution of the textile industry has come down to 4.7% of the total industrial output from 26.1%. He outlined the reasons for the marked deterioration in industrial output as lack of financing, lack of skilled labour, unfair competition, lack of raw materials, high taxation and energy shortages.
The announcement by the GIC, therefore, raises many questions, namely, what is the purpose and who are the beneficiaries?


The SPLA had announced that its forces had captured the town of Aswa in Eastern Equatoria, following a fierce battle in which hundreds of the government soldiers were killed or wounded. The SPLA statement said the battle for Aswa took place on the 17 and 18 of January. The government forces, comprising two brigades of about 3,000 soldiers, are now either dead, wounded, on the retreat or have been taken prisoners. The SPLA had captured 3 T-55 tanks, 17 armoured vehicles, 57 artillery guns, communication equipment and many automatic rifles.
By capturing Aswa, the SPLA is now in control of most of eastern Equatoria, except for the town of Juba.


An Islamic militant group clashed with police in central Sudan, leaving a policeman and eight militants dead.
Members of al-Takfir wa'l-Hijra (Repudiation and Exodus) group were trying to forcibly convert residents of Kambo Ashara village, near Wad Medani, 180 km south of Khartoum. When police was called by the residents, about 20 extremists attacked them with knives, killing one policeman and capturing their weapons. Another group of policemen then killed eight members of the group and wounded others.
The group, founded in Egypt in the 1970s, has a philosophy of separating itself from society, which it considers infidel, with the aim of returning to pure Islam.
Takfir wa'l-Hijra began setting up branches in Sudan only in recent years. It is not known whether the members involved were all Sudanese or included some foreigners.


[] The following table shows the prices (in Sudanese Pounds) of some of the essential consumer commodities during 1995. The data is self-explanatory:
Item UnitJan'95 Apr'95 Ju'95l Oct'95Dec'95
US Dollar 1$530 680 710 750960
Beef 1kg 400 500 700 850950
Lamb 1 kg 600 700 1,000 1,3001,400
Milk 1lb 130 150 180 200250
Veg oil 1lb200 250 400 450500
Tea 1lb 800 850 900 1,0001,100
Gasoline 1gal 1,050 1,100 1,300 1,5001,500

[] The price of petrol had been increased in January by 13% to 1,700 SP per gallon from 1,500 SP. The price of gas was also increased by 20% and diesel was rationed to 5 gallons per week for private cars and pickups. Fuel prices were last increased 3 months ago in October 95.

[] The Sudanese government signed an agreement with a French consortium for the excavation of gold and minerals in northern Sudan. The Director-General of the Sudanese Geological Research Corporation said the excavation for gold and minerals will start in February and continue for three years. Gold reserves and rates of production will be determined during this period.

[] Sudan will receive $4.5m in aid from Australia for emergency health care and education. The package includes $2m for primary health care in Tonj and Yambio regions in the south; $1m for emergency improvements to primary education throughout Sudan and $650,000 for medical activities at Juba hospital.

[] Khartoum's International Trade Fair has reopened in January after a gap of seven years. The countries participating in the fair include Iran, Pakistan, Jordan and Kenya.
Speaking at the inauguration by President Omar al-Bashir, Finance Minister, Abdalla Hassan Ahmad, said the fair was not only a commercial gathering but 'a reflection of the depth of relations between the participating countries.' The minister said it showed Khartoum had broken out of the siege imposed by Western countries opposed to Sudan's pro-Islamist government.
The fair will last until January 22.


Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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