Tag Archives: Sudan

Sudan – 18,000 displaced by government and militia attacks in Jebel Marra

Sudan Tribune

January 21, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The number of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the capital of North Darfur state have reached 18,000 people said OCHA a UN body tasked with the coordination of humanitarian action on Wednesday.

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A child walks with her mother to their shelter at the Zam Zam camp for displaced people in North Darfur on 11 June 2014 (Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that more than 18,000 people have been newly verified as displaced in El-Fasher, Shangil Tobaya, Tawila and Um Baru areas in North Darfur, according to humanitarian partners,” said Farhan Haq, UN chief deputy spokesperson.

Haq further said that more than 2,200 IDPs sought protection at the UNAMID site in Um Baru, adding that people continue to arrive too the base of the hybrid peacekeeping mission there.

He also pointed that 200 IDPs reached UNAMID camp in Sortony area which is not far from Jebel Marra “reportedly fearing attacks on villages in the area”.

Since the beginning of this year, the Sudanese army and the government militias carry out military attacks on the rebel positions in Jebel Marra in North Darfur.

The spokesperson of the army said they expulsed different factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) from the eastern part of Jebel Marra and captured strategic rebel positions.

Also the army and the rebels confirmed the death of the SLM-Minni Minnawi to operational commander Mohamed Hari on 13 January in an ambush near Orshi, North Darfur.

OCHA said aid groups on the ground provide civilians affected by the fighting in the area with humanitarian assistance including healthcare and household items.

However, the Un body says “that aid agencies aren’t able to access those displaced in the Jebel Marra area and assess their needs due to ongoing hostilities and access constraints.”

access to this isolated area continues to be a challenge for humanitarians but that efforts are underway to carry out a rapid assessment and deliver humanitarian assistance.

(ST)

Sudan – Umma Party preparing to go underground as government dissolves it

Sudan Tribune
January 18, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has agreed to freeze the work of its internal bodies and will operate secretly in the wake of the government’s move to dissolve the party, a senior NUP source told Sudan Tribune.

The decision was in response to a proposal made by NUP leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi who is currently in Cairo that was taken up by the politburo in a meeting that continued till the early hours of Sunday.

The source, who requested anonymity, said that the proposal saw stiff resistance from current Secretary General Sara Nugdalla and group loyal to ex-SG Sideeg Ismail. Both ended up withdrawing from the meeting to express their disapproval of the move.

This week it was revealed that the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) filed a request since last December with the Council of Political parties to dissolve the NUP on the grounds that al-Mahdi is a signatory to the ‘Paris Declaration’ and ‘Sudan Call’ accords with rebel groups stressing that it calls for dismantling the one-party state and mobilizing all forces “to change the existing constitutional order in the country that carries a military aspect”.

The NISS said in its complaint that alliance with rebels violates Sudan interim constitution of 2005 and Political Parties Act of 2007.

It further said that these accords should be regarded as direct moral support that adopts the approach of military action carried out by rebel bearing arms against the existing constitutional system contrary to the obligations imposed on it by the Constitution and the law on the peaceful transfer of power through elections .

“[S]upporting them [rebels] from the NUP is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution and the law,” reads the NISS filing seen by Sudan Tribune

“Based on the aforementioned, we ask your esteemed council to exercise and effect your authority contained in articles 10, 13, 14, and 19 of the Political Parties Act”.

The articles referenced by NISS states that a political party would be deprived from contesting in elections or have its activities frozen or be dissolved through an order of the Constitutional Court based on a lawsuit filed by a two-third majority of Council of Political Parties.

The NUP deputy chairman Fadlallah Burma said on Wednesday that they are preparing legal and political arguments refuting the NISS demand.

Burma called this move a “violation of the constitution and bypassing democracy”.

On Saturday, opposition parties the house of late PM Ismail al-Azhari expressed solidarity with the NUP in face of dissolution threats.

The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and NUP held a meeting today and issued a joint statement expressing their rejection of the dissolution request calling it a breach of an inherent constitutional right for a old party exercising its right with “responsibility and patriotism”.

Last December, Sudanese political and armed opposition forces and civil society organizations signed the “Sudan Call” agreement in Addis Ababa which calls for ending the war, dismantling the one-party state, achieving a comprehensive peace and democratic transition in the country.

This was preceded by the signing of the “Paris Declaration” last August between the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the NUP which calls for a comprehensive solution involving all the political forces including rebel groups. It further stresses on the need to create a conducive environment in order to hold a genuine national dialogue.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir described the signatories as agents, traitors and mercenaries who sealed these deals with sponsorship of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad).

Bashir also vowed to try al-Mahdi, who has been based in Cairo since the accords, once he returns to Sudan for his alliance with SRF unless he disavows these agreements.

But al-Mahdi rejected these conditions and demanded an apology for Bashir’s accusations.

The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi (Photo: Reuters)

(ST)

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Sudan – al-Mahdi calls on Bashir to accept unity of Sudan’s opposition groups

Sudan Tribune

(ADDIS ABABA) – Leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has called on president Omer al-Bashir to admit the unity of the opposition groups, adding the conditions are favourable for an inclusive and comprehensive peace process in Sudan .

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Sadiq al-Mahdi speaks to reporters in a press conference held in Addis Ababa on 30 Nov 2014 (ST)

Sadiq al-Mahdi was speaking to reporters following a meeting held with the head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sunday before the departure of Thabo Mbeki to Berlin.

In his remarks al-Mahdi said a comprehensive conference with a neutral chairmanship is needed to achieve democratic transition in Sudan once the warring parties reach a cessation of hostilities .

He further wondered why the Sudanese government refuses to negotiate with the rebel alliance Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), considering the government position is the main obstacle in the current negotiations.

“The problem is that the government does not want to recognise the new reality. This reality that the weapon bearers formed one platform which is the (Sudanese) Revolutionary Front. Why the government refuses to recognise it? Particularly the (SRF) renounced call to overthrow the regime by force and its claim for self-determination,” he said.

“Why (the government) does not want to recognise the Revolutionary Front as a negotiator, and why it does not recognise the unity of the opposition which only wants a just and comprehensive peace”.

The existence of a single platform facilitates comprehensive solutions,” he emphasised.

Few hours before al-Mahdi’s remarks, president Omer al-Bashir warned the opposition parties against any agreement with the rebel groups saying it impact negatively on the morale of the Sudanese army soldiers who are fighting rebels.

He also said al-Mahdi will be tried for signing the Paris Declaration with the SRF groups.

However, ignoring Bashir’s threats, Mahdi announced the opposition forces including the NUP and National Consensus Forces (NCF) will sign a new agreement with the rebel groups.

There will be post Paris Declaration which was between the SRF and the NUP and now we want to expand the base of the agreement.

He pointed that this step is supportive to the ongoing efforts to reach a peaceful settlement because all the (opposition and rebel) parties recognise the decision 456 of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the AUHIP agreement on national dialogue and constitutional process signed by the Paris Declaration forces and the national dialogue committee.

(ST)

Sudan – UN concern over military’s presence at mass rape probe

Reuters

(Reuters) – The heavy presence of Sudan’s military during an investigation by international peacekeepers of an alleged mass rape incident in Sudan’s western Darfur region has raised serious concerns at the Security Council, Australia’s U.N. envoy said on Monday.

Those concerns were reinforced by remarks from a U.N. official, who described the menacing atmosphere the alleged rape victims were subjected to due to the presence of Sudanese troops while they were interviewed about possible acts of sexual violence.

Last week the United Nations said Sudanese troops had denied U.N. and African Union peacekeepers access to a town in Darfur called Tabit where they wanted to investigate reports of an alleged mass rape of some 200 women and girls.

The joint U.N.-AU force in Darfur, known as UNAMID, issued a statement on Monday saying a verification team it sent to Tabit had been granted access to the village after a delay of nearly one week. UNAMID said none of those interviewed confirmed they had been raped and the investigation team found no evidence to support the allegations.

The issue was discussed by the Security Council. Australia Ambassador Gary Quinlan said U.N. special envoy on sexual violence in armed conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura and a number of council members voiced concern about the Sudanese military being present when alleged rape victims were interviewed.

“Ms. Bangura added … that there had been a heavy military presence during the team’s visit and she stressed that while the rape allegations remained unverified, in her view it was not possible to conclude that no sexual violence took place,” said Quinlan, president of the 15-nation council this month.

“A number of members of the council expressed very strong concern over this,” he said, adding that Bangura was worried about a possible “a wall of silence” and that the atmosphere created was one of threats and “fear of reprisal”.

A U.N. official familiar with UNAMID, who is not authorized to speak to the media, said in an interview the situation during Sunday’s investigation was not conducive to a proper examination of allegations of mass rape.

“It was an obvious atmosphere of intimidation,” the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that the military were present in every house the UNAMID team visited to conduct interviews.

One alleged rape victim told members of the team that Sudanese military officials ordered them not to speak to the UNAMID team, saying that a committee headed by an army commander would talk to UNAMID on their behalf.

The U.N. official added that some of the Sudanese soldiers were drunk, which only heightened the menacing atmosphere for the alleged rape victims. The official also noted that some of the soldiers were in uniform and others in civilian clothes.

Sudan’s U.N. mission did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Law and order have collapsed in much of Darfur, where mainly African tribes took up arms in 2003 against the Arab-led government in Khartoum, which they accused of discriminating against them. UNAMID has been deployed in the region since 2007.

Last month, an internal U.N. review found that UNAMID had failed to provide U.N. headquarters in New York with full reports on attacks against civilians and peacekeepers. The review had been ordered in response to media reports alleging that UNAMID intentionally covered up details of deadly attacks.

Sudan – ruling NCP wants to stop election of state governors and have pressident appopint them

Sudan Tribune

October 27, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Congress Party (NCP) would forgo the direct election of state governors and instead recommend their appointment by the president of the republic, said a leading member of the ruling party on Monday.

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Delegates attend the general convention of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum October 23, 2014. (Photo Reuters Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The head of NCP legal secretary, al-Fadel Haj Suleiman, told Sudan Tribune that the Leadership Council will discard the party’s nominees for governors in the next year election and recommend that the president of the republic appoint state governors rather than elect them.

The NCP regional conventions held in the 17 Sudanese states selected 51 people, each state submitted three nominees. The party’s leadership has to pick one of the three to run for governor in the gubernatorial race.

“The General Convention of the party issued a recommendation, requiring to review the federal system, including the selection of governors, after divisions over the appointment or election,” Suleiman said.

He was referring to the failure of the fourth convention, which wrapped up on Saturday, to reach a consensus over the matter.

President al-Bashir in his speech at the opening session of the party’s conference underlined the tribal and ethnic alliances that transpired during the regional conventions particularly in Darfur when it came to select the nominees for governor, and called to correct the “negative effects” of the current territorial administrative system.

“The issue needs to be studied to determine positive and negative effects of previous experiences,” Suleiman said, emphasising that negative tribal and ethnic practices appeared during the nomination of the party’s candidates for the gubernatorial election.

Last September in remarks delivered at the party’s convention in South Darfur’s capital Nyala Ghandour vigorously denounced the functioning of the ruling party in the state saying “the loyalty of its membership is based on tribal affiliations”.

Ghandour further said the “NCP principles call to strengthen the national unity and bring people together on common interests.

Suleiman expected the party opts for the appointment of governors by the president of the republic and advocated saying “this step does not break the principles of democratic governance because an elected president can select the governors who are accountable before elected regional assemblies that can recommend to relieve them.”

He further said that every regional assembly can nominate several persons and the president chooses one of them as governor. Or the head of state can submit some names to the state legislators who will select one of them.

Suleiman said the leadership council might discuss the appointment or the election of governors in its first meeting within a week.

The general convention of the ruling party selected the incumbent president Omer al-Bashir as its candidate for the presidential election scheduled for April 2015.

Last January, Bashir called for a national dialogue process aiming to end war in the Two Areas and Darfur, but also to discuss democratic reforms paving for a permanent constitution.

(ST)

Sudan – Bashir selected by Shura as NPC candidate for presidency again

Sudan Tribune

October 21, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) Shura Council has selected president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, as party candidate for the 2015 election.

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Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir looks on during an interview with state television in Khartoum late February 3, 2012 (Reuters)

The incumbent president won 265 votes out of 495 which represent 73% of the total percentage. His official nomination will be approved at the NCP General Convention.

The NCP Leadership Council on Monday besides Bashir selected four other leading members and referred them to the Shura Council to pick one of them as the party’s nominee for 2015 presidential election.

The 70-year old president previously said he would not seek a new mandate saying the country needs “fresh bold”. The appointment of a military, Bakri Hassan Saleh, as first vice-president was also perceived as a step towards his departure.

During the past weeks, Bashir received different delegations from the NCP dignitaries requesting him to accept their nomination for the presidential race.

The other four nominees chosen by the Leadership Council and submitted to the Shura Council included the first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh, former presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie, former first vice-president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour.

Meanwhile, the former presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that he does not seek to run for the presidency despite being selected among the NCP’s five possible candidates.

“The party members will not select me [as presidential candidate] and I do not want it and it is better for them not to select me”, he said.

The NCP leading figure, Amin Hassan Omer, said in press statements that Bashir and his deputy Salih are not serving army officers, pointing they had retired and became members of the NCP.

The head of the NCP organisational sector, Hamid Siddiq, for his part, scoffed at reports that Bashir will easily won the upcoming election because he wouldn’t run against strong competitors, saying what is wrong if Bashir wins by consensus.

He downplayed voices saying that Sudan needs a president who could break the barrier of the the international isolation and build strong relation with the United States, saying the NCP needs someone who is close to Allah [God] not the US.

Siddiq pointed the NCP leaders were unwilling to accept party nomination for presidency, saying that 7 members withdrew their nomination and the technical committee conducted the nomination process twice for lack of a quorum.

NCP MISTAKES

Bashir, who addressed the Shura Council meeting on Tuesday, acknowledged that the NCP committed several mistakes and violations, announcing intention to form a committee to look into these violations in order to overcome the flaws.

He directed the NCP members to implement the recommendations of the Shura conferences, pointing to the political mobility his party made ahead of the General Convention.

The NCP chairman said his address in the opening session of the General Convention on Thursday will tackle NCP achievements during the past five years, pointing he will also deal with the failures.

(ST)

Sudan – government bombing continues in South Kordofan mountains

Guardian

Sudan: bombings force children out of classroom and into camps

Renewed violence in South Kordofan is robbing a new generation of their education, former students and teachers tell Nuba Reports

Children play in the mountains outside of Tess, South Kordofan, Sudan.
Children play in the mountains outside of Tess, South Kordofan, Sudan. Photograph: Adriane Ohanesian/AFP

With every year and every lesson missed, the hopes for a new generation – nurtured in brief peace between 2005 and 2011 – are fading.

Howa James is one of this generation. Before the conflict between Sudan’s armed forces and Nuban rebels reignited in the Nuba Mountains in June 2011, Howa was a student at the Girls’ Peace High School in Kauda. Peace High School is a boarding school, but Howa’s family lives next door, so teachers allowed her to sleep at home.

Howa loved her time at Peace High. As the war intensified, she and her classmates tried to continue on with their lives. But they soon found themselves caught in the middle.

“I heard the sound of the jet and when I looked up, I saw the plane dropping bombs on me,” she said. “I didn’t have time to run but I found a small hole near me and I got in it. The bomb exploded 10 metres from me.”

Howa told her story as she stood next to the huge crater created by a bomb that nearly killed her. She hasn’t been to school since that day over two years ago.

Destruction of schools

Education is at the core of the Nubans’ cultural values. For all the damage war has done in the Nuba Mountains, the destruction and shuttering of the schools have hit the communities hardest.

I heard the sound of the jet and when I looked up, I saw the plane dropping bombs

Before the war, hundreds of members of a community would volunteer their time, money and crops to build and fund community schools and their students. Towns even pooled funds to fly in teachers from Kenya.

Early in the war, students would sit for final examinations with a rock on their desk. If an Antonov bomber flew overhead, the rock held their papers in place while they hid in foxholes.

At the end of each year, the schools would hold a celebration for the entire village. The teachers call the students’ names one by one and present them with handwritten certificates confirming they’ve passed their classes.

As the name of each child is called, their parents run and dance towards them. The mother sings a song praising the child, and the father slaps five Sudanese pounds ($1) to their head. The note sticks to the student’s scalp as if they are wearing a crown for their achievements. For many communities these celebrations have stopped and it is no longer safe to bring in teachers.

Aerial bombardment

Before the war, there were 255 schools in the Nuba Mountains. Now there are less than 100. None are able to provide the same level of education as they did before the war. There are not enough teachers to provide instruction for all eight grades, books are rare and there are few resources to help with lessons.

According to Tajani Tima, minister of education for the insurgent group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM-N), 10 national and international organisations were supporting education in the region but now only two of these organisations are willing to help the schools.

Before the war, there were 255 schools in the Nuba Mountains. Now there are less than 100

“The education budget for the state is significantly lower than years of peace,” Tajani said. “Teachers have fled the region and there is a high student dropout rate because most schools can’t continue to operate due to the ground fighting and increased bombing.”

Many schoolyards within the SPLM-N controlled areas have been targeted by the Sudanese government in its near-daily aerial bombardment. Bombs have landed near the Girls’ Peace High School on several occasions. But on the morning of 29 December 2012, an Antonov flew over, dropping bombs and finally hitting the school.

Jawahir Yusif was studying there at the time. “Six bombs were dropped on the school. It destroyed one of the classrooms and the dormitories for the girls,” she said, adding:

“The students and teachers are scared that if the government hears that many people are in one location like the school that they will send a plane to bomb us.”

School officials said they had no choice but to shut down.

Refugee Schools

The only other option for many students are the refugee camps across the new border in South Sudan. Families have sent their children hundreds of kilometres to Yida, home to over 70,000 refugees from South Kordofan.

According to UNHCR, Yida is too close to the Sudanese border and the conflict the refugees left behind. Unless the camp can be moved further south, the organisation says it cannot provide education.

Refugee children copy notes from a chalkboard during an open-air English lesson under a tree at the Yida camp in South Sudan. As there are no schools in the camp, refugees have organised themselves, making a few primary schools with volunteer refugee teachers to educate the children.
Refugee children copy notes from a chalkboard during a makeshift open-air English lesson under a tree at the Yida camp in South Sudan. Photograph: Reuters

The only schools operating in Yida camp are elementary schools that have been started by the refugees themselves with minimal outside funding. These schools serve thousands of students under trees and small grass huts and do not have the resources to pay their teachers well or provide textbooks. Still, the students walk days to the camps at the start of each term and sit in the sweltering heat for a chance to learn.

UNHCR does support elementary and high school education in the Ajoung Thok Camp about 60 km from Yida. Despite the efforts of UNHCR to convince the refugees to move from Yida to Ajoung Thok most families have been reluctant. Only around 13,000 have settled in in Ajuong Thok. Some students opt to go there without their families but there still aren’t enough schools for all the students in Yida or South Kordofan who need education.

The Next Generation

No matter how difficult it may be, people are determined to educate their children. Oum Juma worked as a teacher in Yida during it’s first year of existence. Like many teachers here, she refuses to let the conflict take her daughter’s childhood the way the earlier conflict, Africa’s longest-running civil war, took hers. She was separated from her family by Sudan’s war with the south, which ran from 1983 to 2005 and eventually saw South Sudan split from the north in 2011.

I just focus on these children. I want them to know right from wrong

She was raised and educated in a missionary school, and didn’t see her mother until after the peace deal in 2005. Since then, she’s become a mother herself. When fighting broke out again she fled the carnage with her infant child. She made it to Yida, but her husband disappeared.

“My whole life has been war, since I was a child, 24 years – that’s how old I am,” she said. “I just focus on these children. I want them to know right from wrong.”

For all that she has experienced Oum Juma does not want revenge. She believes education can bring peace to her children and the next generation of Nubans.

“Education cannot stop the war, but this generation must understand the problems. The children may say my mother was killed and now I want revenge. ‘I want to kill those who killed my mum,’ – an eight year old thinks this. But that thinking just starts another war. If they understand they can think of a new future, there are many ways of solving problems.” Guardian