Tag Archives: Sudan

Sudan – floods disrupt schools and isolate villages in Khartoum region

Sudan Tribune

(KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Khartoum state has declared a state of high alert following heavy rains which hit the capital on Wednesday.

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A Sudanese woman sits with her child next to her house in a flooded street on the outskirts of the capital Khartoum on 10 August 2013 (Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

Dozens of families in the west of Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman were seen carrying their belongings after their homes were destroyed by rain which amounted to 43 mm. Floods have also destroyed homes in villages and areas south of Omdurman.

Eastern parts of Omdurman also suffered from heavy rains and power outages and distress calls were heard in Al-Thawra neighbourhood. Fallen trees and shattered signboard impeded normal flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on public streets.
Khartoum state governor, Abdel-Rahman Al-Khidir, toured areas affected by floods in Um badda and Karrari neighbourhoods, announcing closing of schools for one week.

Al-Khidir declared a state of high alert and formed a 24-hour central emergency committee in the state’s 105 administrative unit besides giving localities the right to use heavy machinery to draw waters and clean up roads.

He also decided to put the civil defence and river rescue forces in a high of alert besides putting police in a %50 state of readiness of 50% in anticipation of emergency matters following weather forecast that heavy rains will continue until 11 August.

The governor also directed state’s authorities to supply affected families with sheeting and tents.

Khartoum state stressed in a press report that old and new water drains were able to discharge most of the waters, saying some lowlands and squares need additional work.

It underscored there were no casualties or serious damage to property, saying that primary outcome showed that 60 homes were completely or partially destroyed in Um Bada besides 10 others in Karrari.

The governor further called upon Khartoum residents to allow the concerned engineering bodies carry out their work and not to throw wastes on water drains.

The commissioner of Jebel Al-Awliya, al-Bashir Abu Kasawi, told the state-run radio of Omdurman that localities of Karrari, east Nile, and Jebel al-Awliya and other areas have been affected by rains and floods.

Sudan’s General Authority for Meteorology (GAM) said Khartoum state saw an increase of rainfall ranging from 60 to 110 mm which led to raising levels of the Nile waters, pointing the increase represent a real threat to residents of the White and Blue Nile banks.

Competent bodies have advised Khartoum state to carry out strategic plan to build permanent water drains, spray insecticides, and drying waters of public squares.

Heavy rains also isolated 15 villages in the locality of south Gazira in Gazira state.

Sudan’s president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, was seen on Monday in a surprise inspection tour for construction works of a bridge in east Nile locality following heavy rains which hit Khartoum state on Saturday.

Heavy floods have been common in the past few years in Sudan’s east along the Blue Nile but happen more rarely in the capital and the north where much of Sudan’s population live.

Floods and rains that hit different areas in Sudan last year lead to the death of at least 38 people and injured dozens.

Rains which fell during the past few days have turned Khartoum into a pond of water amid widespread anger over what is perceived as an inadequate government response.

Meanwhile, the commissioner of south Gazira locality, Kambal Hassan al-Mahi, attributed isolation of these villages to poor drainage, saying walls and bathrooms of several homes and schools were destroyed by the rain.

He announced mobilization of all resources of the locality, state, and Gazira scheme board to rescue the isolated villages.

The commissioner of Al-Ghorashi locality in Gazira state, Abdel-Basit al-Dikhairi, for his part, announced collapse of 114 homes and several government buildings in 15 villages due to heavy rains in the past two days.

(ST)

Sudan – Turabi demands election delay until 2015

Sudan Tribune

Sudan’s PCP leader demands 2015 elections be delayed(KHARTOUM) – The leader of Sudan’s Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan al-Turabi, said his party participated in the national dialogue in order to return “power to the people”, disclosing he demanded the government to delay the 2015 elections.

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Head of the Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan al-Turabi gestures during an interview in Khartoum on 3 October 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Turabi, who delivered a Eid al-Fitr sermon at a mosque in his native village on Monday, said they accepted president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, initiative for national dialogue in order to return power to the Sudanese people, stressing he asked the government to extend elections date to allow political parties contact their bases.

Reliable sources from opposition side in the national dialogue committee known as 7+7 told Sudan Tribune that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) expressed reservation on issues of the transitional government and review of elections law while opposition forces insists on discussing these issues before the 2015 elections.

Sudan’s general elections are set to be held in April 2015 but opposition parties threatened to boycott it saying NCP holds absolute control over power and refuse to make any compromise to end the civil war and allow public liberties.

Sudan’s National Elections Commission (NEC) had previously said it received requests from political parties last April to delay elections.

The NEC chief, Mukhtar al-Asam, said they received requests for postponing elections from the PCP and the National Umma Party led by, al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, due to financial difficulties and the country’s present circumstances.

He said the NEC agreed with these political parties on the possibility for postponing elections until improving their financial position.

However, after conflicting statements from government officials, Bashir emphasised that there will be no postponement for next year’s elections and even berated NCP officials who suggested otherwise.

Turabi urged residents of his village to properly choose their representative in the parliament, calling upon them to take elections seriously.

The veteran Islamic leader ruled out running in the upcoming elections, saying it must be fair and transparent.

He further demanded the government to allow neutral bodies oversee elections.
Last week, the 7+7 committee said it has partially agreed on a roadmap for a process to realise peace and democratic reforms.

Presidential assistant, Ibrahim Ghandour, said the committee agreed to more than %90 of the roadmap, noting the framework agreement would be completed no later than Eid al-Fitr [feast of breaking the fast of Ramadan] holiday.

He expressed optimism that political forces would confidently move towards the national dialogue.

Last January, Bashir called on political parties and armed groups to engage in a national dialogue to discuss four issues, including ending the civil war, allowing political freedoms, fighting against poverty and revitalizing national identity.

He also held a political roundtable in Khartoum last April with the participation of 83 political parties.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) boycotted the political roundtable, saying the government did not respond to its conditions.

The NCF wants the NCP-dominated government to declare a comprehensive one-month ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In addition it has called for the issuing of a general amnesty, allowing public freedoms and the release of all political detainees.

Bashir at the time instructed authorities in the states and localities across Sudan to enable political parties to carry out their activities inside and outside their headquarters without restrictions except those dictated by the law.

The Sudanese president also pledged to enhance press freedom so that it can play its role in the success of the national dialogue unconditionally as long they abide by the norms of the profession.

Political detainees who have not been found to be involved in criminal acts will be released, Bashir said

But since then, Sudanese authorities arrested al-Mahdi and the head of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) Ibrahim al-Sheikh. It also intensified its censorship of newspapers by either suspension or shutting down the entire media houses.

The NUP suspended its participation in national dialogue following detention of its leader in May after he criticised government militia, accusing them of committing war crimes in Darfur. After his release in June, Mahdi said there is a need to review the current process and to include rebels in the political process.

The PCP refused to suspend its participation in the national dialogue, saying all current difficulties can be resolved within the existing mechanisms.

(ST)

Sudan – Bashir denounces criticism of RSF and says he will end “tribal” conflicts

Sudan Tribune

July 13, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, has renewed promise to end rebellion and tribal conflicts in the country by the end of 2014 and denounced criticism directed to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) from some political forces.

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Sudan’s president Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivers a speech on 27 January 2014 in the capital, Khartoum (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Bashir, who received from the speaker of the parliament, Alfatih Izz al-Din, on Sunday the parliament’s response to the letter he tabled at the National Assembly, praised efforts of the Sudanese army and other regular forces in defending the country.

He further strongly defended the RSF, saying they defeated rebel groups in several areas in Darfur and South Kordofan.

“They [RSF] offered 163 martyrs and several of wounded within five months only to defend the country,” he added.

The Sudanese president denounced criticism of the RSF by some political forces, saying the latter turned a blind eye on the violations committed by the rebel forces in the localities of Haskanita, Al-li’ait Jar Alnabi, Altiwaisha, and Kalmando in North Darfur.

The RSF militia, which is widely known as the Janjaweed militias, were originally mobilized by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.

The militia was reactivated and restructured again in August 2013 under the command of NISS to fight rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.

Sudanese authorities arrested leaders of two opposition parties recently after accusing the RSF of committing serious abuses in conflict zones.

ELECTIONS TO BE HELD AS SCHEDUELD

The Sudanese president on Sunday also directed the National Elections Commission (NEC) to make the necessary arrangements for holding elections in April 2015, saying it is a constitutional requirement and there is no reason for delaying it.

Sudan’s opposition parties call for forming a transitional government and holding a national conference with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution for the conflicts in Darfur region, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states.

The interim government would organize general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, inaugurating a new democratic regime. But the NCP rejects this proposal saying opposition parties must simply prepare for the 2015 elections and that rebels should sign first peace accords.

Last week, Bashir issued presidential decrees appointing NEC chief, deputy chairman, and two other members.

The Sudanese parliament also passed amendments to the 2008 elections law amid accusations by opposition that the government plans to rig the election process through the new law.

Bashir said the amended electoral law would allow all political forces to be presented in the parliament.

Under the amended law, the percentage of proportional representation according to the draft bill went up from 40% to 50% with an increase in the minimum allocated for women from 25% to 30% and for the party representation list from 15% to 20%.

Bashir underscored commitment to widen the circle of political practice and allow public freedoms according to the law and without infringing on the rights of other people and public rights.

He called upon MPs to focus on resolving problems facing Sudan on top of which are the tribal conflicts which is fuelled by the enemies of the country.

Bashir renewed Sudan’s adherence to its principles, saying the country was targeted since a long time ago due to its geographical location

(ST)

Sudan – Mahdi’s Umma Party sets conditions for dialogue

Sudan Tribune

Sudan’s NUP to set new conditions for resuming participation in the national dialogue


June 18, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has suggested that it intends to set new conditions in order to resume participation in the national dialogue stressing that this process cannot start from the point where it stopped prior to the arrest of its leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi.

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Opposition leader of Umma Party and Sudan’s former Prime Minister al-Sadiq al-Mahdi at his home in Omdurman after he was released, June 15, 2014 (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The NUP suspended participation in the dialogue last month to protest al-Mahdi’s arrest and what it said was a government crackdown on political and media liberties.

Al-Mahdi was arrested on May 17th for criticizing alleged crimes and atrocities committed by the Rapid Support Force (RSF) government militia in conflict zones.

He was released on Sunday and the state media said the move was done after al-Mahdi’s lawyers appealed to the justice minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa to use his powers under article (58) of Sudan’s penal code which allows him to stop criminal proceedings against any suspect at any point before being sentenced by a court.

It carried a statement by NUP Central Commission stating that they support the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and said that what al-Mahdi mentioned regarding RSF is derived from complaints and claims “that are not necessarily all true”.

However, several NUP leaders including Meriam al-Mahdi denied offering an apology, describing the statement attributed to the NUP Central Commission as “fake”. However the opposition party has yet to formally deny its authenticity.

The NUP said in a statement on Wednesday that its call for national dialogue was driven by strategic and circumstantial reasons relating to the dangers facing the country, adding that it joined the government’s initiative for dialogue with great enthusiasm and urged all political parties to join as well.

“Following this bitter experience [of arresting al-Mahdi] things cannot begin where it stopped and a genuine review for the reasons behind the failure of the government’s call for dialogue must be conducted in order to determine who is responsible for that failure”, the statement reads.

The NUP emphasized in the statement that it does not react impulsively but has a strategic view which is based on the national interest of the country, reiterating commitment to establishing a new regime without resorting to violence or seeking foreign support.

The NUP further mentioned that the new regime will be established through direct contact with all Sudanese parties inside the country and abroad in order to achieve national objectives including full democratic transition and comprehensive and just peace.

The statement thanked all those who supported al-Mahdi during his prison time, saying they are confident the Sudanese people and political parties would facilitate the NUP mission of reaching a unified national position to achieve the country’s national interests.

MEETING OF THE DIALOGUE’S MECHANISM

Meanwhile, the leading figure in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Qutbi al-Mahdi, announced that the dialogue mechanism would meet soon in order to prepare for launching the political process with the participation of all components of society.

The dialogue mechanism, which is headed by president Omer Hassan Bashir, includes seven members from the government side and an equal number from the opposition. The mechanism work was suspended following arrest of al-Mahdi.

Al-Mahdi told the government sponsored Sudan Media Center (SMC) website that the dialogue will not be confined to political parties, saying it will include civil society organizations, women groups, students, workers and craftsmen, and national personalities.

He further said that issues raised by the opposition parties which refused to participate in the national dialogue must be discussed in the dialogue not prior to it.

Last January, Bashir called on political parties and armed groups to engage in a national dialogue to discuss four issues, including ending the civil war, allowing political freedoms, fighting against poverty and revitalizing national identity.

He also held a political roundtable in Khartoum last month with the participation of 83 political parties.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) boycotted the political roundtable, saying the government did not respond to its conditions.

The NCF wants the NCP-dominated government to declare a comprehensive one-month ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In addition it has called for the issuing of a general amnesty, allowing public freedoms and the release of all political detainees.

(ST)

Sudan – NCP says al-Mahdi arrested for criticising government militias and abuse

Sudan Tribune

NCP says al-Mahdi arrested over negative remarks against government militia


 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) declared that the leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, was not arrested for political or security reasons but summoned to complete investigations over a criminal complaint filed by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) this week.

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Sudan’s National Umma Party (NUP) leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (AFP)

Al-Mahdi was questioned before state security prosecutors on Thursday regarding remarks he made accusing Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of committing serious abuses in conflict zones in Darfur and Kordofan including rape as well as looting and burning villages.

The veteran politician and former prime minister was taken into custody on Saturday night from his house and sent to the notorious Kober prison in Khartoum.

Al-Mahdi’s lawyer, Satie’ al-Hag, said his client faces charges of undermining the constitutional order and using force against the regime, saying those charges are punishable by death if convicted.

NCP spokesperson Yasser Yussef was quoted by state media as saying that new charges were filed against al-Mahdi that would not allow him to be released by personal recognizance.

Nonetheless, Yussef said that because of his age, status and national contributions al-Mahdi was not held in regular police docks but sent to Kober prison which he said offers better conditions until he is referred to court.

He noted that al-Mahdi repeated his allegations against the RSF, stressing that the NCP wished that things would not reach this stage.

The NCP spokesperson emphasised that the armed forces and national security institutions should be respected and kept away from political bickering.

The RSF militia, which is widely known as the Janjaweed militias, were originally mobilised by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.

The militia was activated and restructured again in August last year under the command of NISS to fight rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.

Sudanese officials say the RSF is part of the NISS but operationally follow the army.

The NUP chief noted out that the Sudanese security apparatus violates the constitution by establishing militias even though its mandate is limited to gathering and analysing intelligence.

He went on to say his remarks were based on factual information he obtained from sources in the region as well as from records of 220 police complaints filed by the locals in the towns of El-Obeid and Abu-Zabad in North Kordofan state.

The former Prime Minister came under fire from Sudanese lawmakers this week who said his remarks amount to treason and belittling the armed forces.

LENGTHY INTERROGATION

The NUP leading figure and al-Mahdi’s daughter, Mariam said her father went through lengthy interrogation since Sunday morning, adding that she does not know the outcome of those investigations.

She disclosed that an NUP delegation met with the head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, and informed him of the party’s decision to suspend participation in the national dialogue process and conditions for its resumption.

Mariam claimed that Mbeki expressed disappointment for al-Mahdi’s arrest and revealed ongoing efforts on his part to meet him in the prison.

The NUP secretary-general, Sara Nugdalla, read to reporters on Sunday a message sent by al-Mahdi from his prison in which he announced suspension of his party’s participation in the national dialogue.

He pointed to a statement he made on Thursday in which he said that government’s aggression wouldn’t dissuade him from seeking political solution, stressing he will not deal with the situation impulsively.

“However, the aggression of some government institutions against us and procedures imposed upon us by government hawks make us review the whole situation in order to determine requirements of the political solution and ways for achieving them”, he added

In his statement, al-Mahdi said that as of late many accused him of “selling the cause” after his son Abdel-Rahman became president Omer Hassan al-Bashir assistant “even though he does not represent me or the party in this [position].

He pointed out that his move towards national dialogue with the regime is another reason that made people think he is appeasing the NCP.

“But what I am subjected to from aggression is the [godly] means to clear my position of any suspicion, and enforce our viewpoint to become a station of popular political consensus,” al-Mahdi wrote.

The NUP leader called upon opposition forces to form a wide alliance including all political and civil forces in order to demand allowing public freedoms.

Nugdalla, for her part, directed harsh criticism at the government and the NCP, saying arrest of al-Mahdi reveals the true face of the regime and its position toward democracy.

She emphasized that al-Mahdi’s statements with regard to the RSF reflect the position of the NUP, announcing mobilisation among its religious wing, Ansar sect in order to confront the oppression.

The NUP deputy chairman, Fadlallah Burma Nasser, described the detention of Al-Mahdi as “setback” for the national dialogue, particularly as the latter’s strategy for resolving issues through dialogue can’t be implemented in an atmosphere of mistrust and oppression.

He added that dialogue would only be held when its requirements are met, pointing to the need for creating environment conducive for dialogue and building trust among the Sudanese people without exclusion.

The representative of the Arab Ba’ath Party (ABP) at the opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), Mohamed Diaa Al-din, called upon opposition parties which agreed to take part in the national dialogue to follow the lead of the NUP and suspend their participation, saying it is a good opportunity to unify the opposition forces in order to overthrow the regime.

But the PCP’s political secretary, Kamal Omer Abdel-Salam, told Sudan Tribune that his party won’t suspend its participation in the dialogue despite its strong rejection of Al-Mahdi’s detention, disclosing ongoing contacts with the NCP to contain the crisis between the NUP and NISS.

He said his party agreed to take part in the dialogue because it is fully convinced it is the only way for resolving Sudan’s crisis, underscoring that the NUP is an important component of the dialogue process.

Abdel-Salam further demanded immediate release of al-Mahdi, urging the government not to deal with the latter by reactions.

He pointed that enticements between the NCP and the NUP wouldn’t push forward the national dialogue, saying the government could have responded to al-Mahdi’s accusations through the media instead of arresting him.

Last January, Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir called on political parties and armed groups to engage in a national dialogue to discuss four issues, including ending the civil war, allowing political freedoms, fighting against poverty and revitalising national identity.

He also held a political roundtable in Khartoum last month with the participation of 83 political parties. The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and the PCP are the only major opposition parties to accept Bashir’s call for national dialogue so far.

The NCF boycotted the political roundtable, saying the government did not respond to its conditions.

The NCF wants the NCP-dominated government to declare a comprehensive one-month ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In addition it has called for the issuing of a general amnesty, allowing public freedoms and the release of all political detainees.

RSF DEPLOYED AROUND KHARTOUM

In a separate development, NISS director Mohamed Atta Abbas al-Moula on Sunday ordered three RSF brigades to deploy around the capital Khartoum and remain in a 100% state of readiness.

The Khartoum state police force on its end also announced that its forces elevated their degree of readiness to 100%.

No explanation was given for the decisions.

(ST)

Sudan and SPLM-N still at odds over peace process

Sudan Tribune
Government, SPLM-N still at odds over ways to achieve peace in Sudan

April 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Peace talks between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) have once again stalled over the failure of the two parties to reach a framework agreement for direct negotiations.

The negotiating teams are in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa since 22 April, as the chief mediator, Thabo Mbeki, gave them an amended version of his initial draft framework agreed that he had delivered on 18 February before to suspend the discussions two weeks after.

Since Wednesday evening reports emerging from the venue of the talks said the positions of the two delegations are still quite far apart. The SPLM-N sticks to its demand for a comprehensive process while Khartoum team say there are ready to negotiate a solution for the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

In a meeting held on Wednesday, Thabo Mbeki proposed that the two delegations form three commissions to discuss the security arrangements, humanitarian assistance, and political issues related to the Two Areas. Besides that he proposed a fourth panel to discuss the national dialogue process.

The mediator seemingly wanted to bring the two parties to limit their discussions within the framework of his mandate as defined by the African Union Peace and Security Council.

The Sudanese delegation renewed its support to the proposals Mbeki made saying iy was in line with its position.

“We immediately accepted the agenda (proposed by the meditaion) because it deals with the three humanitarian, political and security issues in the Two Areas and the national dialogue in Sudan,” said Ibrahim Ghandour, the head of the Sudanese government delegation after the joint meeting.

Ghandour told reporters that they agreed to task the mediation to draft a new paper including the outcome of the meeting and the draft framework agreement of 18 February. He further said they refused a proposal by the SPLM-N to include Darfur region in the agenda of the talks, and that the mediation endorsed their position.

However, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, the SPLM-N spokesperson, Abdel Rahman Ardol, reaffirmed that his group sticks to the comprehensive solution and the “National constitutional dialogue” after agreeing on the conditions creating a conducive environment in the country.

Ardol further pointed out they proposed that the four commissions can only start their meetings after reaching a framework agreement, stressing that “it would be difficult for these commissions to work without reference points included in the framework agreement”.

The rebel official went to say they can accept that the political and security commissions engage in negotiations on the basis of the 28 June 2011 agreement, pointing out that Ghandour has accepted this condition.

“The SPLM-N SPLM reitrated that the political commission cannot start its activities without an agreement on the principles and roadmap of the national constitutional dialogue. This deal should also lead to a comprehensive cease-fire from Darfur to the Blue Nile including the South Kordofan,” the rebel spokesperson said.

The rebel group says they want to ensure that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) will not control the inclusive political process of national dialogue, and that its outcome would lead to a national transitional government not dominated by the ruling party.

Regarding the humanitarian panel, the rebel groups have demanded it take into consideration a ceasefire deal for the the Nuba Mountains struck by the Sudanese government and SPLM-N in 2002.

In accordance with the agreement brokered by Swiss-US mediators and signed in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, on 19 January 2002, the parties committed themselves to a renewable six-month ceasefire. Also the SPLM-N had the right to administrate areas where its troops were after their redeployment in line with the signed deal.

Last March, the head of the African Union (AU) mediation team, Thabo Mbeki, suspended negotiations and referred the matter to the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) for guidance, saying the SPLM-N, which demands a comprehensive peace, had refused a draft framework agreement aiming to settle the conflict in the Two Areas.

(ST)

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The head of the Sudanese government’s negotiating team, Ibrahim Gandour (R), speaks at the opening session of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 13 February 2014. The SPLM’s Yasir Arman appears at the extreme left of the table, while the mediators and UN envoy are pictured in the middle (Photo: AUHIP)

http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article50768

Sudan’s defence minister says Darfur rebels must join peace process or be crushed

Sudan Tribune
Sudan’s defence minister vows decisive summer for Darfur rebels

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April 11, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese defence minister, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, has called upon the rebel groups in Darfur to seek a negotiated peaceful solution, warning the summer campaign will bring rebellion in the restive region to an end.

Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein (File/Reuters)
Hussein, who addressed a public meeting with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in North Darfur capital Al-Fashir on Friday, said the government welcomes rebel groups who wish to join the peace process, adding the government made the necessary arrangements to end rebellion in the region.

“Rebels have to join peace before they be militarily crushed”, he said.

He further praised the RSF militias saying they set a good humanitarian example in dealing with hostages and citizens, pointing they provided services for the needy population in the region.

The director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Mohamed Atta, for his part, disclosed they dispatched other RSF units to South Kordofan state to fight against the SPLM-N rebels and maintain security in the state.

The SRF militia, which operates under the command of NISS, is formed August last year to fight rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.

SRF REBELS ACCUSE

Meanwhile the Sudanese rebel alliance, SRF, announced in a statement issued by its top military commander, Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu, they obtained “certain information” that NISS is undertaking a plan in coordination with the military intelligence, the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), aiming to mobilise tribal militias to fight against its forces in Blue Nile, Nuba Mountain, North Kordofan, and Darfur.

He added that those militias, which include forces recruited from outside Sudan, will target civilians to displace them from rebel areas. But, the government will cover these attacks, describing it as tribal clashes.

The statement added this task was assigned to a force stationed in Al-Fayed village in Rashad district in the Nuba Mountains, pointing the force is commanded by Brig. Gen. Abdel-Samad Babiker, Lieu. Col. Mohamed Al-Fatih Ahmed, and Maj. Gen. Mohamed Al-Rabie’.

The force is also supported by a battalion of Mujahideen (holy fighters) from Khartoum and a battalion of the paramilitary PDF, according to the statement.

The rebels said the militias backed by aerial bombardment, shelled Toumi and Al-Mansour areas in South Kordofan and burned several villages including Toumi, Al-Mansoura, Tarawa, Kluro, Tendimen, Taglbo, Teri and other villages in order to force villagers to move to the government controlled areas.

Al-Hilu called upon rights groups and human rights activists to condemn the scorched land policy carried out by the government and expose regime’s repressive policies against defenceless citizens.

The commander of the RSF, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, for his part, denied that his force committed war crimes or violated civilians’ rights in the region, accusing rebel groups of seeking to tarnish their image.

He said the RSF is innocent of these criminal practices, underscoring they arrested groups of outlaws who attacked civilians north of the town of Mellit while they were chasing remnants of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Minni Minnawi (SLM/MM) following an attack on the town last month.

The African Union and United Nations Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, had last March openly accused the RDF of attacking civilians.

He condemned in his address at Um Jaras peace forum the RSF attacks, saying they were the main cause of displacement of thousands of villagers.

The rebel SLM-MM carried out attacks in South and North Darfur states triggering reprisal attacks by government militias on villages suspected of support to the rebels. These attacks coincided with tribal clashes in the North Darfur state.

The violence displaced over 215,000 civilians in the state.

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http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article50612

Sudan – Darfur student shot by police during Khartoum protests

Radio Dabanga

Darfur student buried in Khartoum; Amnesty International demands prompt and impartial investigation

Ali Abakar Musa Idris, the student who died in the hospital after being shot by security forces during a protest march in Khartoum on Tuesday, was buried this morning in Khartoum after his body was released from the morgue.

Amnesty International (AI), in a statement released on Tuesday, condemned the use of violence against the students.

“The Sudanese security forces must immediately stop the use of excessive and unlawful force against protesters, stated after a student died of gunshot wounds sustained during a demonstration at the University of Khartoum on Tuesday. Another student has been severely injured, and a further 110 students were reportedly arrested at the protest, against the recent surge of violence in Darfur, that has left an estimated 50,000 people displaced,” the AI statement said.

“Credible accounts by eyewitnesses at the University of Khartoum protest point to police and National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) officers using tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters. The authorities must rein in the security forces and prevent them from using such excessive force in violation of international law and standards,” Netsanet Belay, AI Africa Director of Research and Advocacy stated.

“In particular, international standards are clear that firearms must not be used for dispersing protesters. They may be used only in defence against an imminent threat of death or serious injury, and only when less extreme measures are insufficient to achieve this.”

“The authorities must launch a prompt and impartial investigation into the events at the University of Khartoum and must ensure that all those responsible for this and other unlawful use of force are held accountable in criminal and disciplinary proceedings,” Belay stressed. “Any members of the security forces responsible for arbitrary or abusive use of force must be prosecuted under criminal law without resort to the death penalty.”

Photo: The body of Ali Abakar Musa Idris being released from the morgue in Khartoum (alrakoba.net) Radio Dabanga

Sudan: UN demands action after outbreak of fighting in Darfur

UN News Service

Darfur: African Union-UN mission urges end to hostilities after outbreak of violence in region’s North

UNAMID troops on patrol in North Darfur. Photo: UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran (File Photo)

Deeply concerned by an outbreak of inter-communal violence in North Darfur, the African Union-United Nations Mission in the region called today for an end to the fighting, which has sent thousands fleeing for safety and left a number of people dead over the past few days.

According to a news release from the Mission, known as UNAMID, thousands of displaced civilians from the town of Saraf Omra, located some 90 kilometres east of El Geneina, are currently seeking refuge near UNAMID’s base in the vicinity.

“The Mission is providing protection and water to those affected, as well as medical treatment for more than 30 wounded individuals,” the release said, adding that UNAMID is working with the humanitarian community in taking the necessary steps to provide further much needed assistance.

UNAMID says that its patrols found the town looted and a local market destroyed.

“Reconciliation efforts among the tribes have been taking place, however the situation remains tense and those displaced are in need of critical food and proper sanitary conditions,” the Joint UN-AU operation said, calling on all parties involved to cease hostilities and to find a peaceful solution to their differences.

Just yesterday , the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, wrapped up talks between the top AU official and leaders of two of the region’s main rebel movements, encouraging the parties to overcome their misgivings and press ahead towards a comprehensive political accord,  for the benefit of not only strife-ridden Darfur, but also for wider Sudan.

According to an earlier news release, Mr. Chambas facilitated a meeting yesterday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, between the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and leaders of the Sudan Liberation Army – Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and the Justice and Equality Movement – Gibril Ibrahim (JEM-GI).

The incident in Saraf Omra comes in the wake of other recent episodes of violence in Darfur, most notably in Taweisha and El Lait areas in North Darfur, and in South Darfur where thousands were displaced following the looting and destruction of villages in the areas of Um Gunya and Hajeer.

UNAMID today reiterated its call upon the authorities to allow the Mission unhindered and immediate access to these areas, so that it can carry out its core activity for the protection of civilians as mandated by the AU and the UN and as consented to by the Sudanese Government.  UN

Sudan – Khartoum accepts Mbeki plan for Two Areas

Sudan Tribune
Khartoum accepts Mbeki’s draft framework agreement for Sudan’s Two Areas

February 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government has agreed to accept a draft framework agreement put forward by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), announced Khartoum’s chief negotiator after a meeting between president Omer Al-Bashir and chief mediator Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday.

Chief African Union mediator and former South African president, Thabo Mbeki speaks with media after his meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on April 6, 2012. (Getty)
On 18 February Mbeki announced a break in the stalled peace talks between the government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement –North (SPLM-N) and proposed a draft framework agreement aiming to cease hostilities and deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the rebel areas. The draft agreement further proposes to limit political talks to the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Following the meeting in which he took part, the Sudanese presidential assistant and head of government negotiating delegation Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters that president Bashir accepted the proposed agreement “without reserve”.

Al-Bashir further, according to Ghandour, reiterated the commitment of his government to deliver humanitarian aid to the affected populations in the Two Area, adding they do not want this issue be used as political tool to put pressure on Khartoum.

The president urged the mediator to “speed up the dialogue and not to waste time in secondary issues,” Ghandour said. He stressed that a comprehensive peace should be achieved through a comprehensive agreement not bilateral deals.

The two warring parties failed to achieve any progress in their recent round of direct talks from 13 to 18 February because the government says it can only negotiate an agreement over the two state, after what they can be part of a national process but the SPLM-N persists on its demand for a comprehensive process .

Regarding the humanitarian assistance, the two parties diverge on who can supervise the distribution of food in the rebel areas, the SPLM-N refuses any role for the government aid agency. The rebel group also propose to extend the humanitarian deal to include rebel areas in Darfur region.

Ghanour said the government negotiating delegation will hand over a formal letter to the mediation stating its unconditional acceptance of the draft framework agreement.

He added that AUHIP chief discussed relations between Sudan and South Sudan, and the presidential initiative to achieve a holistic peace in the country including the opposition parties.

Mbeki’s panel is tasked with a process to achieve democratic reforms in Sudan.

The South African mediator on Wednesday met also with the leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq Al-Mahdi to discuss a proposal prepared by the latter suggesting to not include discussions on constitutional reforms in the bilateral talks between the government and SPLM-N.

Al-Mandi proposes to limit talks between the warring parties to issues of security arrangements and humanitarian access .

Speaking to the press following the meeting, the leader of Sudan’s largest opposition party called to discuss issues related to democratic transition in a national council for peace, adding he sent his proposal to Ghandour and SPLM-N top negotiator Yasir Arman alike.

“If the proposal is accepted by the SPLM-N, the government should recognise it (as partner in the national dialogue process proposed by president Bashir) and expand dialogue to issue of peace and democratisation,” Mahdi further said, underlining it is a necessary step before to include any agreements reached via this national platform in the Constitution.

Mbeki also met with the Islamist leader Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani who split last year from the ruling National Congress Party .

Attabani said opposed to bilateral accords.

“Efforts to achieve national reconciliation should be collective and avoid bilateral agreements. The optimal arrangement is to hold a roundtable dialogue and to observe specific deadlines, so as not to miss the issue of reform,” he said.

He further demanded the government to take a number of measures in order to create conducive environment for the press and freedom of expression before next year general elections.

Mbeki is scheduled to meet with the leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan Al-Turbai . He also will fly to Kampala to meet the rebel groups members of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front.

(ST)

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