Tag Archives: Sudan

Sudan – Amnesty International accuses Khartoum of using chemical weapons in Darfur


Sudan’s government has carried out at least 30 likely chemical weapons attacks in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since January using what two experts concluded was a probable blister agent, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The rights group estimated that up to 250 people may have died as a result of exposure to the chemical weapons agents.

The most recent attack occurred on Sept. 9 and Amnesty said its investigation was based on satellite imagery, more than 200 interviews and expert analysis of images showing injuries.

“The use of chemical weapons is a war crime. The evidence we have gathered is credible and portrays a regime that is intent on directing attacks against the civilian population in Darfur without any fear of international retribution,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s director of Crisis Research.

Sudanese U.N. Ambassador Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed said in a statement that the Amnesty report was “utterly unfounded” and that Sudan does not possess any type of chemical weapons.

“The allegations of use of chemical weapons by Sudanese Armed Forces is baseless and fabricated. The ultimate objective of such wild accusation, is to steer confusion in the on-going processes aimed at deepening peace and stability and enhancing economic development and social cohesion in Sudan,” he said.

Amnesty said it had presented its findings to two independent chemical weapons experts.

“Both concluded that the evidence strongly suggested exposure to vesicants, or blister agents, such as the chemical warfare agents sulphur mustard, lewisite or nitrogen mustard,” Amnesty said in a statement.

Sudan joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1999 under which members agree to never use toxic arms.

A joint African Union-United Nations force, known as UNAMID, has been stationed in Darfur since 2007. Security remains fragile in Darfur, where mainly non-Arab tribes have been fighting the Arab-led government in Khartoum, and the government is struggling to control rural areas.

Some 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since the conflict began in 2003, the U.N. says, while 4.4 million people need aid and over 2.5 million have been displaced.

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes and genocide in his drive to crush the Darfur revolt.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Tom Brown)

Sudan, CAR and Chad plan joint border force

Sudan Tribune

(KHARTOUM) – Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) leaders held talks on Wednesday over the deployment of joint border monitoring units.

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Joint Sudanese-Chadian border patrol forces in trucks (FILE)

The meeting was held in the capital of North Darfur state El Fasher were on the sidelines of the celebrations to mark the completion of Darfur Document for Peace in Darfur attended.

Sudanese Government Spokesperson Ahmed al-Balal, in a press statement Wednesday, said that Presidents Omer al-Bashir, Idriss Déby and Faustin Archange Touadér discussed the implementation of the Sudanese-Chadian experience with the Central African Republic through the deployment of joint forces on the CAR borders with Chad and Sudan.

“The Sudanese Chadian experience has proven its success,” he added.

Al-Balal said that Bashir and Deby reiterated their support to CAR’s efforts to promote security and stability in the region. He further said that the tripartite meeting touched on the situation in Central African Republic and ways to achieve security and stability on its borders.

In the past years, the CAR governments discussed ways to join Chad-Sudan joint border patrols with the two countries but the political instability in Bangui prevented the poor country from joining this force.

Sudan and Chad established the joint border monitoring force in 2010 following political agreement between Presidents Bashir and Deby. Its initial purpose was to prevent cross border attacks by rebel groups from both sides.



Sudan boasts about Uganda visit by Bashir and weakness of ICC

Sudan Tribune


KHARTOUM) – The participation of President Omer al-Bashir at the inauguration of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was successful and proved the weak impact of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Africa, said a Sudanese diplomat after his return from Kampala.



Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir salutes his supporters as he disembarks from the plane, after attending an African Union conference in Johannesburg South Africa, at the airport in the capital Khartoum, Sudan June 15, 2015 (REUTERS)
On Thursday, Bashir participated in the fifth swearing in ceremony of the Ugandan president. His presence and Museveni’s disparaging comments that the ICC is “a bunch of useless people” forced the American and European diplomats to walk out of the ceremony in protest.

In statements to the official news agency, SUNA, after his return from Uganda, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal al-Din Ismail said the visit was “successful” and “produced the desired results”.

Ismail further asserted it has showed the weakness of the ICC in Africa, adding that Bashir had been accorded warn official and popular reception.

He said the two presidents held a short meeting on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony, adding that Museveni invited Bashir to visit Kampala again within the framework of bilateral relations.

Last Sunday 8 May, Bashir attended the fourth inauguration ceremony of Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh was sworn.

Several African governments and the African Union have voiced concerns over the ICC’s fairness, and accused it of targeting African leaders.

They further to say that war crimes court has violated its founding treaty the Rome Statute, when it prosecutes cases investigate by the national jurisdiction.

The ICC issued two arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.

Bashir is the first sitting head of state charged by the Hague based court since its inception in 2002.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has referred the Darfur case to the ICC under a Chapter VII resolution in 2005 since Sudan is not a state party to the court.

Amnesty International on Thursday urged Uganda to immediately arrest Al-Bashir and hand him over to the ICC. Bashir, who is on the court’s wanted list, was in Kampala to attend the inauguration of the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

“Uganda must face up to its international obligations and arrest Omar Al-Bashir who is wanted on charges of genocide,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes in a statement.

“As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda has an absolute obligation to surrender him to the ICC. Failure to do so would be a breach of its duty and would be a cruel betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of people killed and displaced during the Darfur conflict,” she added.

In March 2010, according to Amnesty International, the Ugandan parliament passed the International Criminal Court Bill which fully incorporated the law of the ICC into Ugandan law. However, Uganda has also at times been critical of the ICC.

“President Al-Bashir cannot be allowed to evade justice any longer,” stressed Wanyeki.


Sudan – Darfur referendum completed


An official shows the ballot lock number during the last day of voting for a referendum, at a registration centre at Al Fashir in North Darfur April 13, 2016.

Darfuris concluded voting on Wednesday in a referendum on whether to reunite the states of their arid western region, amid a boycott by rebel groups that accuse the government of rigging the vote to keep Darfur divided.

The Sudanese government’s decision to split Darfur into three states in 1994 helped fuel discontent that eventually erupted into fighting – rebels and many from the large Fur tribe said the break-up allowed Khartoum to weaken and rule them.

Officials said turnout was high in the vote, which Sudan has presented as a major concession. Results are expected next week.

“According to the reports we’ve been getting, there has been large turnout and widespread participation from voters,” Darfur referendum commission head Omar Ali Gemaa told Reuters.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against the Arab-led government based in the capital Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination.

According to the United Nations, some 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur, 4.4 million people need aid and more than 2.5 million have been displaced.

Although violence has eased in recent years, the insurgency continues and Khartoum has escalated attacks on rebels over the past year. At least 130,000 people have fled fighting in the central Jebel Marra area since mid-January alone.

The two main rebel groups fighting in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army, have accused the government of rigging the vote in its favour, to keep Darfur split into several states.

They have called on their members to boycott the referendum and have said a political settlement must come first, warning that this week’s vote will only lead to more violence.

Some who chose not to vote said the referendum would not address their immediate concerns.

“We’re in need of food, water, and protection from militias…those going hungry aren’t concerned with whether Darfur is a region or state,” said 43-year-old Ahmed Adam, a resident of an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp.

The United States this week expressed “serious concern” over “inadequate registration” in the referendum. “If held under current rules and conditions…it will undermine the peace process now under way,” a U.S. State Department statement said.

Others found reason to reunite Darfur into a single state.

“I support Darfur becoming a state and I voted for this, because the state system offers better services in terms of education and health,” said 21-year-old university student Nadra al-Tahir.

Analysts and diplomats say the government opposes a unified Darfur, concerned that this would give the rebels a platform to push for independence – just as the south successfully did in 2011, taking with it most of the country’s oil reserves.

Sudan – Sudanese army claims capture of last rebel stronghold in Jebel Marra

Sudan Tribune

(KHARTOUM) – The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Tuesday said its forces captured the last rebel stronghold area in Darfur located north-west of the Jebel Marra, three months after a large-scale attack launched in mid-January,

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SLM-AW rebels look on during a visit by former joint special representative Ibrahim Gambari to West Darfur’s Fanga Suk village in East Jebel Marra on 18 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

The valiant armed forces (….) managed to fully clear Jebel Marra area of insurgency and was able to establish full control of Srounq area, the last strongholds of the rebel (Sudan Liberation Army) Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW), said a statement issued by SAF spokesperson Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami.

Last Friday, Central Darfur state announced that the Sudanese army had defeated the SLM-AW fighters in Srounq, stressing that before to retake the last rebel stronghold, the army managed to capture Tekno and Keiwi.

Since, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) released on the internet pictures of dead bodies and prisoners of war claiming they were killed or captured during the recent attacks on the rebel positions in Jebel Marra.

Also, several obituaries published with his picture announced the death of commander of SAF force that attacked Sroung Colonel Ibrahim al-Sharif.

However on Monday, SLM-AW military spokesperson Shihab al-Din Ahmed Hagar said they repulsed the attack on Sroung, adding that they forced the Sudanese troops to flee into Golo.

Hagar further told Radio Dabanga they killed 1070 government soldiers and militiamen and destroyed some 83 vehicles .

In a briefing to the Security Council, U.N. Security Council, Wednesday 6 April UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said UNAMID reported that clashes and air strikes continue, in Jebel Marra.

“UNAMID also continues to receive reports of government troops reinforcements to Golo and Guldo in central Darfur, the epicenter of the fighting,” he added.

In a separate development, the Central Darfur Governor, Jaafar Abdel-Hakam, has directed Golo Commissioner directed Golo commissioner and the staff members of his administration to return to the area and resume their activities in order to prepare for the return of displaced persons and to provide them with the needed facilities.

After a meeting with the central humanitarian affairs officials in Zalingei on Tuesday Abdel-Hakam, said his administration anticipated the move and formed a a committee to follow up the return of IDPs, aid a statement released by the state information center.

UN agencies estimate that over 120,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Jebel Marra area since last January.


Sudan – Darfur to get chance to vote on status


A member of electoral staff display informative posters at the entrance of a polling station in El-Fasher, in North Darfur on April 10, 2016AFP/Getty The referendum runs until Wednesday

The western Sudanese region of Darfur is to vote on its administrative status, 13 years after the start of a conflict which has left 300,000 dead.

The referendum over whether to remain as five states or form a single region runs until Wednesday.

It is being held amid ongoing insecurity and many displaced people have not been registered to vote.

The US has said the vote will not be credible but President Omar al-Bashir insists it will be free and fair.

“If held under current rules and conditions, a referendum on the status of Darfur cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the people of Darfur,” said US State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

The referendum is the last step in a peace process negotiated in Doha. Rebels have long requested more regional powers to end what they see as Khartoum’s interference in land ownership conflicts.

Media captionThe BBC’s Thomas Fessy accompanied Sudan’s President Bashir on a tour of Darfur

If Darfur chose to form one region, it would carry more weight within Sudan, they believe.

But the BBC’s West Africa Correspondent Thomas Fessy, who recently visited Darfur with Mr Bashir, says many of those who initially wanted this referendum will be likely to boycott the vote because they say it will not be fair.

More than 2.5m people remain displaced in Darfur and 130,000 more have fled renewed violence this year, the UN says.

Some 300,000 people have been killed since conflict broke out in the troubled region in 2003.

People register for a Darfur referendum, on whether to remain as five states or merge into one, at a registration centre at Abo-Shouk IDPs camp at Al Fashir in North Darfur February 17, 2016.Reuters Critics say many people displaced by fighting have not been registered to vote

Janjaweed militiamen riding horses spread terror in a multi-layered conflict after rebels took arms against the central government, feeling marginalised.

The Janjaweed were used by the government alongside bombing campaigns. Today, many have been integrated into the Rapid Support Forces, currently fighting in the Jebel Marra region.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted President Bashir on counts of genocide and war crimes committed in Darfur.

Mr Bashir – who has told the BBC he will step down as president in 2020 – has dismissed the ICC as a “political tribunal”.

Sudan – Hassan al-Turabi: democrat turned Islamist authoritarian

African Arguments

Hassan al-Turabi: Sudan’s democrat turned authoritarian (1932-2016)

The core of the Islamist’s ideology can be difficult to pin down, but what united his many conflicting visions was the belief that they could be realised through the seizure of the state.

Hassan al-Turabi was an influential figure in Sudan's politics for over half a century.

On 5 March, Hassan al-Turabi, secretary general of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) and long-term leader of Sudan’s Islamists, died following a short illness. Both his political career and ideology were defined by their contradictions, but al-Turabi will long remain significant as the first Islamist leader to take control of a state within the Sunni Muslim world.

Al-Turabi’s supporters have frequently presented him as a moderate thinker who sought to reconcile Islam with democracy in Sudan, but many will remember him best and bitterly as the man who orchestrated the coup that brought the current military regime of Omar al-Bashir to power in 1989.

However, al-Turabi’s close involvement in Sudanese politics began more than two decades before that pivotal moment. In fact, those who know al-Turabi as the man who aborted Sudan’s last experiment with parliamentary democracy in 1989 may find it ironic that he first rose to prominence as one of the heroes of Sudan’s democratic revolution in 1964.

One month before the outbreak of protests that led to the collapse of Sudan’s first military regime, al-Turabi had galvanised students with a speech at Khartoum University in which he declared that only liberation from military authoritarianism could guarantee the end of Sudan’s protracted civil war in the south. Few outside the Muslim Brotherhood recognised him as an Islamist at that time, but immediately after the 1964 Revolution, he established the Islamic Charter Front to campaign for a constitution based on sharia law.

Al-Turabi was a popular figure amongst the educated elites of the urban areas, and in the 1965 elections, he won more votes in Sudan’s ‘Graduate Constituencies’ than any other candidate. However, his defeat to a fellow member of the al-Turabi lineage in his home district of al-Masid in 1968 illustrated the challenges he faced in breaking the stranglehold of the existing religio-political parties – the Democratic Unionist Party and Umma Party – over the rural areas of northern Sudan where the sufi Khatmiyya and Ansar religious movements (followers of the 19th century revivalist Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi) were at their strongest. In 1969, al-Turabi’s former schoolmate Jafa’ar Nimeiri orchestrated a military coup, and the Islamist leader spent most of the next eight years in jail.

It seems likely that two factors from al-Turabi’s first few tumultuous years at the top of Sudanese politics contributed to his transition from democrat to authoritarian, a shift that began with his reconciliation with Nimieri in 1977. The first was the sense that rural Sudan’s ongoing attachment to the sufi and neo-Mahdist religious orders would frustrate his attempts to come to power democratically; the second was fear of the potentially terminal consequences of a protracted struggle against a military regime that had already crushed movements led by Sudan’s religiously orientated parties in 1970, 1973 and 1976.

Al-Turabi’s conflicting visions

Al-Turabi is often depicted as the architect of the ‘Islamisation’ of Sudan’s laws in 1983, although the reality is more complex. Shortly before the declaration of these laws, Nimeiri removed him from his post as Attorney-General and had two obscure lawyers prepare a draft that reversed a number of al-Turabi’s earlier promises of a liberal interpretation of sharia. Nevertheless, being dependent on Nimeiri’s favour for his own political survival, al-Turabi vociferously endorsed the laws and campaigned vigorously for them to be maintained even after Nimeiri had been overthrown.

This crucial episode highlighted al-Turabi’s trademark capacity for political and religious shapeshifting. It is perhaps telling that his most significant texts were published after he intervened in the Sudanese political arena, and his interpretations of jihad, Islamic democracy and the Islamic State were often reworked to justify political agendas he had already pursued. Like many Islamists, he employed a vision of the past to articulate his own vision of modernity, yet the vision of the future he offered was rarely a consistent one.

While al-Turabi was evidently a political animal who rejected the gradualist and ‘educationalist’ approach pursued by other Islamists in Sudan, a search for his ideological core can be a frustrating endeavour. For instance, he often presented himself as a post-colonial thinker, marketing his brand of Islamism as emancipation from cultural subjection to the West; yet his British colonial education shaped important elements of his worldview.

Following his clandestine takeover via Omar al-Bashir’s military coup in 1989, many salafi jihadists found a safe haven in Sudan, although many of the same individuals denounced al-Turabi as an unbeliever and called for his execution. He used his Popular Arab and Islamic Conference of 1991-1995 to rally radical movements all over the world against Western imperialism, but alienated many of the radical Palestinian factions, negotiated the surrender of Carlos the Jackal (who had sought protection in Khartoum) to the French, and made secret overtures to Western governments. Parties on all sides of the ‘War on Terror’ perceived al-Turabi to be treacherous.

What united al-Turabi’s many conflicting visions of the Islamic future, however, was his belief that they could be realised through the Islamic Movement’s seizure of the state. For Sudan and for al-Turabi himself, this ideological hubris was catastrophic. He had hoped that by ruling Sudan after 1989 via a secret ‘leadership bureau’ that gave its orders to the official government, he would be able to maintain his liberal image while distancing himself from the vulgar necessities that accompanied the military takeover. However, his credibility as a self-professed reformer and moderate was rapidly undermined as he was forced to deny the tortures and abuses committed by the regime he had created, the evidence of which became increasingly stark.

After his rift with al-Bashir in 1999, al-Turabi was quick to blame his erstwhile military allies for the regime’s arbitrary behaviour. But the regime in the early 1990s was so lacking in transparency that it may never be possible to judge the level of his personal responsibility, and whether his re-emergence as a champion of democracy in the late 1990s was part of his long-term strategy or rather a knee-jerk response brought about by conflict with ambitious junior colleagues in the Islamic Movement keen to usurp him.

In the years following his split with al-Bashir, al-Turabi was imprisoned five times and even called on the president to surrender himself to the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide. Many of the Islamists hailing from Sudan’s marginalised regions, particularly Darfur, sided with al-Turabi after the split, and the government accused him of backing the rebel Justice and Equality Movement in Darfur.

Nevertheless, it seems that al-Turabi himself may have been instrumental in persuading the Darfuri Islamists who joined his PCP party to fight a civil as opposed to military struggle against the regime, fearing that an intensification of the Darfur conflict might lead to the breakup of the country.

After al-Turabi

The events that follow al-Turabi’s death will probably reveal the extent to which the rift in the Islamic Movement was determined by the animosity between himself and al-Bashir. Without the symbolic al-Turabi at its helm, many elements within the Popular Congress Party may complete the process of reintegration into al-Bashir’s National Congress Party that appeared to have begun in 2015. But without al-Turabi’s restraining influence, other Darfuri Islamists might also be persuaded to abandon the arena of civil politics in Khartoum and join rebel movements fighting the political centre.

[See: Sudan’s Islamist Resurrection: al-Turabi and the Successor Regime]

However, to anticipate the immediate eclipse of Islamism in Sudan on account of al-Turabi’s passing would be to overstate the agency of the man. Al-Turabi did not invent Islamism in Sudan – many of his followers were as influenced by globally famous Islamist ideologues such as Abu’l Ala Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb and Hasan al-Banna as they were by al-Turabi himself.

His prominence came from his charismatic personality and his ability to mediate between a number of competing ideological and religious trends, including Salafism, Sufism, Qutbism and reformism. When he left the government in 1999, the regime did not so much abandon ideology so much as complete what Olivier Roy characterised in 1994 as the transition from Islamism to neo-fundamentalism, from an ideology that emphasises social and political revolution to one more concerned with regulating social mores.

The increasing visibility of Sudan’s Public Order Police is evidence of this. Nevertheless, al-Turabi himself continued to advocate a revolutionary brand of Islamism after 1999, and his party retained a significant following among student milieus in Sudan. If the regime fails to reintegrate al-Turabi’s former followers into the Islamic Movement, this ideology may still represent the most significant threat it faces.

Dr W. J. Berridge is Lecturer in Global History at the University of Northampton. She is currently writing a book on Hasan al-Turabi, drawing on his numerous Arabic language works.