Tag Archives: Sudan

Sudan – foreign nationals arrested as police investigate Khartoum explosions

Sudan Tribune


A picture of a yellow building where foreign nationals fabricated a bomb in Arkawit suburb, south of Khartoum on 12 February 2017 (ST Photo)
February 12, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese police on Sunday has arrested several foreigners from some Arab countries after an explosion at a residential building where it uncovered base ingredients for fabricating a bomb.

Police official spokesperson Lt. Gen. Omer al-Mukhtar earlier Sunday stated that “police investigations are underway to find out the details and motives of the crime”.

Also Sky News TV, reported the police apprehended foreign Arab nationals and seized quantity of weapons and explosives.

In a statement on Sunday night, Sudanese police confirmed the explosion, saying a police officer who was stationed near the incident’s site informed the rescue police that he “heard a small blast at Arkawit suburb, south of Khartoum,”. The police underscored that it was later made certain that it came from one of the buildings in the area”.

The statement added that “police force backed by forensic and explosive specialists besides a dedicated team from the National Intelligence and Security Service was dispatched” to the incident’s scene, pointing the teams “stormed the apartment and found local materials used in making crude explosives and foreign passports”.

“The investigations revealed that a suspect began to make an explosive device but it detonated and caused him minor injury that forced him to seek treatment in a nearby hospital. [However] they refused to treat him without informing the police which made him leave without treatment,” read the statement.

The statement said that the police would resolve the case and captures the suspects within hours, stressing the seized materials are not highly explosive.

It is noteworthy that the police on Sunday morning has closed down a street in the 46th neighbourhood of Arkawit area and set up blocks 80 meters along the street and positioned its vehicles on both sides of the street.

Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune that police found explosives in an apartment at the residential building; saying one of them exploded on Sunday morning and hit one of the residents, where traces of blood were seen at the scene.

According to the eyewitnesses, the police evacuated large number of yellow paper bags containing holdings that have been collected from the apartment.

They pointed out that they heard gunshots at 2:00 am (local time), saying the area was then cordoned off by police with sniffer dogs.

The same eyewitnesses added that the four-story building includes a number of apartments inhabited by Arab nationals.

Khartoum has remained a safe place for foreign diplomats and organisations also there was no terrorist attacks on the Sudanese government institutions despite the regional troubles, its collaboration in the war against Daesh and involvement in the Yemeni war.

The last terrorist attack in Khartoum was in 1993 when the Palestinian Black September Organization carried out

African Union backs mass withdrawal from international court – despite opposition from Nigeria and Senegal

Impunity rules – is the African Unionh turning back into the bad old days of the OAU, when it was a trades union for autocrats and dictators? KS

BBC

ICC in Ivory Coast in 2013GETTY IMAGES Africa has 34 signatories to the Rome Statute, the treaty that set up the court

The African Union has called for the mass withdrawal of member states from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

However, the resolution is non-binding, with Nigeria and Senegal opposing a withdrawal.

South Africa and Burundi have already decided to withdraw, accusing the ICC of undermining their sovereignty and unfairly targeting Africans.

The ICC denies the allegation, insisting it is pursuing justice for victims of war crimes in Africa.

The AU took the decision on Tuesday following a divisive debate at its annual heads of state of summit in Addis Ababa.

Part of the resolution also said the AU would hold talks with the UN Security Council to push for the ICC to be reformed.


Analysis by Emmanuel Igunza

After being discussed in several previous summits, this was a huge announcement showing how frustrated the AU was with the international court. But the debate itself showed how divisive the whole issue is.

The resolution isn’t as strong as many who are opposed to the court would have liked. It only calls on countries to consider how to implement the decision but does not bind them to it. It’s a victory for human rights activists who insist the court still has a very important role to play in the continent where many countries have weak judicial systems.

The resolution also calls for African countries to continue pushing for reforms of the court – another clear indication that ditching the court en masse isn’t such a popular decision. The likes of South Africa and Kenya, which have pushed for withdrawing, will be disappointed that the discussions about completely severing ties with the ICC will have to wait another six months for the next summit.


Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the court on charges of genocide in Darfur, was at the summit.

In 2015, a South African court criticised President Jacob Zuma’s government for failing to arrest Mr Bashir when he attended an AU meeting in the main city, Johannesburg.

The government later announced that it was withdrawing from the ICC because it did not want to execute arrest warrants which would lead to “regime change”.

A total of 34 African states are signatories to the Rome Statute, which set up the ICC.


The ICC and global justice:

  • Came into force in 2002
  • The Rome Statute that set it up has been ratified by 123 countries, but the US is a notable absence
  • It aims to prosecute and bring to justice those responsible for the worst crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes
  • Only Africans prosecuted so far

Lord’s Resistance Army – “you belong to Kony”

African Arguments

“You belong to Joseph Kony”: How Dominic Ongwen and others became child soldiers

Testimony from a former child soldier of the Lord’s Resistance Army highlights the moral and human complexity of Ongwen’s case at the ICC.

The Lord's Resistance Army terrorised northern Uganda for several years. Credit: Martin Bekkelund.

Earlier this month, one of the most morally complex cases to face the International Criminal Court (ICC) resumed. In it, Dominic Ongwen stands accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed as a commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

In December 2016, Ongwen pleaded not guilty to the charges, arguing that since he was abducted by the LRA as a child, he is a victim of the rebel group.

Ongwen is the only LRA member out of the five indicted by the ICC who was abducted as a child. The other four reportedly joined voluntarily, including the still-at-large Joseph Kony, who founded the LRA in the late-1980s and is the only other surviving indictee.

The prosecution argues that Ongwen’s status as a former child abductee should not absolve him of responsibility for alleged crimes though the Chief Prosecutor conceded it might be a mitigating factor in his sentencing. The defence insist Ongwen was traumatised by the LRA and should be seen as a victim.

If accounts of other former LRA members can act as a guide, entrance into the group would certainly have had a profound effect on Ongwen. His abduction and daily existence in the LRA would have been characterised by extreme violence, both targeted at him and forcing him to target others, all in ways specifically designed to recondition him into a loyal fighter.

This is clear from the following vivid testimony of Okello, another LRA fighter who was also abducted as a child in early days of the brutal rebel group. His traumatic story reflects the experiences of many children forcibly conscripted. Without providing any answers, it highlights the complexity of the questions around responsibility and blame raised by Ongwen’s case.

It is excerpted from my 2016 book, When The Walking Defeats You: One Man’s Journey as Joseph Kony’s Bodyguard.

LRA child soldiers. Mid 2015, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo obtained by Paul Ronan.

Okello’s story

Okello started to talk about his life, as people usually did around the fire in LRA camps, following the Acholi tradition known as wang oo. Okello started his speech by lamenting the fact that he had no family of his own left, and that the LRA government was now his family, and Joseph Kony his father.

“My own father died when I was born, or that is what my mother told me. I had an older brother named Paul. People said he was crazy but Paul was not crazy, I knew him well. Paul had a sickness that made it difficult for him to understand others, but he was nice and always helped my mother and me. We lived in Minakulu, by the big road that links Gulu with Kampala.

The holies [LRA fighters] came to our village in 2003 when I was thirteen. It was early in the morning but it was still dark outside. Kidega was the commander, I know him well now. They kicked our door and grabbed us while we slept.

One of the youngus [child soldiers] held a razor blade to my neck and told me to go out. Someone grabbed mother and Paul. Paul was only sixteen, but he was tall and strong. He refused to be dragged and ran towards mother, who was being whipped by Kidega. She was too scared and confused to sit on the floor like Kidega asked her.

Kidega’s guard yelled at Paul to drop on the floor but Paul did not understand. He tried to help our mother so Kidega’s guard shot him in the stomach. Then they all beat Paul in front of us and let him bleed to death. We saw him die slowly, his blood just poured until he dried out, like a sheep being prepared for cooking. Kidega said mother was stupid for not controlling Paul, who now was dead because of her. ‘You are a bad woman,’ he said, and slit her throat.’”

Okello continued, his voice quivering when mentioning his mother.

“I was scared. When I saw Paul and my mother dead on the ground covered in blood, I could not move my hands or feet. It was like an evil spirit pinned me down. I was sure I was going to die and I wanted to. Kidega pointed his knife at my head and said, ‘You are now with the LRA, forget your family.’ The others pulled me up as I could not stand up and tied me with other children from Minakulu, also taken that night. We walked for hours until we reached the bush. I did not think I would live.

But these people here teach you to be strong. You have no choice but to obey and be strong or to die weak. The day after I was taken as we walked towards Kitgum, one kid called Olweny, whom I knew very well because we played ‘nine-stones’ together, tried to escape but they caught him and brought him back to where we stopped. Kidega then ordered all abducted children from Minakulu, thirteen of us, to pick up sticks and beat Olweny to death.

We were all in a circle around Olweny, who was really scared. He was small bodied and young, maybe eleven years old. He asked us not to kill him and started crying. Kidega made fun of him because Olweny pissed his pants. Kidega said, ‘If you don’t kill him, we will kill you.’

I picked my stick and hit him in the face, then everyone else hit him many times until he stopped moving and his brain came out of his head. I felt bad but I knew I had become a man then, a soldier.

Kidega told us to throw Olweny’s body in the bush, warning us that anyone who tried to escape would suffer the same fate. ‘You are now real soldiers of the Lord,’ Kidega said, ‘and you belong to Joseph Kony, our father.’

This is how I ended up here. This is now my family because God wanted me to be Kony’s child.”

Ledio Cakaj is the author of When The Walking Defeats You: One Man’s Journey as Joseph Kony’s Bodyguard (Zed books, 2016).

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

Reuters

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.

JPEG - 18.9 kb
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.

(ST)

 

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.

AFRICA-SUMMIT/BASHIR

AFRICA-SUMMIT/BASHIR

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.

(ST

Sudan – Darfur referendum completed

Reuters

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.
REUTERS/MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH

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.