SUDAN WATCH: Inside Sudan itself, a political crisis is brewing - Darfur peace talks adjourned for one month

Friday, September 17, 2004

Inside Sudan itself, a political crisis is brewing - Darfur peace talks adjourned for one month

AL-TURABI'S WIFE IN LONDON - Meeting with officials from Amnesty and British Foreign Office.

According to Al-Ahram, Wisal Al-Mahdi, the wife of Al-Turabi, is in London meeting with officials from Amnesty International and the British Foreign Office, lobbying support for her jailed husband, whom GoS say has been fomenting trouble in Darfur.
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TWO GROUPS WIELD POWER AND INFLUENCE IN SUDAN - Jaialiyin (President Bashir's people) and Shaagiya (Vice President Taha's people)

Here's what Al-Turabi's wife told Al-Ahram Weekly news:

"The two main Arab ethnic groups that are buttressing the regime in Khartoum and reaping the rewards are the Jaialiyin, Al- Beshir's people, and the Shaagiya, the Vice President Ali Othman Mohamed Taha's people."

"Members of these two groups now wield tremendous power and influence in the country. They are also very wealthy and repressive," she said.

Wisal Al-Mahdi said that she visited Darfur Jebel Marra with her husband in 1996 during a political campaign. "My husband has many followers in Darfur, and the government knows that."

She denied that her husband worked with the Janjaweed, adding that it was the government that has committed "heinous acts of rape and murder in Darfur".

Al-Ahram report states: "This charge is supported by humanitarian agencies and Western powers. Sudanese government officials, however, deny any responsibility. "We don't think this kind of attitude can help the situation in Darfur," Sudanese Minister Najeeb Al-Khair Abdul-Wahed told reporters in Abuja. "We expect the international community to assist the process that is taking place in Abuja, and not pour oil on the fire."
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GOS CRACKING DOWN ON OPPOSITION TO ITS REGIME - Al-Turabi moved to notorious prison - and son detained

Sudanese authorities have arrested Brigadier Mohamed Al-Amin Khalifa, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council that was formed following the bloodless coup d'état that brought Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Beshir to power.

Hussein Khojali, editor of the opposition daily Alwan, was also arrested.

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan Al-Turabi was transferred to the notorious Cooper Prison.

Siddig, Al-Turabi's son, was also detained on Monday.

Scores of PCP officials now languish in Sudanese jails, arrested for their involvement in an alleged coup plot.

"The authorities are lying!" Wisal Al-Mahdi, wife of Hassan Al-Turabi, told Al-Ahram Weekly. "They are making it all up, to distract public attention from the humiliating predicament that they find themselves in over Darfur."
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DARFUR PEACE TALKS ADJOURNED FOR ONE MONTH - While AU chair consults with all parties concerned.

Today, the Darfur peace talks between Khartoum and rebel groups SLM and JEM have been adjourned for one month.

"We are going on recess and during the recess, we are being promised that the AU represented by the current chairperson, will undertake consultations with the two parties and also with the international partners who have shown interest in the issue of Darfur," Sudan's deputy foreign minister Najeib Abdulwahab told AFP.

GoS said it had confidence in the AU-brokered peace and was ready to resume whenever called upon to do so. "The government of the Sudan maintains that the talks led by the African Union and assisted by other concerned parties, will pave the way for a final, durable and just resolution of the conflict," it added.

Earlier, an AU mediator had said the talks would be suspended Friday "whether or not the rebels sign the protocol on humanitarian affair".

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