SUDAN WATCH: May 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Paul Moorcraft's meeting with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in Khartoum (April 2009)

Here below is a must-read report by one of my favourite reporters on Sudan, Paul Moorcraft, a Welshman who resides here in England, UK. He has been numerous times to Sudan, Darfur (8 times since 2003) and all over the south and east. A few months ago he chaired and co-sponsored an international conference on the ICC and Bashir/Mugabe, at the Royal United Services Institute, Whitehall, London.

Last month, I purchased some First Editions of his books via Amazon UK that included Guns and Poses (2001) and his most recent book (2008) Shooting the Messenger: The Political Impact of War Reporting.

Dr. Paul L. Moorcraft

Photo: Dr. Paul L. Moorcraft directs London’s Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis and is a visiting professor at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies. He has been a war correspondent; a military affairs expert for the BBC, Sky, and Al-Jazeera; and an editor of security and foreign policy magazines.

From The American Spectator
Bashing Omar al-Bashir
By Paul Moorcraft on 29 May 2009
He is hurt, angry and hunted by the International Criminal Court. He is also the first sitting president of a country to be issued with ICC arrest warrants -- in March this year. Amid resplendent chandeliers, I visited Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, in his palace in Khartoum in April.
Eschewing his field-marshal's uniform, and wearing traditional white flowing robes and a turban, the President said: "When Morgan Tsvangirai raised his hand to take the oath of office in the Zimbabwean government of national unity -- with Robert Mugabe -- all the international pressures and legal threats were forgotten. Maybe I should ask Tsvangirai to raise his hand here as well?"
Africa has many nasty despots, including Mugabe, so why is the ICC concentrating on Bashir? Does its selectivity conjure up suspicions of political targeting by the West? And what will be the results of ICC intervention?
Political Target?
Bashir is accused, inter alia, of war crimes in Darfur. Whereas the government in Khartoum says the Court's ambitions are political, not legal: regime change in another oil-rich Islamic country. Many African leaders, even those who disdain Bashir, are outraged that all the indictments have been in Africa. Besides the Sudan, the ICC has intervened in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Khartoum argues that the ICC has no legal right to intervene in Sudan, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the Court in 2002. Moreover, say Bashir's lawyers, he has sovereign immunity as head of state. Further, they say, the ICC -- while claiming universal jurisdiction -- is simply not international. Less than 27% of the world's population comes under its jurisdiction, and this excludes, for example, the U.S., Russia, China, and India.
Many African leaders caricature the ICC as neo-colonialism, white man's justice, especially French, German and British meddling, which ignores indigenous systems, such as South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation process. They ask why the Court does not actively investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq, Afghanistan or Gaza. So far, however, the Court -- which has no dedicated police mechanism -- has not secured a single conviction of African defendants.
The Court has indicated that it may encourage signatory states to detain Bashir in international air space. Some senior lawyers have argued that this could violate international law, if Bashir were hi-jacked. Thus could air piracy compound Washington's difficulties with piracy at sea.
Washington has long declared its opposition to the ICC, arguing that it would be used to exact "political" justice, and that states and individuals would be pursued for bogus political reasons under the façade of justice. Paradoxically, the American position on Sudan and the ICC has proved this to be absolutely the case. While attacking the ICC in the strongest terms, Washington nevertheless acquiesced in the Security Council referral of Darfur to the ICC (while demanding immunity for its own citizens). Washington has urged Sudan to submit to ICC demands. To many observers this is precisely the sort of political vendetta the U.S. had itself warned that the Court might be used for.
Peace Before Justice?
The ICC acted in order to improve conditions in Darfur. Instead they have been made worse. The timing of the arrest warrants could not have been more unpropitious. Just before March, peace talks in Doha were moving towards a possibly favourable outcome. The various rebels groups in Darfur are now encouraged to stall on talks. And Khartoum's knee-jerk response of ejecting major humanitarian agencies, alleging that they spied on behalf of the ICC, will also exacerbate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Bashir's advisors make the point that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the longest war in Africa's biggest country -- the north-south conflict -- did not include specific judicial claims to punish the numerous war crimes on both sides. The 2005 agreement, an unsung triumph of the Bush administration, could itself now be disrupted. That is why the former southern rebels, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, now a part of the National Unity government in Sudan, fret about a possible return to war because of ICC intervention.
The ICC wants peace, but threatens to undermine it throughout Sudan. In a glaring example of the law of unintended consequences, the ICC action has made Bashir a poster-boy for the Sudanese nation. He will probably easily win the presidential election early next year. With the exception of the rebels in Darfur, many Sudanese -- both opponents and allies -- are likely to rally around him. Another unintended consequence is that, like Mugabe, fear of the ICC will make Bashir president for life. He cannot risk retiring, even if he wanted to, 20 after coming to power in a coup. No one expected the ICC to entrench dictatorships.
The Future
Sudan is often projected as a tough authoritarian "Islamo-fascist" state. It is certainly authoritarian, but also potentially fragile. If the destabilisation of the peace process in the West (Darfur) and in the South leads to further explosions in the unsettled East, then a replay of the meltdown in Somalia could result. Sudan has borders with nine states, including Egypt, a strategic partner of the US. The implosion of Sudan would mean its removal as a key ally in Washington's counter-terrorism campaign. Surely President Obama has enough failed or failing states to worry about?

Recent Western intervention in Africa rarely makes things better and usually makes them worse. Richard Dowden, the director of the Royal African Society, summed it up nicely: "The ICC cannot hand out justice in Sudan as if it were Surrey [England]." More robustly, The Hague has also been dubbed "Europe's Guantanamo Bay for Africans".
In Africa and in the Islamic world, the ICC is seen to ignore those voices, be they Ugandan, Sudanese or in the African Union, who say that the Court's arbitrary pursuit of African leaders is delaying peace.
It can be argued that the ICC has inadvertently prolonged the horrific war in northern Uganda by aborting seemingly fruitful peace talks by issuing warrants against rebel leaders. In the case of Darfur, the ICC warrants against Bashir have merely bolstered the insurgents' intransigence regarding peace talks. They claim they will hold out, until Bashir is arrested. This could mean an indefinite extension of the Darfur war.
The answer is straightforward: the ICC can defer its arrest warrants for renewable yearly periods. That may be one inducement for Khartoum to start talking again to the Darfur rebels, who then cannot expect rapid regime change. Bashir has not been defeated, the historical precedent for trials of national leaders. Arguably, he is politically and militarily stronger than he has ever been. Economically, the recent oil bonanza has strengthened Bashir's hand. And, in a further twist, the U.S. economic sanctions against Sudan, in place since 1977, have largely insulated the country from the Western economic meltdown.
Bashir was a vital ingredient in the north-south peace; likewise he may also be crucial in guaranteeing peace in Darfur. Any successor may not be able to hold the country together, let alone have the power to finesse peace deals.
Also vital is the Obama's administration re-engagement in the political process there. No military solution is on offer; only a replay of Western political will and local cooperation can repeat the success of the major 2005 peace agreement. Darfur is doable, now, given the will -- provided the sword of Damocles is removed from the neck of Sudan's president.
Save Darfur?
The ICC action may serve as a warning shot across the bows of Africa's monsters, not least Mugabe's destructive presidency. This might be a soothing psychic balm to the liberal consciences in the West. But, in a war-ravaged continent, peace must precede justice, whether defined as African or European. Meanwhile, to its many African critics, the ICC's arrest warrants for Bashir look like the 21st-century equivalent of old-fashioned 19th-century gunboat diplomacy -- but minus the gunboats. Meanwhile, the suffering goes on in Sudan's refugee camps. The ICC may have failed, not fixed Darfur.

Paul Moorcraft is the director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis, London, an independent think tank dedicated to conflict resolution. He has worked in all parts of Sudan, including Darfur, since 1996. He also holds something of a world record for being arrested by the Khartoum government.
- - -
Further reading
March 23, 2006 - Sudan Watch:  DARFUR: Sudan has all the potential ingredients to be a failed state - How to avoid another Iraqi quagmire in Sudan (Dr Paul Moorcraft)

Labels: ,

E6 in Doha, Qatar: First meeting of P5 plus EU Envoys urged JEM and GOS to demonstrate their commitment to Darfur peace

Six envoys call on Sudan and Chad to exercise restraint
From Sudan Tribune, Friday, 29 May 2009 - excerpt:
Six international powers represented in Doha by their envoys to Sudan, called Wednesday for both Sudan and Chad to exercise restraint after the breach of the non-aggression agreement signed this month, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

The six diplomats from China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, now labeled the “E6 Envoys,” were hosted by Qatar, which is playing a leading role in mediation between the Darfur rebel movements warring with the Government of Sudan.
- - -

Qatar Urges Sudan Rivals For Compromise
From RTT News via ForexTV, Thursday, 28 May 2009 - excerpt:
According to Djibril Bassole, mediator for the U.N. and the African Union, envoys were trying to cobble a plan, which would include a timetable for reaching a peace deal, the complete cessation of hostilities and the sharing of wealth and land.
- - -

Political process on Darfur in Doha: E6 meeting (May 27, 2009)
From French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs website:
Following their meeting in Doha on 27 May, E6 Envoys highlighted the following key points of agreement:

E6 Envoys collectively reiterated their strong support for the AU/UN led political process for Darfur and the sustained commitment by Joint Chief Mediator Bassole and the State of Qatar to find an enduring resolution to the problems of Darfur.

They expressed their sincere appreciation to the State of Qatar for convening this first meeting of P5 plus EU Envoys, and for the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, aimed at reaching a peaceful solution to the problem.

E6 Envoys recognized the negative impact on the Darfur political process of the current escalation of tension between Sudan and Chad, recalled the 3 May Agreement, regretted that it was breached, and called on the Governments of both countries to exercise restraint.

E6 Envoys welcomed the resumption of talks between the GoS and JEM to complete the 17 February Agreement signed in Doha.

They jointly urged both parties to demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful future for the people of Darfur by showing maximum flexibility to resolve current areas of disagreement. They particularly underlined the need for continued efforts to address humanitarian needs in Darfur and other parts of Sudan.

E6 Envoys noted that resolving Darfur’s complex issues would involve input from all sectors of Darfuri society and reiterated their calls for all parties to urgently accept the invitation extended by the mediators and engage in an inclusive and comprehensive peace process.

E6 Envoys unanimously recognized the necessity to rapidly move towards a Cessation of Hostilities and final agreement for Darfur. Taking into account the timetable set out in the CPA they jointly expressed concern that the stability of Sudan and the region could be undermined by the continued lack of a final settlement for Darfur. They reiterated their commitment to facilitate the process in any way possible and agreed to meet as necessary in support of this.
Note: The five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5) are: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The UN Security Council president for the current month of May is Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.
- - -

Talks on Darfur 'very positive'
From Macau Daily Times, Friday, 29 May 2009 - excerpt:
The Obama administration hailed talks by the US special envoy to Sudan in Beijing to discuss the Darfur region and a peace agreement between the African country's north and south.

Scott Gration "had very positive meetings" with China's special representative for Darfur Liu Guijin, a State Department spokesman, Karl Duckworth, told AFP in Washington.

"They discussed deepening US-China cooperation over shared concerns in Sudan," he added.

China's foreign ministry said Gration also met with Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi.

Gration, a retired US Air Force general, participated in Doha on Wednesday in the first ever meeting of the Darfur envoys from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) and the European Union, Duckworth said. [...]

As part of his tour, Gration will also visit Britain and France.

In London, Gration will attend the Contact Group on Sudan – composed of Canada, the European Union, France, Netherlands, Norway, Britain and the United States – which is following up on the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The agreement ended a nearly 22-year civil war between Sudan's north and south that led to the deaths of around two million people.
- - -

EU special Envoy to Sudan, Torben Brylle & Chinese special representative for African affairs, Liu Guijin

Chinese Special Envoy for Darfur Issue, Liu Guijin

Photo: Chinese Special Envoy for Darfur Issue Liu Guijin (L) greets EU special Envoy to Sudan Torben Brylle (C) while Sudanese senior foreign minister official Mutrif Siddig Ali (R) prepares documents during the opening ceremony of the international conference on the Darfur Peace and Development at a hotel in Beijing on June 26, 2008. China said June 26 it had done all it could to help ease the bloodshed and suffering in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. (Getty Images)

Chinese special envoy visits Darfur (05/23/07)

Photo: Liu Guijin (1st L, front), Chinese special representative for African affairs, inquires about the distribution of the relief foodstuff at a refugee camp in Darfur, west Sudan on May 22, 2007. (Xinhua Photo/Shao Jie)

Chinese special representative for African affairs, Liu Guijin

Photo: Liu Guijin (R, front), Chinese special representative for African affairs, shakes hands with a local man at a market in al-Fashir, Sudan on May 22, 2007. (Xinhua Photo/Shao Jie)

Friday, May 29, 2009

UNAMID's new Deputy Force Commander Maj. Gen. Mbutyana Duma Dumisani of South Africa

Major General Mbutyana Duma Dumisani

From UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), El Fasher, 29 May 2009:
The new Deputy Force Commander of UNAMID, Maj. Gen. Mbutyana Duma Dumisani of South Africa, arrived today in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur and the headquarters of the Mission, to begin work with UNAMID.

This is Maj. Gen. Dumisani’s third stint in the field of international peacekeeping. He served with an African Union force in Burundi (AMIB) in 2002 and then with the United Nations force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) between 2005 and 2007.

The Deputy Force Commander said he plans to focus on tackling UNAMID’s enormous logistical and deployment challenges, as well as overall security issues, while serving with the Mission.

“If you want to have a Mission up and running at its full force, then you have got to resolve the problems of logistics and deployment,” he said after his arrival today.

Maj. Gen. Dumisani, who succeeds Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Karenzi of Rwanda as Deputy Force Commander, will formally begin his duties on 31 May.

UN Security Council says cooperation with African Union crucial to promoting peace

On seeing the title of the following report, after spending five years here at Sudan Watch promoting the work of the African Union (AU), it brought tears to my eyes. The AU was created at great expense by the European Union in order to provide African solutions to African problems. British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, together with Bob Geldof and Bono, deserve medals for the pivotal role they played in helping to make the African Union a reality. As a British citizen, I am feeling quite emotional over this historic report.

From UN News Centre
Cooperation with African Union crucial to promoting peace – Security Council
28 May 2009 – Enhanced collaboration with the African Union (AU) will help to promote peace and security in Africa, members of the Security Council delegation, which recently wrapped up a week-long visit to the continent, said today.

The Council mission held talks – a follow-up to two previous gatherings in 2007 and 2008 – with their AU counterpart in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 16 May, agreeing “to pursue their consultations on ways and means to strengthen their cooperation and partnership,” according to a communiqué issued after the talks.

Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda told the 15-member body today that “meetings between the two bodies are useful in strengthening cooperation, particularly in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including the promotion of human rights, democracy, and rule of law and constitutional order in Africa.”

Also highlighting the virtues of UN-AU collaboration was Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom, who was the joint leader of the mission to the Great Lakes region in connection with Rwanda.

He said the Council’s meeting at the with the AU’s Peace and Security Council “demonstrated the depth of the relationship and the ways in which it’s becoming more substantive,” noting such areas of cooperation such as Somalia and Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, where the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, is in place.

Regarding the mission’s Rwanda leg, Mr. Sawers said that it was “invaluable” for the Council to see first-hand the situations in the region that it is dealing with, such as the rapprochement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, who joined forces to root out the mainly Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) from the DRC’s east.

For his part, Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert of France, who led the mission in the Great Lakes in connection with the DRC, highlighted the serious issue of sexual violence, “which is far too wide-spread.”

He said that the Council delegation was “able to see this with horror” when the visited a hospital in the capital, Kinshasa. The Government has taken measures, including creating a fund to promote the protection of children, he added.

The DRC has “already started combating impunity and this must remain a priority, which we re-affirmed to the government,” Mr. Ripert noted. “Armed groups, the FARDC [Congolese armed forces], must stop all their abuses against the population, in particular, rapes.”

United States Ambassador Susan Rice, who led the last leg of the Council’s Africa trip, told the Council that the purpose of the delegation’s visit to Liberia was to “help re-affirm the Security Council’s support for the Government and people of Liberia and for UNMIL’s [the UN Mission in Liberia] efforts to promote peace and security.”

She paid tribute to the “inspiring” all-women Indian formed police unit (FPU) – comprising police officers who have received specialized training in high-risk operations and managing crowds – serving with UNMIL. They have “helped to motivate more Liberian women to apply for more law enforcement jobs,” she said.

Last June, a similar Security Council mission visited Djibouti, Sudan, Chad, DRC and Côte d’Ivoire.
See Congo Watch, 28 May 2009 - DRC: Update Report on the Security Council Mission to Africa

Peacekeepers Day 29 May - “Ibtasim (Smile) Darfur”

The following report tells us that UNAMID has launched a week-long programme called “Ibtasim (Smile) Darfur” in which local artists are spreading the importance of peace in the region.  Great idea.  Must find some photos.

Note that the report ends by saying that "the International Day for UN Peacekeepers is observed on 29 May each year, but this year that falls on a Friday, the first day of the weekend in Sudan".   The Sudanese have a three day weekend? Is Monday the first day of the week in Sudan? It has never occurred to me that they operate a four day week.

Female peacekeepers with UNAMID

Photo: El Fasher, 28 May 2009 - Female peacekeepers with UNAMID prepare to take part in parade marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. (UNAMID)

UNAMID observes Peacekeepers Day
UNAMID, El Fasher, 28 May 2009 – The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) marked the International Day of UN Peacekeepers today with a series of events celebrating the efforts of UNAMID’s thousands of military troops, police officers and civilian staff to bring peace to Darfur.

With a parade, speeches, music performances and information booths, the Mission held events to promote the cause of peace and particularly emphasize the role that women can play in achieving that goal.

This year’s theme for the Day is “Women in peacekeeping: the power to empower”, and many of UNAMID’s female peacekeepers – troops, military observers, staff officers, police officers and members of formed police units (FPUs) – took part in a march-past before local VIPs at a sports stadium in El Fasher, North Darfur.

The Joint Special Representative, Mr. Rodolphe Adada, read out the message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marking the Day, in which he noted the “unique and powerful contribution” that female peacekeepers bring to the job and called on countries to contribute more female personnel to missions worldwide.

“Female blue helmets, human rights monitors and other mission staff offer new skills and styles of functioning in the ever-evolving field of peacekeeping,” the message said. “Often, they can better communicate with local women, generating a greater sense of security while serving as an example of women’s empowerment.”

Participants in today’s ceremony observed a minute’s silence for those peacekeepers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Last year, 13 UNAMID peacekeepers were killed because of hostile actions.

The Outreach Unit of UNAMID’s Communication and Public Information Division also launched a week-long programme called “Ibtasim (Smile) Darfur” in which local artists are spreading the importance of peace in the region.

The International Day for UN Peacekeepers is observed on 29 May each year, but this year that falls on a Friday, the first day of the weekend in Sudan.

Assida is a thick porridge made from ground millet and is one of the main staples of Darfur

 Food on the Frontline - By Rob Crilly - May 27, 2009:
assida1.jpg

Assida is a thick porridge made from ground millet and is one of the main staples of Darfur. It's eaten by plunging your fingers into the stodgy mound, scooping out a scalding-hot lump and mopping up some of the sauce. For most of my five days with rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement it was served with a gloopy sauce made from okra (with the sort of consistency favoured by makers of the gunge that goes in children's television, erm, gunge machines). The assida itself had a gritty texture - I think from the large amounts of sand that swirled constantly in the air - but didn't taste that bad. It was hot and filling and kept me going until dinnertime.

It is only now, looking at the photograph, that I realise it is exactly the same colour as the sand of Darfur.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alcohol and partying in Sudan: 25 years ago Khartoum was full of bars, liquor stores and night clubs

Many thanks to Digital for the following comment in response to my questions regarding alcohol in Sudan:
Although the “herb” is quite popular in Sudan with all social classes, alcohol use is rampant, reminds me of the good old days of prohibition in the states.

The lower and middle classes enjoy an alcoholic beverage made of fermented dates and flavored with assorted fruit essences called arragi, and its might powerful stuff I might add. Less popular is a beer made out of sorghum called “marissa”.

The higher classes enjoy black market booze including the ever popular Johnnie walker, international wines, and all your favorite brands of vodkas/rums/gins/beers.

You have to remember that only 25 years ago Khartoum was full of bars, liquor stores and night clubs. Although it is a social taboo to drink, a significant percentage of the populace does indulge, oxymoronic don’t ya think!!
More on this subject later, if I receive more comments or hear from Drima, The Sudanese Thinker.

Labels: ,

Senegal says it will try Habre on African soil

The World Court has accepted Senegal's pledge that it will keep former Chadian president Hissene Habre under house arrest while he awaits trial for alleged human rights abuses.

Belgium had asked the court to order Senegal to keep Mr. Habre in custody, citing fears he could escape and go into hiding.

However, the court - formally known as the International Court of Justice - ruled Thursday in The Hague that no such order is necessary. It said Senegal has given assurances it will not allow Mr. Habre to leave its territory.

A Chadian inquiry found that Mr. Habre was responsible for 40,000 political killings during his eight years as president. He has lived in Senegal since being toppled from power in 1990.

Senegal, at the urging of the African Union, says it will try Mr. Habre on African soil.

Source: VOA News, 28 May 2009 - World Court Accepts Senegal's Pledge to Keep Habre Under House Arrest

Six fallen peacekeepers from South Africa to be honoured on International Day of UN Peacekeepers 29 May

Tomorrow, 29 May, Dag Hammarskjöld Medals will be awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives last year serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations.

At United Nations Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to oversee a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the 132 peacekeeping personnel, 10 of them women, who lost their lives -– whether through attacks, illnesses or accidents –- in 2008 in the service of peace.

Six fallen peacekeepers from South Africa to be honoured on International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
PRETORIA, South Africa, May 28, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers will be marked on 29 May at the Freedom Park in Pretoria, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, as well as at its peacekeeping missions and offices around the world, with a special focus on women peacekeepers, as the United Nations tries to move towards gender equity in its ranks.

This year’s commemorative ceremonies come at a time when the services of United Nations peacekeepers are in greater demand than ever. There are currently more than 113,000 peacekeepers, including 90,000 military and police personnel from 117 countries, serving in 18 operations on four continents.

At United Nations Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to oversee a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the 132 peacekeeping personnel, 10 of them women, who lost their lives -– whether through attacks, illnesses or accidents –- in 2008 in the service of peace.

Among the 132 peacekeepers who will be honoured posthumously at the ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters are six personnel from South Africa. Staff Sergeant Samson Davids, Corporal Sibusiso Bafana Nelson Dube and Corporal Morney Reinaart Molouly lost their lives while serving with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Private Lesedi Boitumelo Monasia, Corporal Ben Benjamin Titus, and Corporal Sydney Melvin Williams who lost their lives while serving with the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur.

As part of the commemoration ceremonies, on 29 May, Dag Hammarskjöld Medals will be awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives last year serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The Secretary-General will speak at the beginning of this ceremony, which starts at 10 a.m. The medals will be received by representatives of the respective Permanent Missions to be forwarded on to the next of kin.

This year, the United Nations is marking the Day with special emphasis on the important role played by women peacekeepers and the need to deploy them in greater numbers.

In his message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General said: “There are still far too few women peacekeepers. With women joining national militaries and police in greater numbers, it is critical that Member States contribute even more female personnel to the United Nations. On this International Day, let us draw on the power of women to strengthen UN peacekeeping while helping women and girls themselves to transform their destinies –- and societies –- for the better.”

However, women make up only 8 per cent of the United Nations police and 2 per cent of its military personnel. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations has urged troop and police-contributing countries to deploy more women. India answered the call in 2007 with the deployment of a 125-member all-female police contingent to Liberia. The United Nations is also working to increase the number of women in senior positions at Headquarters and in field missions.

Of the 117 countries that provide uniformed peacekeepers to the United Nations, the largest contributors are Pakistan (10,626), Bangladesh (9,220), India (8,617), Nigeria (5,792) and Nepal (3,856).

At this time, more than 2,000 soldiers and police officers from South Africa are serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world – in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nepal and in Darfur, Sudan.

A photo exhibition will be on display at the Freedom Park and a short film titled, “Women in Peacekeeping: The Power to Empower” will be shown as part of the commemoration. The video is now available at http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/peace/pkdaywomen.rm, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAuFQj9xBYc.

United Nations peacekeeping, built on more than 60 years of experience in the field, is widely acknowledged to be an indispensable tool for the international community in tackling the difficult issues of inter-State and, increasingly, intra-State conflicts. United Nations peacekeeping’s legitimacy and universality are unique, derived from its character as a collective security effort undertaken on behalf of a global organization comprising 192 Member States.

Top NCP official Riek Gai Kok calls for State of Emergency in Southern Sudan

From Sudan Radio Service, Thursday, 28 May 2009 (Khartoum):
Top NCP Official Calls for State of Emergency in Southern Sudan
Presidential advisor and prominent National Congress Party member, Dr. Riek Gai Kok, said that the Government of National Unity should declare a state of emergency in southern Sudan.

Dr. Gai was speaking during a debate on tribal conflict in southern Sudan at the International Center for African Studies on Tuesday in Khartoum.

[Riek Gai-Arabic]: “I used to ask myself, as a member of the presidency, if the presidency doesn’t have a role in what is happening in South Sudan. If there is point at which a state of emergency can be declared. These conditions now exist in South Sudan, but they behave as if nothing is happening. People are being burned in churches and people are being killed in hospitals and in the capitals of states people are being thrown into churches and burned. And this is happening among Southerners themselves. These things never happened between us and the northerners during the war. In the name of God, they say that such tragedies are not happening and they behave as if nothing is happening in southern Sudan. There is not even any humanitarian aid.”

Dr. Riek Gai Kok was speaking at a debate about tribal conflict on Tuesday in Khartoum.
Listen to SRS on the radio or on the web at www.sudanradio.org

Update on Sudan Radio Service times & frequencies

For daily news from Sudan Radio Service tune in at the new frequencies and times detailed below and find archived news by visiting http://www.sudanradio.org/news.php

SUDAN RADIO SERVICE
TIMES & FREQUENCIES


From March 2009-October 2009

Monday to Sunday
7:00-8:00 am at 11,805 kHz, near 12 MHz (SW)
8:00-9:00 am at 13,720 kHz, near 14 MHz (SW)

6:00-8:00 pm at 17,745 kHz, near 18 MHz (SW)
8:00-9:00 pm at 9,590 kHz, near 10 MHz (SW)

SRS, Darfur programming

Saturday to Thursday
7:00-7:30 pm at 11,770 kHz, near 12 MHz (SW)

Note, today I updated SRS times & frequencies in sidebar here at Sudan Watch.
- - -

UPDATE:

SRS frequency changes:
Effective March 2010 to October 2010
7-8am at 11,805 kHz 8-9am at 13,720 kHz
6-8pm at 17,745 kHz 8-9pm at 9,590 kHz
SRS Darfur programming:
7-8pm at 11,770 kHz or 17,700 kHz Saturday to Thursday

Labels:

Mandate Darfur conference invited Eric Reeves to serve as an adviser

Yesterday, I noticed at the foot of an opinion piece by Eric Reeves (author of "A Long Day's Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide") that he was invited by the organisers of the Mandate Darfur conference to serve as an adviser. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. No wonder Khartoum cancelled!

Seriously, with so many contentious issues on its plate, I can't see how the Sudanese government can manage at this stage to get involved in a conference of 300 civilians who are not part of the Doha talks. I can barely keep up with reading the vast array of news reports on stuff that Sudan is being bombarded with left, right and centre, not to mention the crucial Abyei boundary issue, ICC and thousands of heavily armed criminals crawling around everywhere, threatening to destabilize the whole country and derail the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Why didn't the Mandate Darfur conference go ahead without the Sudanese government and was weasel Turabi invited as a participant, I wonder. (Web definitions for weasel: a person who is regarded as treacherous or sneaky).

See Eric Reeves' commentary at Christian Science Monitor, 27 May 2009: Stand up to Sudan's thugs - Men with guns can't be the only ones at the peace table

JEM plans to release 60 govt troops as a "sign of goodwill" ahead of Doha peace talks with Sudan's govt

AFP has learnt that talks are underway in Doha between the Qatari brokers, international representatives and JEM. However, negotiations between JEM and the Sudanese government have yet to begin.

May 28, 2009 report by AFP (Doha) - excerpt:
Darfur rebels say plan to release 60 govt troops
Darfur's most active rebel group said on Thursday it intends to free 60 Sudanese troops as a "sign of goodwill" ahead of Qatari-brokered peace talks with Sudan's government.

"The Justice and Equality Movement intends to release 60 government troops that it is holding prisoner," JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told AFP in Doha.

JEM had agreed early this month to resume talks with Khartoum to achieve lasting peace in Sudan's western Darfur region.

The talks in Doha broke down when the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on March 4 against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. 

"This step does not come as part of a prisoner exchange but we do it unilaterally," Adam said.

"The group has informed the Red Cross in order to hand over the prisoners as soon as possible."

He charged that the government is holding hundreds of JEM members but declined to say how many government prisoners it had captured.

Adam told the official Qatar News Agency that the decision to release the prisoners was "a sign of good will and commitment to make the negotiations ... succeed."

AFP has learnt that talks are underway in Doha between the Qatari brokers, international representatives and JEM. However, negotiations between JEM and the Sudanese government have yet to begin.  
[...]

Bashir to attend Cen-Sad summit in Libya

May 28, 2009 by AFP (Tripoli) - excerpt:
Beshir to attend regional African summit in Libya
Sudan's President President Omar al-Beshir, who is facing an international arrest warrant, is to attend a summit of African leaders at the weekend in Libya, a Libyan official said on Thursday.

The two-day summit of the 28-member Community of Sahel-Saharan States (Cen-Sad) opens on Friday in the Libyan city of Sabratha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site west of Tripoli.

"President Beshir will attend the summit. He is always welcome," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"Libya does not recognise the decision taken by the International Criminal Court (ICC)," which issued the arrest warrant for Beshir in March on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, he said.

Beshir's visit will be the second to Libya and the seventh one outside Sudan since the court called for his arrest.

The 11th Cen-Sad summit is due to discuss several issues, namely the conflict between Sudan and neighbouring Chad, according to a copy of a draft agenda obtained by AFP.

Peace between Chad and Sudan is regarded as essential to any lasting settlement to the six-year-old conflict in Darfur. [...]

Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa has said that the leaders of all the 28 Cen-Sad member countries will be present for the summit which will also discuss the African Union and the situation in several African countries.

Censad, whose headquarters are in Tripoli, describes itself as the biggest economic grouping in Africa.

The organisation groups Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Tunisia.

AU summit to discuss continued membership of the ICC is scheduled for next month in Addis Ababa

AU puts ICC in the dock
From Mail & Guardian by Karabo Keepile, 28 May 2009 - excerpt:
(Johannesburg, SA) - African civil society is mobilising to counter threats by some African countries to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) next month.

The African Union is now criticising the ICC "openly and loudly", said Max du Plessis, senior research associate at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and associate professor of international law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Du Plessis was speaking at a workshop convened by the ISS last week in Stellenbosch to consider the work of the ICC in Africa, attended by about 40 representatives of African civil society organisations.

An AU summit to discuss continued membership of the ICC is scheduled for next month in Addis Ababa. Some AU states accuse the court of unfairly targeting African countries, the most recent flashpoint being the issuing of an arrest warrant in March for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

AU calls on UN to sanction Eritrea over support of Somali Islamists - Sudan Air resumes flights to Eritrea after 13 years

The return of Sudan Air to Asmara, Eritrea is the latest step in the process of normalization between the two countries who had tense relations in the past.

In 2002, Eritrea and Sudan withdrew their ambassadors and closed the border, after trading accusations of supporting respective opposition groups.

Source: Sudan Tribune report from Khartoum dated Sunday, 24 May 2009 - Sudan Air resumes flights to Eritrea after 13 years
- - -

African Union calls on UN to sanction Eritrea over support of Somali Islamists
From Sudan Tribune Sunday, 24 May 2009:
May 23, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to sanction Eritrea for supporting Somali Islamist insurgents.

In a statement released after the end of its 190th meeting in the Ethiopian capital on Friday the AUPSC urged the UNSC to impose sanctions on "all those foreign actors, both within and outside the region, especially Eritrea, which are providing support to the armed groups engaged in destabilizing activities in Somalia."

The Council appealed to establish a no fly zone and blockade of sea ports, to prevent the entry of foreign elements into Somalia, as well as weapons and ammunitions to the Islamist insurgency.

The AU peace and security council appeal comes in line with the IGAD request to the UN against Eritrea. In an extraordinary meeting dedicated to the security and political situation in Somalia on Thursday May 20 held in the Ethiopian capital the regional body appealed to impose sanction without delay on Eritrea saying Asmara called for the overthrow of the Somali government and attacks on African peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Eritrea recalled its ambassador to the African Union following the statement. Asmara however denied reports that it had suspended its membership at the African Union.

Somali government accused Eritrea of supporting Al Shebab insurgents with planeloads of AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.

The Security Council also in a statement on May 15 expressed its concern about reports that Eritrea has supplied arms to those opposing the government of Somalia.

The Eritrean ambassador at the UN rejected these accusations saying his country has been falsely accused of supplying arms to the Somali militants.

"I wish to put on record my government’s strong opposition to, and categorical rejection of, the unsubstantiated accusations leveled against my country," Eritrean Ambassador Araya Desta wrote in a letter to the U.N. Security Council, on Wednesday May 20.

However, an insurgent leader who returned to Mogadishu recently from Asmara where he was established, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, admitted in an interview with Reuters yesterday that Eritrea supported them in their fight to topple the Somali government.

"Eritrea supports us and Ethiopia is our enemy — we once helped both countries but Ethiopia did not reward us," Aweys, said.

Some 45 people were killed in Mogadishu as result of the heavy fighting between the government troops and the insurgents who control important parts of the capital.

Today the Islamists militant also renewed attacks on the position of the African peacekeepers in Mogadishu. There are 4300 peacekeepers from Burundi and Uganda in the capital to protect key government sites.  (ST)

Sudan Delegation Leaves for Doha Talks

Sudan delegation leaves for Doha talks to conduct a new round of talks with the Darfuri armed rebel faction.

From Sudan Vision (Khartoum) by Staff Writer Thursday, 28 May 2009:
Sudan Delegation Leaves for Doha Talks
Sudanese government delegation to Darfur peace talks in Doha chaired by State Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. Amin Hassan Omar departed for Doha to conduct a new round of talks with the Darfuri armed rebel faction.

On his part, Acting Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Dr. Ali Al-Sadiq stated that the importance of the upcoming talks emerges from the preceding moves represented by the US Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration's tours to several countries including China, France, and Britain in the framework of coordinating the stances of the donor countries for the peace process.

He added that this comes also within the framework of the Qatari moves and the visit of its envoy to Sudan and Chad being that to prepare for the negotiations between the Sudanese government and the armed factions and for the normalization of the Sudanese-Chadian relations.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Suspected Israeli airstrike on a convoy in Sudan January 2009 killed 119 people

From Australia.TO News [The Somali government has announced an immediate blockade on airstrips and seaports] Tuesday, 26 May 2009:
An airstrike on a convoy in Sudan this January, which Israel is suspected of having carried out, killed 119 people taking part in a people smuggling operation, Sudan's defence minister has told parliament.

Sudan's state news agency SUNA Tuesday quoted Abdul-Rahim Hussein as telling lawmakers that 56 smugglers, as well as 63 people fleeing Ethiopia and Somalia died in the attack near Sudan's border with Egypt.

Unofficial casualty estimates released in March had put the number of dead at 39 people, riding in 17 trucks.

In his report, Gen Hussein said there were up to 1,000 people in the convoy involved in "a smuggling process at the border with Egypt", Suna reported.

Israel refused to confirm or deny reports it was involved in the airstrike, but shortly after the allegations surfaced in March, Premier Ehud Olmert said that "we hit terrorist infrastructures every place we can, near or far".

While not confirming Israel's role, BBC correspondents said the remark was seen as a heavy hint that Sudan's suspicions were accurate. Hussein said that the incident was still under investigation.

According to reports, Israeli intelligence had discovered that weapons were being trucked through Sudan, heading north towards Egypt, where they were to cross the Sinai Desert and be smuggled into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The airstrike came as Israel was engaged in a ferocious Gaza offensive.

Sudan forms part of a route along which weapons were smuggled into Gaza via a vast network of tunnels under the strip's border with Egypt. The route begins in Iran, which supports the radical Islamist Hamas in Gaza. It is said to pass through Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Egypt - going from the Persian Gulf around the Arabian Peninsula to the city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea, some 400 kilometres south of Egypt, dpa reports.
- - -

Just in, Snowmail from Channel 4 News UK: The Taliban turn on their Pakistani paymasters - detonating a huge suicide car bomb outside a key Pakistani Intelligence Service building. Dozens are dead, hundreds injured. [I'm watching Channel 4 news now, a Pakistani official appears to be implying that the US is among the Taliban's paymasters]

Canadian company donates funds for railway line linking S. Sudan and Uganda

From Sudan Radio Service, 27 May 2009 (Khartoum):
The Minister of Transport in GONU says that his ministry has formed a joint committee with the Ugandan government to open and renovate roads and a railway line linking the two countries.

Minister Philip Thon Leek spoke to Sudan Radio Service in Khartoum on Wednesday.

[Philip Thon Leek]: “As the minister of roads in GONU, I went to Kampala to attend a joint meeting between the Sudan government and the Ugandan government. We have formed a technical ministerial committee, which is composed of 8 members, 2 members from the Ministry of Roads, 2 from Ministry of Transport in GONU and 4 members from the Ugandan government. Now we are renovating the railway line between Babanosa-Wau, the work on the railway line from Wau-Rumbek and Juba-Gulu will start after we get the funding from the donors. I have just come from a meeting with a Canadian company who will donate funds for the construction of this railway line.”

The railway line which linked towns in southern Sudan and Uganda was closed for more than two decades during the civil war in the region.

AU's Head of Culture and Sports, Daraïtivo Ralaïbo, says African museum for peace to be built in Chad

An AU delegation is working with Chadian authorities to organize the African Youth Day and to create a centre to build capacity among young people, a sports centre and a journalism training centre.

From PANA, N'Djaména, Chad, 27 May 2009 - via Afrique en ligne:
Chad: African museum for peace to be built in Chad
The African Union (AU) and the Chadian government will create the first African museum for peace, human rights and non-violence here, Head of the Culture and Sports Section of the AU, Daraïtivo Ralaïbo, said at a press conference held in the Chadian capital city.

"We have worked technically with the ministry for the promotion of Human rights and freedom to create the first African museum ever for peace, non-violence and human rights in Chad," said Mr. Ralaïbo, who is at the head of an AU delegation in a bid to prepare a conference meant for the cultural renaissance of Africa.

"We wish that the museum were created in N'djamena with the support of the AU Commission and all international partners. We want to achieve something concrete here," he added.

The AU delegation is working with Chadian authorities to organize the African Youth Day and to create a centre to build capacity among young people, a sports centre and a journalism training centre.

Six Darfurians arrested and illegally detained for 10 months without charge?

Terrible news if true. Report from Radio Dabanga, a radio station run by Darfurians in The Netherlands, which broadcasts into Darfur in Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit and Arabic:
Detained Darfurians on honger strike

KHARTOUM (22 May 2009) - Six of Darfur sons are more than a week on a hunger strike. They are detained by the security organ in Khartoum for more than 10 months. They protest against their arrests without any charge. Those who went on strike are: Abedel Ilah Ibrahim Wadia, Hamadi Gibril, Hanazalah Adam, Nogadalla Khalil and Naygey Abdalla.

Lawyer Kamal Omer Abedel Salaam, described to Radio Dabanga that this detention and arrest is illegal, This is against the interim constitution. He said that the security organ arrested these people 10 months ago without any justification. He further explained they were set free on the 12th of May. The security forces rearrested them again. After their re-arrest, they entered the hunger strike until now.
Update - From Radio Dabanga, 25 May 2009:
Habbanya in hunger strike refuse treatment

NYALA (25 May 2009) - The 7 Habbanya detainees have entered a second week of their hunger strike in Nyala prison. The health of 3 detainees was deteriorating. They have been taken to the Nyala hospital for further treatment, but they refused to take medication.They are calling for their immediate release. Their lawyer told Radio Dabanga that the defense-team has decided to appeal against the governor of South Darfur for the arrest without any charges. He told radio Dabanga that such behavior is against the interim constitution. The names of those who went on hunger strike are:

Salah Mohamed Goof Al Shenahy, Al Bushara Abbas Al Bushara, Dr. Mohamed Alamin Ahmed Eishag, Musa Izzedin Ahmed, Mahmoud Mohamed Mahmoud, Mahmoud Mursoud Mahmoud and Ahmed Hamid Mahmoud. This was disclosed to Radio Dabanga by the lawyer from Nyala. The detention of the Habbanya leaders was ordered by the South-Darfur governor, Ali Mahmoud, accusing the men to support attacks on the Fallata. In the same Kober prison in Nyala a prisoner was prevented by his colleagues to hang himself. According to eyewitnesses that spoke to Radio Dabanga in side the prison, said the reasons for his attempt is the severe torture by prison guards. One of the prisoners told Radio Dabanga that he was tortured on daily bases. He said that he is in prison for years and not even his mother was allowed to visit him. Last week radio Dabanga already reported about the widespread torture in the Nyala jail that was confirmed by lawyers in Nyala.

U.S. Senators Isakson and Corker arrive in Khartoum, Sudan

The following commentary by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia tells us that Sudan is an entirely dry country. Even at a dinner with dignitaries, there is no cocktail reception or even a glass of wine with the meal. I wonder if the same applies at wedding receptions and other celebrations in Sudan. Among the thousands of photos that I've seen of Sudanese insurgents, quite a few have been photographed smoking or looking dopey. Maybe the Sudanese use herbs as an alternative to alcohol. Note to self to find out more from Drima at The Sudanese Thinker.

AFRICA DIARY SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON
Security, peace issues for Sudan
By Johhny Isakson
For the Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, May 27, 2009:
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia is traveling in Africa with fellow Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. As members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Africa, they are monitoring the progress of a 2005 agreement that helped end years of civil war between northern and southern Sudan. Isakson filed this installment late Monday.

Our trip began Saturday in Washington, D.C., when Sen. Corker and I, along with my brave wife, Dianne, two members of our staffs and a military escort from the Navy, boarded a commercial flight to Rome. A U.S. military plane flew us into Africa.

Some 14 hours after leaving Washington, we landed Sunday afternoon in Khartoum, Sudan, where we were greeted by a sandstorm and a temperature of 110 degrees.

Despite these conditions, a delegation of dignitaries waited outside our plane to greet us. Since arriving, we have been taken everywhere in armored vehicles with a police escort because security problems in Sudan are so bad.

Our meals have been very good so far, but even at a dinner with dignitaries there is no cocktail reception or even a glass of wine with the meal. Sudan is an entirely dry country. Instead, they are constantly serving us juice, soda, coffee and tea in our meetings and with our meals.

Monday night, the head of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services hosted an outdoor dinner for us, complete with local music and dancing.

Tuesday, we will leave our hotel at 6:40 a.m. for a charter flight into Darfur and a five-hour tour and briefing. We will meet with U.S. humanitarian workers and some of the more than 2.6 million Sudanese in the refugee camps.

In early 2011, southern Sudan will hold a referendum to determine whether it secedes from the north. Whatever happens will have great effect on Sudan, the Horn of Africa and the rest of the world. It is our intent to discover firsthand the attitude of the government and the conditions of the people.

The Sudanese government wants improved relations with the United States and demonstrated where it has been helpful to the United States —- most importantly, in counter-terrorism.

We emphasized that improved relations will be built on progress toward the comprehensive peace agreement, which requires legislation pending in the parliament on freedom of the press; reconciliation with the south; future agreements between the north and the south on sharing oil revenues; and full cooperation with aid workers delivering humanitarian assistance to the people of Darfur.

Progress toward the implementation of the peace agreement is essential before the referendum. A vote to secede by the south leaves open the opportunity for a renewal of hostility and even the potential of regional conflict, given that the Horn of Africa has been a target for al-Qaida to establish training camps.
Update: Many thanks to Digital for the following comment:
Although the “herb” is quite popular in Sudan with all social classes, alcohol use is rampant, reminds me of the good old days of prohibition in the states.

The lower and middle classes enjoy an alcoholic beverage made of fermented dates and flavored with assorted fruit essences called arragi, and its might powerful stuff I might add. Less popular is a beer made out of sorghum called “marissa”.

The higher classes enjoy black market booze including the ever popular Johnnie walker, international wines, and all your favorite brands of vodkas/rums/gins/beers.

You have to remember that only 25 years ago Khartoum was full of bars, liquor stores and night clubs. Although it is a social taboo to drink, a significant percentage of the populace does indulge, oxymoronic don’t ya think!!
More on this subject later, if I receive more comments or hear from Drima, The Sudanese Thinker.

Labels: , , , ,

More than 210 civilians still seeking shelter near UNAMID camp near Umm Barru, N. Darfur

Peacekeepers at Umm Barru say Sudanese soldiers and allied SLA/MM elements remain in control of their military position near the town following fighting on 25 May 2009 between Sudanese government forces backed by the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minnawi (SLA/MM), a pro-Government faction, and JEM elements. About 350 civilians fled the fighting and gathered around a UNAMID camp in the area.

More than 210 civilians are still seeking shelter near the UNAMID camp and humanitarian assistance, including food, water and tents, is needed to help the displaced. Peacekeepers are also continuing to monitor the situation and provide medical assistance where required.

Source: UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) May 27, 2009 - via APO:
UNAMID Daily Media Brief, 26 May 2009
Relative calm in Umm Barru

UNAMID peacekeepers report that the security situation in the North Darfur town of Umm Barru is relatively calm today, two days after deadly clashes there between Sudanese Government forces and armed elements from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

An unknown number of people were killed and dozens of others seriously injured as a result of the fighting on 25 May between Government forces backed by the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minnawi (SLA/MM), a pro-Government faction, and JEM elements. About 350 civilians fled the fighting and gathered around a UNAMID camp in the area.

UNAMID peacekeepers based near Umm Barru, which is about 100 kilometres from the Chadian border, report that at least seven people – including three civilians – still need to be evacuated for further medical treatment.

More than 210 civilians are still seeking shelter near the UNAMID camp and humanitarian assistance, including food, water and tents, is needed to help the displaced. Peacekeepers are also continuing to monitor the situation and provide medical assistance where required.

UNAMID reports that while the security situation in the affected area is relatively calm today, it is also unpredictable. Peacekeepers at Umm Barru say Sudanese soldiers and allied SLA/MM elements remain in control of their military position near the town following the fighting.

Sunday’s clashes represent the second time in eight days that JEM elements have attacked a Sudanese military position in North Darfur. On 16 May, they attacked Government forces based near the town of Kornoi.

UNAMID leadership meets United States Senators


The leadership of UNAMID today met a visiting United States Senate delegation, including Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) and Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), to discuss the situation in Darfur.

Led by the Joint Special Representative, Mr. Rodolphe Adada, the Mission’s senior civilian, military and police officials briefed the Senate delegation on the ongoing work and deployment of UNAMID, recent security and humanitarian developments on the ground in Darfur and UNAMID’s efforts to reduce sexual- and gender-based violence.

South Sudan's President Kiir says peace deal in peril

“The CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement], that we concluded as a result of our enormous sacrifices, is seriously threatened by enemies of peace from within our realm and without,” Kiir told a rally in the capital of the semi-autonomous south.

Kiir, who said the violence was an “abnormal pattern of insecurity,” suggested that the fighting was being caused deliberately to destabilise the south. He blamed unnamed outside and internal forces.

Source: Wed 27 May 2009 report by AFP/Juba, Sudan via Gulf Times:
South Sudan says peace deal in peril
Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir warned yesterday that the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan’s 22-year civil war was “seriously threatened” by growing levels of violence.
Kiir, who is also first vice president of Sudan, said the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement was being put at risk by recent conflict.
“The CPA, that we concluded as a result of our enormous sacrifices, is seriously threatened by enemies of peace from within our realm and without,” Kiir told a rally in the capital of the semi-autonomous south.
Several rival ethnic groups have clashed in the south in recent months, leaving more than 1,000 dead and many thousands more displaced.
Cattle rustling and tribal clashes occur regularly in the south, but the ferocity of recent attacks has shocked many.
Kiir, who said the violence was an “abnormal pattern of insecurity,” suggested that the fighting was being caused deliberately to destabilise the south. He blamed unnamed outside and internal forces.
It is a tense time for Sudan, with national elections due in February and a referendum on independence for the south scheduled for 2011.
“This is a well designed strategy to discredit you as people who cannot govern themselves, particularly as we approach general elections and referendum,” he told crowds.
Kiir was speaking at a rally in the southern capital Juba to mark the 26th anniversary of a revolt by southern troops in the Sudanese army, who formed the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
He made his speech to large crowds gathered at the mausoleum of the first southern president John Garang, who signed the peace deal in 2005.
Soldiers from the SPLA, now the official army of the south, marched past Kiir and other top southern officials, in a parade that included three tanks and heavy artillery pieces.
The parade was seen by some as a show of force to the south’s former northern enemies, now partners in a unity government.

Labels:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sudan security forces attacked by 3,000 tribesmen near Meiram, S. Kordofan

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 report from Reuters by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum:
Sudan tribesmen attack security force, scores killed
Scores of people were killed when 3,000 armed Arab tribesmen on horseback attacked security forces in Sudan's oil-producing Southern Kordofan region on Tuesday, tribal sources and officials said.

Sudan's Interior Ministry said the security forces were attacked close to the town of Meiram soon after arriving to try to prevent a fresh outbreak of fighting between warring Misseriya and Rizeigat nomads.

"While our forces were making administrative and security arrangements (on Tuesday morning) to prevent the parties from fighting, the Rizeigat started heavy firing and attacked," said the ministry's statement.

"It is estimated the attackers were made up of 3,000 fighters on horseback and 35 vehicles."

One tribal source, who asked not to be named, said more than 100 tribesmen, security officers and civilians may have been killed in Tuesday's clashes and other skirmishes between the tribes in recent days.

It was impossible to verify the figures. The ministry statement said there had been deaths and injuries among the security forces and civilians, but gave no figures and no reason for the attack.

The clashes were a reminder of the tense political situation in Southern Kordofan, which borders both the strife-torn Darfur region and southern Sudan, where tensions are still simmering four years after the end of a civil war with the north.

The Rizeigat and Misseriya have clashed in the past, in fighting often rooted in disputes over grazing land and access to water.

Clashes in recent years have been particularly fierce, fueled by bad blood over past killings and a ready supply of arms from other conflicts. A series of reconciliation conferences have failed to achieve lasting settlements.

"They were armed to the teeth, both the Misseriya and the Rizeigat. There were heavy losses on both sides over the past few days," said one senior member of the Misseriya tribe who asked not to be named.

"There were also deaths among the police who were also caught up in it all."

The government raised the political temperature in Southern Kordofan earlier this month by naming a new governor -- Ahmed Haroun, a divisive figure distrusted by local residents and wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

On taking up his new post, Haroun said one of his first priorities would be to arrange a reconciliation drive to end conflicts between all the region's warring communities. (editing by Tim Pearce)

International troops attack Yemeni boat near Sudan; 2 Killed

From Yemen Post by Yemen Post Staff, Tuesday, 25 May 2009:
International Troops Attack Yemeni Boat near Sudan; 2 Killed
Two Yemeni fishermen were killed and one was injured while the fate of a fourth one is still unknown after their boat came under an aggressive assault by one of the international naval ships patrolling the Red Sea near Sudan on Tuesday.

A source at the Coast Guard said Abdu Marwani and Muhammad Naj'e were killed immediately after their boat was totally destroyed by a missile which some suspect was an air strike.

Sources at Yemen's navy said it probably came from sea.

While the third fisherman made it to Sudanese coast and is now in critical condition.

The fishermen came from the Midy area, Hajjah before their boat was hit near Sudan's waters.

A coordinated investigation by Yemen and Sudan is underway to explore reasons for the attack.

Meanwhile, director of the Midy district Abdul Majeed Al-Himyari dismissed reports a Yemeni boat was attacked in Yemen's territorial waters, saying the incident took place while the boat was in Sudan's territorial waters.

He told the media the survivor is being investigated by Sudan.

Tuesday's attack comes in a series of attacks against Yemeni fishing boats by international forces patrolling the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Early this year, two Yemeni sailors were killed as their boats came under separate attacks by international troops in the Indian Ocean. Few others were hurt, with troops saying they suspected the boats were for pirates and then hit them.

And this month, the Interior Ministry said a Yemeni boat was provoked, with NATO's mission in the region intimidating its crew.

The area where the boat was hit on Tuesday is witnessing large fuel smuggling, with eyewitnesses affirming boats smuggle diesel to African Horn States daily.

Source: Yemen Post Newspaper.
Hat tip: Armies of Liberation - Yemeni Fishing Ship Blows Up in Sudanese Waters
- - -

UPDATE 28 May 2009:

From Sahwa Net, Hodeida, 28 May 2009:
Maritime kills tow Yemeni fishermen
Two Yemeni fishermen were killed and another was seriously injured on Wednesday off Hodeida coasts as an explosion targeted their boat.

"The incident was occurred as a result of a maritime mine, according to early estimates" official sources told Sahwa Net.

"Abdu Ibrahim and Ahmed Ibrahim were killed, while Saeed Yousuf was seriously injured".

Military sources referred to the prospect of mine remains planted in the area by Eritrea as it attempted to occupy Honaish Island in the late 1990s.

ICC's chief prosecutor says Britain failing to make Bashir's arrest a priority

On reading the following report from The Guardian, I was struck by the thought that ICC Prosectuor Luis Moreno-Ocampo sounds like he is part of Save Darfur Coalition, onside with the rebels:
"Bashir must be stopped," he said. "The destiny of Bashir is to face justice – it's a matter of time. If China, the US, the UK and Europe acted together, we would stop him".
Why not be even handed and say the same of the insurgents? Surely Mr Moreno-Ocampo is aware of the encouragement that his statement gives them. His bias is so blatant one wonders if he has a vested interest in seeing Sudan's president being removed. How do we know that he and the insurgents are not in the pay of a giant oil company such as France's Total or US's ExxonMobil?

Here's hoping that the British government steers well clear of what the ICC, US and France are up to in Africa and stops African insurgents from entering and residing in the UK.

From The Guardian
By Afua Hirsch, legal affairs correspondent
Sunday 24 May 2009:
Britain failing to make Bashir's arrest a priority, says ICC's chief prosecutor
• Moreno-Ocampo singles out UK for criticism
• Sudan president 'commits crimes every day'

Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Photo: Chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, speaking at the Guardian Hay Festival (Martin Argles)

The UK's "complex agenda" is preventing it from doing more to ensure the arrest of the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, the world's most powerful prosecutor said yesterday, claiming that Bashir "continues to commit crimes every day".

Speaking at the Hay literary festival, the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, below, singled out the UK as one of a number of permanent members of the UN security council that should show "unity and leadership" in taking a tough line on Sudan.

"Bashir must be stopped," he said. "The destiny of Bashir is to face justice – it's a matter of time. If China, the US, the UK and Europe acted together, we would stop him". But he added: "What's the advantage for UK to be tough with Sudan when they have so much else on the agenda?"

Moreno-Ocampo's comments come as opinion on the Sudanese president's indictment continues to be divided. The prosecutor called for his arrest in July last year, accusing Bashir of orchestrating a campaign of killings, rape and deportation in the western region of Darfur.

A number of African and Arab countries, as well as NGOs working in Darfur, have criticised the decision to indict Bashir, claiming it has jeopardised the Darfur peace process in Doha, Qatar.

The peace talks have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent days. US officials have travelled to China and plan to meet British, French and Russian diplomats to try to end the six-year war between the Arab government in Khartoum and ethnic minority rebels in Darfur.

A hybrid peacekeeping force was established in Darfur in July 2007 under a coalition between the UN and the African Union. With an estimated strength of 26,000 troops, it is expected to become the largest peacekeeping force in the world.

But critics, who say the peace process has been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the Sudanese government, claim that Moreno-Ocampo's decision to call for Bashir's arrest will further compromise the chances of peace in the region.

The comments are the latest development in a long-running series of controversies involving Moreno-Ocampo since he was appointed as the ICC chief prosecutor in 2003. Although respected by many for his record in prosecuting military generals in his native Argentina, he drew widespread criticism for his initial decision to request Bashir's arrest for the crime of genocide.

The charge was later dropped, leaving Bashir charged with counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. [...]

Moreno-Ocampo's talk at the Guardian-sponsored festival in Hay-on-Wye was the first time he had spoken in the UK in such open terms about his role as the world's first criminal prosecutor.

His interview, with international law expert Phillipe Sands, was one of a number of high profile political and legal discussions raising issues on civil liberties and freedom of speech.

Sources in the Foreign Office said they were surprised by Moreno-Ocampo's apparent criticism of UK foreign policy. The UK has supported the independence of the ICC and so far resisted calls by some African and Arab leaders for the warrant for Bashir's arrest to be deferred.

However Britain, along with other permanent UN security council members the US and France, has supported the current Doha peace process and is currently attempting to broker a deal between rebel leaders and the Sudanese government, with the possibility of deferring the indictment against Bashir. [...]

Monday, May 25, 2009

UNAMID say JEM repulsed at base

Peacekeepers say Darfur rebels repulsed at base
Mon May 25, 2009 KHARTOUM (Reuters) - excerpt:
Rebel fighters failed to capture a Sudanese army base in Darfur, International peacekeepers said Monday, contradicting earlier reports of an insurgent victory.

The joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force originally said raiders had overrun the army base in the settlement of Umm Baru, close to the Chadian border in north Darfur Sunday night.

But UNAMID Information Director Kemal Saiki said Monday the reports from peacekeepers there had been confused.

"They did make a push for it, but they did not overrun the post. Put it down to the fog of war," Saiki said.

Sudan's army spokesman Brigadier Uthman al-Agbash told state media that government soldiers had routed the rebel forces and 43 fighters from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had been killed and 54 injured.

JEM said it attacked the base Sunday night and gave varying accounts of the fighting. Senior commander Suleiman Sandal insisted JEM was still largely in control of the town on Monday morning and had sent out units to confront an expected government counter-attack from the south and east.

JEM humanitarian chief Suleiman Jamous told Reuters the rebel forces had pulled out of the town after government planes started bombing the area.

"We wanted to save the people of Umm Baru from the bombing. We pulled out after we achieved what we set out to achieve, which was to attack the base and limit the soldiers' ability to harass civilians," Jamous said. [...]

KHARTOUM BOMB

A bomb was left outside a Khartoum office of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) Monday but failed to explode, the former rebel group said.

The SPLM, which fought for two decades in southern Sudan against Khartoum's rule but is now a junior partner in the government, said the bomb was at an office where senior SPLM official Yasir Arman is based.

A pro-government paper recently called for the killing of Arman over comments he had made objecting to the application of Islamic sharia law to non-Muslims. The paper was briefly suspended from publication. [...]

(Reporting by Andrew Heavens; writing by Aziz El-Kaissouni and Alastair Sharp; editing by Robert Woodward)
- - -

Update from Reuters 25 May 2009:
Sudan's army spokesman Brigadier Uthman al-Agbash told state media that government soldiers had routed the rebel forces and 43 JEM fighters had been killed and 54 injured. He told the Sudanese Media Centre 20 of his soldiers had also been killed and 31 injured.

"The remnants of JEM's armed forces have fled to the Sudan- Chad border," he said. Khartoum accuses its neighbour Chad of backing JEM.

North Korea has carried out a nuclear test

North Korea has carried out a nuclear test. Barack Obama is threatening unspecified 'action'. The UN Security Council will meet later tonight.

Source: Channel 4 News Service Snowmail, UK, Monday, 25 May 2009.
- - -

See 25 May 2009 BBC News report Outrage over N Korea nuclear test and comments at Have Your Say
- - -

Ban visits Republic of Korea for first time since taking helm at UN

Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pays respect to his ancestors at the village temple in his birthplace, Haengchi village, in the Republic of Korea. (5 July 2008) From archives of North Korea Watch: Ban visits Republic of Korea for first time since taking helm at UN.

OIC ministers show solidarity with Khartoum

The weekend-long Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Damascus, which ended Monday, also offered recommendations Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported.

Source: UPI (DAMASCUS, Syria) 25 May 2009 - OIC ministers develop final statement - excerpt re Sudan:
The ministers, in the draft, showed solidarity with Khartoum against "aggressive plots targeting the sovereignty of Sudan" and criticized foreign interference in Sudan's affairs, including the International Criminal Court's indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for crimes arising from fighting in Darfur, KUNA said.

Sudan Tribune up to no good ... again

After spending fifteen minutes looking for the source of the below copied report by Sudan Tribune I have given up. I cannot find a trace of Russian special envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov telling Novosti news agency that: “If the international community does not undertake firm and needed steps to prevent conflict, the already tense situation in the region threatens to create a disaster".

I challenge Sudan Tribune to clarify the source of the following report from London. If they don't, I am leaving the title of this post for all to see.

From Sudan Tribune, Saturday 23 May 2009:
Russia calls for international intervention in Sudan-Chad conflict
May 22, 2009 (LONDON) – The international community must intervene to defuse tensions between Sudan and Chad, a senior Russian official said.

The Russian special envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov

Photo: Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov (AFP)

The Russian special envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov told Novosti news agency that the conflict between the two countries keeps escalating.

“If the international community does not undertake firm and needed steps to prevent conflict, the already tense situation in the region threatens to create a disaster” Margelov said.

He called on the international community to press both sides and hinted that the UN must also consider sending peacekeepers but did not elaborate.

Both oil producing nations have for years traded accusations of supporting rebel groups and providing them with bases to launch attacks.

Several regional efforts have helped broker reconciliation agreements as recent as this month in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar that have collapsed following rebel attacks from each side.

This month Chad said rebels coming from bases in Sudan launched attack inside its territory. Chad vowed to pursue the rebels inside Sudan.

Margelov said that Darfur region bordering Chad is under rebel control “without effective monitoring” from UN or international organizations. Furthermore he noted the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

He said that all these factors combined contributed to the deterioration of the situation in the region.

The dispute between both countries is largely seen as a spillover from the six year conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur that displaced millions across the borders. (ST)

China agreed to give Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Venezuela $49 billion in loans this year in exchange for oil supplies

China's PetroChina Co. briefly overtook Exxon Mobil Corp. as the world’s most valuable company after China’s stimulus plan caused a surge in the nation’s stocks this year.

China’s fuel demand is growing, while in Northern America and Europe demand is actually falling.

China agreed to give Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Venezuela $49 billion in loans this year in exchange for oil supplies.

PetroChina last month agreed to buy a 50 percent share in AO Mangistaumunaigas for as much as $1.4 billion after China agreed to lend $10 billion to Kazakhstan, the largest energy producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia.

China National Petroleum Corp., PetroChina’s parent, is the largest foreign developer of oil fields in Sudan.

The U.S. company Exxon Mobil Corp raked in $425 billion in sales last year, or $60.45 for every man, woman and child on the planet. Exxon’s 2008 profit of $45.22 billion was the most ever for a U.S. corporation, marking the fourth consecutive year of record- setting results.

Source: Bloomberg News report dated 25 May 2009:
PetroChina Matches Exxon as Most Valuable Company (Update1). To contact the reporters on this story: John Liu in Shanghai at jliu42@bloomberg.net; Joe Carroll in Chicago at Jliu42@bloomberg.net
- - -
See Sudan Watch, March 23, 2006: Harvard divests from stock held by HMC in China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Corporation)

JEM takes Sudan army base in Umm Baru nr Chadian border in North Darfur

According to the following report from Reuters, it would appear that JEM, using mortars and heavy guns, have seized a Sudan army base in Umm Baru near the Chadian border in North Darfur. It is the second army base JEM has taken in the area in just over a week. The governor of North Darfur has accused Chad of sending troops to fight alongside JEM during the battle, which he said the Sudanese government forces won.

Note, the report highlights the fact that JEM seeks to control all of Darfur and neighboring Kordofan.

Sudan’s Southern Kordofan Problem: The Next Darfur?

A BBC report yesterday [Raiders 'seize Sudan army base'] says the reported fall of the Umm Baru base comes as a fresh round of peace talks between Sudan and Jem is due to begin on Wednesday in Doha, Qatar.

Reuters report, 24 May 2009, by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum - excerpt:
Darfur fighters take Sudan army base: peacekeepers
Armed raiders using mortars and heavy guns seized a Sudanese army base near the Chad border in Darfur on Sunday, the second to have fallen in just over a week, international peacekeepers said.

The joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force said it could not confirm the identity of those who attacked the base at Umm Baru but suspected the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) that has been active in the area in recent months.

"Umm Baru was overrun. It has fallen," said UNAMID information director Kemal Saiki. "Our own base just a few kilometers away heard the heavy gunfire." Saiki said the attack started at around 4pm (1300 GMT) and ended around 8.30pm.

Any JEM involvement would heighten already deeply troubled relations between Sudan and Chad, as Khartoum accuses the N'Djamena government of backing the insurgent force.

It would also be the second army base JEM has taken in the area in just over a week, marking an escalation in the recent conflict.

There was no one immediately available to comment on the fighting from JEM or Sudan's armed forces.

Tensions have been building along Sudan's remote border with Chad for weeks.

The two oil producers have long accused one another of supporting each other's rebels. Chad earlier this month admitted bombing rebels inside Sudanese territory, while Khartoum says N'Djamena backs JEM, whose leaders have ethnic links with Chadian President Idriss Deby.

JEM said it seized a Sudanese army base at Kornoi, a settlement just 50 km (31 miles) west of Umm Baru, on May 16, along a road that runs toward a crossing point into Chad.

The governor of North Darfur later accused Chad of sending troops to fight alongside JEM during the battle, which he said the Sudanese government forces won.

There have been signs of JEM re-arming and re-grouping in North Darfur in recent weeks -- it fought former rebels aligned with Sudan's government around Umm Baru earlier this month.

JEM, which seeks to control all of Darfur and neighboring Kordofan, shocked many by attacking Khartoum in May 2008 before being stopped a few kilometers short of the presidential palace.

JEM commander Suleiman Sandal told Reuters earlier on Sunday that Sudanese government planes had been bombing around Kornoi and Umm Baru every day since his force's attack on Kornoi. [...]

In many places, fighting has descended into a free-for-all of tribal clashes and banditry.

Armed men stopped a vehicle carrying Nigerian peacekeepers near El Geneina, capital of west Darfur, on Saturday night, and stole their weapons, phones, radio and transport, the joint U.N./African Union force said. No one was injured in the attack.

The U.N.'s World Food Program said a contract driver was shot dead by suspected robbers in Al Deain in South Darfur on Tuesday. [...] (Editing by Philippa Fletcher)
- - -

Report from China View, 25 May 2009:
Sudanese army defeats attack of rebel militants in Darfur
KHARTOUM, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) announced that they had managed to defeat an attack launched by militants of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) at the restive western Sudanese region of Darfur on Sunday.

SAF spokesman Osman Mohammed al-Aghbash told the Sudanese Media Center that the army troops routed the attack at the Umm Baru areain North Darfur by a large military force of the rebel JEM backed by the Chadian army.

The spokesman added that the army troops caused the rebel group a heavy toll in lives and property, which were being accounted.

Meanwhile, the hybrid peacekeeping force of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur said armed raiders using mortars and heavy guns seized a Sudanese army base at Umm Baru near the Chad border in Darfur on Sunday, the second to have fallen in just over a week.

Tensions have been building along Sudan's remote border with Chad for weeks, causing concerns of neighboring countries and other countries in the region.

JEM said it seized a Sudanese army base at Kornoi, a settlement just 50 km west of Umm Baru, on May 16, along a road that runs towards a crossing point into Chad. Editor: Mu Xuequan
Sudan map showing January 1, 1956 Line of Demarcation

Maps from Sudan Watch archives. Also, see:

Dec. 7, 2008: Sudan’s South Kordofan the next Darfur?

Nov. 21, 2006: PINR - Intelligence Brief: Rebels Advance on the Central African Republic. Copy:
Just in from Adam Wolf, editor for PINR's Africa region: PINR - Intelligence Brief: Rebels Advance on the Central African Republic. Excerpt:
"As long as the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region continues unresolved, Khartoum's lack of oversight in the area provides a rear base for both Chadian and C.A.R. insurgents that are seeking to gain control of their respective countries. More concerning, however, is the risk of a regional war should troops from either Chad or C.A.R. support attacks on Sudanese territory."
- - -

UPDATE Monday 25 May 2009:
Peacekeepers say Darfur rebels repulsed at base
Mon May 25, 2009 KHARTOUM (Reuters) - excerpt: Rebel fighters failed to capture a Sudanese army base in Darfur, International peacekeepers said Monday, contradicting earlier reports of an insurgent victory.
Click HERE to scroll up ......Click HERE to scroll down