SUDAN WATCH: August 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sand cat - Felis margarita

Sand Cat

Photo: Sand cat - Felis margarita. Click here for larger view.

After spending several hours online looking for information on cats in Sudan I was surprised to find very little. There is a wonderful array of information on cats being revered as Gods in Egypt. But why not Sudan, I wonder.  Do Sudanese people keep pet cats and if not, why not? I hope it is not true that some people in Southern Sudan eat cats. 

If anyone reading this has seen a Sand cat, or any other type of cat, domestic or wild, in Sudan or Chad, please share details here in the comments or email me at address in sidebar here at Sudan Watch. Any photos would be most appreciated.

Starting today, I am taking a break from Sudan Watch to catch up on rest, reading, emails and computer housekeeping. Apologies if I owe you an email, I am doing my best to reply to all emails received.

Sand cat - Felis margarita

Sand cat

Source of photo and text: www.pictures-of-cats.org

Appearance

The sand cat has the appearance almost of a domestic cat albeit more muscular and obviously wilder looking. It weighs 2-3 kilograms (4.4 to 6.6 lbs). The average weight is in the order of 2.7 kg (6 lbs).

Camouflaged beautifully for sandy conditions with a pale sandy coloured tabby coat, the face is noticeably broad and the ears large set on the sides of the head. The face is both sweet, wild and a little aggressive looking at the same time. In fact the skull shape is an adaptation to desert life.

The skull contains a hearing structure, the bony covering of the middle ear called the tympanic bulla, that is enlarged and which is thought to be an adaptation to increase low-frequency hearing. The large ear flaps (pinnae) support excellent hearing too. Hearing is important in locating prey.

Although the markings are very faint there are strong stripes on the forelegs. The density of the coat colour fades to off-white on the undersides. The fur is dense and makes this cat looking larger than is the case. Its well camouflaged body allows it to hide very effectively when threatened by crouching low to the ground besides a rock with its chin touching the ground and ears flattened to mimic the rock.

An interesting feature of this cat is the thick fur that grows between its toes, which protects the pads of the paws against the hot sand of the desert. Apparently they encounter very cold conditions too so the fur insulates against cold as well.

The Sand cat can move fast when required but its short legs means it moves close to the ground.

Where do we find the Sand Cat?

At 2009, this wildcat is known or believed to occupy: Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Niger, Pakistan, Syria, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Oman, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, W. Sahara, Israel.

It may also occupy the following countries: Tunisia, Libya, Qatar, Chad, Mali, Afghanistan, Senegal and Sudan.

Source of photo and text: www.pictures-of-cats.org

Sand cat -  Felis margarita

Sand cats have big appetites. In captivity one cat was feed 15 mice and would have eaten more if given them. Normally they eat about 10% of their body weight per night. Perhaps a good proportion of this is burned off on hunting, judging by the distances travelled to find prey.

As to communication, this wildcat makes many of the sounds of the domestic cat but some are peculiar to the this cat. For example, they bark somewhat like small dogs. It is a sharp repeating call. It is used, it seems: for males seeking males; for females and males when meeting. The sand cat has a hiss that has a click attached to it.

There is also a gurgle that is used when in close contact. In addition there are the usual non-vocal calls such as leaving claw marks and urine spraying.

Source of photo and text: www.pictures-of-cats.org
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Sand cat
Sand cat - Felis margarita
Other names

English: sand dune cat

French: chat des sables

German: Sandkatze

Spanish: gato del Sahara, gato de las arenas

Description

A small, short-legged animal, the sand or sand-dune cat has an unusually broad head with large ears set low down on the side of the head. The position of the ears may help it to present a low profile when stalking prey. Felis margarita is named after the French General Margueritte who explored much of what was the French Sahara.

Sand cats are about the size of a small domestic cat, and very similar to the Chinese desert cat (Felis bieti). Their soft dense fur is a pale sandy brown, light grey or ochre. It is slightly darker on the back and whitish on the belly, lower muzzle and chest.

There are indistinct bars on the limbs, and the black-tipped, relatively long tail has two to six black rings near the end. There is a reddish streak from the eyes across the cheeks, and the ears are rufous brown and tipped with black. Four indistinct tawny-brown stripes may mark the nape and the flanks may be marked with brownish red spots and obscure vertical stripes.

A dense mat of long (two cm) hair grows between the pads of the feet. This covers the pads, protecting them against hot sand and probably is an adaptation to help spread the animal’s weight over shifting sand.

The skull is notable for the large auditory bullae and long nasal bones. This suggests that they rely particularly on their senses of hearing and smell. Some desert animals have large noses to help them cut down water lost to evaporation from their breath. Large noses aid condensation within, so less water is lost. Adaptations like this are extremely important for desert animals.

There are six described subspecies:
F. m. margarita The Sahara, Algeria to Arabia
F. m. airensis Niger and the Sudan
F. m. meinertzhageni Sahara (Algeria)
F. m. thinobia Turkestan
F. m. scheffeli Pakistan
F. m. harrisoni Arabia/Jordan
F. m. thinobia is the largest of the subspecies and has almost no patterning at all. Individuals from the western parts of the sand cat’s range tend to be more brightly coloured and more distinctively marked.

These subspecies, and those of many other animals, are often the subject of much taxonomic debate and many are disputed.

Source of photo and text: www.catsurvivaltrust.org

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Why is Africa poor? Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed

Quote of the Day
"Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed." - President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, 2009.

The following report also tells us that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says she underestimated the problem of graft.

From BBC News, Monday, 24 August 2009:
Why is the African continent poor?
By Mark Doyle, BBC world affairs correspondent
The desolate, dusty town of Pibor on South Sudan's border with Ethiopia has no running water, no electricity and little but mud huts for the population to live in.

You would be hard put to find a poorer place anywhere on earth.

I went there as part of a journey across Africa to ask the question "Why is Africa poor?" for a BBC radio documentary series.

I was asked to investigate why it is that every single African country - with the exceptions of oil-rich Gabon and Algeria - is classified by the United Nations as having a "low" broadly defined Human Development Index - in other words an appalling standard of living for most of the people.

In Pibor, the answer to why the place is poor seems fairly obvious.

The people - most of whom are from the Murle ethnic group - are crippled by tribal conflicts related to disputes over cattle, the traditional store of wealth in South Sudan.

The Murle have recently had fights with the Lol Nuer group to the north of Pibor and with ethnic Bor Dinkas to the west.

In a spate of fighting with the Lol Nuer earlier this year several hundred people, many of them women and children, were killed in deliberate attacks on villages.

There has been a rash of similar clashes across South Sudan in the past year (although most were on a smaller scale than the fights between the Lol Nuer and the Murle).

And so the answer to why South Sudan is poor is surely a no-brainer: War makes you destitute.

Why is there so much war?

And yet South Sudan is potentially rich.

"It's bigger than Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi combined," the South Sudan Regional Co-operation Minister Barnaba Benjamin, enthused.

"Tremendous land! Very fertile, enormous rainfall, tremendous agricultural resources. Minerals! We have oil and many other minerals - go name it!"

The paradox of rich resources and poor people hints at another layer of explanation about why Africa is poor.

It is not just that there is war. The question should, perhaps be: "Why is there so much war?"

And the headline question is in fact misleading; Africans as a people may be poor, but Africa as a place is fantastically rich - in minerals, land, labour and sunshine.

That is why outsiders have been coming here for hundreds of years - to invade, occupy, convert, plunder and trade.

But the resources of South Sudan, for example, have never been properly developed.

During colonial rule South Sudan was used as little more than a reservoir of labour and raw materials.

Then independence was followed by 50 years of on-off war between the south and north - with northerners in Khartoum continuing the British tactic of divide and rule among the southern groups.

Some southerners believe this is still happening today.

Corruption

On my journey across the poorest, sub-Saharan swathe of the continent - that took in Liberia and Nigeria in the west, Sudan in the centre, and Kenya in the east - people explored the impact that both non-Africans and Africans had had on why Africa is poor.

Almost every African I met, who was not actually in government, blamed corrupt African leaders for their plight.

"The gap between the rich and the poor in Africa is still growing," said a fisherman on the shores of Lake Victoria.

"Our leaders, they just want to keep on being rich. And they don't want to pay taxes."

Even President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia came close to this when she told me she had underestimated the level of corruption in her country when she took office.

"Maybe I should have sacked the whole government when I came to power," she said.

"Africa is not poor," President Johnson-Sirleaf added, "it is poorly managed."

This theme was echoed by an architect in Kenya and a senior government official in Nigeria.

Both pointed out that the informal sector of most African economies is huge and almost completely unharnessed.

Marketplaces, and a million little lean-to repair shops and small-scale factories are what most urban Africans rely upon for a living.

But such is their distrust of government officials that most businesspeople in the informal sector avoid all contact with the authorities.

Kenyan architect and town planner Mumo Museva took me to the bustling Eastleigh area of Nairobi, where traders have created a booming economy despite the place being almost completely abandoned by the government.

Eastleigh is a filthy part of the city where rubbish lies uncollected, the potholes in the roads are the size of swimming pools, and the drains have collapsed.

But one indication of the success of the traders, Mr Museva said, was the high per-square-foot rents there.

"You'll be surprised to note that Eastleigh is the most expensive real estate in Nairobi."

He added that if Eastleigh traders trusted the government they might pay some taxes in return for decent services, so creating a "virtuous circle".

"It would lift people out of poverty," he said.

"Remember, poverty is related to quality of life, and the quality of life here is appalling, despite the huge amount of wealth flowing through these areas."

Then the young Kenyan architect echoed the Liberian president, some 5,000km (3,000 miles) away on the other side of the continent.

"Africa is not poor," he also said.

"Africa is just poorly managed."
See blog: Why is Africa poor? Have Your Say

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sudanese team suspended as age concerns dogs CECAFA U-17 Championship

CECAFA Under-17 Youth Championship (Hassan el Bashir Cup) August 19-31 2009 Sudan

Disappointing news. Sudan have been punished for having a whole raft of overage players...

From Goal.com 22 August 2009 by James Momanyi:
Sudanese Team Suspended As Age Concerns Dogs CECAFA U-17 Championship
The CECAFA Under-17 youth championship organisers are in a quandary as to how to deal with the problem of overage players, as Sudan and Zanzibar have presented teams with boys suspected to be over the age limit.

The organisers have been caught in a mix because documents presented by the suspected teams are official identification from their respective countries.

Kenya were beaten 3-1 by Zanzibar in their opening match in Juba Stadium, while Sudan beat Tanzania 3-0 on Thursday. But according to a report posted on kenyapremierleague.com, immediately after the Sudanese match, CECAFA ruled that 17 players in the Sudan squad were ineligible and expelled them, stripping the country of their win against Tanzania.

The embarrassment caused by the hosts left CECAFA with no option, but they have handed them a reprieve of sorts by keeping them in the competition, if they can raise a legal team.

The Zanzibar and Ethiopian contingents in Juba are also highly suspect. Although Ethiopia were beaten 4-0 on the opening day by Uganda, the team played four players who were rumoured to be overage, while Zanzibar's 3-1 over Kenya was blighted by the presence of several older looking players in the victorious side.

Twelve teams are participating in the two week championship, and it is not yet known what action CECAFA will take against teams that have already used overage players in their opening matches. So far, Tanzania and Kenya are the only teams seen as having players of the correct age.

Kenya fall to Zanzibar

Daily Nation - ‎13 hours ago‎
By NATION CorrespondentPosted Friday, August 21 2009 at 18:01 Kenya slumped to a 3-1 defeat by Zanzibar in their opening Cecafa Under-17 Youth Championship ...

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Friday, August 21, 2009

The 'genocide' in Darfur isn't what it seems (Marc Gustafson)

From The Christian Science Monitor
Opinion piece by Marc Gustafson, August 19, 2009
The 'genocide' in Darfur isn't what it seems
Activist hype, though well-intentioned may have misdirected funds that could have saved lives.

OXFORD, ENGLAND - The "Save Darfur" movement is one of the largest American activist movements in recent history.

It emerged in the summer of 2004 in reaction to an issue that had little impact on the lives of average Americans: a year-old civil war in Darfur. Horrific stories of rape, murder, and genocide began to appear in US newspapers and define Darfur. Millions were moved by these accounts and organized a movement to stop the violence.

In the next five years, however, the war in Darfur became one of the most misunderstood conflicts in recent history.

That's because the activist campaigns mischaracterized and sensationalized it in order to grow the movement. Such distortion helped the PR effort, but it arguably hurt the very people who needed help.

Activists inflated casualty rates, often claiming that hundreds of thousands of Darfurians have been "killed." What they tended to leave out was that the majority of the casualties occurred as a result of disease and malnutrition ( stemming from war).

Differentiating between those may seem insignificant in the shadow of the horrific acts of war crimes in Darfur, but ignoring these categorizations has led many activists to put pressure on the US government to fund violence-prevention plans and international peacekeeping troops, often in lieu of providing humanitarian aid and funds for peacemaking.

The Save Darfur Coalition has been particularly effective in using its scores of followers to pressure policymakers. They have hired lobbyists in Washington to draft legislation and pressure politicians to focus their efforts on violence prevention and UN troop deployment.

Before these lobbyists were hired, the US had sent a total of $1.01 billion dollars to Darfur. Of this, $839 million (83 percent) was allocated to refugee camps and humanitarian assistance, while $175 million (17 percent) was directed to fund peacekeeping activities. These numbers show that Washington was initially more focused on providing humanitarian aid than peacekeeping.

From 2006 until 2008, when the Save Darfur Coalition and many other groups began to pressure the government, the allocation of US funds shifted dramatically from humanitarian aid to peacekeeping, presumably due to the influence of the lobbyists and public pressure campaigns.

Of the $2.01 billion that was spent, $1.03 billion (51.3 percent) was spent on humanitarian aid, while $980 million (48.7 percent) was spent on funding peacekeeping missions, a significant shift toward peacekeeping.

In the end, these proportional changes were problematic because, as many casualty surveys show, the number of people who were "killed" in Darfur declined significantly after the April 8 cease-fire of 2004, while the rate of those who were dying of disease and malnutrition remained high.

Had the Darfur activists not advocated for a reallocation of funds, more lives would probably have been saved.

Many activists have also mischaracterized the nature of the violence in Darfur, intimating that the government of Sudan and rogue Arab tribes have been responsible for most, if not all, of the bloodshed. "Save Darfur" advertisements, newsletters, and websites frequently use the term "ongoing genocide" to describe the conflict.

The term "genocide" was originally used to provide a sense of gravity so that international governments and institutions would respond more rapidly to the conflict.

Despite the good intentions of activists, the popularity of the word "genocide" posed many unanticipated problems and it distorted the balance of culpability and innocence.

Using the term "genocide" implies that there is a unidirectional crime taking place. To be clear, horrible crimes have been committed, but the perpetrators aren't as clear-cut as the term would make it seem.

The government of Sudan has killed many people and is responsible for war crimes in Darfur, but the rebel insurgents bear some responsibility, too. When the United Nations conducted its International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, it found that many of the rebel groups engaged in "serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law."

By using the word "genocide," and attaching the term to only one side of the conflict, the opposite side is easily ignored.

In Darfur, the use of the term "genocide" has allowed the rebel groups to slip under the radar and commit crimes against humanity without the rest of the world taking notice. Had "genocide" not been the focus, activist campaigns might have challenged the rebel groups and checked their criminal acts.

For example, Eritrea, Chad, and the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement were the principal funders of the rebel groups in Darfur. They were and are also allies and aid recipients of the US government, which means they could have easily been pressured to cut their lifelines to the rebel groups.

Today, the situation in Darfur continues to be mischaracterized. Most of the ongoing violence can be attributed to banditry, lawlessness, and fighting between rebel groups. According to the latest United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) report, 16 fatalities were recorded for the month of June and none of them was linked to the conflict between Sudanese forces and the rebel groups.

The conflict in Darfur has not met the 1,000 casualties per year threshold that most political scientists consider necessary for a conflict to be categorized as a "civil war" since last year.

Despite these changes, many continue to argue that the government of Sudan is waging a large-scale assault on Darfur. The terms "ongoing genocide" and "war in Darfur" are still used frequently in activist literature and advertisements, which has left the American people believing that not much has changed in Darfur.

President Obama himself has recently used the word "genocide" to refer to the current situation. Similarly, the State Department and the US ambassador to the UN distanced themselves from the US presidential envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, who dared to suggest that the genocide in Darfur was over.

If they wish to help ameliorate the conflict, officials in Washington and activists alike must recognize that there have been big changes in the scale and nature of the violence in Darfur.

Instead of focusing on military intervention or the punishment of only one participant in the conflict (the Sudanese government), efforts should be directed toward funding the peacemaking process and the safe return of more than 2 million displaced refugees.

Marc Gustafson is a Marshall Scholar and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. He is currently writing his dissertation on political trends in Sudan.
Hat tip: Save Darfur Accountability Project, 19 Aug 2009 - MUST READ: The ‘genocide’ in Darfur isn’t what it seems

Further reading

And the winner of the Save Darfur Not-Really-A-Campaign-Naming-Contest is…
Darfur Accountability Project, 18 Aug 2009

Save Darfur Hits Bottom and Keeps Digging
Darfur Accountability Project, 17 Aug 2009

MUST READ: The Save Darfur coalition’s vital statistics
Darfur Accountability Project, 13 Aug 2009

Email received today from Save Darfur Coalition:

From: info@savedarfur.org

Subject: Your 50 foot display they won't be able to ignore

Date: Friday, 21 August 2009 17:04:14 BST

To:     ingridj.jones



Dear friend,

            You can help bring the U.N. face to face with the photos of those forgotten in Sudan.

Give by midnight tonight to help make our campaign possible

                 But we still need $28,291 to project the Darfur/Darfur exhibit throughout New York City during the U.N. General Assembly in September.

Give by midnight tonight to help make our campaign possible.

Our window of opportunity is closing...

With just hours to go until our deadline, we're still $28,291 away from raising the funds we need to project the unforgettable images of the Darfur/Darfur exhibit in New York City during the U.N. General Assembly.

Please make a gift before midnight TONIGHT and help us bring world leaders face to face with those forgotten in Sudan!

Just imagine it...

Presidents. Premiers. Prime ministers. World leaders will come face to face with the images of millions of Sudanese citizens who were promised peace, but who continue to face the threat of violence.

By projecting the photos of the Darfur/Darfur exhibit, we'll show them that the millions are more than numbers—they're real people. Mothers. Fathers. Children. Their faces, with your words "Don't Forget Darfur," will be impossible to ignore.

Can you make a gift now and help us bring these gripping images to NYC for the U.N General Assembly?     

It's the kind of unforgettable statement we have to make. Recent violence in South Sudan claimed another 185 civilians in the Jonglei state.¹ Increasing insecurity in the south can all too easily have destabilizing effects in Darfur and beyond.

Some experts believe that, without decisive intervention from world leaders, this rise in insecurity could reignite the brutal war that killed over 2 million in 2003.

But with your help, we can make peace in Sudan a priority again for world leaders.

Make your gift before midnight tonight and your donation will support our Darfur/Darfur exhibit—as well as posters, fliers, street teams and press conferences to support our national "Don't Forget Darfur" campaign.

We've come so far since those terrible months of 2003—with your help I know we can help the people of Sudan continue making progress toward a healing peace.

Thank you,

—Mark

Mark Lotwis
Save Darfur Coalition

¹ http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/08/11/sudan-end-violence-jonglei-state

Photo credit: Darfur/Darfur

The Save Darfur Coalition is an alliance of over 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations whose mission is to raise public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to mobilize a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of more than two million people in the Darfur region. To learn more, please visit http://www.SaveDarfur.org.

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From Sudan Watch Ed:  Sudan Watch archives hold almost 3,000 photos plus 5,000 individual postings, many of which contain several reports.  It is taking me time to search through it all to label each item. The label here below links to recent entries.

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South Sudan: 13th Aug LRA attack in Bereamburu, Western Equatoria

From UN News Centre, Friday, 21 August 2009:
Ugandan rebels drive thousands from their homes in southern Sudan
Fresh attacks carried out by a notorious Ugandan rebel group have uprooted thousands of people and spreading panic in southern Sudan, forcing the United Nations to suspend its humanitarian work in the area, the world body's refugee arm said today.

The 12 August attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Ezo district, in the remote Western Equatoria region near Sudan's border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), reportedly killed two people and injured three others.

The rebels also abducted 10 girls from a local church, and they pillaged and torched homes, stealing food.

The following day, the LRA struck again in Bereamburu village, burning down the local church and health centre, as well as looting medical supplies.

On 13 August, as a result of the intensifying LRA attacks, the UN was forced to suspend all humanitarian activities in the area, and 29 humanitarian workers, including seven UNHCR staff, were evacuated by helicopter,”Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters today in Geneva.

The recent LRA attacks have triggered widespread panic and fear in the area bordering the DRC and the Central African Republic (CAR), he said. Most of those on the run have already been uprooted by earlier LRA incursions.

“UNCHR condemns the continued LRA attacks on the civilian population and is deeply concerned about the fate of the large number of refugees and IDPs caught in the latest attacks in several villages along the borders of the three countries,” Mr. Mahecic said.

Thousands of refugees from the DRC and the CAR, along with internally displaced Sudanese persons (IDPs) are now without protection or assistance, he added.

Since October 2008, the LRA, which is said to be behind many attacks and atrocities, has “extended its deadly reach into the DRC, Sudan and the CAR, terrorizing the civilian population and causing chaos and mayhem,” the spokesperson said.

Some 360,000 Congolese people have been forced to flee in successive LRA attacks in northeast DRC, while some 20,000 others have fled to Sudan and CAR, according to UN estimates.

In a related development, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it plans to boost its food assistance to southern Sudan this year by 25 per cent due to the surge in the number of people facing severe food shortages to 1.3 million.

Driving the deteriorating food situation are conflict, poor rainfall and high food prices, the agency said.

“We need to act now to assist the increasing number of people facing serious hunger in southern Sudan,” said WFP Sudan Representative Kenro Oshidari.

The agency's move was prompted by the results of the recently-completed mid-year assessment of the region's needs carried out by the Government of Southern Sudan and with the support of WFP and other UN bodies.

Half of WFP's assistance will go to Akobo, an area in Jonglei state that has been hit hard by inter-tribal clashes which have killed hundreds and uprooted thousands of others. Nearly half of the people in Akobo are said to be food insecure, according to the review.

The agency has been airlifting food into Akobo since a mid-June attack on boats ferrying its aid down the Soba River.
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Four suspected criminal investigation police from Tony, Warrap State arrested for murder of Rumbek businessman

Report from southern Sudan by Sudan Radio Service, Friday, 21 August 2009:
Businessman Murdered in Rumbek
(Rumbek) – An investigation into the killing of a businessman last week in Rumbek is still underway.

Omar Hassan was killed by people suspected to be criminal investigation police in Tony, Warrap State last week.

Our correspondent in Rumbek, Angelo Mageng Wade Deng, sent this report.

[Angelo Mageng]: “The people at the road-block told the man to get out of the vehicle. When they checked his luggage they found a sum of money in his bag, They asked him where he got the money from. The man told them that the money came from Rumbek and he was going to buy goods in Khartoum with it. They told him to show a business document, and if he did not show it, he wouldn’t proceed. The people were criminal investigation police at the check point in Tony town. They took the money and they killed the man and put him in a sack and threw him in a well. The investigation is still going on.”

The driver of the bus in which Omar was traveling reported the case to Omar’s brother and to the police in Rumbek.

The police found the body of the man in a well near a river in Tony town.

Four of the criminal investigation police have been arrested and are under investigation in connection with the murder.

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South Sudan Gov't cannot account for $8 billion it received over last 4 years?

Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir has urged the Government of South Sudan to account for $8 billion that it received over a four-year period.

Report by Sudan Radio Service, Thursday, 20 August 2009:
Al-Tahir Calls on GOSS to Account for 8 Billion USD
(Khartoum) – The speaker of the National Assembly in Khartoum, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir has urged GOSS to account for the 8 billion USD that has been dispatched to them over a four-year period.

Addressing a forum attended by representatives of oil-producing states in Sudan, al-Tahir said that development of the south is the sole responsibility of GOSS and it should be transparent in how they spend their share of the oil revenue.

Sudan Radio Service asked the SPLM secretary for the southern sector, Bol Makueng, for his reaction to al-Tahir’s statement.

[Bol Makueng]: “First of all that chairman [al-Tahir] does not have the interests of the people of south Sudan at heart. Secondly, it is one of their tactics to create havoc here in the south, either through militia so that there is insecurity or through media propaganda so that the country is seen as being a failed or corrupt state. They think that they have the right to do things on our behalf and then we have to account for what they do. This is not acceptable. Now the figures they are talking about are figures that when you go into details later on, you can not trace them to wherever they claim they have sent that money to. Because we don’t know how much oil is sold and how much money it sold at or how much percentage of that money is given to us. That is the paradox of the northern claims. Perhaps they have taken the monopoly of managing the oil money, so they can say anything; they can say they have given us trillions. They are always apportioning blame, apportioning anything bad to the south or to GOSS or to the SPLM."

Bol Makueng was reacting to accusations that GOSS has can not account for 8 billion USD which it received over the last 4 years.
Note to self. If 100 tanks were ordered by Government of South Sudan the order ought to show up somewhere in the accounts, no?

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Beltone Private Equity teams up with Kenana Sugar Co., to invest up to $1bn in projects in Egypt and Sudan

Beltone Private Equity, the private equity arm of Egypt’s Belton Financial investment bank, has teamed up with Khartoum-based Kenana Sugar Company to invest up to $1bn in large-scale infrastructure projects in Egypt and Sudan, according to reports.

Hazem Barakat, CEO of Beltone Private Equity, said in a statement that Beltone would provide extensive investment management, corporate finance, and strategic capabilities.

Kenana will provide technical expertise for the venture.

Kenana’s biggest investors are the Sudanese government, the Kuwait Investment Authority and the government of Saudi Arabia. The company was established in 1975, claims to be one of the world’s largest integrated sugar companies located on the eastern bank of the White Nile. Kenana produces 400,000 tonnes of sugar per year.

Beltone Private Equity was established in 2006. As of end October 2008, the company reported over EGP1.5bn ($271m) in assets under management in a diverse range of investments.

Source: AltAssets, 21 Aug 2009 - Egyptian private equity firm teams up with sugar company to create fund

Egypt signs USD 2.3bn oil agreements

ISI - Emerging Markets - ‎47 minutes ago‎
The company's farms span over 200000 feddans in Sudan . Beltone Private Equity had over EGP 1.5bn (USD 270mn) in assets under management at the end of ...


Click on label here below to view previous reports and updates.

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Southern Sudan President Kiir launches Cecafa Under-17 Football Championship (Hassan el Bashir Cup) at Juba Stadium

CECAFA Under-17 Youth Championship (Hassan el Bashir Cup) August 19-31 2009 Sudan

From Daily Nation Reporter, Thursday, August 20 2009:
Southern Sudan President Kiir launches Cecafa U-17
The President of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kirr on Wednesday opened the Cecafa Under-17 championship at a packed Juba Stadium.

The championship was opened simultaneously in Juba and Khartoum, two of three cities that will be hosting the tournament. The third host city is Wadmedani.

Kenya are based in Juba and were due open their campaign against Zanzibar in a Group “B” on Thursday evening while Sudan welcomed Tanzania and Somalia took on guest team Malawi in Group “A fixtures in Khartoum.

The tournament is the first major sporting event of its kind to be held in Southern Sudan and involves 12 nations.

“The decisive decision taken by Cecafa to have Group “A” matches played in Juba came after sending its delegations to visit the Juba Stadium and perusing security situation in the capital.

The move has proven the relentless efforts and the commitment the government of Southern Sudan has exerted in providing security and development,” a statement from the Office of Vice-president, Government of Southern Sudan said about the tournament.

Sudan’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Gabriel Changson Chang also attended the opening ceremony.

Uganda lads, urged on by a sizeable expatriate community from their country, sounded an early warning when they thumped their Ethiopian counterparts 4-0 in the opening match on Tuesday.
Juba Stadium entrance sign

Undated photo of Juba Stadium entrance sign. (Source: picturesofsouthsudan.blog)

Rwanda/Egypt: Uganda Wins Cecafa U-17 Opener, Egypt Pulls Out

AllAfrica.com - Ostine Arinaitwe - ‎3 hours ago‎
Kigali — Uganda were in great shape beating Ethiopia 4-0 as the Cecafa Under-17 football championship started in Sudan Wednesday. ...

Uganda U-17s battle Kenya in Juba tourney

New Vision - Fred KaweesiSwalley Kenyi - ‎14 hours ago‎
The pair will still have to deliver today if coach Richard Wasswa's youngsters are to seal a quarter-final place in the CECAFA juniors tournament. ...

Rwanda's Junior Wasps Ready For Egypt Battle

Goal.com - ‎Aug 18, 2009‎
... U-17 national team coach, Michael Weiss, has played down Egypt's prowess ahead of this year's CECAFA U-17 Championship, which kicks off today in Sudan...
U-17 date Somalia Malawi's Daily Times

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Sudanese sign deal to bolster CPA - Darfur’s rebels should unite ahead of peace talks, U.S. says

Sudanese foes sign new peace deal

Northern and southern Sudan have signed a deal aimed at bolstering a fragile peace accord they signed in 2005, in front of the US envoy to the country.

Sudanese foes sign new peace deal

Photo: The two sides still have major issues to thrash out

Scott Gration said the deal, which agrees how to take Sudan to next year's election, heralded a "brighter future".

But he gave few details, and analysts say it is more of a commitment to work together than a substantial deal.

The two sides were at war for 22 years and have blamed each other for a recent series of deadly clashes.

The BBC's Peter Martell, in South Sudan's capital, Juba, says people are in optimistic mood and are hopeful that the politicians will carry through their promises.

But he says there are several issues that need to be sorted out - not least a referendum which will ask people in South Sudan if they want independence from the north.

The vote is scheduled for 2011, but the exact details have already sparked controversy - with officials from the south threatening to declare unilateral independence if they believe the poll will be unfair.

However, Mr Gration said the new deal engendered a "sense of co-operation" which was "a precursor of good things to come".

"It will result in better co-operation and stronger relations that will result in a brighter future for Sudan, for Khartoum and Juba," he told journalists after the deal was signed.

Full story: BBC News 16:19 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 17:19 UK - Sudanese foes sign new peace deal.
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Darfur’s Rebels Should Unite Ahead of Peace Talks, U.S. Says.

Rebel movements in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region should unite ahead of talks with the government to promote a single message, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, said.

“Civil society must also speak up so that their voices are heard on issues related to land reform, elections and human rights,” Graton told reporters in the Southern Sudan capital, Juba, yesterday before heading to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to participate in Darfur unity talks between the government and rebels groups following frequent clashes in the region.

“The United States is working with all parties to get peace in Darfur, he said. ‘‘Conditions are dire there. We have committed ourselves to resolving them.’’

Source: Bloomberg, Friday, 21 August 2009 by Moyiga Nduru - Darfur’s Rebels Should Unite Ahead of Peace Talks, U.S. Says.
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SPLM and NCP sign agreement in Juba

(Juba) - The SPLM and the NCP signed an agreement concerning the implementation of the CPA following their third trilateral meeting in Juba on Wednesday.

The US special envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, facilitated the talks after meeting with representatives of the two signatories to the CPA in Washington D.C. and Khartoum in June and July this year.

Speaking at a press conference in Juba, SPLM deputy chairman Malik Agaar said they had agreed on key aspects of the CPA implementation.

[Malik Agaar]: “We were trying to reach an agreement on how we will implement the issues of the Abyei border demarcation, security, power-sharing, the two areas (Blue Nile and Southern Khordofan), elections, democratic transformation of the country, making unity attractive and Darfur. These are the issues we have now initialed following the trilateral talks in Juba."

The NCP's advisor to President al-Bashir, Ghazi Salah el-Din, said that his party is still committed to dialogue with the SPLM.

[Ghazi Salah el-Din]: “We have our differences as usual. But I think we have achieved a lot by agreeing on ten out of the twelve issues. That does not mean that we have to wait for another trilateral meeting. I must stress that our discussion and our cooperation and our dialogue with the SPLM is an on-going process.”

Scott Gration said that the two parties have yet to agree on two contentious issues.

[Scott Gration]:”There are still two issues that remain to be fully worked out. They are the referendum and the census. These will be worked out both bilaterally and trilaterally in the next month to fully implement the CPA."

The SPLM rejects the results of the census which indicates the number of southerners living in the north, while the NCP is pushing for a 75 percent ‘Yes’ vote for the referendum law to pass through the parliament in order for the south to be able to vote for secession or unity.

They key issues the NCP and the SPLM agreed on included border demarcation and that the 1956 north-south border shall remain in place until after the results of the Abyei referendum.

On wealth-sharing, the two parties agreed that GONU should transfer GOSS's share of oil revenue on time, as provided for under the terms of the CPA.

On the issue of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, the two parties agreed to determine whether there is need for legislation to govern the process of popular consultations.

The partners agreed to prepare the referendum bill for enactment by the assembly not later than September 15th 2009, and to conduct free and fair elections as agreed upon by the National Elections commission.

These recommendations will be forwarded to the presidency for final ratification to commit the SPLM and NCP to implement the CPA.

Source: Sudan Radio Service, Thursday, 20 August 2009 - SPLM and NCP Sign Agreement in Juba
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US special envoy makes surprise stop in Khartoum

From Sudan Tribune, Friday 21 August 2009 - excerpt:
US special envoy makes surprise stop in Khartoum
August 20, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — The US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration met today with 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha in Khartoum and presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Deen.

Yesterday the assistant US Secretary of State Philip Crowley told reporters that Gration has no plans to travel to Khartoum or Darfur during his visit.

Last week the head of the US bureau at the Sudanese foreign ministry Nasr Al-Deen Wali said that Gration will meet in Khartoum with Taha and then fly Juba and Malakal in South Sudan and Al-Fasher in Darfur to inspect IDP camps.

Earlier today Gration told reporters after meeting with Sudan First Vice President Salva Kiir that the US is leaning towards “smart sanctions” that grants exceptions to items needed for development in the semi-autonomous South.

The sanctions "have kept southern Sudan from getting the development that they so desperately need," said Gration, sitting alongside Kiir.

The US special envoy in his testimony before lawmakers last month called for lifting sanctions on Sudan and removing it from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

Gration stressed that the decision to keep Sudan on the terrorism list was “political” one and that the sanctions were undermining his diplomacy.

In his meeting with Al-Deen, the US official was quoted by the official news agency as saying that the sanctions “caused humanitarian and health problems that the Sudanese people have suffered from,”

This week the US announced that its comprehensive policy review of Sudan that will determine its conflict resolution strategy for the largest country in Africa will be completed this month.

Sudanese Sign Deal to Bolster Peace Agreement

Voice of America - Alan Boswell - ‎17 hours ago‎
Representatives of North and South Sudan signed an agreement Wednesday resolving most of the outstanding disputes on implementing their ...

Southern Sudanese Government Hails Call for Lifting Sanctions

Voice of America - Peter Clottey - ‎8 hours ago‎
The Southern Sudanese government has welcomed calls by US special envoy Scott Gration for a partial lifting of sanctions against Sudan. ...

Report by Sudan Radio Service, Friday, 21 August 2009:
Gration: Building On the Legacy in South Sudan
(Juba) – In a press conference on Thursday in Juba, The United States special envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, reiterated the commitment of his government to supporting the peace implementation process in Sudan.

[Scott Gration]: “The main thing we have been doing is talking about our bilateral relations. The United States has enjoyed a special relationship with the Government of southern Sudan for a long time and the SPLM too. And we are talking about the ways that we can build on the legacy that has been started by those who have come before me and how we can strengthen this relationship and how we can help with the development in southern Sudan. I believe that together this partnership that we are working on strengthening will be the foundation of lots of big things that will come in the future.”

Gration said that sanctions on Sudan should be partially lifted to improve the humanitarian situation, especially in Darfur. He said that the sanctions have kept southern Sudan from getting the development the region needs.

[Scott Gration]: “The sanctions that we are looking to roll back are those sanctions that are hurting the very people we are trying to help. There are some sanctions that limit and hamper our ability to deliver humanitarian assistance. Some of these we need to get exceptions for. There are some sanctions that hurt the Sudanese people. Restriction on the internet that keep Sudanese from getting educational programs, links to the outside world that gives them access to better health care and there are other things that we are looking at that will help the Sudanese people in general. Also, in terms of southern Sudan, there are sanctions that while southern Sudan is exempted have spilled over and have kept southern Sudan from getting the development that they so desperately need.”

Scott Gration was speaking in Juba during a five-day visit to Sudan.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Save Darfur Coalition wants to spend $42,000 on a light show for Obama

In preparation for the US chairing the UN Security Council for the whole of next month, Save Darfur Coalition aims to raise $42,000 by August 21st in order to project images of Darfur onto a building near the UN where US President Obama and other world leaders will be sure to see it.  No doubt the gun toting Darfur rebel groups and their supporters will be pleased.

Here is a copy of a USUN press release from the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy United States Mission to the United Nations, 140 East 45th Street, New York, N.Y. 10017, 04 August 2009:
Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the September 2009 head of state-level UN Security Council Meeting

On September 24th, the United States intends to convene a head of state-level meeting of the UN Security Council on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament during the U.S. Presidency of the Council. The meeting will be chaired by President Obama. The Security Council has an essential role in preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons and is also the world’s principal multilateral instrument for global security cooperation. The session will be focused on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament broadly and not on any specific countries. Over the next several weeks, we will work closely with members of the Security Council to prepare for this important meeting.
And here is a copy of an email received today, 18 August 2009, from Save Darfur Coalition:
If we can raise $42,000 by August 21, we can project the powerful images of the Darfur/Darfur exhibit and mobilize activists on the streets around the U.N.
You can make it happen!

Your words. Their images. One unforgettable message to the U.N.

The Darfur/Darfur exhibit in Paris

The Darfur/Darfur exhibit in Paris


Dear friend,

"Don't Forget Darfur"

Imagine projecting this powerful message—along with the unforgettable images of the Darfur/Darfur photo exhibit—onto a building near the U.N. where world leaders will be sure to see it.

Well, you and I can make it happen, but only if we can raise $42,000 by August 21. Will you help?

Our window of opportunity is short.

We need to secure these funds before the U.N. General Assembly this September, as this could be our best chance to focus the world's leaders on the millions of people still teetering on the edge of survival in Sudan.

friend, your commitment to this campaign is what's already driving our success. Thanks to the votes of thousands of activists like you, this week we chose "Don't Forget Darfur" as the name for our all-out campaign this September.

Will you go one step further and help us take your message to the U.N.?

Your resolve and support couldn't come at a more crucial moment for Sudan.

While millions of Darfuris continue to live in uncertainty and fear in Darfur, violence in South Sudan has sky-rocketed in recent months. If world leaders don't act now, some experts believe the rise in insecurity in South Sudan could reignite the brutal war that killed over 2 million.

Your donation will support our Darfur/Darfur exhibit — as well as posters, flyers, street teams and press conferences—and could help us avert disaster by bringing the world's attention back to the fight for peace in Sudan.

Through our massive display of images from Darfur, signs placed in your windows, and a global photo petition to President Obama, our "Don't Forget Darfur" campaign will make it impossible for world leaders to ignore Darfur and Sudan a moment longer.

I want to thank you in advance for helping us seize this opportunity. I'll be in touch soon to let you know whether we'll be able to launch our projection this September!

—Mark

Mark Lotwis
Save Darfur Coalition

Save Darfur Coalition

Photo credit: Darfur/Darfur

Your words. Their images. One unforgettable message to the U.N.

Right now rising violence is threatening the fragile stability of Darfur and the rest of Sudan. But we have a unique opportunity to focus the world's leaders on the millions of people still teetering on the edge of survival there...

If we can raise $42,000 by August 21, we can project the powerful images of the Darfur/Darfur exhibit and mobilize activists on the streets around the U.N. during the upcoming U.N. General Assembly.

Our display would be impossible to ignore. Will you help us make it happen? Give today to help us raise the $42,000 we need by August 21.

Please select a donation amount:
$2,500
$1,000
$500
$250
$100
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Other: $
Minimum payment: $5
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Security Situation in Darfur on Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The security situation in Darfur is reported to be relatively calm. However, minor banditry activities and car-jacking were reported in North Darfur.

Source: UNAMID Daily Media Brief
EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, August 18, 2009 via APO.

Darfur / Arrival of 79 police officers from South Africa and 95 Egyptian troops

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UNAMID's Agwai: Darfur rebels have been emboldened by the international community’s almost exclusive focus on Khartoum to deliver peace

Quote of the Day
"These men with guns do not represent their peoples, the vast majority of whom yearn for peace. The movements have had it too easy for too long. It is time for them to demonstrate that they are serious about peace. They must lay down their weapons and sit around the negotiating table with the government”. - UNAMID commander, General Martin Luther Agwai of Nigeria

Martin Luther Agwai

From Radio Dabanga, Tuesday, 18 August 2009:
Leaving UN-commander Darfur: ‘Rebels do not represent their peoples’
EL FASHER – The UNAMID force commander, the Nigerian general Martin Luther Agwai will hand over his duties to a new force commander Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba of Rwanda. He will be the commander with effect from 1 September.

The transmission of powers will take place today. The ceremony will be attended by Al Hag Atta Al Mannan on behalf of the government. Also Minni Arkuoi Minnawi, senior assistant to the president and the only rebel leader who signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, will attend.

Martin Luther Agwai blamed mainly the rebel movements for the current stalemate in the Darfur conflict. For the Indian national newspaper he said:
“When the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed in 2006 less than a handful of movements were involved in the conflict. Today there are something like 30.

As the movements have splintered into new factions, the prospects for a settlement have diminished. For too long these men have escaped censure, benefiting from the international community’s almost exclusive focus on the government in Khartoum to deliver peace. In fact they have been positively emboldened by it.

These men with guns do not represent their peoples, the vast majority of whom yearn for peace. (…) The movements have had it too easy for too long. It is time for them to demonstrate that they are serious about peace. They must lay down their weapons and sit around the negotiating table with the government”.
He defended himself against criticism for not been able to provide security for the Darfurian population by stating that
‘There’s no peace for us to keep. The Darfur conflict has lasted almost as long as World War II, with the prospects of a lasting settlement looking less likely than ever”. 
He also blamed the lack of effectiveness of UNAMID for the lack of equipment, troops and helicopters. During his command UNAMID lost 39 people, most due to violent attacks. Amongst them were 24 troops, 9 police, 1 military observer, 1 international civilian and 4 local civilian (Source figures: UNAMID website).
Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba

Photo: Lt Gen Nyamvumba's tour of duty will be from 1 September 2009 for a period of one year. Three generals competed for the post in an interview that was conducted in New York on 5 May 2009. (MOD, Rwanda)
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Article (from Sudan Watch archives) by AFP, Wednesday, 12 August 2008:
Darfur rebels are no saints, says UN-AU military chief
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The military commander of the UN-African Union mission in Darfur on Tuesday urged the world community to put as much pressure on the fragmented insurgency in the war-torn Sudanese region as it does on the Khartoum government.

Martin Luther Agwai, force commander of the joint mission known as UNAMID, told reporters that while it is popular to "bash" the Sudanese government, the reluctance of Darfur rebels to negotiate was often forgotten.

"It takes two to tango," Agwai noted. "Sometimes we forget about them (the rebels). Every day, they say they are fighting for the poor people of Darfur and yet what have they done to show even interest to go to the conference table?

"I am not in any way saying that the (Khartoum) government is clean. But what I am saying is that also the other side cannot be said to be saints. So my appeal is that the pressure should be exerted on both sides."

He said there were now around 30 different rebel groups involved in the conflict, compared to four when the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed in 2006.

Agwai called on Darfur insurgents to unite and come to the negotiating table, which he said was the only way to achieve peace.
"They will have to end on a negotiation table because militarily it's clear no side can win the war in Darfur," he said. "But if you have 15, 20 parties wanting to go to conference table to talk, nothing will come out of it."

The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2.2 million displaced since the conflict in Darfur, a region the size of France, began in February 2003. Sudan claims 10,000 have died.

Since UNAMID began its operations nearly eight months ago, only a third of the 26,000 authorized troops have been deployed.

Agwai said he hoped the force would reach 80 percent deployment by December and full deployment by next August.

UNAMID has said it needs 18 transport helicopters and six attack helicopters which are crucial to give the force the required mobility and firepower.

But no country has so far have provided them.

On July 8, seven UNAMID peacekeepers were killed and 22 injured after they were ambushed by up to 200 heavily-armed gunmen. Agwai said lives could have been saved if the mission had had helicopters.

"Unfortunately, we are sent to the boxing ring with our hands tied behind us," he said, referring more broadly to the lack of adequate equipment and logistical support. "But we will try kickboxing if we can't do hand boxing."

Agwai, a former chief of defense staff of the Nigerian army, was appointed UNAMID force commander in September 2007 after initially turning down the job.

"I was told I was going to command the largest ever UN peacekeeping force on earth," he said. "Little did I know that it's going to be on paper and not in reality."
A la Une - Le général Agwai poursuit sa visite auprès des troupes stationnées au Darfour

Photo: Le général Martin Luther Agwai. Source: collectifvan.org: A la Une - Le général Agwai poursuit sa visite auprès des troupes stationnées au Darfour.

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