SUDAN WATCH: JEM threatens to resume Sudan war - Sudan arrests suspected killers of UNAMID Egyptian peacekeepers & asks Interpol to arrest JEM leader

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

JEM threatens to resume Sudan war - Sudan arrests suspected killers of UNAMID Egyptian peacekeepers & asks Interpol to arrest JEM leader

AUTHORITIES in South Darfur, western Sudan have arrested two suspects accused of killing two UNAMID Egyptian peacekeepers on Sunday, 9 May. Here below are further details from SRS, and other reports regarding the Sudanese government's request to Interpol to arrest JEM terrorist group leader Khalil Ibrahim.

Ibrahim faces 14 charges in connection with the 2008 Omdurman attack, including murder and waging war against the state. The Sudanese government says that more than 200 people were killed in that attack.

The Sudanese Minister's remarks on Tuesday came despite an existing Interpol 'Red Notice' for the arrest of Ibrahim on other charges. The Interpol had issued the 'Red Notice' for Ibrahim's arrest in 2006 on a request from Sudan, which had then charged him with terrorism for attacking oil pipelines in Darfur.

Also copied here below is a report from Sudan Tribune entitled "JEM dismisses as ’laughable’ Sudan’s demand that its leader be arrested" plus latest news from BBC entitled "JEM Darfur rebels threaten to resume Sudan war".

Darfur Authorities Arrest Two Suspects Over AU-UN
From SRS (Sudan Radio Service) - Tuesday, 11 May 2010:
11 May 2010 - (Nyala) - Authorities in southern Darfur state have arrested two suspects accused of killing two Egyptian peacekeepers on Sunday.

Last Friday, gunmen attacked a convoy of the United Nations-African Union brigade at Katila, south of Edd al Fursan in south Darfur, killing the two soldiers.

Southern Darfur police director, General Fateh Al-Rahman Osman spoke to SRS from Nyala on Monday.

[Fateh Al-Rahman Osman]: “We arrested them at Edd El-Fursan, but we are not saying that they are the accused, rather they are just suspects. In fact, they are not charged with anything. We only suspect that they might have committed that crime. We are following the normal procedures of interrogation, and God willing, in the coming days when the investigations are over, we will know whether they participated in the incident or not. We found some items at the crime scene. The investigation is going on well.”

The police director downplayed any political or militia affiliations of the suspects arrested.

[Fateh Al-Rahman Osman]: “These people who were arrested were part of a renegade group and they don’t belong to any specific group. They don’t have any political affiliations nor do they belong to any armed group in Darfur. As you know, weapons are widespread amongst the civilians, they also possess weapons just like the rest, but do not belong to any specific movement.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has instructed the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum to cooperate fully with the Sudanese authorities and the UN to search the region and capture the perpetrators.

Twenty-four UNAMID personnel have been killed in Darfur since the hybrid force was deployed in January 2008.
Related reports

Sudan arrests two over Darfur peacekeeper killing
Reuters (Khartoum) - Monday, 10 May 2010 08:38:29 GMT - excerpt:
Police told the state Suna news agency they had arrested the two men in the South Darfur area of Edd al Fursan and were now hunting down the rest of a seven-man bandit gang blamed for the attack on Friday. The commissioner of the surrounding Tulus area, Mohamed Al-Hassan Bairag, told Suna the gang had "looted and terrified citizens" in the region.
Sudan arrests suspected killers of Egyptian peacekeepers
Sudan Tribune - Monday, 10 May 2010 - excerpt:
May 9, 2010 (KHARTOUM) - Elected governor, Abdel-Hamid Moussa Kasha announced on Sunday the arrest of the gunmen suspected of the ambush against the Egyptian peacekeepers in South Darfur.

Kasha added that that those arrested are bandits denying their affiliation to any party. Sudanese police spokesperson, Mohamed Abdel Majid tolf the official SUNA the police is conducting investigations and collecting data, pointing out that the regular forces were still hunting down the remaining members of the gang.

Yesterday the Egyptian foreign ministry said that the instructions given to the Egyptian mission’s leadership and the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum were to have full coordination with the Sudanese authorities and the UN to search the region and capture the perpetrators.

Also, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called on the Sudanese government to launch an immediate investigation and to identify, apprehend and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Sudan seeks arrest of key Darfur rebel leader
AP (Khartoum) Tuesday, 11 May 2010:
(Khartoum) - Sudan said Tuesday it is seeking the arrest of the leader of Darfur's most powerful group, which froze peace talks with the government a week ago.

Justice Minister Abdel-Basset Sabdarat has asked Interpol, the international police agency, to help in the arrest of the rebel leader "wherever he may be," the semiofficial news agency Sudanese Media Center reported.

The leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, Khalil Ibrahim, faces charges of conspiracy and murder, the report said.
Ibrahim is currently in Egypt, which has close ties with the government of Sudan.

The rebel group froze peace talks on May 3 after accusing the government of violating a cease-fire. The talks were being mediated by the Gulf nation of Qatar.

The head of the rebel negotiating team, Ahmed Tugod, said the government's decision to seek Ibrahim's arrest will have a negative impact on the peace process.

"The Sudanese government's arrest request has no legal impact but it has potentially put an end to the entire peace negotiating process," Tugod said in a statement Tuesday. [...]
Sudan asks Interpol to arrest rebel chief
Reuters (via National Post) - Monday, 10 May 2010:
(Khartoum) - Sudan's justice minister has asked Interpol to arrest the leader of Darfur's most powerful rebel group, state media said on Monday, a step likely to dash hopes of progress in a faltering peace process.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes during a counter-insurgency campaign in Darfur - violence Washington has described as genocide. Khartoum rejects both charges.

The United Nations estimates some 300,000 have died in a humanitarian crisis sparked after mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003 demanding more rights for the arid region.

The Sudanese Media Centre quoted Abdel Basit Sabderat as saying the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader, Khalil Ibrahim, should stand trial for an unprecedented May 2008 attack on the capital Khartoum, which killed around 200 people.

"The relevant authorities of Interpol have been requested to arrest him wherever he is so that he may face trial ... and be handed over to the Sudanese authorities," SMC quoted Mr. Sabderat as saying.

He urged "all concerned states not to shelter him and to extradite him to face trial", SMC added. Mr. Sabderat was not immediately available to confirm the report.

Mr. Ibrahim has left Qatar-based peace talks and is visiting Cairo, an ally of Khartoum. JEM officials declined to comment.

SMC said Mr. Ibrahim was accused of some 14 charges including murder and waging war against the state.

Khartoum's move against Mr. Ibrahim is likely to end progress in the peace talks, prompted by a rapprochement between Sudan and neighbour Chad, who had hosted Darfur's rebels.

"This means peace process over," said an international source familiar with the Darfur file who declined to be named.

Separately, the state news agency Suna said Sudanese police had arrested two men suspected of killing two Egyptian members of a U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in an ambush on Friday in Darfur.

The attack on the UNAMID peacekeepers marked a further deterioration of security in the west, as JEM reported government shelling of their positions near the Chad border.

Police told Suna they had arrested the two men in the South Darfur area of Edd al Fursan and were now hunting down the rest of a seven-man bandit gang blamed for Friday's attack.

A total of 24 UNAMID soldiers and police have been killed in ambushes, carjackings and other violent incidents since their under-equipped force moved in at the beginning of 2008.

JEM on Sunday accused Sudan's army of bombing and shelling positions in the remote Jabel Moun area of West Darfur state, saying it was the latest in a series of attacks in the region.

The army said it could not confirm the report of fighting.
Sudan wants Interpol help to 'arrest rebel chief in Egypt'
AFP (Khartoum) - Monday, 10 May 2010 - excerpt:
(Khartoum) - Sudan has sought Interpol's help for the arrest in Egypt of Justice and Equality Movement rebel movement leader Khalil Ibrahim, a website close to the country's intelligence services reported.

In an interview with the Sudanese Media Centre, a daily close to the secret services, Justice Minister Abdel Bassit Sabdarat said he had asked Interpol to "arrest" Ibrahim "wherever he is located" so that he can face justice.

A Sudanese special court accuses Ibrahim of masterminding an unprecedented attack by his JEM rebels on Omdurman, the twin city of the capital.

The fighting resulted in the deaths of more than 220 people and the capture of a large number of rebels. Special courts later condemned 105 to death.

President Omar al-Beshir had said the death sentences would be quashed and that 30 percent of JEM's militants would be freed after a ceasefire deal was signed in February in Doha, Qatar.
JEM dismisses as ’laughable’ Sudan’s demand that its leader be arrested
From Sudan Tribune - Tuesday 11 May 2010:
JEM dismisses as ’laughable’ Sudan’s demand that its leader be arrested

May 10, 2010 (WASHINGTON) - The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) today downplayed the significance of Sudan’s announcement that it wants all states to cooperate in arresting its leader Khalil Ibrahim for his role in the May 2008 military assault at the twin capital city of Omdurman.

The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) has already issued a ’Red Notice’ for JEM chief since 2006 at Sudan’s request which charged him with terrorism for targeting oil pipelines along with a handful of other Darfuri rebel figures.

Today the Sudanese Justice minister Abdel-Basit Sabdarat told the government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website that Ibrahim still faces 14 counts related to his group surprise attack at the outskirts of Khartoum.

Sabdarat said that Khartoum asked the INTERPOL to apprehend him wherever he is and also urged all states not to harbor him and be keen on extraditing him so that he can face the charges pending.

"This means peace process over," said an international source familiar with the Darfur file who declined to be named when interviewed by Reuters.

The surprise remarks by the Sudanese official appear to confirm reports that president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir expressed his ’extreme unhappiness’ to Egyptian officials this weekend over Ibrahim’s official visit to Cairo.

The Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit and intelligence Chief Omer Suleiman met yesterday with Bashir on a one-day visit to Sudan.

Aboul-Gheit minimized the dispute over hosting Ibrahim saying that Cairo is seeking to assist in resolving the Darfur crisis and achieving peace.

In Cairo, JEM official spokesperson Ahmed Hussein described the remarks by Sabdarat as "childish".

"They are really showing their disrespect to Egypt by timing this announcement when Dr. Khalil is in Cairo discussing with Egyptian officials the fate of the peace process in Darfur. In any case this is just laughable does not mean anything to us but a childish attitude on the part of Khartoum" Hussein told Sudan Tribune by phone from the Egyptian capital.

Hussein revealed two meetings between JEM leader and Egyptian intelligence chief where they discussed the faltering talks in Doha denying any intention to move the venue to Cairo as some have speculated.

Asked whether the issue of the INTERPOL notice came up, Hussein said ’No’.

"Egypt told Bashir that it wants to maintain ties with all parties in Sudan like they did with [SPLM leader John] Garang or otherwise they will have no mediation leverage" JEM spokesperson said.

Following the Omdurman attack, the Egyptian government rejected a request by Khartoum to hand over three JEM officials who were present in Cairo at the time which included JEM’s top negotiator Ahmed Tugd , Ahmed Sharif and Mohamed Ali.

Hussein said that Khartoum is resorting to tactics that aim at deflecting attention from issues the government is facing.

"This is propaganda by Khartoum and an attempt to cover up their military defeats in Darfur and frustration over growing diplomatic engagement of regional and international players with our movements," he added.

"Sabdarat to be more concerned with the Mawasir market scandal their officials were involved in and trying to get people their money back. He can be of more use then or he can advise [president] Bashir to stand before the International Criminal Court rather than demand the arrest of Dr. Khalil" Hussein said.

Khartoum, which mobilized mostly Arab militias to crush the uprising in Darfur, signed a ceasefire with JEM in Qatar in February this year, as well as a "framework" agreement setting out the terms for future negotiations which was hailed as major breakthrough in resolving the seven years old conflict.

Days later, initial discussions reached stalemate when JEM objected to Khartoum starting talks with another Darfur rebel grouping, the Liberation and Justice Movement.

This month JEM suspended talks with Khartoum accusing the latter of breaching the ceasefire.

JEM was one of two mostly non-Arab rebel groups which took up arms against Sudan’s government in 2003, accusing it of starving the remote western region of funding and marginalizing its people. (ST)
Sudan Seeks Interpol's Help In Arresting Rebel Leader
From RTTNews by Staff Writer - Tuesday, 11 May 2010; 2:20 PM ET - excerpt:
"The relevant authorities of Interpol have been requested to arrest him wherever he is so that he may face trial ... and be handed over to the Sudanese authorities," the Sudanese Media Center quoted Justice Minister Abdel Bassit Sabdarat as saying in an interview.

The Justice Minister also urged "all concerned states not to shelter him and to extradite him to face trial" for the an unprecedented May 2008 attack by his JEM rebels on Omdurman, the twin city of the capital Khartoum.

Ibrahim faces 14 charges in connection with the 2008 Omdurman attack, including murder and waging war against the state. The Sudanese government says that more than 200 people were killed in that attack.

Sudan had earlier arrested more than 100 JEM rebels over the 2008 attack on Omdurman, a city just across the River Nile, opposite the capital Khartoum. Most of the JEM rebels detained over the attack were on death row, and some of them have already been executed.

However, Sudanese government has released some 57 rebels belonging to the JEM in line with a ceasefire agreement signed with the group in February, including some 50 rebels sentenced to death over the attack on the city of Omdurman.

The Sudanese Minister's remarks on Tuesday came despite an existing Interpol 'Red Notice' for the arrest of Ibrahim on other charges. The Interpol had issued the 'Red Notice' for Ibrahim's arrest in 2006 on a request from Sudan, which had then charged him with terrorism for attacking oil pipelines in Darfur.

A spokesman for the JEM has indicated that Ibrahim has been in Egypt, an ally of the Sudanese government, since the Qatar-based peace talks that led to a cease fire agreement between the government in Khartoum and the JEM rebel movement.

On 23rd February 2010, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir signed a ceasefire deal in the Qatari capital of Doha with the JEM rebels, marking the first step towards ending the seven-year conflict in the country's western region. However, the JEM left peace talks earlier this month, claiming the government had launched new raids.

The cease-fire deal was mediated by Chad President Idriss Deby, who also shares ethnic ties with Khalil Ibrahim and most JEM leaders. President Deby is from the Zaghawa tribe like most JEM leaders, and has been accused in the past for supporting the Darfur rebel group in its fight against Khartoum.

Chad's mediation to end the Darfur conflict follows a recent dramatic improvement in Chad-Sudan ties. Though the two countries had accused each other in the past of supporting rebels groups operating in their respective territories, relations improved after leaders of the two nations agreed at a meeting in January to end support for the rebels.

Soon after Khartoum signed the cease fire deal with JEM, another Darfur rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), also signed a ceasefire with the government. The move left only a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) fighting the Sudanese government in the Darfur region. [...]
Jem Darfur rebels threaten to resume Sudan war
From BBC at 15:45 GMT - Tuesday, 11 May 2010 16:45 UK:

Khalil Ibrahim

Photo: Khalil Ibrahim is thought to be in Egypt
One of the main rebel groups in Sudan's Darfur region has threatened "all-out war" if its leader is arrested.

Sudanese officials have asked Interpol to arrest Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) leader Khalil Ibrahim for planning an attack in Omdurman in 2008.

Jem signed a ceasefire with the government in February but left peace talks earlier this month, claiming the government had launched new raids.

Mr Khalil is currently thought to be in Egypt, which is an ally of Khartoum.

Eltahir Adam Elfaki, chairman of Jem's Legislative Council, told the BBC that "if any attempt is made to arrest Dr Khalil then it is all-out war."

"Even as we speak, the Sudanese government is bombarding areas of North Darfur and West Darfur," he said.

Will peace return to Darfur?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes committed in Darfur - charges he strongly denies.

"Bashir is an indicted criminal - indicted by the ICC - and has no right to ask for anyone to be indicted by Interpol," said Mr Elfaki.

After the ceasefire was signed with Jem, Mr Bashir declared that the war in Darfur was "over".
Another Darfur rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), also signed a ceasefire with the government before the elections.

However a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) led by Abdul Wahid is still holding out against the government and has refused to take part in the peace talks.

Darfur was relatively peaceful during Sudan's landmark April elections, which saw Mr Bashir re-elected.
But voting did not take place in much of the area because of the insecurity.

Since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003, some 2.7 million people have fled their homes and the UN says about 300,000 more have died.

The government says such figures are a massive exaggeration and denies claims that it backed Arab militias accused of ethnic cleansing against black African groups in Darfur.
Seen on Twitter re VOA report
This VOA article on JEM is off target because it makes way too many assumptions http://bit.ly/bSwMJG #articleswritteninairconditionedoffices
5:15 PM May 6th via web
will swanson
http://twitter.com/willswanson/statuses/13516850648
Here is a copy of the VOA report, mentioned above

Darfur JEM Rebel Group Risks Losing Dominance
"JEM is actually in a fairly difficult negotiating position."
VOA by Joe DeCapua - 03 May 2010:
Darfur’s main rebel group may risk losing its dominance in the region, as Chad ends support and rival rebel coalition gains strength.
Monday, JEM – the Justice and Equality Movement – officially suspended peace talks with the government, following months of stalled negotiations. JEM has also accused the government of attacking its positions in western Darfur.

E.J. Hogendoorn, Horn of Africa director for the International Crisis Group (ICG), reacted to JEM’S decision to suspend peace talks.

“My initial reaction is that the JEM has been frustrated by the fact that Khartoum has been talking to other rebel factions; and it is now trying to put pressure on the government to deal more seriously with them,” he says.

Why drop out now?

“The talks have been stalled in large part because most of the people were focused on the elections. And I think that there was some perception that once the elections were completed there would be further movement along the talks. But that hasn’t happened,” he says.

Many had criticized the elections, including those in Darfur, as being rigged even before the first vote was cast last month.
Hogendoorn says, “Our understanding is that once the JEM had entered into the framework agreement (with Khartoum) in February that everyone recognized that very little would be completed until the elections were finished.

However, he says, “JEM wants to present itself as the umbrella group that represents all the Darfurian rebels, but there is another fairly large group that has emerged lately that is also in talks with the government that now seems to have the upper hand.”

The other rebels

The coalition of four rebel groups challenging JEM for dominance in Darfur is the Sudan Liberation and Justice Movement.

“If in fact they are able to keep themselves unified, they present a fairly significant force, especially in light of the fact that Chad and Khartoum entered into agreement in which they agreed not to support each other’s rebel groups. And for Chad that meant principally JEM,” Hogendoorn says.

As a result, JEM has lost its biggest military supporter.

“So, JEM is actually in a fairly difficult negotiating position, especially if it looks like the four (rebel groups) are developing their own political agenda. And JEM can no longer credibly claim to be the most powerful Darfuri group operating there,” he says.
JEM and the Sudan Liberation and Justice Movement have different ethnic bases and relations between the two groups are strained.

“JEM largely receives support from a tribe called the Zaghawa in northern Darfur, whereas the Sudanese Liberation and Justice Movement is largely comprised of another ethnic group, the Fur,” he says.

He says the groups have been competing for “attention” and the “spoils of any peace deal.”

The spoils of peace

The ICG analyst says such a peace agreement would lead to an ending of fighting, continued control of territory by the rebels and senior positions in the Khartoum government for rebel leaders.

“Most of the people who have entered the government from rebel factions have been frustrated by the fact that they have very little power relative to their NCP (ruling National Congress Party) counterparts,” he says.

Hogendoorn gives the example of Minni Minawi, a Darfuri rebel leader who became a senior presidential adviser to Omar al-Bashir.

“Although the title sounds relatively powerful, it has really meant very little on the ground in Khartoum,” he says.
Bashir’s strategy?

With the elections over, attention is now focused on the January 2011 independence referendum in South Sudan.

“Obviously, it is in Bashir’s interests to try to settle these conflicts, especially if he fears that the SPLM (party) of the south may try to use Darfuri opposition to put pressure on his government. But it’s unclear really what his thinking is,” he says.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003, after rebel groups accused the government of marginalizing non-Arab ethnic groups. Since then, millions of people have been displaced, with hundreds of thousands crossing into neighboring Chad. The death toll has also been estimated in the hundreds of thousands.

Arab militias have waged much of the fighting on behalf of Khartoum, and many, including the United States, have called the killings there genocide. The Khartoum government rejects the charge and says the casualty figures have been exaggerated.
What’s more, the situation is complicated by the fact that the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants against President Bashir, accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Click on Egypt label here below for more details.

UNAMID Egyptian peacekeepers killed in El Fasher, South Darfur

UNAMID Egyptian peacekeepers killed in El Fasher, South Darfur

Photos: 8 May 2010 (Nyala) - Egyptian Peacekeepers carry one coffin with one of the two bodies of the peacekeepers (killed Friday, 7 May 2010) at Nyala airport (South Darfur), ready for the repatriation. Two Egyptian peacekeepers were killed in action and three seriously wounded in an ambush near Katila village, 85km south of Edd al Fursan, South Darfur, by a group of unidentified armed men. The injured soldiers were air-lifted to UNAMID's hospital in Nyala and are reported in stable condition. (Pictures: UNAMID - Albert Gonzalez Farran)

Labels: , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Click HERE to scroll up ......Click HERE to scroll down