SUDAN WATCH: September 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Uganda, DRCongo seek new ways to fight insurgents - Nun offers refuge in Sudan - Religious leaders call on UN - LRA wants peace talks resumed

BEFORE glancing through the following round-up of 21 news reports regarding the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), please click here (and wait for short advert to end) to view an important video report at TIME.com by Ed Robbins reporting from Western Equatoria, south Sudan. The report, entitled "NUN OFFERS REFUGE FROM VIOLENCE IN SUDAN", features Sister Giovanna, mother superior at a Catholic mission in Ezo, South Sudan, who provides refuge for villagers fleeing vicious attacks by soldiers of the LRA.

I say, compassion is the greatest healer. Upon viewing the video I wanted to reach out my hands and shake Sister Giovanna's hand and give her a big hug for being so compassionate and courageous in speaking out and asking important questions. I think people who are abducted and enslaved by the LRA should be viewed as victims and prisoners of war in urgent need of rescuing and a care plan that includes treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I am still thinking of poor Moses, wondering who is helping him deal with his nightmares.
- - -

Uganda, DRCongo seek new ways to fight insurgents
From AFP
Sunday, 19 September 2010
(KAMPALA) - Defence leaders from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are meeting Sunday in Kampala to discuss new ways to combat rebel groups in the region, notably the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

"We will discuss security matters, especially border insurgency by negative forces, the Lord's Resistance Army and others," Ugandan Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga told AFP.

"We expect this meeting to come up with comprehensive measures to deal with negative forces to ensure there is peace in the region, and to see that there is smooth movement of goods and services between the two countries," he added. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in two decades of fighting since LRA chief Joseph Kony took up arms, initially against the Ugandan government.

Long since driven out of Uganda, the guerrillas have carved out a vast region of control in the dense forests of northeast DR Congo, as well as southern Sudan and the Central African Republic, and their insurgency has been marked by appalling violence against civilians.
- - -

Uganda, Congo discuss new plot against LRA
From The New Vision (www.newvision.co.ug) by Henry Mukasa
Sunday, 19 September, 2010
UGANDA and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have vowed to work together to annihilate the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels who are threatening the security of the two countries.

Defence minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga and DRC’s defence and veterans’ minister Charles Mwando made the declaration after a meeting in Munyonyo on Saturday.

The ministers met under the Ngurdoto agreement signed by President Yoweri Museveni and his counterpart, Joseph Kabila in Tanzania on September 8, 2007. The ministers will meet again in November.

According to a statement, the ministers reviewed the security situation along the border and commended each other for the joint operations against the LRA rebels in Congo.

They also thanked each other for the on-going operations against the Alliance Defence Forces (ADF) leaders in Eastern DRC.

“In this respect, they agreed to do everything possible to neutralise Joseph Kony, his group, and the ADF rebels,” the statement said.

Kony is the leader of the LRA rebels, who fought an atrocious war in northern Uganda, maiming, looting property, raping and abducting people.

Kiyonga stated that Uganda was ready to support efforts against lawless Ugandans destabilising peace and security in the region.

Mwando thanked the Ugandan government for arresting rebels like Gen. Gadi Ngabo. Ngabo, the leader of the Patriotic Front in Congo, had declared war on the government of Joseph Kabila, claiming it had failed to keep its promises.

Uganda offered training space at its military academies to DRC forces.

Yesterday, Mwando visited the Kimaka Senior Command and Staff College in Jinja. He was briefed on the history, objectives, course modules and administrative structure of the college.
- - -

Bishops tell US leaders military option won't work against rebels
From Sunday Monitor (www.monitor.co.ug) by Mark Kirumira, Washington
Friday, 17 September 2010 at 06:45
Two Ugandan bishops have told US officials that regional dialogue with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels would work better than a military option against it.

"The issue is no longer the LRA and Uganda," Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu told Catholic News Service in Washington on Wednesday. "The issue now is regional."

Archbishop Odama has headed the Gulu Archdiocese in northern Uganda since 1999 and, during that time, has worked to end hostilities between the UPDF and the LRA.

He travelled to Washington with Anglican Bishop MacLeord Baker Ochola II, retired bishop of Kitgum.

The bishops recently said they do not oppose the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which US President Barack Obama signed into law in May, but were urging US officials to end the use of force in dealing with the LRA.

The cited numerous occasions on which force did not work against the rebel group.
Efforts by the government to make peace with the rebels, on four times, through dialogue have yielded nothing with LRA leader Joseph Kony refusing to sign the peace agreement --- the last being in 2007.

The break in the talks forced the UPDF to launch an operation christened Lightening Thunder on the rebels’ bases in DR Congo.

But an LRA rebels’ delegation has reportedly written to the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon appealing for the resumption of the talks with the government.

The bishops met with State Department officials, who have until November to develop a strategy for disarming the LRA and they also met with congressional leaders.

"We are afraid," Archbishop Odama said.

"Let us bring [their] leaders together -- the new stakeholders."

Bishop Ochola said those opposed to peace -- those who advocate continued fighting -- should also be invited to the dialogue. He said the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative leaders have offered to mediate multiple times.

Since late 2008, the LRA have killed more than 2,500 civilians in southern Sudan. About 90,000 Sudanese in Western Equatoria province have been displaced from their homes, and 25,000 refugees from Congo and Central African Republic have sought refuge in the province.

Archbishop Odama and Bishop Ochola said capturing or killing Kony would not necessarily end the conflict, because the situation is so complex and includes splinter groups and tribal conflicts.

Kony and his bandits have shifted their base from northern Uganda and now operate in southern Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic.
- - -

Army dismisses rebel call for fresh talks
From The New Vision (www.newvision.co.ug)
Friday, 17 September, 2010
THE army says calls by the Lords Resistance Army rebels to the UN to initiate fresh peace talks with the government is diversionary and intended to buy time.

UPDF 4th Division Intelligence Officer, Major Victor Opira says peace talks between the government and the LRA were concluded and what is remaining is for the LRA leader, Joseph Kony to sign the final peace agreement document.

He says government is aware that the LRA is not serious and has always wanted to seek for survival means.

Opira also revealed that the strength and capacity of the LRA have greatly been reduced and weakened in the recent operations against the LRA.
- - -

South Sudan army calls for quick provision of security information
From Sudan Tribune (www.sudantribune.com) by Ngor Arol Garang
Friday, 17 September 2010
September 16, 2010 (MALAKAL) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) on Thursday called for the quick and timely provision of security information, saying that delays in passing on sensitive information to relevent authorities in the region, such as that relating to security, results in delays in crucial intervention.



Photo: SPLA spokesperson Gen Kuol Deim Kuol (Photo Ajang Monychol)

Kuol Deim Kuol, official spokesman of the SPLA told Sudan Tribune from Juba that the latest Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attack in western Equatoria, occurred just eight miles away from Yambio, capital of the state and the information about their presence was not passed onto the SPLA forces in the area early enough.

The LRA is a northern Ugandan rebel group with no coherent demands which continues to commit atrocities across the region. At its centre is a messianic cult around its leader, the International Criminal Court charged, Josephy Kony.

“It was made known to our forces after the emergence of reports that civilians have sighted them moving about in the area before the attack,” said Kuol. He explained that the provision of information is important as it helps in preparation and proper positioning of armed forces, in order to provide quick and timely intervention.

“You see, in Western Bahr el Ghazal, LRA has limited activities because once elements associated with it are sighted by the civilians; they give information very fast to our forces. This is what is required. Cooperation in coordination and provision of security is very important,” he added.

Kuol pointed out that the LRA is active in the area, especially in the two counties of Nzara and Yambio because of lack coordination and information sharing. “We have deployed enough manpower but this is not what counts. What counts is not the number of security forces but provision of information on time and logistics. There is need for cooperation in this area,” he added.

Kuol also expressed concern over the presence of the LRA off southern soil: “The LRA operates from the Democratic Republic of Congo and our forces have no mandate to enter DRC territory. This is one. The other issue is logistics for the movement of our forces. The last and most important of all is provision of information on time. Intelligence play central role and this is what counts.”

He made an appeal following a report urging the ministry of SPLA and veteran affairs by the regional parliament to increase deployment of the armed forces in Western Equatoria State.

On Wednesday Aleu Ayieny Aleu, chair of the special committee for security and public order responded to a motion previously raised by Bernado K. Martin, a member of parliament, on increased activities and operation of LRA in the area.

The security and public order report was deliberated by undersecretary of the ministry of SPLA and veteran affairs, Bior Ajang and Obote Mamur on behalf of the SPLA chief of general staff, reulsting in eight recommendations.

The committee noted that the inaccessibility of roads was leading to the formation of LRA hideouts. That it is operating in Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Darfur in Sudan. Lack of coordination and sharing of information on operation and activities of the LRA at the border areas was observed.

The comittee report also indicated that the LRA has established close relationships with unlawful groups, citing cattle raiders and nomads like Ombororo. TIt also suggested that the LRA is receiving logistical and military support from Khartoum’s Sudanese Armed Forces through its liaison office in South Darfur.

It accused the ruling National Congress Party of colloding with the LRA to destabilize the region by undermining the implementation of the CPA in regard to the preperations for the upcoming referendum.

To maintain peace in the region, the parliament recommended that the SPLA end the armed incursion of the LRA and Ombororo nomads wandering about in the region and called on the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to make every effort to support operations of the armed forces, particularly in combating the LRA.

The parliament further urged the ministry of SPLA and veteran affairs to increase the number of the armed forces in the area, to prevent flow of illegal arms and movement, as well as to monitor allegations of the smuggling of arms.

It called for the construction of security roads in order to facilitate the quick movement of the military against illegal armed groups in the region, in particular the LRA.

The regional parliament finally called on the SPLM controlled GoSS to lead regional efforts to combat rebels, in collaboration with the Khartoum’s Government of National Unity, Uganda, Democratic of Congo and Central Africa Republic and in the hope of mediating peace with the LRA. (ST)
- - -

The Invisible Children Organization Makes a Stop at South Walton High School
From www.wjhg.com
Thursday, 16 September 2010
These young members of the Invisible Children's Organization know that no child should live in fear of being abducted, mutilated, or killed. Activists groups are trying to shed light on the destruction caused by the longest running war in Africa's history ...
Reporter: Meagan O'Halloran
Email Address: meagan.ohalloran@wjhg.com
- - -

Sudan: Stop the suffering - Bishop’s international call for fresh approach to LRA threat
From Aid to the Church in Need (members4.boardhost.com)
Press release by John Pontifex
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
CHURCH and civic representatives from four key African countries have signed a declaration appealing for international action to stop guerrilla forces terrorising the region.

About 30 community leaders made up of senior clergy and government representatives put their signature to a communiqué calling on national and international leaders to do more to prevent attacks by the Lords Resistance Army in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

The declaration calls on the countries’ governments to work together to quell the LRA threat, demanding that further pressure on the four nations be applied by the EU, the UK, the USA and the UN.

Further articles outlined in the document include an appeal for more humanitarian support to help refugees and displaced people and there is a plea for a resumption of peace talks to bring the LRA threat to an end.



Photo: Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, South Sudan

In an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, who organised the conference, stressed the continuing threat posed by the LRA.

Speaking yesterday (Tuesday, 14th September) at the end of the four-day meeting, Bishop Hiiboro underlined the need for international pressure to step up security in the region.

He told ACN: “We have been forgotten by our own government, forgotten by the international community and this means the LRA think they can do anything they like.

“Think of the number of people who have fled their homes, the number of people who have lost their lives and the number of people left as orphans.

“The whole state [of Western Equatoria] is living in panic – not just in South Sudan but in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. It is just too much.”

Bishop Hiiboro said a reminder of the LRA threat came just days before the conference got underway last week when eight people were hacked to death by machetes.

A further 14 were badly wounded, some seriously, during the attack which took place in Yambio, the regional capital of Western Equatoria State where the bishop is based and where the conference was held.

Stressing the gruesome violence typical of LRA attacks, Bishop Hiiboro said: “The impact of the LRA is terrible. There are huge numbers of refugees and displaced people trying to escape attack.

“They destroy property, leave children as orphans and, with so many leaving, there are no schools or social services.”

But, underlining the limitations of a military response to the LRA threat, he said: “We have seen what happens by following the military way.

“People continue to suffer and die. We want to say that we need another option – an option for peaceful dialogue.”

A year ago, the remains of six people were discovered nailed to a tree close to Yambio in an atrocity that was likened to a crucifixion scene. Again the LRA was implicated.

Amid widespread reports pointing to LRA collusion with Sudan President Omar al Bashir’s Islamist regime in the capital, Khartoum, Bishop Hiiboro said it was unclear who was backing the insurgents.

He added: “There are people who give them weapons, food and enable them to have telephone communications.

“It is difficult to say who helps them. It is obvious that they receive significant support because they are so very well equipped.”

The LRA issue is expected to have a major bearing on the outcome of the long-awaited referendum on the possible cessation of South Sudan, due in January.

At a time of continuing fear of attacks, reports have shown that voters are likely to be swayed by the government – be it the semi-autonomous administration in the south or the Khartoum-based government of national unity – best placed to bring the LRA threat to an end.
- - -

Ugandan bishops tell US leaders military option won't work against rebels
From Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com) by Barb Fraze
Wednesday, 15 September 2010



Photo: Ugandan Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu gestures during an interview with Catholic News Service. Looking on is retired Ugandan Anglican Bishop Macleord Baker Ochola II. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
WASHINGTON (CNS) - Two Ugandan bishops -- one Catholic and one Anglican -- traveled across Africa and the Atlantic to tell U.S. officials that regional dialogue with the Lord's Resistance Army would work better than a military option against it.

"The issue is no longer the LRA and Uganda," said Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu. "The issue now is regional."

Archbishop Odama has headed the Gulu Archdiocese in northern Uganda since 1999 and, during that time, has worked to end hostilities between the Ugandan military and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, known for its brutality and especially for kidnapping children to use as soldiers and sex slaves. The LRA, once based in northern Uganda, has spread its operations to Southern Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic.

The archbishop is president of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, an interfaith organization formed in the late 1990s to respond to the violence in northern Uganda, where the Acholi ethnic group is based. He traveled to Washington with one of the founding members of the organization, Anglican Bishop MacLeord Baker Ochola II, retired bishop of Kitgum.

Both men told Catholic News Service in mid-September that they do not oppose the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in May, but were urging U.S. officials to end the use of force in dealing with the LRA. The cited numerous occasions on which force did not work against the rebel group.

The bishops met with State Department officials, who have until November to develop a strategy for disarming the LRA. They also met with congressional leaders.

"We are afraid," Archbishop Odama told CNS. He said the LRA currently is involved in a conflict to destabilize Uganda's northern neighbor, Southern Sudan, which is scheduled to vote in January on whether to secede from Sudan.

Congo and the Central African Republic, two countries that border Southern Sudan, also have an interest in its stability, the archbishop said.

"Let us bring (their) leaders together -- the new stakeholders," he said. "We say: peaceful approach."

Bishop Ochola, whose daughter committed suicide in 1987 after being brutally attacked by the LRA, said those opposed to peace -- those who advocate continued fighting -- should also be invited to the dialogue.

He said the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative leaders have offered to mediate multiple times. In 2008, rebel leaders had begun negotiations when a Ugandan military offensive drove them into neighboring countries.

In early September, religious leaders from areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army met in Southern Sudan to outline a path to peace. In a statement, the leaders said LRA atrocities gave "no sign whatsoever of being on the decrease."

The leaders said that in Southern Sudan, the LRA was attacking urban centers with "massive abductions, displacements and killings." They said they feared "enemies of peace" would use the LRA to prevent the secession referendum.

Since late 2008, the LRA has killed more than 2,500 civilians in Southern Sudan. About 90,000 Sudanese in Western Equatoria province have been displaced from their homes, and 25,000 refugees from Congo and Central African Republic have sought refuge in the province.

Archbishop Odama and Bishop Ochola said capturing or killing LRA leader Joseph Kony would not necessarily end the conflict, because the situation is so complex and includes splinter groups and tribal conflicts. They said adding to the complexity of the situation was that most LRA soldiers were kidnapped and are serving involuntarily.
- - -

Response to Lord's Resistance Army Is "Haphazard"
From Rome's Zenit News (www.zenit.org)
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
YAMBIO, Sudan, SEPT. 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Religious and civic leaders from four nations are calling for negotiation and better coordination of international efforts to bring an end to two plus decades of terror caused by the Lord's Resistance Army.

Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, in southern Sudan, organized a four-day meeting last week, which brought together some 60 representatives including delegations from Uganda, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. Muslims and non-Catholic Christians were also present.

The 46-year-old bishop leads one of the dioceses most hard-hit by the Lord's Resistance Army. The Sudan Tribune reported that at least seven of his parishes have been badly attacked by the rebel group, which is known for brutality.

Bishop Hiiboro spoke Tuesday with Aid to the Church in Need about a reminder of the LRA threat when eight people were hacked to death by machetes in Yambio just days before the religious leaders' conference got under way in that city. Another 14 were badly wounded.

"The impact of the LRA is terrible," he said. "There are huge numbers of refugees and displaced people trying to escape attack.

“They destroy property, leave children as orphans and, with so many leaving, there are no schools or social services.”

Forgotten

The bishop, who has led the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio for just over two years, contended that "[w]e have been forgotten by our own government, forgotten by the international community and this means the LRA think they can do anything they like."

“Think of the number of people who have fled their homes, the number of people who have lost their lives and the number of people left as orphans," he said. “The whole state [of Western Equatoria] is living in panic -- not just in South Sudan but in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. It is just too much.”

Though Bishop Hiiboro said it is not clear who backs the army, it is clear that they are well-sponsored.

"There are people who give them weapons, food and enable them to have telephone communications," the bishop explained. "It is difficult to say who helps them. It is obvious that they receive significant support because they are so very well equipped."

Open door

A final statement with 30 signatories from the conference was released Sept. 10. The religious leaders cautioned against military "solutions," noting the dire effects of past efforts.

“The international community has so far failed to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the LRA as a regional threat, instead addressing the crisis in a piecemeal and haphazard way in the four different countries,” the report stated.

It called for collaboration from the governments of the four nations terrorized by the LRA, and urged greater international pressure from the European Union, the United States and the United Nations.

Bishop Hiiboro told the Fides agency that he is advocating a political solution, which he just recommended in a meeting with the defense minister of Uganda.

"The LRA leader, [Joseph] Kony, has sent me a letter which was delivered to various other regional and international figures -- including the U.N. secretary-general -- saying that he is willing to enter into peace talks once more," the bishop noted. “Let's not close the door on negotiations."
- - -

Bassole’ to Arrive Khartoum End Month for Advancing Government/Movements Talks From Sudan Vision Daily.com - Wednesday, September 15 @ 00:15:00 UTC by Staff Writer
...Government Spokesman Omer Adam Rahma, affirmed government's preparedness for negotiations, brushing aside the movement's accusations of government's attacks on its forces in cooperation with the LRA, adding that LRA was non existent in Darfur. He said, " Nobody can believe in the existence of the LRA troops there." ...
- - -

LRA wants peace talks resumed
From The New Vision (www.newvision.co.ug) by Henry Mukasa
Monday, 13 September, 2010
THE residual LRA rebels’ delegation to the stalled Juba peace talks has written to the secretary general of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, appealing for the resumption of negotiations with the Government.

In a September 6 letter, the LRA supporters asked the UN boss to take urgent steps to bring the peace talks back on track.

“The leadership of the LRA peace team makes an appeal to the UN secretary general for urgent action to revisit and once again attend to the peace question in Uganda so as to assist in reviving the stalled ‘Northern Uganda peace process,” a letter signed by Justine Labeja, the acting leader of the rebels peace team, stated.

The Government accused the LRA rebels of not being committed to the peace talks.

The Juba peace talks were the fourth time the Government had attempted to end the brutal northern Uganda war through peaceful means. In all attempts, the LRA leader, Joseph Kony, refused to sign the final peace agreement.

The LRA have fought an atrocious war in the north for nearly two decades, killing, maiming and raping people, and looting and torching homesteads.

During the Juba peace talks, the rebels said they were fighting marginalisation by the Government.

After the collapse of the peace talks in January 2007, the Government launched Operation Lightening Thunder on the LRA bases in the DR Congo. Several rebels were killed, captured or surrendered.

However, the rebel collaborators say the military offensive only spread war to the DRC, southern Sudan and the Central African Republic.

LRA top commanders were indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- - -

Top LRA commander moves to southern Sudan
From Bikyamasr.com
Monday, 13 September 2010
Testimony from former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters who were recently captured near Yambio in Sudan’s Western Equatoria state indicates that a notorious LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, recently crossed into Sudan from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ongwen, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes in 2005, is part of the LRA’s top leadership, second or third in command after leader Joseph Kony. BM
- - -

Religious leaders call on UN to curb LRA activities
From Radio Miraya.org
Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 10:13


A rare 3-day meeting of about thirty religious and community leaders as well as local government officials from the Southern Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic, and Uganda has criticized the "lack of a coordinated and comprehensive strategy" to tackle the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).

This came after the leaders met in Yambio town of the Western Equatoria State. The recommendations of the conference called on the UN to intervene and be deployed as quickly as possible to the region in order to halt the LRA activities.
- - -

Common front against Ugandan rebels urged
From Gulf Times.com
Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 12:14 AM Doha Time
(AFP/Khartoum) Co-ordinated action must be taken to end the long-running brutal campaign by the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, leaders from the four countries affected said yesterday.

A rare three-day meeting of 30 religious and community leaders as well as local government officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), south Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Uganda criticised the “lack of a co-ordinated and comprehensive strategy” to tackle the rebels.

“The LRA is committing atrocities across very remote areas of already unstable nations,” read a joint statement following the meeting in the southern Sudanese town of Yambio, state capital of the badly affected Western Equatoria region.

Better co-ordination is needed, they warned, adding that “LRA atrocities give no sign whatsoever of being on the decrease.”

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in two decades of fighting since LRA chief Joseph Kony took up arms, initially against the Ugandan government.

Long since driven out of Uganda, the guerrillas have carved out a vast region of control in the dense forests of northeast DRC, south Sudan and CAR.

“DRC, Sudan and CAR all have internal conflicts that prevent them from sufficiently allocating their forces in a fight against the rebel group,” it added, calling on all national armies to work to boost troop deployment in affected areas.

“The international community has so far failed to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the LRA as a regional threat, instead addressing the crisis in a piecemeal and haphazard way in the four different countries,” it added.

The signatories demanded that UN peacekeepers be given a “greater capacity to deploy quickly” in response to attacks.

However, the leaders praised the Washington administration for passing a law in May, which commits it to develop a strategy by the end of November to end the rebel campaign of carnage.

The LRA’s acts of startling brutality—including murder, rape, and the forced conscription of children—have forced more than 25,000 people to flee their homes in south Sudan alone since January, the UN says.

Many thousands more have been massacred, abducted or forced from their homes in CAR and DRC by the rebels, whose chiefs are wanted by the International Criminal Court.

The leaders yesterday also called for clarification of the Ugandan army’s role, which has led the hunt for LRA leaders across Sudan, DRC and CAR, since it launched a botched offensive following the collapse of peace talks.

The December 2008 Ugandan-led attacks smashed the rebels’ jungle hideouts in northeast DRC, but analysts suggest the LRA was tipped off and most fighters escaped beforehand, launching reprisal raids across a wide area as they fled.
- - -

Uganda's LRA rebels 'must face African joint action'
From AFP by Peter Martell
Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 7:57 am ET
(KHARTOUM) - Coordinated action must be taken to end the long-running brutal campaign by the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, leaders from the four countries affected said on Saturday.

A rare three-day meeting of 30 religious and community leaders as well as local government officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), south Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Uganda criticised the "lack of a coordinated and comprehensive strategy" to tackle the rebels.

"The LRA is committing atrocities across very remote areas of already unstable nations," read a joint statement following the meeting in the southern Sudanese town of Yambio, state capital of the badly affected Western Equatoria region.

Better coordination is needed, they warned, adding that "LRA atrocities give no sign whatsoever of being on the decrease."

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in two decades of fighting since LRA chief Joseph Kony took up arms, initially against the Ugandan government.

Long since driven out of Uganda, the guerrillas have carved out a vast region of control in the dense forests of northeast DRC, south Sudan and CAR.

"DRC, Sudan and CAR all have internal conflicts that prevent them from sufficiently allocating their forces in a fight against the rebel group," it added, calling on all national armies to work to boost troop deployment in affected areas.

"The international community has so far failed to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the LRA as a regional threat, instead addressing the crisis in a piecemeal and haphazard way in the four different countries," it added.

The signatories demanded that UN peacekeepers be given a "greater capacity to deploy quickly" in response to attacks.

However, the leaders praised the Washington administration for passing a law in May, which commits it to develop a strategy by the end of November to end the rebel campaign of carnage.

The LRA's acts of startling brutality -- including murder, rape, and the forced conscription of children -- have forced more than 25,000 people to flee their homes in south Sudan alone since January, the United Nations says.

Many thousands more have been massacred, abducted or forced from their homes in CAR and DRC by the rebels, whose chiefs are wanted by the International Criminal Court.

The leaders on Saturday also called for clarification of the Ugandan army's role, which has led the hunt for LRA leaders across Sudan, DRC and CAR, since it launched a botched offensive following the collapse of peace talks.

The December 2008 Ugandan-led attacks smashed the rebels' jungle hideouts in northeast DRC, but analysts suggest the LRA was tipped off and most fighters escaped beforehand, launching reprisal raids across a wide area as they fled.

The religious leaders on Saturday insisted that the "preferred sustainable solution is a negotiated settlement" of the LRA crisis "after decades of failed military interventions."

Meanwhile, reports suggest that Dominic Ongwen -- the LRA's second or third in command -- has moved from DRC back to south Sudan, according to testimonies of former fighters collected by the Washington-based Enough pressure group.

Ongwen's reported move is "worrying", it said, with south Sudan approaching a historic vote due in January on its potential full independence.

"Sudan is preparing for a very important referendum early next year, and the LRA has a proven record of destabilising entire regions with few soldiers," said the Enough report, released on Wednesday.
- - -

Sudan: North guilty of using LRA rebels to destabilize south?
LRA says it wants a ceasefire with Sudan, Uganda and CAR
From Afrik News.com
Friday, 10 September 2010 by Konye Obaji Ori, Patrick K. Johnsson
Northern Sudan has been accused of employing rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to unsettle southern Sudan and the Darfur region ahead of the south’s independence referendum scheduled for January 9, 2011. But an official from the LRA, which has embarked on a mass recruitment, has debunked the claims and suggested that they are rather seeking a peace deal with the region.
- - -

Sudan's Darfur rebels say attacked by Ugandan LRA
From Reuters
Friday, 10 September 2010 at 5:44am GMT
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A Darfur rebel group said on Thursday it was attacked by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army guerrillas in Sudan's west.

"A group of LRA attacked our forces in Dafak in South Darfur yesterday," Haydar Galucuma Ateem, vice president of the Darfur rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), told Reuters from Qatar-based peace talks.

South Sudan, which fought decades of civil war against the north, accuses the northern government of arming the LRA to destabilise the semi-autonomous region ahead of a January 9, 2011 referendum which most believe will result in a vote for independence.

Known for their abduction of child soldiers and extreme brutality, the LRA sought refuge in neighbouring south Sudan during the civil war.

Kampala accused Sudan's central government in Khartoum of providing support to the LRA, a charge Khartoum denies.

After a 2005 north-south peace deal, which did not include a separate conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan, LRA rebels went on the run and south Sudan said some had moved towards Darfur to receive support from Khartoum there.

South Sudan's government says it cut off Khartoum's supply lines to the LRA after the 2005 accord so the Ugandan rebels moved north to Khartoum-controlled territory in Darfur to get resupplied.

Ateem said two small reconnaissance groups of about 20 young LRA rebels carrying light arms shot and killed one LJM soldier before retreating into dense forest in remote South Darfur.

"Their language was one of the ways we knew they were LRA," he said, adding the Ugandan guerrillas in the past year had often crossed the remote and porous border between South Darfur and the Central African Republic.

"They probably have a relationship with the government of Sudan," Ateem said. "Many of the young people in the area say they are arming the LRA -- the LRA first entered South Darfur about a year ago."

The International Criminal Court issued its first arrest warrants for LRA commanders, whose tactics include mutilating their victims by cutting off their lips and ears.

Groups of LRA soldiers also frequently attack south Sudanese villages near the border with the lawless Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the United Nations and south Sudan government.
- - -

LRA Denies Attack on Sudan-Based Rebels
Voice of America News (voanews.com) by Peter Clottey
Thursday, 09 September 2010
- - -

Britain arrests top LRA negotiator Willy Oryem alias Achila
From Uganda Watch.blogspot.com
Thursday, 09 September 2010
A top Kampala official said Mr Oryem alias Achila, in detention at Harmmondsworth Removal Centre since his arrest upon landing at Heathrow Airport in England on 28 August 2010, has never been “classified as a terrorist”.
- - -

LRA massacre victims call for help
From The New Vision (www.newvision.co.ug) by Chris Ocowun
Wednesday, 08 September, 2010


Survivors of the 1995 Atyak massacre repairing the monument built for the 250 people who were killed by the LRA

In April 1995, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels led by Vincent Otti attacked Atyak township in the morning and massacred more than 250 civilians, leaving behind about 80 survivors and 100 orphans.

The survivors have appealed to the President to fund the building of a big multipurpose hall and library in Atyak township in memory of the deceased.

They also requested the Government and other development partners to build a bigger monument with a recreation centre across Ayugi River where the bloodbath occurred.

Jacob Nokrac, the chairman of the Atyak Survivors’ Association, on Tuesday observed that the Government helped the injured and bereaved families of the July 11 bomb blasts in Kampala.

“We appeal to the Government to provide us with livestock for income generation and at least sh5m as a revolving fund for the survivors,” he said.

Nokrac also called for grinding mills to process their produce. He said some survivors had bomb fragments in their bodies and needed to be operated upon.

Nokrac disclosed that the survivors had formed a saving and loan association where each member saves between sh1,000-5,000 every week. He said the orphans needed school fees.

Betty Acan, 31, a survivor, said she could not continue with education because her brother who used to pay her school fees was killed in the massacre.

The Atyak sub-county chairman, John Bosco Ocan, called on the Government to take over the running of Lwani Memorial Community Secondary School which was built by the community in memory of those massacred by the rebels.
- - -

Ex LRA commander Thomas Kwoyelo to face trial in Uganda's War Crimes Court
From Uganda Watch.blogspot.com
Sunday, 08 August 2010
The New Vision, Uganda, Monday, 06 September 2010: A former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Thomas Kwoyelo, has been charged and committed to the War Crimes Court to face trial. Kwoyelo, 39, appeared before Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Vincent Mugabo, who did not allow him to plead to the charges. He becomes the first suspect to be charged with offences relating to war crimes.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

URGENT MESSAGE TO PRESIDENTS BASHIR & KIIR - Shocking video of the LRA hunting children in Sudan

ONE of the world's most brutal terrorist groups, Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), is on the move from the Congo, terrorising civilians.

The below listed report from TIME.com, Tuesday, 07 September 2010, contains a shocking video entitled "The Lord's Resistance Army Hunts Children in Sudan".

Click here (and wait for end of short advert) to hear Ed Robbins reporting for TIME.com from Western Equatoria State, southern Sudan.

Please replay the video and listen carefully to a message for everyone. The message is from a deeply traumatised Sudanese boy. The boy's name is Moses. Moses was abducted, attacked, hurt all over and stabbed with a bayonet by LRA terrorists. The terrorists forced Moses to kill a young girl. The girl was aged 7 or 8. If he did not kill the girl, they would kill him. The heart wrenching message from Moses says:

"I'M ASKING EVERYONE PLEASE, PRAY TO MAKE IT END"

Replay the video again and imagine yourself as Moses. The flat deadened tone of his voice is haunting. After viewing the report for the first time yesterday and working on it today at Sudan Watch, Uganda Watch and Congo Watch, I can't get Moses out of my mind. His trauma seeped into my bones as I imagined how he must have felt, what his future holds, and how he will think and be haunted for the rest of his life. I find this report deeply distressing and disturbing. I cannot understand why so many people are powerless when it comes to stopping the LRA. How someone like Joseph Kony manages to stay alive is beyond my comprehension. The stresses and strains he has gone through in his lifetime are unimaginable. A living hell, I guess.

See further devastating reports and photos here below.
- - -

Balancing Counterterrorism and Democracy in Uganda
Time.com - Tuesday, 07 September 2010
By Ioannis Gatsiounis in Kampala, Uganda


Photo: Mourners bury Alice Kyalimpa, a victim of the July 11, 2010, terrorist attacks that tore through a restaurant and rugby club in Uganda's capital Ronald Kabuubi/Reuters. Source: TIME.com report September 07, 2010 "Balancing Counterterrorism and Democracy in Uganda". To view the full report, click on the link above or visit TIME.com. If the report has moved, view a copy filed on September 08, 2010 at Uganda Watch or Congo Watch (sister sites of Sudan Watch).
- - -

LRA KILL 8 IN YAMBIO, W. EQUATORIA, S. SUDAN -
More Ugandan PDF forces to be deployed




WES Yambio: LRA Raid And Kill 8 citizens
Report from South Sudan Analysis (SOSA) - Monday, 06 September 2010:
(YAMBIO) – Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels have killed 8 people during weekend raids in Southern Sudan’s Western Equatoria state, a local official said.

Around 6 LRA fighters attacked the market village of Rii-Bodo on Saturday, killing 8 civilians, said Lexon Amozai, State Director of Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Western Equatoria State.

The horrifying murders come in the wake of an LRA ambush at a near-by small stream of Nahua.

On Friday the rebels launched a similar assault on the village of Gangura.

“They killed 8 people there, among them two women. There were no soldiers deployed there, so they attacked the civilians,” Mr Amozai said.

A Uganda-led coalition including Congo and South Sudan launched a joint offensive against LRA strongholds in Congo’s isolated Garamba National Park on December 14 after LRA leader Joseph Kony again failed to sign a deal to end his rebellion. However, the operation has failed to arrest Joseph Kony.

In the same weekend related attacks were carried on Sunday at James Diko and Naakiri Bomas under Bangasu payam during a final funeral of one of the LRA Victims.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes.

Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, state governor of Western Equatoria state with deeply sorrow and regrets expressed his dissatisfaction for the death of 8 WES citizens of Rii-Bodo on Saturday.

In a press statement, Col Bangasi said that, “it is painful to see such barbaric killings by the notorious LRA fighters on the innocent citizens of western Equatoria more especially as referendum gets around the corner.”

He called upon all the youth to stand up in order to provide security to the state from the marauding LRA and the state Government in collaboration with the UPDF and SPLA.

Security sources say soon the state government “will deploy forces around the payams and Bomas.”

Bakosoro assured the citizens that, “more forces of the Ugandan People Defense (UPDF) forces will be deployed around the most attacked areas of the Bomas.”

He cautioned the forestry department to ensure that “all timber cutters are removed from the forest of the state because it makes no sense for the LRA to be killing people leaving them (timber companies) unharmed hence some might be spices of the LRA.”

Meanwhile the Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies Colonel Wilson Sidigi said that he will ensure that support is given to the villagers’ security.

Sidigi promised that he will organize with the County Commissioners of Yambio and Nzara to encouraged the youth to stand firm as the security of the State is in the hands of every citizen of the state.
- - -

LRA Kill Eight In Yambio
Report from SRS (Sudan Radio Service) - Tuesday, 07 September 2010:
(YAMBIO) – About eight people were killed in attacks allegedly perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army over the weekend in outskirts of Yambio town.

The Western Equatoria state Minister of Information and Communication, Gibson Bullen Wande, spoke to SRS from Yambio on Tuesday.

[Gibson Bullen Wande]: “The LRA appeared between Gangura and a place called Baite, attacked the village and killed three people, so now we are seeing how we are going to handle it. Then on Saturday in the evening, the LRA appeared about 7 kilometers away from Yambio town in a place called Riibodoo. They came into the house of a chief with his in-laws. All of them were beaten to death and one person was abducted. So the total number of people that we have established to have been killed during the two attacks of last week has now come to eight so far.”

Gibson Bullen Wande was speaking to SRS from Yambio on Tuesday.
- - -

LRA rebels kill eight in South Sudan raid, local official says
Report from Sudan Tribune online - Tuesday, 07 September 2010
By Richard Ruati - excerpt:
(YAMBIO - September 06, 2010) - The Ugandan rebels Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has killed eight people in raids over the weekend in South Sudan’s state of Western Equatoria, a local official has said.

The LRA, which is a sectarian religious and military group from northern Uganda, has a history of committing atrocities in the region.

It began as an Acholi tribe rebel movement seeking to overthrow the Ugandan Government. What it stands for now is a matter of debate but in 2005 the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first five arrest warrants for LRA leader, Joseph Kony, his deputy and three of his commanders.

Around six LRA fighters attacked the market village of Rii-Bodo at about 2:00 am (local time) on Saturday, 4 August, and killed civilians, said Lexon Amozai who is the state director of the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Western Equatoria State. The murders took place after an LRA ambush at the nearby Nahua stream.

On Friday, the rebels launched a similar assault on the village of Gangura. "They killed eight people there, among them two women. There were no soldiers deployed there, so they attacked the civilians," Amozai said.

A Uganda-led coalition including Congo and South Sudan launched a joint offensive against the LRA strongholds in Congo’s isolated Garamba National Park on December 14, after LRA leader Kony again failed to sign a peace deal. However, the operation has failed to arrest Kony.

On Sunday, August 5, related attacks were carried out in James Diko, Naakiri Bomas and during the funeral of one of the LRA victims in Bangasu. [...]

Security sources say that the state government’s deployment of "forces around the payams [villages] and Bomas,” is imminent.
- - -

"I'M ASKING EVERYONE PLEASE, PRAY TO MAKE IT END"

Gulu victim

Photo: Gulu victim. The LRA use torture to instil fear. Uganda's rebel LRA has become synonymous with torture, abductions and killings. (BBC photo/Sudan Watch archives)

Uganda1

Photo: Two young boy's get treated for severe burn wounds in the Lira hospital in northern Uganda, 23 February 2004, after a massacre believed to be committed by the LRA in the Barlonyo camp 26 kilometers north of the town that killed at least 200 people. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo/Sudan Watch archive)

Northern Uganda

Photo: Ochola John was deformed by rebels from the LRA. (BBC) Click here to read the victim's heartbreaking testimony published at BBC News online on 29 June 2006. If the report has moved, click here to read a copy filed on 30 June 2006 at Uganda Watch, a sister site of this blog Sudan Watch.



Photo: Leader of the LRA peace delegation Martin Ojul, left, is welcomed back home at Koch Goma in Amuru. (AP Photo) Source: Report from Time.com - Saturday, 10 November 2007, by Alexis Okeowo in Gulu. Excerpt:
Sixteen years ago, Irene Abonyo was held down to the ground and her lips and ears viciously sliced off by rebels in northern Uganda. But 70-year old Abonyo is in a forgiving mood. She attended a steamy, overcrowded town-hall meeting to see, on better terms this time, one of the world's most terrifying rebel groups, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). After a dialogue, she went over to shake the hand of a former LRA fighter. He held her hand, but refused to have his picture taken with the disfigured woman. "I will still forgive," Abonyo explains. "They are embarrassed of what they have done." Full story by Alexis Okeowo (Gulu, N. Uganda) published at TIME.com on Saturday, 10 November 2007: "Forgiving the Lord's Resistance Army"
- - -

"I'M ASKING EVERYONE PLEASE, PRAY TO MAKE IT END"

Last month, Human Rights Watch said the LRA had killed more than 250 people in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo over the previous year and a half. It said nearly 700 others were kidnapped and forced to be either soldiers or sex slaves. Full story at Voice of America News (VOA) online, Tuesday, 07 September 2010: "LRA Kills 8 in Southern Sudan".



Photo: Southern Sudanese wait for food, shelter, security and medicine at the village of Nzara, along Sudan's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, on 18 August 2010. Thousands have fled their nearby villages since a recent series of attacks by guerrilla fighters believed to be from the Lord's Resistance Army. (Peter Martell/AFP/Getty Images) Full story by Alan Boswell (Nzara, South Sudan) published at TIME.com on Tuesday, 31 August 2010: "The Ruthless Guerrilla Movement That Won't Die".

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 03, 2010

Kenya was perfectly right to invite Sudan's president - Bashir's arrival brought Kenya airport to a standstill

Quotes of the Day
If Kenya had arrested Mr Bashir, "Sudan would erupt in a civil war that is going to be bigger and more devastating than the civil war [that began] 20 years ago," Kenya's new ambassador to the U.S., Elkanah Odembo, declared. "I'm willing to put my money on it.".
(Source: Kenya Watch - see 'Further Reading' below)

"It is my wish that the international community would appreciate the delicate situation of Sudan and act proactively. We should not isolate the people of Sudan. Let us encourage them to play their rightful role in the community of nations," Kenyan President Kibaki told the 14th Comesa summit of heads of state and government in Ezulwini, Swaziland.
(Source: Daily Nation - Sep 1, 2010)

"It is clear that the attempt by the Pre-Trial Chamber and some of the UN Security Council members to create a controversy totally fails to appreciate the context of the Horn of Africa region." -Thuita Mwangi, Aug 29, 2010
(Source: see op-ed here below)


Photo: Kenya (Source: geography.about.com)
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
Land: total: 3,477 km
Boundaries: border countries: Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km
Population: 33,829,590
Languages: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
- - -

Kenya was perfectly right to invite Sudan President Omar al-Bashir
The Nation (Kenya) - 29 August 2010 at 16:58
By THUITA MWANGI
In the last two days, a lot of heat has been generated around the visit of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir during the promulgation of our new Constitution.

The unfortunate statements attributed to some members of the UN Security Council as well as the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber cannot go without a response. The statements, and the decision, assert that African Union member states have “a clear obligation to co-operate with the Court in relation to the enforcement of such warrants of arrest. . . .’’ to which Kenya is a State Party.

It is quite curious that the decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber was made strangely in respect of the “expected attendance of Omar Al Bashir at the celebration scheduled for Friday 27 August”. Anyone conversant with the proper role and mandate of the ICC must be dismayed by the manner in which this decision was arrived at, let alone the substance and implications.

It is clear that the attempt by the Pre-Trial Chamber and some of the UN Security Council members to create a controversy totally fails to appreciate the context of the Horn of Africa region. First, Kenya’s stability is linked to that of its neighbours and the region. Indeed, Kenya has an abiding interest in ensuring peace and stability there by promoting peace, justice and reconciliation.

This can be achieved through continuous engagement with the Sudanese Government. Kenya has remained seized with Sudan, supporting the process that led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as well as its implementation. Kenya continues to bear the negative consequences of the civil war that it helped negotiate to end.

For this reason, the country remains keen to pursue any measure that would encourage Sudan to attain sustainable peace. Furthermore, as a member of IGAD and a guarantor to the peace process in Sudan arising from the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the impending referendum in South Sudan, Kenya has an absolute duty and obligation.

The objective of having representation from the region, particularly Sudan, at Kenya’s most historic political event was therefore, to share a positive national development and to encourage Sudan as it moves towards its own historic referendum in early 2011.

The enthusiasm of the ICC to involve the UN Security Council is not only a reflection of its failure to appreciate the intricate reality on the ground, but also an indicator of yet another effort to force African countries to support the ICC.

This is irrespective of the complex dynamics that require striking a balance between peace and justice, which Kenya believes is not only necessary for Sudan, but essential for stabilising the region. In inviting President Bashir, Kenya is acting in alignment with the African Union decisions on this matter.

Interestingly, both the statements and the decisions grossly ignore the obligations of Kenya to the AU, arising from decisions of Assembly/AU/Dec. 245(XIII) adopted by the 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, wherein the Assembly “decide[d] that in view of the fact that the request by the African Union has never been acted upon (by UN Security Council), the AU Member States shall not co-operate pursuant to the provisions of Article 98 of the Rome Statute of the ICC relating to immunities, for the arrest and surrender of President Omar El Bashir of The Sudan”.

Also, the statements did not take cognisance of the obligations of AU member states arising from Article 23 (2) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which obligates all members “to comply with the decisions and policies of the Union”. To this extent, the decisions adopted by the AU policy organs are binding on Kenya.

Kenya strongly believes that sustainable peace and security anywhere must be underpinned by the three interconnected, mutually interdependent pillars of peace, justice and reconciliation.

It will be recalled that the repeated appeals to the UN Security Council by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union as well as the AU Peace and Security Council to defer the proceedings against President Bashir for one year, and to allow for the peace process to make irreversible progress, have never been acted upon by the UN Security Council.

Mr Mwangi is permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- - -

Khartoum regime leader arrival brings Kenya airport to a standstill
eTurboNews.com - 02 Sepember 2010
By WOLFGANG H. THOME, ETN
(eTN) - Last week’s promulgation of the new constitution in Kenya saw several heads of state grace the occasion with their presence, including Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and they all landed with full protocol at Nairobi’s main airport Jomo Kenyatta International. In stark contrast, however, the Khartoum’s regime leader, Bashir, snuck into Kenya through Wilson Airport from where he also left the country later on under a shroud of secrecy.

Air operators and passengers normally using Wilson Airport were reportedly irate over the closures of the airport for all traffic between arrival and departure of the tyrant, and three regular sources minced no words over this event - none of the comments, however, are fit to be repeated in the public domain, probably in itself a hint about how strong the sentiments were and what words were flying. Flights in and out of Wilson, East Africa’s busiest airport, were halted and then long delayed, scheduled flights to and from the national parks were disrupted, and charters had to be halted as passengers could either not get into Wilson Airport or because all commercial operations were grounded for the duration.

It appears that many of the leading politicians in Kenya did not know of his presence, and subsequently squabbles arose in Kenya’s political establishment over the wisdom of inviting an alleged war criminal and alleged genocidaire, wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Kenya is a signatory country to the ICC Convention and will be facing not just tough questions by the ICC but has already incurred the wrath of US President Obama and many other world leaders, who sharply condemned the invitation and presence of Bashir in Nairobi for the event. It is also understood that the ICC referred Kenya’s decision and behavior to the United Nations Security Council where the case is due to be discussed and a possible reaction and response will be prepared.

The ICC is also drafting indictments against perpetrators and promoters of the post 2007 election violence and instead of reveling in the newly-found world attention and spotlight, the day was by all accounts spoiled by Bashir’s presence. The alleged war criminal, brought to the venue by tourism minister Balala – a visitor Balala would also rather like to forget soon considering the negative publicity it brought to Kenya – had, according to a reliable source in Nairobi’s foreign ministry, secured guarantees beforehand that the arrest warrant would not be executed against him, and he only traveled to Nairobi after these assurances were given in writing. Subsequently, some government mouthpieces tried to defend the presence of Bashir in Kenya for the big day but were rubbished by the comments of many Kenyans posted on blogs and social websites, who openly questioned the sanity of the invitation.

The fallout has also reached the Southern Sudan, where regular high-ranking sources, on condition of strict anonymity, expressed their anger and disappointment with Kenya, having fully expected to see the First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan, who is also the President of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir, represent their country. In fact, some opinions proffered to this correspondent spoke of unspecified consequences for Kenya in their dealings with Southern Sudan. It appears that Gen. Kiir was all set to fly to Nairobi but was apparently told at the last moment that his presence would, after all, not be required as regime chief Bashir would travel himself.

Upon probing if they would have wanted Bashir, their former arch enemy, arrested, they were all the more guarded, with one claiming "it would not have helped us with the independence referendum" before adding "we know that hardliners in Khartoum and their backers abroad are not happy with Bashir for permitting us to move to independence. We are aware that there is [an]underground movement about this, but we hope all stays in place until January 9, 2010 when we will vote to become an independent country. After that the North can do what they want about Bashir, it is no longer our concern then."

Kenya’s "Second Republic" was launched with glitz and glamour in a grand ceremony at Uhuru Park, where in 1963 the late founder president Jomo Kenyatta took the oath of office as he led his then nascent and young nation into independence, but the presence of Bashir has shaken many international observers and friends of Kenya who now ask what, if anything, has really changed so far as several laws seem to have been broken by the Kenyans’ responsible for the invitation and with absolute impunity.

Tourism stakeholders meanwhile, while appearing somewhat unsettled over the huge controversy the Bashir presence caused in the country and worse for them across the world, were still jubilant over the fashion the referendum was held, the votes counted, and the new constitutional requirements are now unfolding, and that it will ensure lasting peace and reconciliation among leading political opponents, giving hope for free and fair elections in 2012 and allowing the tourism industry to prosper and grow, at last fulfilling Kenya’s enormous potential along the Indian Ocean beaches and in their national parks and game reserves.
- - -

Note from the editor of Sudan Watch:
Red highlighting is mine. Ref the above, who exactly are 'the hardliners in Khartoum and their backers abroad'?
- - -

FURTHER READING

Note the following from Kenya Watch, a sister site of Sudan Watch:

ICC issues Press Release about Sudanese President Bashir’s visits to Kenya and Chad
Kenya Watch - Friday, 27 August 2010
ICC Press Release: Friday, 27 August 2010
Pre-Trial Chamber I informs the Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties about Omar Al Bashir’s visits to Kenya and Chad
ICC-CPI-20100827-PR568
Case: The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir
Situation: Darfur, Sudan
Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two decisions informing the Security Council of the United Nations and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute about Omar Al Bashir’s visits to the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of Chad, “in order for them to take any measure they may deem appropriate”. ...

EU: Statement by the spokesperson of HR Catherine Ashton on Sudanese President Al-Bashir's visit to Kenya
Kenya Watch - Monday, 30 August 2010
EU raps Kenya over Bashir visit. The European Union on Monday warned Kenya to tread carefully to avoid violating international laws ...

Sudan summons EU envoy over Bashir's Kenya visit
Kenya Watch - Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Sudan summoned the EU ambassador on Tuesday to protest against a European Union statement criticising Kenya for hosting President Omar Hassan al-Bashir last week, Sudanese state media said. ... Sudan's foreign ministry said a statement by the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, raising concern at Bashir's Kenya visit was "totally unacceptable" ...

New envoy to U.S. defends Bashir visit - Kenya's President Kibaki breaks silence on Sudan leader’s visit
Kenya Watch - Thursday, 2 September 2010
Quote of the Day: If Kenya had arrested Mr Bashir, "Sudan would erupt in a civil war that is going to be bigger and more devastating than the civil war [that began] 20 years ago," Kenya's new ambassador to the U.S., Elkanah Odembo, declared. "I'm willing to put my money on it."...

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Q & A with Sudan’s oil minister Lual Deng - S. Sudan youth forum condemns Deng for describing Garang as a unionist

ON 10 July 2010, the day of the Post Referendum Arrangement Talk held in Sudan's capital Khartoum, northern and southern Sudanese leaders said they would consider forming a confederation or a common market if southerners chose to declare independence in a referendum which is scheduled for January 9, 2011. Here below are some photos showing northern and southern Sudanese cheering together during the opening session of the talk.

Also, noted below is news of a southern Sudan youth forum criticising Sudan's oil minister, Lual Deng, for describing the late Dr John Garang as a unionist; plus a copy of Asharq Al-Awsat's recent "Q & A with Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, Dr Lual Deng" authored by Mohammad Ali Salih; followed by a report from Sudan Tribune and some further reading including today's Quote of the Day re the late Dr Garang's visit to Egypt 'where he convinced President Hussni Mubarak and his Government that he was a unionist, not a separatist'. Incidentally, note the following excerpt from a press digest 2/6/2005 published at the website of Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs re Mubarak, Garang discuss Khartoum-SPLM peace pact 1/6/2005:
"... Following talks with President Mubarak, Mr. Garang said he discussed with the Egyptian leader the latest developments of the peace process in Sudan and formulating the national constitution, especially that the National Commission for the Revision of the Constitution (NCRC) was holding its meeting in the southern Sudanese town of Rumbek.

"I presented to President Mubarak a detailed explanation on the progress achieved so far in carrying out the peace pact," he said, noting that everything is going very well.

"I hope that by mid-June we could finalise drafting the interim constitution so as to refer it to the parliaments in the north and the south for ratification," Garang told reporters.

Following this step, he continued, a national unity government will be formed by July 9.

Garang announced that the team drawing up an interim constitution has agreed that the traditional Islamic phrase "Bismallah al-Rahman al-Rahim" or "In the name of God, the Gracious, the Most Merciful" will appear in the text for the Muslim north but not for the non-Muslim south to bridge a sensitive religious divide.

"That has been resolved," Garang said, adding that the agreement was based on principles laid down in part of the peace deal that was agreed in Machakos, Kenya, that allows for shari'a to be imposed in the north and secular system in the south," he told reporters.

"We are working in order not to divide the Sudan. We want unity in diversity," he said when asked whether the compromise was a sign the country was heading towards division.

The Khartoum-SPLM peace pact involves splitting state and religion so sharia law would not be applied in the south.

The SPLM leader noted that he discussed with President Mubarak the need to reach comprehensive peace in Sudan that includes the province of Darfur as well as eastern Sudan.

"I also asked President Mubarak for what Egypt could offer to contribute to resolving the remaining problems, especially regarding the National Democratic Alliance given the fact that Egypt is a mediator between Khartoum government and the alliance," Garang said.

Garang called Darfur a tragic problem where citizens suffer a lot. "We really need to conclude a fair and comprehensive peace pact like that of the south," he noted. ..."
- - -

Southern Youth Forum Criticizes Statement By Oil Minister
Report from SRS - Sudan Radio Service - Wednesday, 01 September 2010
(Juba) – The South Sudan Youth Forum for Referendum has criticized a statement by the federal oil minister.

Minister Lual Deng was quoted by the Sudan Tribune on Sunday as saying that unity is the best option for the people of southern Sudan. He added that the late Dr. John Garang had always been in favor of unity.

The Secretary-General of South Sudan Youth for Referendum, David Amuor spoke to SRS on Tuesday in Juba.

[David Amuor]: “We condemn Lual Deng Acuek for describing our late hero Dr John Garang to have been a unionist. That is totally a lie. Lual Deng Acuek does not represent the views of southern Sudanese as he mentioned. He has no right to express these views since he is not a member of either the SPLM or the National Congress Party.”

David Amuor was speaking to SRS on Tuesday in Juba.
- - -

Q & A with Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Lual Deng
From Asharq Al-Awsat - Monday, 30 August 2010
By Mohammad Ali Salih

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat in Washington, Dr. Lual Achuil Deng, the new Sudanese Minister of Petroleum, and the first Southerner to be appointed in this position, after years of disputes between Northern and Southern Sudanese over the production of oil wells that are mostly in the South, said he has started “an era of transparency.”

He added: “We will put everything on the Internet, for the Southerners, the Northerners, and the rest of the world to verify. We will put up daily production figures and daily revenue figures.”

Describing himself as a “long-standing unionist,” he acknowledged that the amount of time left before the scheduled referendum in the South, in January 2011, might not be enough to convince Southerners not to vote for Southern secession. But, he stressed: “I am an optimistic person.”

Deng (61 years old), was born in Bor, in Jonglei State in Southern Sudan. He holds two degrees from American universities: an M.A. in Economics from the University of Iowa, and PhD in Economics from University of Wisconsin. In Iowa, his colleague and close friend was John Garang, who studied there and obtained a PhD in Economics. Later, Garang established and led Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan’s Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), and fought in the struggle that culminated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended half a century of civil war between Southern rebels and the Sudanese army.

Deng, after completing his PhD, joined the World Bank, then the African Development Bank, and later rejoined his friend Garang as an economic consultant, and participated in the talks that culminated in the CPA. When the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) was established, in accordance with the CPA, Deng became Minister of Finance in Juba. Later, he moved to Khartoum to join the Government of National Unity (GONU) as State Minister of Finance.

After the national elections in April 2010, and the reshuffling of the National Government, Deng was appointed Minister of Petroleum, the first Southerner to take the post.

Last week, he visited the US, for the first time in his new position.

Q: What is the purpose of your visit to the US and what were the results of your discussions with American officials?

A: I am visiting the US as a private person. I did not meet with any American officials.

Q: Do you believe that the US officials support the continuation of Sudan as a united country, or prefer that the Southerners vote for separation?

A: I haven’t participated in any discussion with American officials on this subject. Of course, the US has repeatedly declared its support for the full implementation of the CPA, including the scheduled referendum in January; and also its strong desire that the Southerners vote freely and fairly for either unity or separation. I understand this position and strongly support it. But during private talks, it seemed that the Americans would prefer the continuation of a united Sudan. I believe that is the case because, according to their interpretation of American national security and strategic interests, a separate South would not be a viable state. It would face many internal problems; and would endanger the unity and stability of neighboring countries; in the overall region of the Horn of Africa, to the east of Sudan, and the region of Equatorial Africa, to the south of Sudan.

Q: Do you think General Scott Grasion, President Obama’s special envoy to Sudan, supports Sudan’s unity or the secession of the South?

A: As I said, I didn’t have any official discussions with any American official on this subject, but my [previous] private talks with General Grasion led me to believe that he was in favour of unity.

Q: How about President Obama?

A: I have never met him. But, I believe he also prefers a united Sudan. If for no other reason, because instability in the South, the North, and in the wider region, would not serve US interests. Now, you work and live in Washington, and you know the complications surrounding US foreign policy. As for the US policy towards Sudan, you know there are different lobbying groups that, at least during the last few years, have played important roles. I don’t want to name names, but you know the organizations and the lobbying forces that prefer Southern Sudan’s separation. You and I know this is how US foreign and domestic policies are formulated. I would say: let us make use of the freedom of the American system and present our views as strongly as we can.

Q: You are a leader in the SPLM; do you support the separation of the South or a united Sudan?

A: I am indebted to John Garang, my colleague, friend, boss and teacher. I was initially in favour of separation, but he convinced me that it is in Southern, let alone Northern, interests to keep Sudan united. Garang used to say: “Look at the Americans. They fought each other and their country was almost divided into two or more [countries] during the 19th Century. But, they succeeded in ending the Civil War, and agreed to peacefully solve their problems and maintain a united country. Now, the Americans are a shining example for the whole world in terms of plurality, and racial and religious tolerance.”

I also support Sudan’s unity because I have been a strong believer in Pan-Africanism, as pioneered by Kwami Nkruma, Ghana’s first president, and in Negritude, as pioneered by Leopold Senghor, Senegal’s first president. Therefore, wouldn’t it be logical that I also support the unity of Sudan?

Q: What do you say to your fellow Southern Sudanese who support the separation of the South?

A: What I just told you. On one side for me, it is a matter of principle, that unity has more advantages than separation. In other words, one hand can’t clap, but two can.

On the other side, there are tangible advantages as far as the Southerners are concerned. Take my example. I used to be a member of the Southern government, and am now a member of the National government. Not many Northern Sudanese have this advantage. Right now, the Southerners rule themselves and share in ruling the North at the same time. What else do we, the Southerners, want?

Q: What do you say to the many Southern Sudanese in the US who clearly support the separation of the South?

A: First, I believe those who live in the US, this free, democratic and highly developed country should learn a lesson or two and try to apply some of the American achievements in Sudan.

Secondly, we all might complain about the conditions in Sudan, but we know that once we leave Sudan and live in foreign countries, we tend to miss our native country, and tend to appreciate it despite all its problems.

Thirdly, as I said, I was in favour of separation, but became older and wiser and changed my mind. I hope this young generation of Southerners in the US will grow up and become wise. In the meantime, I would say to them: “Don’t sit here and make judgments about the far away Sudan. Don’t talk about the possibility of the renewal of war if you are not ready to go there and fight. Don’t enjoy the air-conditioning here and think you can express the feelings of your brothers and sisters in the forests.”

Q: Some Southerners severely criticize, and complain about, the policies of the National Congress Party (NCP, led by President al-Bashir and the ruling party of Sudan); and say that its Islamic Civilization Project (ICP) is the reason they support separation?

A: I don’t want to defend al-Bashir and the ICP because they are able to defend themselves. But I want to defend the Sudan, its unity, heritage, hopes and aspirations. The Sudan, throughout centuries, has seen rulers come and go, and projects appearing and disappearing.

Q: Some of your Southern colleagues say you have abandoned “Sudan Jadeed” (New Sudan) slogan that was pioneered by John Garang?

A: John Garang raised the “Sudan Jadeed” slogan. Also, he raised “Sudan Wahid” (One Sudan) slogan.

Also, how can the Southerners establish a new Sudan, if they want to leave Sudan itself?

Furthermore, I strongly believe that the new Sudan is simply the old Sudan. I believe that Kush civilization (before Islam and Arabism) was a pure African civilization. I will tell you a story: recently, my daughter, who was born in the US and is a US citizen, visited Merowe in northern Sudan and saw the pyramids that were built by early Sudanese civilizations. She came back and told me that I was right in opposing Southern separation, and in saying the new Sudan is indeed the old Sudan.

So, if the North is indeed the South [i.e. a united Sudan], why would the Southerners want to leave it to the Northerners [laughs]?

Q: There is a leader in the SPLM who is clearly against Southern separation, Pagan Amum, SPLM Secretary General. Yet in an interview with “Asharq Alawsat’ two months ago, he said the SPLM shouldn’t declare whether it supported unity or separation, and should let the Southerners decide for themselves?

A: First of all, Amum, sometimes, says things that reflect only his personal views. Secondly, why are we leaders if we do not want to lead? Thirdly, Silva Kiir, Vice President of Sudan, President of the GOSS and of SPLM, has said many times that he supports a united Sudan.

Q: Some Southerners accuse President al-Bashir’s government of cheating the South out of oil revenues, since most of the oil wells are in the South.

A: On my first day as Minister of Petroleum, I declared my policy of transparency in Sudan's oil sector, and promised that I would start publishing figures regarding the daily oil output on the Minsitry’s website, on the Internet.

I strongly believe that it is this lack of transparency, or the perceived lack of transparency, that has fuelled mistrust between partners. We want to enhance trust between the North and South.

Q: Some Southerners say it is not enough that you declare transparency. You should compensate the South for the al-Bashir government’s deception since the CPA in 2005.

A: Like I said, I will publish daily production figures. Also, I will conduct a full independent audit regarding the oil industry since 2005, to prevent future conflict over oil.

I hope to comfort all the Sudanese by stating that there will now be transparency, even if it did not exist in the past.

The audit will basically look at oil production since 2005 - it will be conducted by an independent firm. Our preference is to accelerate the process so that the results are made available before the referendum.

Q: The international non-governmental organization Global Witness said last year that there were inconsistencies on the part of the Sudan government, regarding the exact figures of oil production and revenues. Furthermore it claimed that roughly six billion dollars, supposed to go the South since the CPA in 2005, were missing?

A: I don’t think this is true. And you can ask Global Witness. Recently, Global Witness participated in a landmark transparency seminar in Khartoum, which we organised. Global Witness said it was impressed by the openness with which all sides participated in the event. They emphasised that the discrepancies uncovered did not mean that six billion dollars were missing, but only about 10 percent (about 600 million dollars). Anyway, I assured them of my new policy of transparency.

Q: What are the prospects of oil production in Sudan?

A: We expect to increase oil production by up to one-third by next year, reaching as high as 600,000 barrels per day. Current average output is between 450,000 and 470,000 from the two blends - Nile and Dar.

Recently, we and the Finnish firm, Fenno Caledonian, signed an oil and gas exploration agreement for the north-eastern part of Sudan, in the states of Gadaref, Kasala, River Nile, and Gezira. The company also works in Dongola.

As you can see, this indicates the influx of European investment in Sudan. French oil giant Total, which has a huge untapped reserve in south Sudan, asked us about guarantees to keep its concessions after the referendum. I assured them of this, whatever the result of the referendum. As you know, Western firms mostly pulled out during the North-South civil war and the sector is currently dominated by Asian companies. But, I want to open the door for every company, from every country.
- - -

Further Reading



Southern Sudanese gather at the grave of their first president John Garang in July 2010, in memory of those killed in a 22-year long war with the north. (AFP/File/Peter Martell - Sun Aug 8, 2010; 3:48 PM ET)

Sudan’s oil minister criticizes secessionist voices, supports unity
Sudan Tribune - Monday, 30 August 2010
(Note: 60 comments)

Dr. Deng is entitled to his opinion but...
Sudan Tribune - Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Opinion piece by Isaiah Abraham

“What do we [Southerners] want more?" the Unionist Oil Minister, Dr. Lual Achuil Deng, asks!
South Sudan News Agency - Wednesday, 01 September 2010
Opinion piece by Dr Justin Ambago Ramba (a concerned South Sudanese citizen residing in the United Kingdom) - excerpt:
"... In the damaging interview that Dr. Lual Deng had with the London based Arabic Daily – the Al Sharq Al Awsat…Sunday 29th August 2010, Edition: 11597 can be considered as a continuum of contradictions within the SPLM’s inner circles. The very long (over seven pages) interview, which the Sudan Tribune 30/08/2010 only managed to publish a summary- clearly confirms that the SPLM was and is not uniformly indoctrinated in any one ideology or even a common vision for that matter. [...] For the in depth knowledge and first hand information about the infamous interview I advise you to visit the al Sharq al Awsat website and please read the Arabic version, which is original and authentic. ..."
Quote of the Day
"In 1998 Garang visited Egypt where he convinced President Hussni Mubarak and his Government that he was a Unionist, not a Separatist. Garang believed in a New Democratic Sudan with modern values as opposed to the old despotic Sudan. He wanted to extend the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) model to the other regions as the best solution of their political problems. He wanted to establish the New Democratic Sudan in Khartoum whereby all the five regions of Sudan converge to form a truly strong Federal Government. The Constitution of this Federal Government would be worked out by the elected Parliament in Khartoum. Unfortunately, he did not live to follow his vision through."
[Source: Extract from commentary published at theblacklistpub.ning.com - South Sudan Cross-Road: UNITY OR SEPARATION? - by an authentic SPLM/government bureaucrat, 17 February 2009, SSN]
- - -.

THE POST REFERENDUM ARRANGEMENT TALK IN KHARTOUM



Former South African president Thabo Mbeki addresses the opening session of the Post Referendum Arrangement talk in Khartoum July 10, 2010. Northern and southern Sudanese leaders on Saturday said they would consider forming a confederation or a common market if southerners chose to declare independence in an upcoming referendum. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah Sat Jul 10, 2010; 10:37 AM ET)



Sudan Vice President Ali Osman Taha (R) and Southern Sudan Vice President Reik Mashar (L) smile during the opening session of the Post Referendum Arrangement talk in Khartoum July 10, 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah Sat Jul 10, 2010; 10:18 AM ET)

Northern and southern Sudanese cheer together



Southern Sudan Vice President Reik Mashar waves to northern and southern Sudanese cheering together during the opening session of the Post Referendum Arrangement talk in Khartoum July 10, 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah Sat Jul 10, 2010; 10:21 AM ET)



Northern and southern Sudanese cheer together during the opening session of the Post Referendum Arrangement talk in Khartoum July 10, 2010. Sudan Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Southern Sudan Vice President Reik Mashar are seen at the table in in the centre of the picture. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah Sat Jul 10, 2010; 10:30 AM ET)
- - -

News from The New York Times:

Headlines Around the Web

What's This?
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEPTEMBER 2, 2010

Official: South Sudan Lawmakers May Vote to Secede

CBSNEWS.COM

SEPTEMBER 1, 2010

UN Opens First Office For South Sudan Referendum

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES

SEPTEMBER 1, 2010

Women In Sudan

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

SEPTEMBER 1, 2010

LEVI: A classic act of provocation

BOSTON GLOBE

SEPTEMBER 1, 2010

Aid groups accuse Sudan army of looting

More at Blogrunner »

- - -

News from SRS - Sudan Radio Service:

Wednesday, 01-Sep-2010

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

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