Saturday, April 23, 2005

Warlords seen as spoilers of Sudan peace process

Here is some disconcerting news. Top Sudanese militia leaders failed to show up for talks in neighbouring Kenya this week, prompting fears of a possible return to war in the south of the country.

Gabriel Tanginya and Paulino Matib, who are also senior officers in the Sudanese army, control much of Upper Nile, the oil-rich state on the border with northern Sudan.

Both men are known for their hatred of the rebel SPLM/A which signed a peace deal with the Islamic regime in Khartoum in January.

Before the signing of the peace deal in January, political analysts had warned of a possible attempt to undermine the agreement if the estimated 36 armed and political groups operating in the south were excluded from the negotiations.

But both the government and SPLM/A had ignored the appeals to include the militias in the talks, mediated by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

IGAD comprises Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.

Full Story via Sudan Tribune April 21, 2005.
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African Union's Darfur peace talks to restart in early May

The African Union will reconvene its faltering peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur's rebel groups in the first two weeks of May, a spokeswoman for the AU chairman said Saturday. Full Story AFP April 23.
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Hornets' nest of tribal hatreds in Darfur

Note tribal hatreds in Darfur. See UK Telegraph report by David Blair in Nyala, South Darfur, April 23, 2005. Excerpt:

Even if the rebels and the regime signed a peace accord and refugees could return to their villages, they would harbour a hatred of the Arab tribes and a desire for revenge.

Mohammed Ahmed Adam, a lecturer at Nyala University in Darfur, said: "The only solution is to stop this disease from spreading to new generations."
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If they find us, they will kill us . . . fear and flight in a desert bolthole

Last month, after more reports of rape of local women by Janjaweed were published, government officials warned aid agencies that if more such "unsubstantiated" stories emerged their local staff would be lashed.

It is virtually impossible to prove rape as the Government has ruled that a doctor's report is not sufficient. Raped women instead are often accused of being adulterers and face charges themselves.

See full story in London Times by Jonathan Clayton in Darfur, West Sudan, April 23.

Photo of Janjaweed.

Colonel Anthony Mundubo, an African Union commander in Zalengei, southern Darfur, dismissed government promises to disarm the Janjaweed as lip service.

"We have no doubts, the Government of Sudan has trained and equipped the Janjaweed," he said.
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Khartoum to put an end to militia activities in regions that it controls

Today, Sudan vowed to rein in pro-Khartoum militias threatening a landmark north-south peace deal as representatives from various southern Sudanese factions prepared to meet to discuss the logistics of reconciliation.

Sudanese Second Vice President Moses Machar said ahead of the meeting that Khartoum would put to an end to militia activities in regions that it controls, notably Eastern and Western Upper Nile states in central Sudan.
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"Khartoum is ready to ally with Satan if it can protect its own interests"

China is now dependent on Sudan for seven per cent of all its oil imports.

CNPC's annual report discloses that about half of all its overseas oil comes from Sudan. It deployed 10,000 Chinese workers to build a 900-mile pipeline, linking Heglig oilfield in Kordofan province with Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Hence Beijing has gone to great efforts to shield Sudan's President Bashir.

Freshly painted billboards in Khartoum carry pictures of smiling Chinese oil workers and the slogan: "CNPC - Your close friend and faithful partner".

Read more in UK Telegraph by David Blair in Khartoum, April 23, 2005. Excerpt:

A metallic maze of chimneys, pipes and vents glitters on the horizon in the desert outside Khartoum, dominating the landscape for miles around.

This new oil refinery is the jewel in the crown of Sudan's military regime. It forms the vital artery of a thriving oil industry that poured £1 billion into government coffers last year.

Without this windfall gain - likely to be far larger this year - President Omar al-Bashir could not maintain his military machine, let alone wage war against rebels in the western region of Darfur. Nor could he hope to withstand the international pressure that his bloody campaign in Darfur has brought upon him.

Moreover, the oil that started to flow as recently as 1999 has given President Bashir an indispensable international ally.

Almost unnoticed by the outside world, China has become the key player in Sudan's oil industry.

Beijing has invested £8 billion in Sudanese oil through the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), a state-owned monolith. The cost of Khartoum's new refinery alone was about £350 million.

Freshly painted billboards in Khartoum carry pictures of smiling Chinese oil workers and the slogan: "CNPC - Your close friend and faithful partner".

But this faithful friend is secretive about its stake in Africa's largest country. China's embassy in Khartoum and its commercial office declined to talk about oil. A CNPC spokesman said: "We are a shareholder in a number of operating companies here. We conduct our operations through them. If you want to learn more, you must contact the mines and energy ministry."

Beijing needs Sudan because its appetite for oil is insatiable. China's economic boom means that oil consumption is forecast to grow by at least 10 per cent every year for the foreseeable future. If so, China's domestic reserves will be depleted in the next two decades. So the quest for overseas oil is one of Beijing's central goals. On Thursday China signed a "strategic partnership" with Nigeria, a major oil exporter, and has oil interests in at least three other African countries.

In its scramble for Africa, China portrays itself as a more benign partner than the colonial powers and the modern-day multinational companies.

President Hu Jintao told an Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta yesterday: "In pursuit of world peace and common development, China will always stand by, and work through thick and thin, with developing countries."

America has already snapped-up the world's largest reserves. Saudi Arabia and Iraq - with 370 billion barrels between them, 45 per cent of the world's total - are effectively closed to China.

Sudan, by contrast, is a no-go area for western oil companies. American investment was officially banned in 1997 and European multinationals steer clear of the avalanche of protest that would accompany any dealings with Mr al-Bashir's regime. China, however, has no such scruples.

So far, Sudan has only 563 million barrels of proven reserves, but the energy ministry estimates that at least five billion barrels lie beneath its deserts.

Sudan's few independent voices say this has brought disastrous consequences.

"The crisis in Sudan is being fuelled by the issue of oil," said William Ezekiel, editor of the Khartoum Monitor. "The government is ready to ally with Satan if it can protect its own interests."
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Leaders praise Asia-Africa deal

Today, the BBC says the Asia-Africa summit has ended with what the organisers say is a historic deal to build economic and politics ties between the two continents.

About 80 leaders, representing two-thirds of the world's population, gathered at the meeting in Jakarta.
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China funds Africa Union's peace efforts

Well, here's something good from China. On Friday it donated 400,000 US dollars to the African Union (AU) in support of the continent's peace efforts.

China's Assistant Foreign Minister Lu Guozeng handed over the donation in Addis Ababa to AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare. At the handover, Lu said the stated sum was granted to the AU in support of its ongoing peace initiatives particularly in Darfur, western Sudan.

Konare said the support demonstrates China's determination to assist the AU in resolving conflicts on the continent.

Meanwhile, officials from the Chinese embassy said Lu and Konare exchanged views on issues of mutual interest including the reform of the United Nations system, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and Africa's debt, among others. Source: Xinhua April 23, 2005.
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China decides to join the UN peacekeeping operation in Sudan

This news will not be well received by John Garang, leader of SPLM/A. [Previous reports have said he is against Chinese troops being part of the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan as China is onside with Khartoum to protect its oil interests]:

Chinese President Hu Jintao met with his Sudanese counterpart Omar el-Bashir in Khartoum on Saturday and reached consensus on further consolidating and expanding their mutually-beneficial cooperation. During the visit today, the Chinese President said:

"The Chinese government supports Sudan's north-south peace process and has decided to join the UN peace-keeping operation in Sudan to provide necessary guarantees for the process." Full Story at China View via Sudan Tribune April 23, 2005.
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Sudan opposition to get say in constitution-official

April 23 Aljazeera report confirms Sudan's constitution committee to draft an interim Sudanese constitution has been formed; a key step in implementing the peace deal between Khartoum and southern rebels. Excerpt:

A new constitution is crucial as it would clear the way for the formation of a national unity government and mark the beginning of a six-year interim period called for in the January 9 peace accord signed in Nairobi.

The January peace deal allows for power sharing in government, giving the NCP 52 percent and the SPLM 28 percent of all posts. Northern opposition parties get 14 percent and non-SPLM southern forces six percent. SPLM and NCP had given up 10 seats between them to have only 38 of the 60 seats in the constitutional commission, a little over 63 percent. It will allow opposition parties some say, if small, in the shaping of the constitution.

Work of the commission, due to begin on Saturday, had been delayed until at least Thursday, to allow the Cairo talks to finish and because Sudan had invited several foreign presidents to the commission's first day of work. The NCP, which dominates both government and parliament, was restructuring to allow senior government ministers to take party posts.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir would become party president and appoint about three vice presidents, Omar said, adding his position and the secretariat he heads would no longer exist. Party officials from other areas of the country would be also be drawn deeper into the decision-making process, he said, adding that he would like to retire but would stay on if the party asked him to.

The process would most likely be implemented once the new national government of unity is formed. "We think it will be more appropriate to make it coincide with the change of the national government," Omar said.
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"Pulitzer Prize" winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine

This photo is the "Pulitzer Prize" winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine. The picture depicts a famine stricken child crawling towards a United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away.

The vulture is waiting for the child to die so it can eat it. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, not even the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken.

Three months later he commited suicide due to depression.

[via Moo-sic and Madness! with thanks]
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UNHCR predicts bleak future for millions of people uprooted from Darfur

Oh dear, here we go again. This seems like a news report from this time last year. All that's changed is they are not talking about thousands of people, but millions:

April 20, 2005, El Geneina, Sudan UNHCR chief appeals for international aid for desperate Darfurians.

Today, April 23, the acting UN High Commissioner for Refugees Wendy Chamberlin predicted a bleak future for millions of civilians uprooted from homes in Darfur and called for an immediate rise in international aid. News report excerpt:

On Wednesday, after visiting desperate women living under trees and families huddled in miserable tiny twig shelters, she called on the international community to contribute more money for humanitarian relief in Sudan's Darfur region.

"These people desperately, desperately need the kind of assistance we provide," she said in West Darfur on the third day of a five-day visit to the region. "UN agencies simply do not have the funding to provide them the assistance they desperately need to survive."

Chamberlin said that so far the UNHCR had received just two million dollars of the 30 million needed for the rest of the year. "Appeals are simply not being answered ... I don't see a short-term solution for Darfur."

The World Food Programme warned Wednesday of a food shortage due to the funding shortfall and announced it would for the first time halve non-cereal rations in Darfur.

Due to "a drastic shortage of funds, the WFP will have to cut by half the non-cereal part of the daily ration for more than a million people, starting from May," a UN agency's spokeswoman told reporters.
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Chad refugees face water shortage

A BBC report today says camps housing 200,000 Sudanese refugees who fled to eastern Chad to escape the fighting in Darfur are running critically short of water.

In some camps, water supplies to the refugees are already being reduced.
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Good questions re: Darfur

Here is a copy of an email sent to Joanne at Passion of the Present. If you can throw any light on some answers, please email Jim so he can share it with his readers. Thanks. [Note above post - re China - says American investment was officially banned in 1997]

Dear Joanne,

While I am happy to see the Senate has approved the Darfur Accountability Act, I would like to know what it means when it refers to sanctions against the "petroleum" sector.  Do any of your readers know?

Also, does anyone know if any of the money that has been appropriated by the USA in the past for Darfur relief has actually been spent and how?


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Thanks to Sudan Watchers

Thank you to Genocide Intervention Fund for publicising excerpt from recent post here at Sudan Watch and Passion of the Present. Copy:

"Sudan Watch: South Sudan: SPLM/A willing and ready to deploy 10,000 of its troops to Darfur. Note on the Passion of the Present website says “Ok, here is a really interesting idea, highlighted today by Ingrid Jones over at the terrific Now combine this with the Genocide Intervention Fund, and we might have something.”

See how well GIF is doing with Press Coverage.

[Please note the URL of this blog is - not]
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Thought for the Day

See post at Readuponit re Sudanese Ambassador confronted by students.

On following link to Little Green Footballs, I noticed a comment on Darfur, by Zack [I guess Lizardoids are LGF readers] - here is a copy:

"Although I doubt many "anti-war" goons will read this, there is something I'd like to ask them.
Unlike Iraq, the conflict in Darfur is being handled your way (and France's & most of the EU's way).

Like the results?

Perhaps a Lizardoid you know will ask that question for me."
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Noteworthy quote on Darfur

Charles Snyder

"Nobody that wants to be on the ground is not on the ground." - Charles Snyder, head of U.S. State Department's Office of Sudan Programs, April 2005.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sudanese Politicians to expand Juba, Sudan's SSPP

January 14, 2008, 12:00 AM EST

South Sudan's media-driven awareness organization "The Sudan Sensitization Peace Project" is being expanded to include a campaign in the United States.

Johannesburg, GAC (FV Newswire) - In what some see as laying the ground work for a 2011 secession by the South Sudanese, one of the South Army's most powerful sister organizations, Juba-based "Sudan Sensitization Peace Project" (THE SSPP) is preparing to launch a new public relations campaign in the United States in fall 2008.

The campaign will be directed at African-Americans, as the South Sudanese and Darfur are increasingly concerned by the lack of information that Western blacks have regarding the borderlands of Afro-Arabic nations like Sudan and Mauritania.

According to his office in Juba, Sudan, the President and Founder of the SSPP, BF Bankie, has appointed SPLM commander and Darfur politian Yahya Osman to be President of the New York City branch of the SSPP.

Yahya Osman is also Vice President of the Darfur Rehabilitation Project as well as Chairman of Foreign Officers.

One plan for implementing the American Branch of the SSPP is to have legendary entertainer and politician Harry Belafonte speak on the peace organization's behalf at a fundraising event in June at Professor Dani Nabudere's Marcus Garvey Pan-African Institute in Mbale, Uganda. The event is already booked.

President Bankie also reports that famed African scholar and writer Garba Diallo of Denmark has been approached about possibly heading a branch in Denmark and that controversial novelist Kola Boof, a former SPLA member and former mistress of Osama Bin Laden, has agreed to take the position of National Chairwoman of the U.S. branch of the SSPP.

Though many have questioned the appointing of such a polarizing figure as Kola Boof, officials of the SSPP say that Boof's recent contact with Winnie Mandela and her defense of the SPLM to officials of South Africa's ANC, coupled with the Global African Congress recommending her, makes her a notable entity. Though a Sudanese diplomat from Khartoum recently accused Boof of being legally married to Bin Laden, she and the SSPP dispute such allegations as "lies". Among Boof's first duties for the organization will be to oversee the establishment of an official website.

"It's going to be a huge kick-off in America during 2008", reported Miguel Lorne, the President of the Jamaican branch of the SSPP.

Planning to open at a September event rally in Manhattan, President Bankie and the SSPP also hope to attract actor and long time supporter Danny Glover, and activists Joe Madison, Munta Matsimela, Miguel Lorne and Maria Sliwa.

The SSPP was founded by BF Bankie in 2002 and as a "peace and information historical society" to coincide with the South army's SPLA movement.

Officials of the SSPP can be reached in Juba, Sudan by email: