Friday, September 30, 2005

UN Security Council calls for Darfur peace deal by end 2005

The UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned the rise in violence and banditry in Darfur, stressing that only a political solution can achieve durable peace and reconciliation there.

In a statement to the press, the Council's president said UNSC members call upon the SLA, JEM and Government of Sudan to reach a peace agreement in Darfur by end of 2005 and for all donors to honour their Oslo pledges.
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Norwegian minister travels to Sudan to push for peace

Good news. The highly regarded Norwegian Minister of International Development Hilde Johnson will travel to Sudan to meet the new government and push for a nationwide peace, her ministry said Friday.

Johnson will visit Sudan's capital, Khartoum, on Oct. 1-4 to meet the government that took office on Sept. 15, as well as regional officials, her ministry announced.

"It is very positive that a new, unified government in Khartoum is now in place," she said in a statement.

"We expect the government to push ahead with carrying out the peace agreement, and work to create peace in all of Sudan."

Full report (AP/ST) Sep 30 2005.

Hilde Johnson

Photo: Hilde Johnson has been instrumental in helping peace to progress in the Sudan
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Note, the $4.5 billion development funding pledged by donors for South Sudan is dependent on peace in Darfur. It acts as an incentive for the warring parties to sign a peace agreement for Darfur in a similar way to Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January by southern Sudan rebels and Government of Sudan.

No doubt all sides, including the UN and NATO, are acutely aware that eastern Sudan is not yet part of any peace deal. There must be a reason. Perhaps rebels in eastern Sudan will be brought into the peace talks currently taking place, one step at a time.

Northern Sudan is mostly populated by supporters of the Islamic regime in Khartoum and appears not to have much oil. Most of Sudan's oil seems to be in the south of the country. Sudan says there is an abudant oil in Darfur.

Some say there is oil to be explored on the Chad-Sudan border and Khartoum has plans to lay an oil pipe in Darfur.

Sudanese refugees flee Janjaweed Darfur

Photo: Sudanese refugees flee the Janjaweed militia in Darfur

[Photo courtesy Matt Tapie's blog in Texas from Sep 30 post Christians, We Must Not Forget Darfur]
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Sudan announces abundant oil discovered in southern Darfur

April 2005 UPI report says Sudan claims initial oil drilling operations in Darfur indicate there is abundant oil in the area. Excerpt:
Sudan Energy Minister Awad al-Jaz told reporters in Khartoum an oil field was found in southern Darfur and it is expected to produce 500,000 barrels of oil per day by August. Most of the country's oil production comes from oil fields in southern Sudan, where a peace treaty was recently signed between the government and rebels.

According to the accord, 50 percent of oil revenues from the south will go to the SPLM [the former rebel group of south Sudan], while the other half to Khartoum.

The country started exporting oil in August 1999.
Gas flaring

Photo: Gas flaring at an oil terminal of Eguatu, Warri-South, Niger Delta. (AFP/ST).
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Total to resume Sudan drilling operations soon

29 Sep 2005 Sudan Tribune report says French energy giant Total claims it would resume explorations activities in the Block Ba in southern Sudan very soon.


Darfur: Peace talks expected to conclude early 2006

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick told a Senate hearing Sep 28 that the recent upsurge of violence in Darfur might "possibly [be the parties] positioning for negotiations" in Abuja, and he said "a message" he wanted to convey strongly was that such a strategy would not be tolerated by the U.S. and definitely would be counterproductive.

Zoellick said the goal of U.S. aid, amounting to $1.9 billion since 2003, and U.S. military support, mainly airlifts for an AU security force that soon will number 7,700, is "to create a secure environment and political [and] tribal reconciliation so people can voluntarily return home safely, beginning in the first half of 2006"; about the time it is hoped the Abuja talks will have a successful conclusion.


Disputes in East and South Sudan remain a threat to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Committee Chairman Richard Lugart, at a U.S. Senate hearing 28 Sep 2005, cautioned:
"Even as we focus on Darfur, we must be cognizant that simmering disputes in the East [of Sudan] and the South remain a threat to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement."
Eastern Front activity

Area of Eastern Front activity

Note this excerpt from the Economist 29 Sep 2005 - Enemies everywhere: Discord in eastern Sudan threatens the peace accord with the south -
As the main southern group, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), withdraws its forces from the country's eastern belt as part of its agreement signed earlier this year with the government in Khartoum, eastern rebels are replacing them. The Eastern Front's bases are over the border, in Eritrea. Sudanese government forces and tribal militias are limbering up for a showdown on the Sudanese side of the border. There are growing fears that the government in Khartoum is planning to unleash the militias, just as they did in the west, when mounted Arab levies known as the janjaweed were allowed, and probably encouraged, to commit an array of atrocities against the disaffected Darfuris, leaving perhaps 180,000 dead.

The Eastern Front was set up last year as an alliance between two eastern tribal rebel groups, the Rashaida tribe's Free Lions and the Beja Congress. They were later joined by the Darfuris' Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The rebels' gravest threat is to block the flow of oil, which is exported through Port Sudan at a rate of 300,000 barrels a day. The government also plans to build a second refinery nearby that would double the output of Sudan's refined oil within three years. That plan, too, could be stymied.
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Darfur rebel group SLA destabilising peace talks

Sep 30 Independent UK report says the African Union has complained that the Darfur rebel group SLA is destabilising the talks by continuing to fight:
The SLA insists it is only defending itself. The talks are also likely to be hindered by the fact that the SLA has splintered into several groups. A recent UN policy meeting in Darfur was disrupted by Sudanese national security forces, which arrested and later released several of the Sudanese participants.

Sudan: Southerners get new assembly

The Interim Legislative Council of southern Sudan, which brings together many former military and political adversaries, was officially inaugurated on Thursday in Juba, the southern Sudanese capital, reports IRIN from Juba 30 Sep 2005. Excerpt:
The establishment of the new parliament constitutes a milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on 9 January by the Sudanese government and the former southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

It also represents an important step in fulfilling the southerners' aspirations for greater political autonomy and the decentralisation of power, for which the SPLM/A fought during a 21-year war that claimed two million lives.

"This is clearly a significant and historic moment. This is what people have been waiting for since the signing of the CPA, and probably for the past 20 years," David Gressly, the UN deputy resident and humanitarian coordinator for southern Sudan, told IRIN at the ceremony.
Sudan: Southerners get new assembly

Photo: A small child plays with a stick as if it was a rifle while a group of townspeople train to bolster the local security presence in south Sudan – a region where genocide has occurred, according to the U.S. and many human rights organizations.

[Image courtesy Ryan Spencer Reed. Information on Reed's "Hands of a Displaced Sudan" photo exhibit in Jackson will be available at the Sep 30 MSU teach-in that wants mid-Michiganians to understand the scale of the Darfur tragedy. See article at Michigan State University Newsroom: Darfur teach-in features firsthand accounts from Sudan]


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Darfur: Chadian president in Libya to meet Gaddafi

Libyan news reveals Chadian President Idriss Deby flew to Libya today where he met with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Several international issues of common interest were discussed, including the outcome of the African Union conference held in Libya last July and the latest situation in Darfur.

Chadian president in Libya

Photo: Chadian President Deby arrived in Libya Thursday afternoon, Sept 29, 2005 at Sirte international airport where he was received by Major-General Alghwaldi Alhmeadi. (LJB)

Note, Chad hosts 200,000 refugees from the Sudan and Libya opened up a new trans-Sahara aid route for UN WFP aid trucks to enter Darfur.

Over the past year, President Deby and Colonel Gaddafi, along with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, helped overcome obstacles on the Darfur peace talks and worked to progress the talks.

Darfur:  Gaddafi and Mubarak in Tripoli

Photo: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (R) and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (L) walk to the opening session of the third African Summit at Tripoli re Darfur, Sudan May 16, 2005. (Reuters). "The meeting between Kadhafi and Mubarak focused on the Darfur talks being held in Abuja and the means of ensuring that they are sucessful," Mubarak spokesman Suleiman Awad told reporters at the time.


Chad is co-mediator at Darfur peace talks

The present upsurge in Sudan's violence coincides with the final round of Darfur peace talks. Chad is co-mediator at the talks. Similar violence occurred last year when Chad's president threatened to pull out of mediating the talks because of Janjaweed attacks in Chad.

Reuters report Sep 25 confirms Chad and Darfur's JEM rebel group have agreed to cooperate. Excerpt:
The African Union, which is mediating the peace talks, said on Sunday a JEM delegation met Chad's President Idriss Deby in N'Djamena to dispel misunderstandings and the JEM had accepted Chad as a co-mediator in the peace process.
Detailed discussions at the Darfur peace talks on power sharing, wealth sharing and security arrangements were due to begin on Monday.


Chad accuses Janjaweed of attack that left dozens dead

Chadian President Idriss Deby has accused Sudanese militiamen of being behind an attack on Thursday that left 36 dead near Chad's eastern border with Sudan.

"We are absolutely certain that the perpetrators were Janjaweed militias, but we still do not know the reasons for the attack,'' he told Radio France International.

President Deby said that the assailants, who attacked Chadian villages on horseback in the east of the country, were armed with new weapons, dressed in military uniform, and were supplied with plenty of ammunition:
"Who gave this to them, was it the Sudanese government or another, we will find out," Deby added.
Full report Sep 29, 2005 ReliefWeb via DPA


29 dead in attack on Darfur's Aro Sharow camp

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that according to initial reports the Aro Sharow camp was attacked by 250-300 "armed Arab men on horses and camels" late on Wednesday Sep 28.

Twenty-nine people were reported to have been killed in an unprecedented attack on a refugee camp in the north-west of Darfur, the UN said on Thursday Sep 29.

Another 10 people were reported to have been seriously wounded and the nearby village of Gosmeina was also reportedly attacked and burnt, the agency said. The death toll referred only to camp dwellers.

Full report 29 Sep 2005 Reuters, Geneva.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Timeline of events since fighting began in Darfur, Sudan

In June of this year, CBC News published a timeline of events in Sudan starting with April 2003 when the fighting in Darfur began.

In April 2003, refugees began arriving in eastern Chad to escape the conflict that erupted after the two main rebel groups in Darfur, SLA and JEM, began attacking government forces and installations in Darfur, western Sudan.


UN relief operation in Darfur could all end tomorrow?

Today, the BBC reports escalating violence in Darfur is threatening to halt relief efforts in the area, the UN's chief aid coordinator has said. Excerpt:
'Jan Egeland said violence in Darfur had become so bad that the UN operation could "all end tomorrow - it's as serious as that". Mr Egeland said that international aid workers were increasingly being targeted by armed groups.

His comments came as violence flared on the border between Darfur and Chad.'
Mr Egeland habitually issues alarming politically charged messages to the press. Darfur's security situation was much worse in June of last year when the UN was pushing to get aid in - not pull it out.

Note how the media is used as a weapon of war. Even though the message from the UN's aid chief to the media is not really hard news, it is zipping around the world right now, making headline news.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said in an off the cuff talk to reporters that some of what he says to the media are veiled messages to various people on the ground in Sudan.


Janjaweed attack E Chad: French troops step up patrols

Today, IRIN reports Chad's Government says Sudanese 'insurgents' killed 36 herders on Monday in East Chad. The report explains eastern Chad has been gripped with tension since the Darfur conflict in western Sudan broke two years ago. Excerpt:
Hostilities have repeatedly spilled across the border into the region where some 200,000 Sudanese refugees are living in camps.

An aid worker in Adre, a border town near the site of Monday's attack, told IRIN that French troops in eastern Chad have recently stepped up patrols in the area after increased activity by armed groups on the Sudanese side.

Chad President Idriss Deby, who initially took office in a coup in 1990 with the backing of Khartoum, has long had to perform a delicate balancing act in eastern Chad, the site of sporadic rebel movements over the last 15 years.
Note also, the report points out that last April, Chad accused Sudan of backing a 3,000-strong rebel force operating on the border and goes on to say:
"Tuesday's government statement said the authorities had contacted the Sudanese embassy in Chad to make known its worry about this grave situation and to invite the Sudanese government to take the necessary measures at its borders from where these insurgents came. A delegation of government ministers and military leaders left N'djamena for the border area on Tuesday afternoon."
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Chad says Sudanese insurgents killed 36 herders in East

The above IRIN report says a group of unidentified armed men in military uniform crossed into Chad from Sudan early on Monday, killing 36 herders and stealing livestock. Excerpt:
"The Chadian government said, in a statement on Tuesday, the attack took place in the village of Madayouna in the Ouaddai region of eastern Chad.

"The riposte by the armed forces stationed in the region was rapid," the statement said.

Seven of the assailants were killed and eight detained, one of whom later died in detention, it added. Two Chadian soldiers were killed and five injured."
Chad-Sudan border

Photo: Chad's camel guards patrol on the Sudan-Chad border in Abulu Kore (Darfur), Eastern Chad, in 2004. (AFP/Thomas Coex/Yahoo)
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Darfur rebels blame Janjaweed for attacks in Chad

AFP reports 50 [not 36] people [where do they get such information?] were killed in eastern Chad when, quote "armed horsemen from neighbouring Sudan attacked a village and later clashed with Chadian forces, the government spokesman and army sources said."

A later AFP report says the Darfur rebels blame the Janjaweed for the attacks and said they never attack civilians, let alone Chadian villages.

As I recall, similar incidents happened last year, reportedly involving the Janjaweed in Chad. See Google search Janjaweed Chad 2004 and this excerpt from a 22 June 2004 report at Human Rights Watch:
Sudan: Darfur Atrocities Spill Into Chad - Despite Ceasefire, Sudanese Troops and Militias Continue to Kill, Rape and Loot

(New York, June 22, 2004) -- Backed by the Sudanese government, Janjaweed militias are launching assaults across the border into Chad, attacking and looting Chadian villagers as well as refugees from Darfur, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite a ceasefire agreement in Darfur, government troops and Janjaweed militias continue to commit atrocities in the western Sudanese region.

Human Rights Watch documented at least seven cross-border incursions into Chad conducted by the Janjaweed militias since early June. The Janjaweed attack villages in Chad and refugees from Darfur, and also steal cattle. The same Arab and African ethnic groups live on both sides of border in Chad and Darfur.
Chadian army soldier

Photo: A soldier from the National Army of Chad patrols the wadi Tine, the empty bed of seasonal river that runs between Chad and Sudan in Tine, in 2004. (AFP/File/Marco Longari)
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Over 600 Chadians returned home from CAR, UN refugee agency says

Over six hundred out of some 1,500 Chadian refugees who have spent the past two decades in exile in the Central African Republic (CAR) after fleeing civil war in their country have been returned home in an operation that began last week, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

The 609 Chadians were transported in two convoys, according to a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as part of an operation that is expected to be completed by early October. Full story by

Also, note the report states:
With the growing insecurity in northern CAR since the end of 2004, the group approached UNHCR to organise their return to Chad. Many of the refugees reported attacks by bandits who stole their cattle and prevented them from working in their fields.

At the same time, UNHCR is looking into reports from local authorities of some 170 refugees who may have crossed the border from northern CAR into Chad two weeks ago after fleeing attacks by armed groups on their villages. It is also continuing the relocation of more than 2,000 other CAR refugees who crossed over for similar reasons in August.
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Sudan's Turabi says new unity government a fraud

Sep 28 Reuters SA report says Opposition leader Hassan Turabi said the new government failed to include enough representation for the east and Darfur, the western region of Sudan, where rebels took up arms in 2003:
A major political force in Sudan, Turabi backed the bloodless military coup that brought [Sudan's current President] Bashir to power in 1989 and became one of its most important defenders.

But the two fell out and Turabi has since spent around four years in detention. He was most recently released in July after being accused of arming the Darfur rebels and plotting a coup.

He said on Tuesday he supported the struggle of the Darfur rebels for a more federal system of government but denied arming them.
[I wish someonee would explain who is arming them]


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Viral technology will be a key competency for Africans

Excerpt from Africa Blogging, a commentary on the emergence of social software and hypernetworking technology in Africa:

"Experts predict that the 21st Century will be Africa's Century."

East Africa - Computer education in secondary schools in remote areas

Photo: East Africa - Computer education in secondary schools in remote areas (via Africa Blogging)
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Considering Africa

From American blogger Steve Nicholson [newly arrived in Africa] Sept 22, 2005:
African landline phones, 2003: 25 million

African cell phone subscribers, 2003: 52 million

Personal computers in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2003: 12 per 1,000 people

Percent of population with access to improved drinking water: Sub-Saharan Africa - 82 urban, 45 rural

Infant mortality rates (birth to one year old): Sub-Saharan Africa - 102 of 1,000 children

Average life expectancy: Sub-Saharan Africa - 46 years

Poorest nations: Burundi, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Somalia - per captia GDPs of $600

Richest nation: Mauritius - per capita GDP of $12,800

US per capita GDP: $40,100

Darfur Sudan: Mini Mubarak and Gadhafi summit in Cairo

A video grab from the El-Masriyya satellite channel shows Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (L) shaking hands with Libyan leader Moamer Gadhafi in Cairo. The two leaders held talks on how to prevent the failure of peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Darfur. (AFP/El-Masriyya/Yahoo) Sep 27 2005.

Mubarak and Kadhafi meet in Cairo re Darfur

Mubarak's spokesman, Suleiman Awwad said Egypt urges the Darfur rebels to follow the lead of the SPLA/M which signed a peace agreement with Khartoum ending Sudan's long-protracted civil war last January.

'There is a live example before the Darfur rebels that agreement could be reached on sharing power and wealth and that they could join in the nationwide reconciliation and peace process in Sudan,' Awwad said.


United Nations Sudan Situation Report 26 Sep 2005

Re final round of Darfur peace talks held in Abuja, Nigeria, the UN's Sudan Situation Report 26 Sep 2005 says the six-day workshops on power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security concluded on 24 Sept, and on 25 Sept. the rest of the Minni Minawi faction of the SLM/A arrived in Abuja. The technical workshops were well-attended and informative and official negotiations will start this week.

Click here to read the UN's report on security issues concerning North Darfur, South Darfur and West Darfur.

Note, the above report states Chadians dressed in military uniform were seen in a market in West Darfur. Also, it confirms the Government of Sudan is attempting to get the situation under control there by sending SAF and police patrols in and around the market area. The report advises UN Staff to exercise extreme caution and avoid the market area.

Also, it explains that in North Darfur on 24 Sept:
'The town of El Fasher witnessed a military show of force as SAF troops armed with RPGs, AK-47 and 50 cal. machine guns and moving in large trucks, land cruisers, armored scout vehicles and T55 tanks paraded through El Fasher to Abu Shouk IDP camp. The parade ended with a drive-by salute for the Wali and military commanders near the Wali's house. The Wali announced the activation and full implementation of the Emergency Act, which gives full authority to the military and police forces to maintain the security and sovereignty of the state. He also told the armed forces that they should be ready to protect the state and civilians against any rebel attacks.'
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Reps of S Sudan's ex rebel group SPLM/A to attend Darfur peace talks

The above UN report confirms the SPLM/A will send representatives who have close relations with the armed groups in Darfur to Abuja.
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UPDATE Sep 27: From Passion of the Present with thanks - two stories: 50 killed in attack on Chadian village / Chad says gunmen from Sudan kill 36 in border raid.


Who disarms first: Janjawid militia or Darfur rebels?

Note this excerpt from an IRIN report from Khartoum 27 Sep 2005:
'The disarmament of the Janjawid would help the government reach a peaceful solution," Juan Mendez, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, said in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2004, Juan Mendez said his mandate was preventive and designed to offer recommendations to Annan in order to avoid massive violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law which, if not stopped, could lead to genocide.

Mendez said according to the IDPs, "the disarmament of the Janjawid militia is a priority for them to return to their homes".'
Well, internally displaced people would say that, wouldn't they? Since when do top UN officials quote displaced people who are on the side of the rebels?

It would be more helpful if the UN would explain how to disarm the Janjawid. It is easy to say "disarm the Janjawid". How about disarming the rebels? And explain how it is to be done? Who disarms first, Janjawid militia or rebels?

Imagine telling coalition forces in Iraq to "disarm the insurgents otherwise there is no possibility of reaching a positive solution, the disarment of the Iraqi insurgents would help the government". It is a nonsense.

Beware of propaganda. All sides are at it, turning up the heat, with carrots and sticks. Psychological pressure. A war of words. There is a lot at stake.

The present series of Darfur Peace talks are viewed by the African Union as the final round. UN special envoy Jan Pronk has suggested setting a deadline of December 31. This time last year, during the run up to the signing of a peace deal between Khartoum and southern Sudan's rebels, there was an upsurge in violence and relentless beating of war drums from all sides.

Juan Mendez, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

Photo: Juan Mendez, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (IRIN)

"The situation in Darfur now is disturbing, violence is spreading, and the displaced don't trust the Sudanese police or the Sudanese judiciary system," Juan Mendez told reporters Sep 27 after his second assessment visit to Darfur. His first visit was a year ago.


Darfur rebels causing upsurge in violence and insecurity

Jonathan Steele's report from Darfur in the Guardian Sep 26, says the latest violence, involving attacks on aid convoys and government officials as well as the theft of large numbers of camels - the main source of wealth for local nomads - comes from the rebel side. Excerpt re latest attacks:
"In one assault, which sparked a chain of clashes, the SLA seized thousands of camels in a well-prepared raid on a nomadic tribe that had previously not been part of the conflict. Tribal leaders appealed to the AU, which publicly used strong language to denounce the attack.

The owners of the camels got help from the militias and converged on villages at Tabit, west of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, that they suspected of holding the stolen animals. An estimated 3,000 people then fled.

Yesterday, Osman Mohammed Yusuf Kibir, the governor of North Darfur, did not deny the attacks. "But it's not true the attackers were supported by the government. There was not a single soldier with them. The camel owners waited 13 days for the AU and the international community to respond," he told the Guardian."
During the current and final round of Darfur peace talks, the report reminds us it is the Darfur rebels who are responsible for the insecurity that stops people from returning home:
"The SLA rebels last week entered Sheiria, north-east of Nyala. Although they did not attack the government garrison, they paraded in the streets in a show of strength and claimed they had killed 80 troops. They withdrew the next day. The government said they had been driven out after "heavy casualties". AU monitors who talked to residents said that they had found no evidence of serious clashes or killing."
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Sixth round of Darfur peace talks to start in Nigeria this week

The ongoing sixth round of peace talks for Darfur is scheduled to start in the Nigerian capital this week, chief negotiator Sam Ibok told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) on Monday.

The negotiations are taking place between Khartoum and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement and Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"We have not fixed any specific date. We are beginning separate consultations with the three parties today (Monday) and hopefully we will begin the main negotiations by Wednesday,'' Ibok said.
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Darfur rebel group JEM and Chad agree to cooperate

Sep 25 Reuters report says Darfur rebel group and Chad agree to cooperate:
The African Union, which is mediating, said on Sunday a JEM delegation met Chad's President Idriss Deby in N'Djamena to dispel misunderstandings and the JEM had accepted Chad as a co-mediator in the peace process.

The JEM, the smaller of two armed groups that rebelled against Khartoum in early 2003, has accused Chad of supporting some rebel factions over others, playing into the hands of the Sudanese government. Chad countered that it had no interest in prolonging the conflict and the rebels were looking for reasons to avoid making tough commitments to achieve peace.

The wrangling was one of the problems that have plagued peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja, now in their sixth round. A wider problem is disunity within the JEM and inside the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the larger rebel movement.

The sixth round of talks started with a week of workshops during which the parties discussed power sharing, wealth sharing and security arrangements. Detailed discussion of these issues was due to begin on Monday.
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Darfur rebels say only war would bring fair rule

Reuters Sep 22 says Darfur rebel faction, which recently captured a town in Darfur, denounced Sudan's new coalition government on Thursday as exclusionary, adding only war would bring fair rule.

Darfur rebels say only war would bring fair rule

Photo: An internally displaced Sudanese man awaits the arrival of the UNHCR High Commissioner in Riyad camp in the west Darfur region of Sudan August 24, 2005. Photo taken August 24 2005. (Antony Njuguna/Reuters/Yahoo)

The United Nations Human Development Report says there are only 16 doctors for every 100,000 people in Sudan.
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Russian peacekeepers ready to join UN mission in Sudan

10,000 UN peacekeepers are earmarked for Southern Sudan to monitor January's peace agreement. During the last few days, Jan Pronk told the press the reason for the slow deployment of UN peacekeepers in S Sudan is due to disappointing numbers of troops offered by the international community.

[Maybe funding of peacekeepers is for a specfied amount of time and some are being held back until their presence becomes absolutely necessary. Sudan's infighting looks set to go on for many years.]

Russian peacekeepers ready to join UN mission in Sudan

Russian helicopter pilots are ready to participate in a UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan, said an official from the Torzhok Combat Training Center, whose pilots have recently finished a similar mission in Sierra Leone.

The official said the issue had already been discussed and the pilots had studied Sudan's geography and climate.

"The climate in Sudan resembles that in Sierra Leone and the Russian Mi-24 helicopters performed well in these hard conditions," the official said. - Novosti Sep 26, 2005.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Uganda seeks extradition of deputy LRA leader

Uganda is negotiating with Congo and the UN for the extradition of a leader of the notorious rebel Lord's Resistance Army, the foreign minister said on Monday. Ugandan officials had said on Friday that LRA deputy chief Vincent Otti and 50 other rebels had fled to north-eastern Congo and were seeking asylum. Full report Sep 26, 2005 (AP/IOL)

Note, the above report ends by saying:
The rebel force once had the support of Sudan, which had allowed it to use Sudanese territory as a rear base, because Uganda supported the then rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Since a peace agreement was signed in January between the former southern Sudanese rebel group and the Sudanese government, Sudanese officials have been discussing with Uganda how to end the northern Uganda rebellion.
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Uganda's peace process is extremely fragile

Sep 26 BBC confirms DR Congo to deport Ugandan rebels.
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Ugandan Police Deployed in Darfur

Sep 26 report at the Monitor says at least 56 Ugandan police officers have been deployed to Darfur in Southern Sudan [Darfur is in Western Sudan] on a peacekeeping mission.


Congo army says will forcibly disarm Ugandan rebels

MONUC report Sep 26 confirms the Democratic Republic of Congo's army said on Sunday it would forcibly disarm 400 Ugandan rebels who have crossed into the northeast of the country and are refusing to lay down their weapons:
"A regional military commander, General Padiri Bulenda, told Reuters he would have to disarm the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in order to prevent thousands of Ugandan soldiers from crossing the border into the Congo to hunt them down."
The report ends by saying:
"Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has repeatedly warned Congo's fragile transitional government that he would take action against Ugandan rebels in Congo if he felt they were a threat to his country.

A source close to Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila called the presence of Ugandan soldiers on Congo's border "a distraction from pressure being applied on Museveni because of his meddling in Congo and attempts to prolong his presidency at home"."
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Museveni to occupy Southern Sudan?

A blogger in America, Menya Kilat, has an interesting theory on connections between Uganda and Southern Sudan and wonders if LRA leader Kony is the red herring to allow Museveni occupy Southern Sudan.

It is a theory I do not share. But, when it comes to African politics, nothing would surprise me.

The US recognises the LRA as a terrorist organisation.

A report today by the BBC says Kony remains with his fighters in southern Sudan and the UN says it has held a meeting with LRA rebels for the first time.

Kony's deputy Vincent Otti is in DR Congo talking to the UN. Uganda says Otti and about 50 fighters left their hideouts in southern Sudan's lawless mountains last week and crossed into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday.

[Cross posted from Congo Watch and Uganda Watch]


MIT Media Lab: $100 Laptops for the Third World

The MIT Media Lab has launched a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop - a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children.

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) was announced by Nicholas Negroponte, Lab chairman and co-founder, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005.

See Superintendent Notebook for Negroponte's answers to questions on the initiative.

Multi-tasking and short attention spans

Tom McHale, an educator in New Jersey, USA writes a notable post Portrait of a Digital Native about childrens' use of technology and their ability to multi task.

The post features a student named Meredith Fear who is working on her independent study for social studies and chosen a topic that is important to her, the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

Meredith catalogues her research through Furl and bookmarking and follows the news and blogs about Sudan through a news aggregator. She finds this process to be very different than her classroom experience.

"The computer gives me a contact to all the people I need to talk to," Fear says. "It's a gateway to the world."

"What I make of it is entirely dependent on me and the effort I'm willing to put into it," she says. "It's a much, much more specialized and detailed level of thinking than I've been exposed to in any of the classes the school provides."


Sunday, September 25, 2005

UN officials meet Ugandan rebels

The UN says it has held a meeting with a group of the Ugandan rebels, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), for the first time. Full story (BBC)

Note, the report says LRA commander Joseph Kony remains with his fighters in southern Sudan. Reuters says his time may be running out.
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Uganda's rebel LRA use torture to instil fear

Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has become synonymous with torture, abductions and killings.

Gulu victim

BBC photo: The LRA use torture to instil fear

"They tied me and laid me down. They told me not to cry. Not to make any noise. Then one man sat on my chest, men held my arms, legs, and one held my neck".

"Another picked up an axe. First he chopped my left hand, ... read the rest in "Uganda's atrocious war" by Will Ross, BBC Kitgum Uganda.
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Who are the LRA?

See Uganda Watch Q&A: Uganda's northern rebellion.


Friday, September 23, 2005

British Council holds festival for African writers

Forty-five African writers from 19 countries including Nigeria would next month participate in a literature festival in Kampala, Uganda.

Tagged "Beyond Borders: A Festival of Contemporary African Writing", the event will be held between October 19 and 21.

The Director of British Council Uganda, Mr. Richard Weyers, says, "The literature festival will be one of the largest gatherings of African writers in Africa to take place for several decades. It is a unique creative networking event that would broadcast to the world the richness of African and UK writing."

Participating writers have been drawn from across sub-Saharan Africa and the UK. From Nigeria, writers like Chika Unigwe, Tolu Ogunlesi, Helon Habila, Olubunmi Julius-Adeoye and Rotimi Babatunde are taking part in the festival.

Renowned Sudanese writer, Taban Lo Liyong, and Ivorien Veronique Tadjo are other writers participating in the festival, which will provide a platform for established and emerging writers, those in exile or have now returned home, to discuss the role of a writer and the state of contemporary writing across Africa today.

See full story Sep 23 2005 (DI)


BBC journalism course making progress in Sudan

International Journalists' Network reveals the BBC World Service Trust, whose two-year training program in Sudan lasts until March 2006, says it has so far conducted more than 60 training programs in six towns across the country.

More than 800 journalists have participated in the training. The goal of the BBC's Sudan program is to promote freedom of expression and information as a means to encourage better governance.

The European Union and the U.K. Department of International Development are sponsoring the program.

See full story Sep 23, 2005 (IJN)


SUDAN: Annan tells UN Security Council Darfur civilians must be better protected

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan pledges UN support for Sudan's new national unity government.

IRIN report Sep 23 goes on to say this:

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Meanwhile, in his monthly report to the Security Council on Darfur, Annan said the region's civilian population must be better protected because they had fallen victim to attacks from armed groups and forced relocation by the previous government.

"One major issue is the protection of internally displaced persons," Annan said. "On some occasions, internally displaced persons who have returned to their villages of origin to cultivate their fields have been attacked, resulting in their re-displacement back to the refugee camps."

Government troops and military police forced their way into the Bella site near Saraf Omra, North Darfur, on 15 and 16 August, destroyed shelters and wounded eight people, Annan said.

"Once again, despite the agreements with the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations, the government failed to notify the international humanitarian community of its intentions," Annan said.

He added that the establishment of the government of national unity and the normalisation of the situation in the rest of the Sudan offered tremendous promise for Darfur.

"These developments offer the parties an unprecedented opportunity to translate the present relative stability in Darfur into a lasting settlement, anchored in the new national political order," he said.

Further statements:

Sep 23 Statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on Sudan - The EU congratulates Sudan and also expresses its grave concern about recent reports of serious clashes in Darfur, apparently involving members of the armed movements, the Government of Sudan and Arab militias, including most recently on the Eastern slopes of the Jebel Marra, and in Sheiria, South Darfur.

Sep 23 AngolaPress Paris, France hailed the formation of a government of national unity in Sudan, saying this was a major stage in the implementation of the 9 January 2005 Nairobi peace accord. France was however "very concerned about" the decline in the security situation in the Darfur, and urged all the parties to the conflict in this region of Sudan "to display greatest restraint ... to scrupulously comply with the cease--ire concluded in N'Djamena on 8 April 2004 and to negotiate without conditions and in good faith in Abuja".

Sep 22 USINFO - Bush congratulates Sudan on new National Unity Government - calls it an important milestone, urges steps to stop violence in Darfur.

Sep 23 Government of Canada Statement by Minister Pettigrew on resumption of Darfur peace talks and recent events in the region.
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Fresh fighting in Darfur threatens peace talks, says AU mediator

"Military activities in all sectors in Darfur ... have negatively impacted on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need and threaten the current round of the peace talks," Salim Ahmed Salim, the special representative of the AU overseeing negotiations, said in a statement on Thursday.

See full report Sep 23 2005 (IRIN)

UPDATE: Darfur rebels call for ex SPLM to join peace talks

This sounds promising. AFP report says the two main rebel groups from Darfur called Friday for South Sudan's former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to be included in African Union attempts to end their war with the Khartoum government.

Let's hope Rebecca Garang can attend:

Garang's widow is appointed MP

The widow of Dr John Garang de Mabior, Rebecca Nyandeng has been nominated as a member of southern Sudan Parliament.

She was among 161 MPs appointed in accordance with the January 9 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in Nairobi.

Rebecca is among the top officials of Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/Army) that her late husband led for 22 years.

Garang died in a helicopter crash in Southern Sudan on July 30 and was succeeded by Salva Kiir.

See full story Sep 24 2005 (Standard)
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Sudanese President swears in new government of national unity

See full report Sep 22 2005 (IRIN)
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UN envoy says LRA to blame for violence in South Sudan

The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Sudan, Jan Pronk, said a Ugandan insurgent group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), was to blame for much of the violence in southern Sudan. The group had hindered demining work and the opening of roads in the area, he added.

"The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, North-South, is on track," Pronk told reporters, after urging the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and expedite its deployment.

Jan Pronk UN envoy to Sudan

Photo: Jan Pronk of The Netherlands, UN special envoy to Sudan

Splits and splits and splits in Darfur rebel group SLA

Jan Pronk said peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Darfur between the government and rebels were under way in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

He said it was hard to pin down the causes of increasing violence in Darfur, but to "a certain extent" it was related to disputes between nomadic communities and farmers, and a split within the region's main rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A).

"There are groups that are not government and that are not SLM, but the result of splits and splits and splits," he added.

Pronk urges UN Security Council to issue December 31 deadline

Jan Pronk said he had urged the Security Council to issue an ultimatum to the parties to the conflict in Darfur to come to a comprehensive peace agreement by 31 December.

"There is no reason any more to solve the problem through further shooting and fighting. We don't accept it any more," he said, noting that a similar ultimatum had led to progress when the southern peace agreement was being negotiated.

Pronk said the riots in Khartoum following the death of SPLM/A leader John Garang, in a July helicopter crash, had exacerbated ethnic tensions.

The establishment of essential political institutions and legal reforms in line with the southern peace pact had been slow, he said.

New tensions in eastern Sudan and the fact that certain areas of the south had been left as ambiguous zones of "special status" in the peace agreement were other causes for concern, he added.

See full report Sep 22 2005.
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Large-scale camel and cattle rustling

International Committee of the Red Cross claims one factor for the fighting escalating in Darfur is the recent upsurge in large-scale camel and cattle rustling.
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Several factions claiming control of SLA rebels in Darfur

IRIN report explains the situation in Darfur is further complicated by the reported lack of cohesion in the SLM/A's chain of command:
Several factions have recently claimed to control the movement's forces on the ground.

The head of the SLM/A delegation in Abuja, Abdulrahman Musa, is thought to be representing the Fur ethnic wing of the movement, loyal to the movement's chairman, Abdul Wahid Mohammed Nur.

A second faction under SLM/A general secretary Mani Arko Minawi, however, represents the militarily powerful Zaghawa wing and has already boycotted the talks. Observers on the ground claim that it was fighters under the control of Minawi who took control of Shareya town.
See full report Sep 21 2005.
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Darfur peace talks: full political negotiations next weekend

IRIN report explains the sixth round of the Abuja peace talks between the government and the rebels resumed in the Nigerian capital on Thursday:
The parties are currently debating several issues - power sharing, wealth redistribution, security and governance issues - ahead of full political negotiations next weekend, but observers fear the talks might be called off as a result of recent violence.
Meanwhile, a humanitarian source in the capital of North Darfur, El Fasher, said two Rwandan soldiers of the AU Mission in Sudan were wounded on Monday in an ambush and the AU had stopped all activity in the area.

Some shooting could be heard outside El Fasher on Tuesday morning and government soldiers came out in large numbers to reinforce the outskirts of the town.

See full report Sep 21 2005 (IRIN)
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Sudanese President announced the national unity government

IRIN report notes observers said the formation of a unity government was another milestone in the implementation of the CPA that ended the country's 21-year north-south conflict:
Sudan's new interim National Assembly held its first session on 31 August.

The CPA, signed on 9 January by Bashir and the late first vice president of Sudan and chairman of SPLM/A, John Garang, in Nairobi, Kenya, attempts to encourage wealth- and power-sharing in the oil-rich nation.

The agreement, which began a six-year transitional period in the country, details protocols on sharing legislative power and natural resources. South Sudan will vote to decide whether to remain politically united with the north or separate from it after the transitional period.
Sudanese President swears in new government of national unity

Photo: Sudanese President el-Bashir. The war between his government and the SPLM/A rebel group in the south erupted in 1983 when the rebels took up arms against authorities based in the north to demand greater autonomy. The fighting has killed at least two million people, uprooted four million more, and forced some 600,000 to flee to neighbouring countries.

See full report Sep 20 2005 (IRIN)
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Major clash in Darfur reportedly killing more than 40

A large retaliatory attack by armed nomadic tribesmen on the rebel SLA on Monday left more than 40 people dead in Darfur, local sources said.

See full report 20 Sep 2005 (IRIN)


Sudan: UN WFP Weekly Situation Report on Darfur 14 - 20 Sep 2005

Imagine the complex logistics involved in delivering food to those most in need in the Sudan. 90% of the 10,000 aid workers currently employed by international aid agencies are local Sudanese people.

Thousands of unemployed Sudanese men refuse to get aid through official channels. They ambush relief trucks and use violence to steal food and aid for themselves. Such looting stretches to trucks, petrol, plastic sheeting, mobile phones, cash and other personal belongings stolen during attacks on aid workers.

Here below is an excerpt from the UN's World Food Program weekly Situation Report on Darfur 14 - 20 Sep 2005. Click into the full pdf report and read between the lines.

[Note the pdf report states WFP and "Cooperating Partner SC-US" are looking into possibilities of flying in distribution teams to inaccessible locations in West Darfur. Also, it mentions what sounds like new teams in Darfur, ie: "UNDSS security assessment mission" ... "UNDSS/WFP security mission" ... "a joint team of security officers from WFP, UNDSS and UNMIS" ... "Cooperating Partner GAA"]


The security situation, and subsequent restrictions on UN movement, continue to affect humanitarian operations including WFP's food distributions and assessments in Darfur. Despite increased precautionary measures such as GoS police patrols and AU escorts, armed men continued to attack commercial and humanitarian vehicles in the region.

South Darfur

Two separate incidents of armed attacks on trucks were reported in Amar Jandid, approximately 10 km north of Menawashi, during the reporting week. Both incidents involved a large group of armed men who ambushed and looted commercial trucks traveling in the area. Some 87 bags of sorghum were stolen among personal belongings and money of the occupants.

There were several reports of both GoS and SLA buildup as well as clashes in locations around South Darfur. In Mershing, a UNDSS/WFP security mission recommended that food distribution activities be suspended for a few days while precautionary security measures are put in place. Meanwhile, there were also reports of SLA's established presence in Joghana, approximately 110 km south of Nyala. The UNDSS has advised agencies working in Joghana to ensure that the SLA is notified in advance of any movement in the area. The situation will be closely monitored by the UNDSS as fears of clashes with GoS present in Buram, some 30 km south of Joghana, are raising security concerns. In Jebel Marra, clashes between GoS and SLA were reported in Guldo during the week.

North Darfur

It was reported that the SLA attacked a GoS checkpoint in Abu Hamra village as well as several other villages close to Shangil Tobaya during the week (namely Um Lawat, Karja, Tebeldiya Wari and Arara). While the African Union (AU) is further investigating the situation, many residents allegedly fled Arara village from fear of GoS retaliation. A joint team of security officers from WFP, UNDSS and UNMIS traveled to Shangil Tobaya and Tabitt, where they met with AU, SLA and the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) to discuss the situation. While the situation was reported to have stabilized, residents of the villages have re-located to IDP camps near Shangil Tobaya. The UNDSS is expected to submit a full report in the coming week.

Following the shooting incident that occurred in Tawila on 9 September 2005, a UNDSS security assessment mission re-visited the location and has declared the situation to be relatively stable. UN movement restrictions in Tawila were lifted but UN agencies have been advised to conduct all activities between 0900 and 1600 hours. All field missions were advised to contact the UNDSS prior to departure and to exercise extra caution at all times.

Cooperating Partner GAA suspended activities in Um Maharek village in Kutum locality following an outbreak of violence in which 15 people were killed.

West Darfur

On 15 September, two commercial trucks, being escorted by GoS police, were attacked and ambushed by armed men approximately 25 min south of Masteri. Four civilians and two GoS soldiers were reported to have been killed in this incident. An unescorted NGO vehicle was also stopped and looted near Habilah Kanari during the week. Armed men also shot at two vehicles belonging to UNHCR in the same area. It should be noted that the UN can only move on these roads (Geneina/Habilah/Mornie/Masteri roads, Sisi/Mornie road and areas around Jebel Moon) with a security escort.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sudan: New violence breaks out everywhere in Darfur

Recent news reports of violence breaking out everywhere in Darfur comes as no surprise as it always seems to escalate in the run up to, and during, any important negotiations or peace talks.

As usual, it is difficult to tell who is starting what. Neither side ever proves sincere about wanting peace.

Perhaps this will go on for six years until the time for South Sudan to vote to break away. Trouble is, most of Sudan's oil is in south, central, western and border of Chad-Sudan, not in Northern Sudan where most of the government's supporters reside.

Note, Strategy Page's summary of the latest security situation in Darfur (thanks to Instapundit). The last line states Darfur rebel group JEM says it is working with the east Sudan rebels.


US sees LRA as a terrorist organisation - Pronk says peace in Southern Sudan fragile

Paul at Uganda-CAN publishes a post Sep 22 featuring a Reuters report on Jan Pronk, the UN's special envoy in Sudan, who says the peace agreement between South Sudan's former rebel group SPLM/A and Khartoum regime is fragile.

Mr Pronk is briefing the UN Security Council.
He said Dr. John Garang's death last July, which caused sporadic rioting, has been followed by a recent upswing in LRA activity in southern Sudan, as well as reports that some elements of the Sudanese military were still supporting the rebel group.

He also expressed concern over the possibility of renewed conflict in southern Sudan as refugees begin returning to their homes there despite delays in the arrival of crucial humanitarian aid and UN peacekeepers.
Also, Paul writes:
"Uganda-CAN urges the world to think of the conflicts in southern Sudan, Darfur, and northern Uganda as part of an interrelated regional conflict which can only be resolved through cooperation among all parties and the signing of regional peace agreements. Read more on Uganda-CAN's website about southern Sudan and Darfur and information on key actors there."
Going by various news reports, Sudan, Darfur, northern Uganda (and I would add DR Congo) appear to be part of an interrelated regional conflict (and it would seem when it comes to DR Congo, some connections go back to Rwanda's genocide) which was the reason for starting Uganda Watch and Congo Watch last year.

Note, the US State Department recognises the LRA as a terrorist organisation.
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Museveni wants Kony extradited

Uganda-CAN picks up on a report by New Vision that claims President Museveni has demanded the immediate extradition of Kony and remnants of his army that have recently crossed into the DR Congo (DRC).

According to the report, sixty fighters led by Kony's second-in-command Vincent Otti recently fled northern Uganda and southern Sudan to cross into northeastern DRC. The Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) claimed the rebels are hiding in Garamba game park in the DRC.
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Uganda says top LRA rebel wants asylum in Congo

The deputy leader of Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is asking for political asylum in Congo after fleeing into its remote northeastern jungles, Uganda's defence minister said today.

Uganda says Vincent Otti and about 50 fighters left their hideouts in southern Sudan's lawless mountains last week and crossed into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday.

But the Congolese government said on Friday it had no information about the group's presence on its territory or of any asylum request.

See full story Sep 23 2005 (Standard)
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Bush held talks with Rwandan leader re Great Lakes region

Recent news reports say terrorist groups aim to set up camp in east Africa.

Previous posts here at Sudan Watch note:

- The US has a sophisticated intelligence base in Djibouti housing 800 special-operations troops.

- A meeting held at the White House last April between President Bush and Rwanda's leader Paul Kagame to discuss the Great Lakes region. [The Great Lakes region has been marred by conflict since Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which up to 937,000 people were killed]

- The US promises support for military operations to fight LRA.

Rwanda's Paul Kagame at White House

Photo: President George W. Bush meets with the President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in the Oval Office Friday, April 15, 2005. (White House photo by Krisanne Johnson)

See Congo Watch post 16 April 2005 - Bush Holds Talks with Rwandan Leader at White House. Excerpt:
They also discussed a host of other regional issues from peacekeeping in southern Sudan and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to helping bring elections to Burundi. On all, the Rwandan leader says Mr. Bush vowed to continue his engagement in African affairs. "We requested the president to use his powers to help Africa in different ways, in socioeconomic development, in assuring there is peace and security not only in our region but also in the whole continent. And the president was very supportive of that," he said.
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Issue of terrorism is reshaping alliances in a surprising way

Snippets from BBC report Sudan eyes gains from terror talks Sep 22 2005:
The US has set up an anti-terror base to monitor East Africa.

Speaking at the conference, Sudan's Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha said that the Darfur conflict was continuing only because of foreign interference.

He was talking about Eritrea, which has not been invited to the counter-terrorism conference.

Mr Taha called on Eritrea to involve itself in dialogue to help to stabilise Darfur. He also made a sustained attack on the international media for focussing attention on Darfur.

Economic sanctions imposed by the US make it difficult to attract investors and develop the economy. The sanctions are seen as a major impediment to normalisation in a country impatient to rejoin the world community.

The discovery of large oil reserves in recent years has made the search for a diplomatic solution even more urgent.

The decision of the CIA to agree to come to Sudan shows the pragmatism of the intelligence community against the continuing political desire of America to punish Sudan for what has happened in Darfur.

The world may not even be able to agree on how to define terrorism, and it was hard to secure agreement on a resolution to condemn terrorism "in all its forms" proposed by the UK at the recent UN summit of world leaders.
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Missionary Blog Watch

Missionary Blog Watch keeps an eye on Christian missionary blogs on the net in order to introduce you to interesting posts, new bloggers and developments on

[via Keith with thanks]


Volkswagen-Stiftung offer of scholarships for a research project about Southern Sudan

Message from Warnews Blogs September 15, 2005:
Dear All,

The Volkswagen-Stiftung is sponsoring a research project at the University of Bremen, Germany on "Governance and Social Action in Sudan after the Peace Agreement of 2005: local, national, and regional dimensions" (Politische Steuerung und soziales Handeln im Sudan).

As part of the research project 10 research scholarships are being offered, which are aimed at applicants from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Attached you find the research proposal and further details about the scholarships.

Further details can be found on

It would be greatly appreciated if you could forward this email to anyone who might be interested in applying for a scholarship.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sudan: Bashir announces national unity government

Sudanese President Omar al Bashir announced on Wednesday the formation of a new government of national unity in accordance with the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the government and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

Xinhua Sep 21 excerpt:
Analysts say that the biggest disappointment for the southern Sudanese is that they have not been given the energy and mining ministry which includes the oil sector.

President Omar al Bashir's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) retained the powerful energy portfolio after weeks of tough negotiations with the former rebel, Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The north also keeps control of the key defense, interior and finance posts.

Of the 29 ministries, 16 remain in the hands of the northern NCP, nine go to the SPLM, the former southern rebels, and smaller groups have the others.

The interim government will remain in place until legislative elections are held in around four years.

A six-year post-war interim rule started in July, after which the south will hold a referendum on self-determination.
In a Sep 21 article entitled "Sudan unity under test" Aljazeera says Sudan has six years to make unity work.

Sudan: Bashir announces national unity government

Photo: Al-Bashir termed the unity government a good omen (Aljazeera)

Further reading:

Sep 20 Sudan Tribune Full list of Sudanese government of national unity by presidential decree. [Note, another list points out the 74-strong line-up includes only five women]

Sep 21 AFP report: Sudan national unity govt faces tough task.

Sep 21 Reuters report: S. Sudanese unhappy with new government.


SLA have withdrawn from south Darfur town, UN says

SLA rebels in Darfur said they captured the town of Sheiria from government forces in a surprise attack on Tuesday.

Darfur clashes during peace talks

Photo: A Sudanese boy hold his malnourished cousin as he waits for medical assistance at a health clinic run by Medicine Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Akuem village in southern Sudan September 11, 2005. (David Mwangi/Reuters)
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Sudan official vows army will retake rebel town

Reuters via ReliefWeb says a Sudanese military official vowed on Wednesday that Sudan's armed forces would recapture the town.

"Right now, the town is still under rebel control," the official told Reuters. "Government forces will respond and expel them from the town," he added without giving details.
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Rebels reported to have withdrawn from south Darfur town, UN says

Associated Press report confirms SLA rebels are reported to have withdrawn from a South Darfur town which the Sudanese army was threatening to recapture, a UN spokesman said Wednesday:
The Sudan Liberation Army overran the town of Sheiria on Monday, violating the ceasefire in the western region of Sudan. The move provoked government protests and UN expressions of concern for the town's 33,000 residents, who depend on international aid.

"We have heard from some sources that the SLA left the town" Tuesday, UN spokesman George Somerwill told The Associated Press by telephone.

Somerwill declined to reveal the sources, but stressed that the African Union mission was responsible for the peace process in Darfur.

African Union spokesman Noureddine Mezni refused to comment on whether the rebels had withdrawn from Sheiria, saying a statement would be issued later.
Darfur clashes - during peace talks

The above mentioned fighting between Sudan's government and the Darfur rebels resumed during preparations for the sixth round of Darfur peace talks, which started in Abuja Nigeria on September 15, 2005. (Graphic/Reuters)


US promises support for military operations to fight LRA

Xinhua reports Sep 21 that US National Security Advisor Steve Hadley has assured Uganda of his country's cooperation in the planned joint operation between Uganda, Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) against remnants of rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

On a group of LRA ebels entering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through southern Sudan, Hadley said US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton will take up the matter of UN Observer Mission in Congo to improve UN presence and performance in the DRC.

LRA rebels have killed tens of thousands of civilians and displaced over 1.4 million people in their 19-year-old rebellion in northern Uganda.

[via Uganda-CAN with thanks]


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Africa's peace seekers: Lazaro Sumbeiywo

This is a breath of fresh air: an article containing the the words "Africa's peace seeker" in its title. Here is an excerpt from an inspiring piece about African peace seeker Lazaro Sumbeiywo by Abraham McLaughlin, staff writer of CS Monitor, September 12, 2005:

"Until a single phone call from the president of Kenya changed the trajectory of his life, Lazaro Sumbeiywo had spent the whole of his illustrious career focused on making war.

When the phone rang in his office in October 2001, this towering son of a village chief was Kenya's top general.

"I have an offer for you," he recalls the president saying, "and I order you not to refuse."

General Sumbeiywo was fiercely loyal to then-President Daniel arap Moi. During a 1982 coup attempt, he'd raced to Mr. Moi's home to protect him. Off and on since 1987, he had sometimes been involved with the Sudan negotiations. But the president's order caught him off guard.

"I want you to find peace in Sudan," Moi said.

The general was dumbstruck. This was Africa's longest civil war - a seemingly intractable 18-year conflict between Muslim Arab northerners and mostly Christian black southerners. Some 2 million people had died. Four million had been forced to flee their homes. And at least five major peacemaking efforts over 13 years had failed. Yet if peace could be found in oil-rich and populous Sudan, it could usher in a new era of trade and prosperity in neighboring Kenya and across northeast Africa.

After stammering something, Sumbeiywo hung up. Then, he phoned back to try to reject the assignment. But Moi wouldn't take the call. So, Sumbeiywo did the only thing he could think of: He started a three-day fast "to get very close to God."

It was not the last time he would seek divine help. Over the next 3-1/2 grueling years of peace talks, he would muster the persistence of the biblical Joseph, the wisdom of an African chief, and the ingenuity of a modern mediator. And eventually the process he led would become what many now see as a gold standard for making peace in Africa.

"General Sumbeiywo should win the Nobel Peace Prize," says former Sen. John Danforth, who was President Bush's special envoy to Sudan from 2001 to 2004. "His ability to stay there in the talks and be an honest broker - and to listen to all the back and forth over such a long period of time - was essential, and was very largely responsible for the result," says Senator Danforth by phone from St. Louis.

As a boy, Sumbeiywo would walk past one of the biggest trees in his rural village and see his father, the chief, sitting under its sprawling branches, surrounded by neighbors. His dad would listen for hours as people aired disagreements over such things as who owned a particular cow. Then he'd dispense his wisdom. Like many African chiefs, he'd stay under the tree until every villager had spoken.

Decades later, standing at the front of a conference room at a Kenyan resort hotel, Sumbeiywo drew upon his father's ways: He let the two sides vent..." Read full story.

Africa's peace seekers: Lazaro Sumbeiywo

Gen. Lazaro Sumbeiywo

1947 Born in Elgeyo Marakwet district of Kenya

1968 Enrolled in Britain's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst

1987 Appointed director of Kenya's military intelligence

1997-98 Served as Kenya's envoy to the Sudan peace process

2000 Appointed Chief of Staff of Kenya's Army

2001 Appointed mediator of Sudan's north-south conflict

2003 Retired from army to devote full time to peace effort

Child soldiers in the Sudan

Photo: Child soldiers with the Sudan People's Liberation Army gather at their barracks for a demobilization ceremony in Malou, southern Sudan. (Sayyid Azim/AP/CS Monitor)
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Click here to see, at a glance, Sudan's long path from war to peace.

South Sudan rebel

Photo: SPLA soldier in 1997 (John Cobb/AP/csmonitor)