Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oyee! 'New Sudan Yes We Can' Barack Obama's roots are Sudanese!

Oh what fun. British journalist Andrew Heavens in Khartoum, Sudan has come up with another great story. He is really on the ball these days, working flat out to bring latest news from Sudan:

November 29, 2008 - KHARTOUM (Reuters) report by Andrew Heavens:
Sudanese politicians claimed Barack Obama as one of their own on Saturday as they belatedly celebrated his election as U.S. president, hailing his family roots in their country.

Much has been made of Obama's father's origins in Kenya. But he acknowledged his distant Sudanese roots in his autobiography 'Dreams From My Father'.

"His father came from the Luo (tribe), who are from the Nile. The Luo originally moved from Sudan to Kenya," said Yasir Arman, a senior member of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, former southern rebels who are now in a coalition government with the north.

Hundreds of SPLM supporters crammed into their headquarters for a belated party marking Obama's victory.

Many held up banners marked 'New Sudan Yes We Can' - a message that merged an SPLM slogan with Obama's rallying cry.

Arman said members were inspired by Obama's election as the United States' first black president.

"It is giving a message to our society that Sudan can do the same, that Sudan can recognize its own diversity," he said.

"We hope he will be able to give more attention to all of Africa, not just Sudan."

The United States has had a troubled relationship with Sudan's Khartoum-based government. It has imposed trade sanctions on Khartoum, included it on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and accused northern troops and militias of committing genocide in the Darfur conflict.

The south has been exempted from most of the sanctions.

The SPLM fought the north for more than 20 years in a conflict that pitted the Islamist Khartoum government against mainly Christian and animist rebels. The war ended with a 2005 peace agreement.

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

New Sudan Yes We Can

Photo: A supporter of the Sudan Peoples LIberation Movement (SPLM) holds up a placard at a party celebrating Barack Obamas election as U.S. president in Khartoum November 29, 2008. SPLM officials say Obamas family originally came from Sudan, not Kenya. (Reuters/NSV)
- - -

US President-Elect Barack Obama

Photo source: Soldier of Africa

Congolese terrorist group leader Nkunda threatens 'war' after taking border town of Ishasha, nr Goma, DR Congo

This is a vent. Why do reporters refer to Laurent Nkunda as "General"? Going by what I have gathered at Sudan Watch's sister site Congo Watch, he is a civilian criminal with a gang of terrifying gunmen and rapists.

In my view, Nkunda and his ilk are terrorists: terrorising, raping, maiming and murdering civilians, especially women and children, at random. They all belong in jail. I liken Nkunda to a deluded cult leader, like the drug addled Ugandan psycho LRA leader Jospeh Kony. Any evil psychopath with delusions of grandeur can get hold of a gun and call himself a General.

Look at the AFP photo here below, of Nkunda dressed all in white. Who does he think he is, the Pope or what? Why aren't the law enforcers sorting out these cretinous lowlifes?

How is Nkunda affording his luxurious array of expensive clothes and munitions? Why is he free to behave like an actor on the world's stage, lording it over the media like a pop star? Why aren't professional reporters telling us what is going on? So far, The Daily Telegraph's Africa correspondent David Blair is the only journalist giving us a clue as to what is really behind Nkunda.

If Nkunda and his ilk are not arrested soon for questioning, and put on trial to air and document their crimes, one might start suspecting that their backers are using power to influence the UN Security Council and, in the case of DR Congo, MONUC.

How else are Nkunda et al remaining free to do press interviews while roaming around with guns, instigating anarchy, rape, looting, pillaging, mass murders and environmental destruction, costing the world a fortune. What about the unimaginable misery and suffering of millions of poor defenceless locals and children. I wonder, who has such a power? I smell some rats.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday's BBC report, copied here below:
"If there is no negotiation, let us say then there is war," Gen Nkunda told reporters. "I know that (the government) has no capacity to fight, so they have only one choice - negotiations," he said.

"We asked for a response as to where, when, and with whom we are going to do these talks. For us, we propose Nairobi and for the mediator we proposed chief Obasanjo," Mr Nkunda said.
What a nerve! I say, the where, when, and with whom they are going to do these talks should be at:


And, while you're at it, take along other terrorist group leaders SLA's Nur, JEM's Ibrahim and LRA's Kony and get them to sing.

Obasanjo & Nkunda

Photo: Nkunda (in white) proposes Mr Obasanjo as the mediator of talks (AFP)

Vent continued. After 4.5 years of blogging hotspots in Africa, I am getting angry at continued reporting of neverending billions of taxpayers dollars being poured into Africa that ends up maintaining the careers of so-called "rebels".

African thugs without gainful employment are getting as media savvy as the Somali pirates. They pretend to be freedom fighters. All of them are only in it for themselves and the money. Their macho adventures attract so much media attention and publicity that they are being turned into celebrity heroes while they pose for photos with gun in hand, acting as role models for youngsters who may grow up believing that being a criminal is easier than doing an honest day's work to put bread on the table.

What has any of this to do with me one might ask. Ever since I was a child, I have given generously to a countless number of charities for Africa, especially Oxfam. Recently, I stopped donating because I no longer believe that the hard saved money I give is of any help. I am angry that a handful of thugs are using tax payer's money, garnered from the pockets of millions of decent hard working people, as a cash cow to milk and laugh at all the way to the bank while milliions of locals and children continue to be either raped, maimed, starved, murdered en masse or traumatised for the rest of their lives.

Genocide has become a rebels game. There's a method to their madness. I've tracked news on Sudan, South Sudan, Northern Uganda, DR Congo, Ethiopia and Niger for over 4 years, almost 24/7, and sense a pattern. The same thread of terror and land grabbing is running throughout those countries and, in my opinion, it all boils down to oil.

I say, arrest and question all rebel leaders, air and document their grievances and victims. Compared to the six billion other people on this planet, money grabbing power hungry lowlife terrorists are nothing but a handful of mosquitoes. Squash, get rid of them. They are infecting and killing the world. They are worse and more costly than AIDS and crazier than Al-Qaida.


Saturday, 29 November 2008 report from the BBC:
Rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda has threatened war unless the government of DR Congo holds a new round of talks.

He was speaking after a meeting with UN envoy Olusegun Obasanjo in the rebel-held eastern town of Jomba.

Troops loyal to Gen Nkunda have been battling government forces in North Kivu province since August, forcing 250,000 people to flee their homes.

Two weeks ago Mr Obasanjo negotiated a ceasefire, but renewed fighting has since broken out.

"If there is no negotiation, let us say then there is war," Gen Nkunda told reporters.

"I know that (the government) has no capacity to fight, so they have only one choice - negotiations," he said.

"We asked for a response as to where, when, and with whom we are going to do these talks. For us, we propose Nairobi and for the mediator we proposed chief Obasanjo," Mr Nkunda said.

Government ministers this week rebuffed the possibility of direct negotiations with the rebel leader, calling for him to return to an earlier peace pact signed in January.

Emerging from his one-hour meeting, Mr Obasanjo avoided questions but said: "We have advanced the course of peace."

Mr Obasanjo - Nigeria's former president - is on his second visit to the region in two weeks.

He has been trying to broker direct talks between Gen Nkunda and Congolese President Joseph Kabila, but so far these have not taken place.

The UN envoy is travelling with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who is representing the African Union.

"I'm going to listen to him," Mr Mkapa said ahead of the meeting with Gen Nkunda.

"I want to know how he thinks we can get the restoration of peace, stability and unity in this country."
Truce violated

A ceasefire declared by Gen Nkunda has halted battles with government troops and brought nearly two weeks of relative calm.

But his men have continued attacking Congolese and Rwandan militia allies of the government, sending thousands of refugees fleeing east into Uganda.

Gen Nkunda says the ceasefire does not apply to operations against foreign militia.

On Thursday, the rebels took the border town of Ishasha, about 120km (75 miles) north of regional capital Goma.

His Tutsi-dominated forces say they are attacking Rwandan Hutu fighters, some of whom are accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.

On Friday, the UN began an operation to relocate people from camps near the front line.

Some 65,000 people displaced by fighting have been living only a few hundred metres from fighting positions in Kibati, near Goma.

The UN is trying to transfer people to safer locations west of Goma.
Virunga, DR Congo


CNDP: Gen Nkunda's Tutsi rebels - 6,000 fighters
FDLR: Rwandan Hutus - 6-7,000
Mai Mai: pro-government militia - 3,500
Monuc: UN peacekeepers - 6,000 in North Kivu, including about 1,000 in Goma (17,000 nationwide)
DRC army - 90,000 (nationwide)
Source: UN, military experts (BBC)

(Cross posted to Congo Watch and Uganda Watch]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Qatari Peace Bid: UN, EU, AU, AL, UK, US & France support the joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur led by Qatar & Sudan People's Forum (SPF)

Qatar have proposed to host peace talks to end the five year war in the western Sudanese region of Darfur

The following compilation of news reports and photos provides an overview of the recently launched joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur.

Inauguration of Sudan's People Forum (SPF)

Photo: Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir (middle right) inaugurates the initiative among high ranking members of the government, opposition party leaders and the head of the only rebel movement to make peace with the government Oct. 16, 2008 (See IRIN report by Aly Heba, Khartoum Oct. 17, 2008)
- - -


At the inauguration, the highly regarded joint African Union (AU)-UN Chief Mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé, told hundreds of Sudanese politicians and dignitaries from Libya, Qatar, Egypt, the AU, the Arab League and the UN: "It is my deep conviction that the end of the crisis and the building of peace must be done by the people of this country themselves,"

Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chairman of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, support and encourage the initiative, he added.

"The Sudanese regime is engaging in a peaceful and political solution. That fact, in itself, is extremely important," he told reporters afterwards.

A separate initiative by the Arab League, led by Qatar, to bring rebels to the negotiating table should act as a complement to this national initiative, he said.

In an exclusive statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, on the eve of his departure from Saudi Arabia following a recent two-day visit, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said: "There will be no return to war".

Reportedly, the president recently told a rally in Eastern Sudan: "Whoever wants to fight us can go ahead and lick his elbow".

On November 02, 2008 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a statement calling on all the Sudanese parties to engage with the Qatar bid to host the Darfur peace talks.

France has sent technical teams to support plans for the talks.

The Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur Djibril Bassole

Photo: Djibril Bassole arrived in El-Fasher the capital of North Darfur August 28, 2008 to take up his new post as the Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur. Mr. Bassole was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General and the African Union Chairperson in June to conduct full-time mediation between Darfur rebels and the government. The top diplomat of Burkina Faso is expected to use his wealth of experience to re-energize the stalled Darfur peace process. (UN Radio)
- - -

October 17, 2008 IRIN report by Aly Heba in Khartoum, Sudan - excerpt:
The United States, Darfuri rebels and Sudanese opposition parties have greeted a new initiative to solve the Darfur crisis with scepticism and boycotts, while Khartoum, the Arab League and the UN say it’s the region’s best hope.
The government says Darfuri leaders, representatives of the displaced, civil society organisations and academics have also been included, but critics say the majority are government-controlled groups.

Still, many national and international stakeholders hope this initiative will offer something new.

According to presidential advisor, Mustafa Osman Ismail, it is the first time a conference on Darfur unites both government and opposition parties.
"It is my deep conviction that the end of the crisis and the building of peace must be done by the people of this country themselves," joint African Union (AU)-UN chief mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé, told hundreds of Sudanese politicians and dignitaries from Libya, Qatar, Egypt, the AU, the Arab League and the UN at the inauguration.

Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chairman of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, support and encourage the initiative, he added.

"The Sudanese regime is engaging in a peaceful and political solution. That fact, in itself, is extremely important," he told reporters afterwards.

A separate initiative by the Arab League, led by Qatar, to bring rebels to the negotiating table should act as a complement to this national initiative, he said.

Rebels have been criticised for refusing to negotiate with the government, but this initiative is considered by some a first step in drafting a blueprint that can be used to bring cynical rebels onside.

"The rebels can only be convinced when they see the seriousness of this forum," said Sudanese Foreign Minister, Deng Alor, of the SPLM, the political wing of the southern movement that was at war with the government for more than two decades before signing a peace deal in 2005.

"Now, they are sceptical, they are suspicious, because there is nothing so far," he told IRIN.

"But if we come up with a very clear position, then I think some of the rebel movements – if not all of them – could be persuaded."

Inauguration of Sudan's People Forum (SPF)

Photo: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (right) and Vice-president Salva Kiir (left) celebrate the inauguration of the Sudanese People's Initiative for resolving the Darfur problem.
- - -

October 30, 2008 report from Sudan Tribune - excerpt:
October 29, 2008 (RIYADH) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir arrived at Saudi Arabia’s capital for talks with King Abdullah.

Sudan news agency (SUNA) said that Al-Bashir led a high level delegation on a two day visit.

The Sudanese ambassador to Riyadh Abdel-Hafiz Mohamed told the daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that Al-Bashir briefed his Saudi counterpart on efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis in light of the ‘People of Sudan’ initiative.

Mohamed further said that Al-Bashir reiterated that the initiative will join the Qatari one to speed up a political settlement.
Sudanese President Al-Bashir & Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Photo: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (R) welcomes Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at the Royal Palace in Riyadh Oct. 29, 2008 (Reuters/ST)
- - -

November 02, 2008 Xinhua report from Cairo, Egypt - excerpt:
Khartoum has recently launched a people's initiative to find a peaceful solution to the Darfur problem, visiting Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor Kuol said here on Saturday.

Following talks with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit, Kuol said the initiative aims at reaching a common ground between the government and the opposition regarding the settlement of the Darfur crisis, said Egypt's MENA news agency.

The initiative, launched by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in mid October, will be offered to the Arab League and the African Union, Kuol was quoted as saying.

Sudan will also try to turn the initiative into an UN initiative to help resolve the Darfur crisis, added the Sudanese top diplomat.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor Kuol

Photo: Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor Kuol talks following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, not pictured at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Nov. 02, 2008. The Egyptian Presidency logo is at background. (AP/Amr Nabil/Yahoo)
- - -

November 1, 2008 (LONDON) via Sudan Tribune - excerpt:
The Qatari state minister for foreign affairs is expected to travel to the Chadian capital during the next week where he would hold talks with the President Idris Deby and the chairman of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

The Qatari visit comes after criticism by the Chadian head of state of the sideling of his country in the ongoing efforts to end Darfur crisis. Also, the rebel group warned that their participation in the talks depends also of their implication in the preparations.

Qatari minister will discuss with JEM chief also the role of the joint mediator, and his implication in the ongoing preliminary arrangements.

Qatari state minister for foreign affairs

Photo: Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who is in charge with the preparation of an initiative to mediate between the government and rebel groups met last week with the joint Chief mediator for Darfur, Dijbril Bassolé. The implication of Bassolé who is the representative of the international community is seen by the rebels as crucial to guarantee any eventual peace deal with Khartoum.
- - -

November 03, 2008 AP report via Jerusalem Post, Israel - excerpt:
The prime ministers of Britain and Qatar urged all factions in Sudan on Sunday to work with Qatar as it plans a reconciliation conference to end the conflict in Darfur.

Qatar, which is building off its success in mediating Lebanon's political deadlock earlier this year, said last month it would host a meeting to try to find an end to the conflict in Darfur.

Negotiations are under way to set a date for the conference. But Qatar's minister of state for foreign affairs, Ahmed bin Abdallah al-Mahmoud, has cautioned that the gathering would need good preparation to succeed.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Qatari counterpart, Sheik Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani, issued a statement Sunday November 2, 2008 calling on all parties in Sudan to engage with the tiny Persian Gulf country.
UK PM & Qatar PM in London

Photo: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar, to 10 Downing Street Oct. 22, 2008. (10 Downing Street website)

UK PM meets Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai, UAE

Photo: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets Emirati vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (R) at the Zabeel Palace in Dubai on Oct. 04, 2008 during his two day visit to the United Arab Emirates. The British premier was on a tour of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates trying to persuade the energy rich region to top up the International Monetary Fund's 250 billion dollar emergency bailout pot. (PA/Downing Street Flickr/text from AFP/Getty Images/
- - -

November 03, 2009 Sudan Tribune report - excerpt:
The Arab League asked Qatar in July to spearhead a joint Arab and African efforts to end the crisis. Consultations are under way to set a date for the conference.

[Lord] Malloch-Brown, the [UK's] Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, told the press in Doha “The UK is committed to securing a lasting peace settlement in Darfur. We welcome all constructive initiatives towards that, under the overall leadership of the United Nations/African Union joint chief mediator Gibril Bassole whose work we strongly support.”

The minister further said “We hope the initiative proposed by Qatar for a peace conference can make a positive contribution to these efforts with the participation of all relevant actors."

France which has close ties with the tiny Gulf state also backed the Qatari efforts and sent technical teams to support plans for the peace talks on Darfur conflict.
Lord Mark Malloch-Brown

Photo: British Foreign Office Minister, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown (UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office)

UK PM in Doha, Qatar

Photo: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives in Doha, Qatar, accompanied by the UK's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Milliband and the UK's Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, Nov. 02, 2008. (PA/Downing Street)  

UK PM meets Qatar PM in Doha, Qatar

Photo: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets his Qatari counterpart, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, in Doha Nov. 02, 2008. (PA/Downing Street)

UK PM at Qatar gas complex

Photo: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks to British engineers at a Shell liquid gas plant in Qatar, Nov. 03, 2008. (PA/Downing Street)
- - -

November 03, 2008 Nation report from Cairo, Egypt - excerpt:
On 3 November 2008 Sudan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Alor Kuol held talks in Cairo, Egypt with Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Musa (pictured below) on the progress of the implementation of South Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Darfur issue.

Following the meeting, the Minister said in a joint press conference with Arab League Secretary-General, Amru Musa that he had briefed Mr Musa on the efforts being exerted by Sudan, especially concerning the peace process and Darfur issue, besides the issues pertinent to development in southern Sudan and the role of the Arab League in encouraging the Arab investments and boosting confidence between the North and the South.

On the Arab initiative, which is led by Qatar, the Minister affirmed that the Sudanese government has made serious steps in this respect, pointing to the convening of the The Sudan People's Forum (SPF) which he said aimed at reaching a common ground between all the Sudanese people, and presenting its outcomes to the Arab League and the African Union to help them in the coming talks between the government and Darfur movements.

Arab League Secretary-General, Amru Musa

Photo: Arab League Secretary-General, Amr Musa. Arab League declared its intention to conduct consultations in Qatar to fix a date for the next Arab/African Ministerial Committee on Darfur issue besides discussing the next step prior Qatar talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels. (Sudan Vision Daily). Interview: Arab League Chief, Amr Musa Talks to Asharq Al-Awsat October 20, 2008.
- - -

November 05, 2008 UN Security Council Statement (via ReliefWeb) - excerpt:
On November 3, 2008, in a briefing to the 15-member UN Security Council, Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operation said that the official launch of the Sudan People's Initiative for a political settlement for Darfur had been a significant development that, if inclusive, could go a long way in addressing the concerns of Darfurians.

The Initiative, now renamed the Sudan People's Forum (SPF), had formed seven committees dealing with such issues as development and reconstruction, security, internally displaced persons, refugees and voluntary returns.

SPF had received the final reports of all seven committees and its Presidential Board would prepare final recommendations by the second week of November.
Edmond Mulet, UN'S Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping

Photo: Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operation (Wikipedia)
- - -

November 04, 2008 interview by Turki Al-Saheil (Asharq Al-Awsat, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) - in full:
Bashir has ruled out the option of returning to war saying that the initiatives and conventions regarding the peace process in Darfur are “proceeding well.”

In an exclusive statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, on the evening of his departure from Saudi Arabia following a two-day visit, al Bashir played down reports of processes of armament in Southern Sudan in preparation for a possible war.

Al Bashir said, “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (also known as the Naivasha Agreement), which ended the South Sudan conflict, and the Darfur Peace Agreement (signed in Abujah, Nigeria) invited the ‘people of Sudan’ to solve the problems in Darfur. On the domestic level, it is proceeding well and we do not fear the return of war as that is now in the past.”

Concerning the peace initiative in Darfur, which has faced a number of obstacles, the Sudanese president said, “The first stages are always difficult,” but added, “Thanks to God and to the awareness of our leaders and our people at a grassroots level, they have agreed that there will be no return to war, and the only path is one of dialogue and the culture of peace.

President Omar al Bashir affirmed that his country is committed to holding the elections and the announcing the results as scheduled.

In response to a question about the possibility of his deputy Salva Kiir Myardit, now backed by the opposition party, winning the forthcoming elections, he said, “We are committed to holding the elections as scheduled, and this is essential, just as are we committed to the results regardless of their nature, and this is a conviction that is a political and moral commitment. We welcome all free, fair and transparent competition.

With regards to the development of the Darfur region, al Bashir criticized a group of donors saying it failed to fulfil its obligations satisfactorily. “[With regards to] what the donors promised [in order] to support the peace process in our country; the donors did not fulfil their promises even before the global financial crisis hit,” said al Bashir. He added that his country would have to rely on its own potential; “Therefore we rely on God, and on our own potential, as well as the support of our neighbouring countries and allies, whether they are Arab, Islamic, or African.” It is unlikely, therefore, that international donors would fulfil this obligation with regards to the development of the region following the recent economic crisis.

In this regard, al Bashir also emphasized the need for initiative when the Islamic Conference is held in Saudi Arabia in February 2009 in the hope that it will play, “an effective role in the reconstruction of Darfur, the provision of services and the establishment of a foundation for development, God willing.” The Organization of the Islamic Conference revealed recently its intention to hold a conference in Saudi Arabia regarding the development and reconstruction of Darfur.

Sudanese President Omar al Bashir held an in-depth meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz recently. He returned to Sudan from Medina, Saudi Arabia, following a two-day visit during which he performed the Umrah pilgrimage and visited the Prophet’s Mosque. Al Bashir stated that the topic of bilateral relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia was the most important issue that was discussed with King Abdullah.
Sudan's President Al-Bashir:  "No return to war"

Photo: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses participants at the launch of a national initiative to bring peace to Darfur, in Khartoum Oct. 16, 2008. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) Source:
- - -

November 06, 2008 Sudan Tribune report "Forum of People of Sudan to conclude session next Wednesday" - excerpt:
November 5, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – A government-led “people’s initiative” for peace in Darfur, which last month hosted foreign dignitaries and some of Sudan’s political parties but no rebel movements, will conclude next Wednesday and issue its recommendations. The closing session will be addressed by President Omar Al-Bashir.

The official news agency SUNA reported that the head of the forum, Al-Tayeb Haj Attia, has completed his work concerning all the committees.

Minister of Industry and Chairman of the Information Committee of the Forum Jalal Yusof Al-Degair told the news agency that the presidency committee of the forum will meet on Sunday to review the recommendations and proposals and make recommendations on them to the forum, which is to convene next Monday in order to prepare final recommendations.
- - -

November 07, 2008 Sudan Tribune report from Khartoum, Sudan Nov. 6, 2008: "US, France & UK “underneath my shoes” says Sudan president" - excerpt:
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir lashed out at Western countries and accused them of trying to topple his regime during the last 20 years.

“We will not be broken and we will not kneel or be driven because they will not prolong our life or reduce our term in office” Al-Bashir told a rally in Eastern Sudan.

“Money and ruling is not in the hands of US, France & UK. They are all underneath my shoes” he said angrily.

“Do not worry too much about what Ocampo says. He is too weak to do anything because his decisions are made by his masters in US, France & UK” Al-Bashir said.

“Whoever wants to fight us can go ahead and lick his elbow” Al-Bashir said.
- - -

November 09, 2008 Gulf Times report from Paris, France - full copy:
France has reiterated its support for the Qatari initiative aimed at achieving peace in Darfur and at alleviating the suffering of civilians in the region.

A statement issued by the French Foreign Ministry called on all the parties concerned to involve themselves actively in the Qatari initiative in order to reach a negotiated peaceful solution.

The statement said HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud during his visit to Paris last Tuesday met the French Minister of State of Co-operation and Francophone Alain Joyandet, French Presidential Adviser for African Affairs Bruno Joubert and officials at the office of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

“France reiterates its support for the Qatari facilitation initiative which aims at settling peace in Darfur and alleviating the suffering of the civilians,” the statement said.

It added that France calls on all the parties concerned to work hard with Qatar to help achieve a negotiated peaceful solution, adding that “France and Qatar renew their full support for the United Nations and the African Union's mediator Djibril Bassole.” – QNA 
- - -

November 10, 2008 VOA report by Joe DeCapua in Washington - excerpt:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met for several hours today in Khartoum with Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir. The two men discussed the crisis in Darfur, over which the International Criminal Court (ICC) could issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Al-Bashir for war crimes.

President Mubarak is quoted as saying, "The best way to find a solution to this problem is the Arab and African initiative."
- - -

November 12, 2008 Sudan Tribune report (via Sudan Views):
US special envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson

A senior US official today welcomed the Qatari imitative to mediate between the warring parties in Darfur but stressed that it must be carried in conjunction with African Union(AU) -UN chief mediator.

The US special envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson made the remarks during his phone conversation with the Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmood.

The Qatari news agency said that Williamson “expressed appreciation” to efforts led by Doha “in coordination with the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole”.

Washington has previously shown lack of enthusiasm to the Qatari initiative and a Sudanese one fearing that duplication of efforts on Darfur could lead to scatter it in different directions.

The top US diplomat for African affairs Jendayi Frazer is believed to have conveyed this message during her meetings with Sudanese officials in Khartoum earlier this month.

The Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa is scheduled to arrive in Qatar next Friday to set a date for the Arab-African joint committee on Darfur peace efforts.
- - -

November 18, 2008 Sudan Tribune report:
(ADDIS ABABA) - The AU-UN joint chief mediator briefed the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC-AU), at its 157th meeting held in Addis Ababa last Friday, on his efforts to bring peace in Darfur, the AU said.

In a statement on Monday, the AU said that Djiibril Bassolé informed the PSC-AU on consultations underway with the various stakeholders as well as by the representatives of the government of Sudan.

The Council expressed its support to the AU-UN joint chief mediator and urged all Sudanese parties to fully cooperate with him in order to facilitate the early resumption of the political dialogue and the conclusion of a comprehensive peace agreement that builds on the Darfur Peace Agreement signed in Abuja on May 5, 2006.

The Council expressed its support to the African-Arab Initiative led by the State of Qatar, whose objective is to facilitate the resolution of the Darfur crisis and to support the efforts of the AU-UN mediation.

The AU said the Council also welcomed the outcome of the recently concluded Sudan People’s Forum, which it said constitutes a positive step toward political dialogue and reconciliation.

The U.N. and the A.U. chiefs appointed officially Bassolé as joint mediator for Darfur on June 30, 2008. The joint mediator is based in El Fasher. He conducts his mission on a full-time basis.
- - -

November 18, 2008 Reuters report by British journalist Andrew Heavens in Khartoum, Sudan:
A powerful rebel group on Monday said it was ready to discuss Qatar-sponsored peace plans for the Darfur conflict, signalling a possible softening of its stance towards the initiative.

Senior commanders from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) earlier this month said they would not attend a proposed peace conference in Doha and demanded instead one-to-one talks with Sudan's government.

But a spokesman for the insurgents on Monday said the group would send a delegation to Doha for "consultation" with the Qatari leadership.

"This doesn't mean in any way that JEM has accepted the Qatari initiative," the group's London-based spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told Reuters by text message.

"This is just to explain to them our vision on the peaceful solution and to hear more from them on the issue."


International experts say 200,000 people have died and more than 2.5 million have been driven from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003, accusing it of neglect.

To quell the revolt, Khartoum mobilised mostly Arab militias who have been accused of carrying out mass killings, rape and plunder in the remote western region.

The Arab League asked Qatar to sponsor new peace talks weeks after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) made moves to indict Sudan's president for orchestrating war crimes in Darfur in July.

A high-level Qatari delegation met JEM's leader Khalil Ibrahim on the Sudan-Chad border earlier this month to try to persuade him to attend. Adam said the movement was considering its formal response to the Qatari appeal.

Khartoum last week launched its own peace push to tie in with the proposed Qatar negotiations, promising a ceasefire, compensation for displaced Darfuris and development projects.

Analysts have said both the Qatari initiative and the Khartoum proposals are diplomatic bids to persuade members of the U.N.'s Security Council to use its powers to postpone the ICC's moves.

Rebels accused Sudanese troops of breaking the ceasefire days after it was announced, by attacking their positions on Friday and Saturday.

Sudan's armed forces dismissed the accusations, saying government soldiers had clashed with armed bandits in north Darfur once on Friday, in a confrontation that did not amount to a breach of the ceasefire.
- - -

SUDAN PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN QATAR FOR UN SUMMIT November 28, 2008 Sudan Tribune report - excerpt:
(DOHA) The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir arrived today at the Arab Gulf state of Qatar where a UN summit on development is set to begin tomorrow.

A delegation led by Al-Bashir left Khartoum on Friday with the Comorian president with on board his plane heading to Doha.

Qatar state media said that Al-Bashir met with the ruler of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani upon his arrival.

Simultaneously the Qatari daily Al-Sharq reported that a delegation of Darfur Justice Equality Movement (JEM) will arrive on Sunday. However Sudanese officials no meeting is scheduled with the rebels.

Qatar is leading a mediation effort on the Darfur crisis.

Sudan president arrives in Qatar for UN summit

Photo: Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (Center) and Comoros President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi (Left) arrive in Doha (QNA)
- - -

November 29, 2008 QNA/Peninsula Qatar report - excerpt:
(DOHA) President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso praised Qatar’s efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis and reiterated the EU support to the initiative for solving the crisis.

“We support all initiatives that aim to resolve humanitarian crises expressing the hope that this initiative would solve the problem,” Barroso said in a press conference held at the Sheraton Hotel on the sidelines of the UN International Conference on Financing for Development.

Barroso said he had met with the Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir, leaders of the Darfur movements, the commander of the African forces and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon to discuss the grave situation in Darfur.
President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso

Photo: President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso
- - -

November 29, 2008 Sudan Vision Daily report:
The Sudanese-French summit will review Sudan efforts in respect of Darfur issue resolution as well as to obstacles confronting peace realizing on the ground, particularly the armed movements reluctance to come to the negotiating table.

Informed sources reported to Sudan Vision that Bashir  may urge Sarkozy to make pressure on SLM leader, Abdulwahid Nour, who is now residing in France, into accepting peace negotiation with Khartoum. Moreover, the source added that the President will call on the French leader to assume a more positive role in favor of the peace process in Sudan rather than relaying negative signals encouraging rebels to stand aloof.

French Elyse spokesperson released that Sarkozy will urge the Sudanese government to exert more effort that could support the French attempt to suspend the ICC claim against President Al Bashir.

The spokesperson added that France wishes to revive Sudan peace process with assistance of Qatar and other Arab States.

In another development, informed sources stated that Al Bashir and the Chadian President, Debby, would held a bilateral summit on the sidelines of Doha conference for discussing advancement of Khartoum-N'djamena relationships following diplomats swapping.

Bashir & Sarkozy

Photo: In the attendance of the Prince of Qatar, HH Prince Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, President Al-Bashir and the French President, Sarkozy, will discuss issues related to Darfur in Qatari capital, Doha. (Khartoum- Al Sammani Awadallah)
- - -

Postscript from Sudan Watch

Lick his elbow eh? The Sudanese certainly have an interesting way with words. I have just tried to lick my elbow and found it impossible to do. Try licking your elbow to see what I mean. Heh. Peace and love from Ingrid, author of Sudan Watch.

God bless all the peacemakers and children of Sudan.
+ + + Rest In Peace all those who have perished in Sudan + + +

Rwandan peacekeeping in Darfur, W. Sudan was boosted with equipment worth US$20 million

The following report tells us that the USA funds the Rwandan peacekeeping in Darfur to the tune of about US$7 million. And in early September 2008, the Rwanda military peace mission was boosted with equipment worth US$20 million.

November 29, 2008 report from APA-Kigali (Rwanda):
Rwanda-Darfur Redeployments: Rwanda commits more than 150 peacekeepers to Darfur

More than 150 troops from the 19th Battalion of the Rwandan Army left Kigali Friday morning for Sudan’s war-ravaged region of Darfur as part of the general rotational exercise of its 3,200 strong peace contingent, that have been maintaining peace in that region for a year now.

The departure of the 19th Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rugigana Ngabo is part of the redeployment exercise that started at the end of October and is slated to be completed by December 18, according to the Rwandan military spokesman Major Jill Rutaremara, in an interview with APA at Kigali International airport.

The departure of the troops followed the arrival in Kigali of about 150 more troops that operated under the auspices of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on Sunday.

According to Rutaremara, the new contingent of peacekeepers is replacing those whose mandated peacekeeping time of twelve months has expired. “There is nothing unusual expected of them but to continue from where their colleagues have stopped, provide peace and security for another twelve months to the Darfur people as they are mandated,” Maj. Rutaremara said.

According to the Rwandan military, with the new UN peacekeeping mission guidelines, each battalion is supposed to have about 800 soldiers, contrary to the normal battalion capacity of 680. The troops equipped with all infantry weapons for protection ranging from individual rifles to infantry support weapons, will be stationed in the west sector of Darfur region.

The four battalions for Darfur redeployment have been undergoing intensive training at Gako Military Academy supervised by US military experts in various peacekeeping skills and weapon handling. Two battalions have already left in the rotational exercise for the Darfur mission.

The US funds the Rwandan peacekeeping in Darfur at a tune of about US$7 million. Early September, the Rwanda military peace mission was boosted with equipment worth US$20 million. - SN/daj/APA

Friday, November 28, 2008

First joint meeting of UNAMID-GOS Darfur Security Integrated Task Force (DSITF) held in Khartoum 26 Nov

The first joint meeting of UNAMID-GOS Darfur Security Integrated Task Force (DSITF) was held in Khartoum, Sudan on 26 November 2008.

Rodolphe Adada led the African Union-United Nations (UNAMID) side while General Salah Abdullah Gosh, the Director-General of National Security and Intelligence, led the Government of Sudan (GOS) side. Full story:

November 27, 2008 UNAMID Press release, El Fasher, Darfur, Sudan:
The African Union-United Nations Hybrid  Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and Government  of Sudan (GoS) Darfur Security Integrated  Task Force (DSITF) held in Khartoum yesterday its first meeting to discuss  issues of common concern related to security in Darfur.

The AU-UN Joint Special Representative, Rodolphe Adada led the UNAMID side while General Salah Abdullah, the Director-General of National Security and Intelligence, led the GoS side.

The DSITF was established by UNAMID and GoS last September, in the aftermath of incidents that took place in the Kalma IDP camp on 25 August 2008.

The two main issues that were discussed at the meeting were the establishment of a mechanism to monitor adherence to the Sudanese Presidential Announcement on 12 November 2008 of a unilateral and immediate ceasefire, and the situation in Kalma camp.

On the first issue, JSR Adada affirmed UNAMID’s readiness to monitor ceasefire on the ground, underlining the importance of bringing on board all the parties concerned to ensure the effectiveness of the mechanism.  He also expressed hope for the success of the on-going efforts by the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator (JCM), Dijibril Bassole, in collaboration with the International Community. Mr. Adada added that the efforts of the JCM would create the climate conducive to the revival of the political process which is the only means for achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace in Darfur.

Head of the GoS delegation, General Salah Abdullah reiterated his government’s commitment to the cessation of hostilities announced by the President and expressed keenness to see all parties committed to that.

UNAMD and GoS have agreed to conduct preliminary technical dialogue on the establishment of a ceasefire mechanism which will be broadly discussed once agreement on a ceasefire is reached by all concerned parties.

On the Kalma issue, UNAMID emphasized the need for mutual consultations concerning the security in the camp before any action is taken. Both sides have agreed to continue working together to avoid compromising the IDP status of the camp.
Source: UNAMID Communication and public information division (via APO)

UNAMID says SLA-Minnawi accused Sudan of recent attacks on Um Martei in N. Darfur and Abu Dangal in S. Darfur

UNAMID says former Darfur rebel group SLA-Minnawi accused the Government of Sudan (GOS) of attacking Um Martei, an area under SLA-Minnawi control in North Darfur on 23 November 2008.

The attack happened a day after SLA-Minnawi accused GOS of attacking the village of Abu Dangal in South Darfur last week, stealing 52 camels, abducting two children and dropping four bombs.

GOS has said its only military operations in Darfur are in self-defense or against bandits, not rebels.

Here is the full story by Heba Aly in Khartoum, Sudan.

November 26, 2008 (Bloomberg) - A faction of the Sudan Liberation Army led by Mini Arkou accused Sudan of attacking an area in Darfur under its control for the second time in less than a week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the area said.

The faction, the only major rebel group to have made peace with the Sudanese government, told peacekeepers three people were killed and several others injured when government forces attacked Um Martei village, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Dar el Salam in northern Darfur on Nov. 23, the UN mission, known as Unamid, said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement.   The attack comes a day after the same group accused the army and government-allied militia of attacking the Abu Dangal area in South Darfur last week, stealing 52 camels, abducting two children and dropping four bombs.

Minawi was the only major rebel leader to sign the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement, which put in place a cease-fire between the two sides and gave Minawi a post as presidential adviser in the government.   No one answered the phone when Bloomberg News called the Interior Ministry today seeking comment. The government has said its only military operations in Darfur are in self-defense or against bandits, not rebels.

On Nov. 12, Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir announced an “immediate” and “unconditional” cease fire in Darfur and a campaign to disarm militias as part of a series of measures aimed at solving the six-year Darfur crisis in which some 300,000 people have been killed and 3 million others have fled their homes.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heba Aly in Khartoum via Johannesburg at
Last Updated: November 26, 2008 03:00 EST
- - -

Reinforcement of UNAMID Force at Kalma Camp

October 05, 2008 - UNAMID report:
A UNAMID Military Force from Nyala, Sector South, was dispatched to Kalma camp to reinforce the UNAMID Police at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, as a result of recent alleged threats of attack on the camp by the Government of Sudan (GoS) Forces. The team provided overnight protection at the camp and also provided security at the site of the helicopter crash of 29 September 2008.

The team is composed of 1 platoon with one Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) present around the clock on a rotational basis of 12 hours for each Platoon. The team also reinforced the patrol from the Community Policing Centre (CPC).

U.N.: Aid to Darfur refugees not limitless - UNAMID police are now patrolling Kalma camp on a round the clock basis

November 28, 2008 (AP) report from Kalma Camp, Sudan:
The United Nations'' humanitarian chief says a solution must be reached quickly for Darfur''s refugees, warning that international aid for their camps is not unlimited.

John Holmes has made the comments during a tour Tuesday of Kalma camp, home to around 100,000 of the 2.5 million people displaced by fighting in Darfur since 2003.

Earlier this month, he launched an appeal for 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in donations to fund U.N. aid to Darfur.

Holmes says refugees and displaced people are "reasonably well settled in these camps" but questions "how long we can go on like this."

He says solutions must be found quickly "so we don''t have to go on doing this indefinitely." He warns that the "generosity" of international donors "has its limits."
- - -

U.N. Humanitarian Chief John Holmes in Kalma Camp, Darfur

Photo: U.N. Humanitarian Chief John Holmes, 2nd left, listens to an aid worker, far left, in Kalma refugee camp in southern Darfur, Sudan Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. Holmes warned Tuesday that international aid for millions of Darfur residents cannot go on indefinitely and said the Sudanese government and rebels must negotiate a solution that would allow the displaced to return home. (AP Photo/Sarah El Deeb)
- - -

November 25, 2008 (AFP) report from Kalma Camp, Sudan:
The top U.N. humanitarian official Tuesday asked how long the world could fund relief efforts in Sudan's Darfur, where aid workers are attacked almost daily after nearly six years of war.

John Holmes, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, made the remarks on his third visit to Darfur while visiting Kalma Camp, which houses around 100,000 of the 2.7 million people displaced by the fighting in western Sudan.

The consequences of an uprising by ethnic rebels against the Sudanese government in February 2003 and the ensuing repression from the standing army and Arab militias sparked the world's biggest humanitarian relief effort.

"I think in some ways it has continued to deteriorate in the sense that there's still displacement going on, there's still violence. I think it's not, in many cases, an emergency," Holmes told reporters.

"People are reasonably well settled in these camps. Unfortunately that's a problem in itself but people are not dying of starvation.

"The problem is that people have been in camps four or five years now, how do you tackle that long can we go on like this?" asked the U.N. supremo on humanitarian aid.

On Thursday, the U.N. launched a formal appeal for $1.56 billion from donors to bankroll aid work in Sudan that is expected to cost a total of $2.2 billion in 2009.

"This is a billion-dollar operation to help two-thirds of the population of Darfur. We need to find some solutions quickly so that we don't have to go on doing this indefinitely," said Holmes.

Asked how long he felt the international community could continue to fund the operation, Holmes said: "You can't put a timescale on it. It depends on the generosity of the donors, which has been there so far. But that generosity has its limits."
Source: Morning Star/Dow Jones
- - -

November 26, 2008 (Bloomberg) report by Heba Aly in Khartoum, Sudan:
A camp for Sudanese people displaced by fighting in the western Darfur region needs more protection, the United Nations’ humanitarian chief said.

At least 33 civilians died and 108 were wounded at the Kalma camp in August when government security forces opened fire on its occupants. Sudan’s government claimed police were responding to fire from inside the camp, which houses more than 80,000 people. The UN-led peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as Unamid, has since increased its presence in the area.

“Unamid police are now patrolling the camp on a round the clock basis, which has helped people to feel safer,” John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in a statement e-mailed after he visited the camp. “But we still need to do more, not least to ensure women can feel safe as they move in and out of the camp.”

Holmes is on a six-day tour of Sudan that began yesterday in Darfur. At least 300,000 people are estimated to have died and about 3 million forced to flee their homes in the region since 2003, when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government complaining of marginalization.

Unamid has long complained that it is short of the troops and equipment -- especially military helicopters -- required to carry out its duties. Almost a year after it began deploying, less than half the mandated 26,000 soldiers, police and staff are on the ground.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heba Aly in Khartoum via Johannesburg at

Photo: Hamudi Abdullah Mohammed witnessed the death of his parents during an early morning militia attack on his village in Darfur. This photo was taken at the Kalma camp for displaced people, near Nyala, capital of South Darfur. (UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We do not know who killed Garang – Pagan

Al-Intibaha reports [South Sudan's] SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum’s statements in Cairo on the [John] Garang death have caused confusion among SPLM leaders because of the mystery that surrounded the death. “We do not know who killed Garang. We are still looking for the truth,” he said. Amum has questioned the findings of the committee set up to investigate the death. “The report presents questions rather than answers,” he added.

Source: UNMIS Media Monitoring 20 November 2008.

Chadian army ordered JEM forces to move within Sudanese territories - They moved to Tarborra Mountains, JEM’s only stronghold

Chadian president orders confiscation of JEM vehicles

Al-Wifaq reports sources said Chadian President Idriss Deby ordered confiscation of 16 JEM vehicles and sophisticated weapons.

Angered by the measure, JEM leader Khalil left N’djamena for a village near Abeche.

According to the sources, the Chadian army ordered JEM forces to move within Sudanese territories.

They moved to Tarborra Mountains, JEM’s only stronghold.

Source: UNMIS Media Monitoring 20 November 2008.

Sudan Map May 2007

Map: Sudan, UNMIS Briefing Map. Click here for larger view.

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir signs decree appointing the National Electoral Commission - Lack of funding impedes Abyei Area Administration’s work

Lack of funding impedes Abyei Area Administration’s work

Al-Khartoum reports SPLM Secretary in Abyei Chol Changat said new Abyei Area Administration is facing difficulties in the form of lack of funding and infrastructure.

He said Abyei Roadmap Agreement continues to be just ink on paper due to lack of funds to meet reconstruction, development and voluntary returns needs.

He said the new Administration is occupying a UN Agency premises because of not being provided with a building.

He said JIU deployment had not been completed in the eastern and central migration routes due to lack of funding and delay of meeting with Abyei Area Chief Administrator.

Source: UNMIS Media Monitoring 20 November 2008.
- - -

Ban hails Sudan’s election body as major progress in north-south peace accord

Ban Ki-Moon & Omar Al-Bashir

Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir of Sudan in 30 January 2008 (UN)

November 26, 2008 (UN) report - Ban hails Sudan’s election body as major progress in north-south peace accord:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the decree signed yesterday by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir appointing the National Electoral Commission, calling it a major step towards implementing the accords that ended a two-decade-long civil war in the south of Africa’s largest country.

Organizing free and fair elections next year is a key element of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement concluding the north-south civil war, which killed at least 2 million people and displaced 4.5 million others.

The UN stands ready to support the electoral process. Mr. Ban’s spokesperson Michele Montas told a news briefing in New York today.

On Sudan’s second war front, in the western region of Darfur, Mr. Ban voiced disappointment that military activity by the Government continues, particularly in light of its announcement of an immediate ceasefire on 12 November. “The Secretary-General reiterates his call for all parties to use restraint and renew their commitment to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) investigated reports of aerial attacks by the Government from 21 to 22 November in South Darfur and confirmed visible effects of air strikes, including four craters created by bombing and the presence of unexploded ordnance on the ground.

Meanwhile in Darfur, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes today visited Hamadiya camp, home for up to 40,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) uprooted by the five-year war there between Government forces and rebels. Overall, the conflict has killed an estimated 300,000 people and driven another 2.7 million from their homes.

Mr. Holmes, on the second day of a visit to the strife-torn region, also visited the town Zalingei in West Darfur, meeting with Government and civic leaders and calling attention to the devastating effect that the conflict is having on the environment.

In Taiba, the only Arab IDP camp in Darfur, he met with families and the elderly who told him about the daily challenges they face, including the need for food and secondary school education for their children.

Yesterday he visited the Kalma camp in Nyala, one of the largest sites for IDPs in South Darfur, where he saw first-hand the work of aid organizations, met with schoolchildren and saw a women’s handicraft project.

Tomorrow Mr. Holmes – who is also the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator – is set to leave Darfur for a two-day visit to southern Sudan.

UNAMID investigated GOS air strikes Nov 21-22 Abu Dangal - SLA attacked army base El-Hilif, N.Darfur - SLA-Unity attacked aid convoy S.Darfur Nov 13?

Sudan government breaks Darfur ceasefire: UN's Ban
November 27, 2008 (Reuters) report via All Africa:
UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday he was disappointed that Sudan's government was still conducting military activity in Darfur in violation of a cease-fire and urged restraint from all sides.

Ban's office said in a statement Darfur's joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force had investigated reports of air strikes by the Sudanese government from November 21 to November 22 in Abu Dangal in South Darfur.

"(They) confirmed visible effects of air strikes, including four craters created by bombing and the presence of unexploded ordnance on the ground," the statement said.

"The Secretary-General reiterates his call for all parties to use restraint and renew their commitment to an immediate and unconditional cease-fire," the statement said.

"The Secretary-General further expresses his disappointment that military activity by the government continues in Darfur, particularly in light of the 12 November announcement of an immediate cease-fire by the government."

UNAMID peacekeepers said on Sunday a delegation from an arm of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) had reported that government forces and state-backed militias attacked its post in Abu Dangal on Friday, and bombed the area the next day.

The five-year-old Darfur conflict, international experts say, has killed 200,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes. Khartoum says only 10,000 have died.

The latest reported violence came just over a week after Sudan's president announced an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire in the western region.

Sudan is stepping up diplomatic efforts to block a move by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to indict President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of orchestrating war crimes in Darfur.
- - -

Sudan, Darfur rebels fight deadly clashes
November 20, 2008 (AFP) report via UNMIS Media Monitoring:

Sudanese troops and regional rebels fought deadly clashes in northern Darfur on Thursday, accusing each other of mounting bloody attacks to torpedo a unilateral government ceasefire.

The violence came as the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sought arrest warrants for three unnamed rebel commanders and eight days after President Omar al-Beshir declared a ceasefire in the war-torn western region.

The army and a witness said fighting erupted when rebels from the nebulous Sudan Liberation Army attacked an army base at El-Hilif in North Darfur state.

Journalist Kurt Pelda, Africa correspondent for Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung who is travelling with Darfur rebels, said the rebels tried but failed to capture a relatively new, well fortified military camp.

"Soon after, two Antonovs came and also helicopters. What I could see is that the Antonovs dropped the bombs just randomly. Later I heard the sound of the rockets that they used (from helicopters)," he told AFP by telephone.

Suleiman Marajan, an SLA commander in the area, said five rebels were killed in fighting with the government forces and charged that government bombing burnt one village "completely." "He (Beshir) broke his ceasefire himself," he said.

Pelda said he saw one dead rebel and several wounded after the rebel attack, which he said came two days after an Antonov struck a suspected rebel area that turned out to be nomadic settlement, dropping 20 bombs.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Mohamed Osman al-Aghbash accused rebels of attacking troops four times since the ceasefire, killing at least four soldiers and leaving another eight missing. He said one soldier was killed in the fighting at El-Hilif on Thursday, but Marajan flatly denied army claims that 30 rebels died.

According to the army, SLA-Unity "attacked" a humanitarian convoy in south Darfur on November 13.

Two days later, they lured army brass to an undisclosed location on the pretence of wanting talks, then killed an officer in an ambush.

On November 16, rebels attacked police in south Darfur, killing an officer and a policeman, and leaving eight policemen missing, Aghbash said. He said the army would continue to hunt down criminals, thieves and kidnappers and accused rebels of staging the attacks in order to provoke the army into a reaction. On Sunday, the army and a senior policy official in the main ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum drew a sharp distinction between a truce in attacks on rebels and an ongoing campaign to flush out "bandits". The government insists that acts of self-defence do not compromise the eight-day ceasefire.
- - -

Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York



The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) investigated reports of aerial attacks by the Government of the Sudan from 21 to 22 November in Abu Dangal, South Darfur, and confirmed visible effects of air strikes, including four craters created by bombing and the presence of unexploded ordnance on the ground.

The Secretary-General reiterates his call for all parties to use restraint and renew their commitment to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.  The Secretary-General further expresses his disappointment that military activity by the Government continues in Darfur, particularly in light of the 12 November announcement of an immediate ceasefire by the Government.  

26/11: The sheer brutality of Mumbai (Jon Snow, Channel 4 News UK & Gavin Esler, BBC2)

Shocking Snowmail just in from Jon Snow at Channel 4 News. Excerpt:
The sheer brutality of Mumbai

What has happened in Mumbai remains tonight almost impossible to encapsulate. The sheer wanton brutality appears to be a step change beyond anything we have seen before.

What happened in Mumbai involved around some 20 men going into the station, a restaurant, several hotels, a Jewish centre, and spraying machine gun fire at women, children and random people, some Muslim, some Hindu, some Jewish, some Christian, some nothing.

They saw the whites of the eyes of the people they killed. They had time to reload the magazines of their guns, time even to think.

I suppose the nearest parallel would be the school killing at Colombine, in Colorado. It’s hard to determine who they are because the group they claim to be has never been heard of. And in India extremism has often been interwoven with sheer criminal gang activity.


Timeline: Major attacks in India

Mumbai attacks: in pictures

Mumbai terror attacks: interactive map

Blog frenzy on Mumbai attacks

So tonight, as we go to air, it is still unclear how near the end the incident is. It is unclear who is perpetrating it. And it is unclear what the consequence of it all will be. We have a huge team working on it, both here and in the region.

But without doubt 26/11 will go down as another ratchet up in litany of international criminality, in which both politics and religion appear to play a part.
- - -

Newsnight email just in from Gavin Esler, BBC2, 27 November 2008. Excerpt:
"This is a horrific incident which has shocked and outraged people around the world" - Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the Mumbai terror attacks.


Who did it and why? We'll have the latest on the terrorist attacks and the hostage situation, plus analysis of the kind of groups who may have carried out these attacks. And the big question: was this internal terrorism or an attack given support from outside India's borders as the Prime Minister of India claims? We will also discuss the future of India after this major terror attack.


Gulf rich nations are ploughing money into Sudan - using their fertile land to grow food for their people. This at a time when the people of Darfur are starving and relying on handouts from the international
- - -


Excerpt from Nov 28 Snowmail authored by Jon Snow:
More than 48 hours after the initial assault on key parts of Mumbai by some 20-25 assailants the picture is still very far from clear.

The Taj Hotel - which was declared yesterday to be down to one gunman - has today seen sporadic shooting and evidence of more than one, some say five or six gunmen.

The Indian security Forces are clearly having considerable difficulty in flushing them out.

The death toll stands at 143 according to some sources, with eight foreigners among them.


We're trying to harden up reports on several news agencies that seven of the gunmen may have been British. Other reports suggest they came from Leeds, but there is absolutely no official verification.

Krishnan is anchoring the programme tonight out of Mumbai and will have all the latest. He'll be on the ground with our diplomatic editor Lindsey Hilsum and our Asia correspondent Nick Paton Walsh.


Latest from Mumbai

Mumbai attacks: in pictures

Mumbai terror attacks: interactive map

24 bodies found at Oberoi hotel


We'll have the very latest in our time from Mumbai, with updates from Lindsey and Nick, as well as analysis here.

How justified are suggestions of an intelligence failure on the part of India's counter terror network? And why is it that India's best and brightest commandoes are still engaged in what feels like a small war, rather than a terrorist encounter, 48 hours after the first shots were fired?

And in the studio we'll be speaking with one British citizen, newly returned from his own private terror in Mumbai.


Online: Watch our video reports at:

Subscribe to RSS feeds, podcasts and mobile phone bulletins.
- - -

Quote for today

"I hope, and I'm sure, like Londoners, Bombayites are resilient, brave and will withstand this onslaught on the city" - British businessman Sir Gulam Noon, who was forced to barricade himself and several colleagues into a room at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel during the terror attacks in India. Watch the interview here:


More chaos and confusion in Mumbai. Fresh explosions and gunfire at the Taj Palace Hotel and loud blasts at the Jewish centre where commandos have attempted to free several hostages. We - along with the rest of the British media - are investigating comments from the Indian Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh that British nationals are among the captured terrorists. Among our guests tonight, a former CIA operative who has worked in India.
- - -


Breaking news from BBC 07:26 GMT:
Head of Indian commandos says siege at Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai is now over, after three days of violence which left at least 144 dead.

For more details:
Bravo Indian commandos. They deserve medals.

Sudanese police demolish Mandela slum, home to around 50,000 people, south of Khartoum

Sudanese Police Demolish 10,000 Shanty Homes

November 27, 2008 (AFP) report from Khartoum, Sudan - via Dow Jones:
Sudanese police have demolished about 10,000 homes in a shanty town south of Khartoum, using tear gas to disperse protesting residents, a security source and witnesses told AFP Thursday.

Police demolished the buildings, home to around 50,000 people, in the Mandela slum which is inhabited mostly by migrants from war-ravaged Darfur and south Sudan, late Wednesday, the official said.

"The demolitions were done for the purposes of urban planning," he said.

Police have cordoned off the remains of the shanty town, 10 kilometers south of Khartoum, and were turning journalists away from the area.

"The police came yesterday with orders for us to evacuate the homes," said Dominique Matthew, a resident, adding that police used tear gas to enforce the evacuations.

The residents remained in the shanty town amid the rubble of their former homes, he said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

LRA's Kony to sign peace deal in Ri-Kwangba, South Sudan Nov. 29 says chief mediator Riek Machar

Kony signs peace on Saturday
November 26, 2008 (New Vision) report by Henry Mukasa:
LRA leader Joseph Kony

Photo: LRA leader Joseph Kony

LRA leader Joseph Kony is expected to sign the final peace deal on Saturday to end his two-decade long rebellion which ravaged the north, said the chief mediator, Dr. Riek Machar.

Addressing journalists in Juba yesterday, Machar said: “(Kony) said he will sign. Indications are that he will.”

Machar is also the vice president of South Sudan. “There will be signing on 29th [November],” the United Nations special envoy to LRA affected areas, Joachim Chissano, told the BBC.

Chissano, however, left room for disappointment considering that Kony has failed the peace talks many times in the past.

“I don’t have reasons to doubt that he will show up. I’m more confident than a few weeks ago,” the former Mozambique president said.

Chief Government negotiator Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda yesterday chaired an impromptu meeting with his team over the development.

Spokesperson Capt. Chris Magezi said after the meeting that the mediators had been informed of the “consistent signals” Kony has been sending.

“We are willing to go and participate in that function in Ri-Kwangba (South Sudan),” Magezi said. “We hope Kony is not fooling again as he has done in the past.”

He also hoped that Kony would also meet his obligations after the signing. The Rugunda team, he said, would fly to the signing venue on Friday only if Machar and Chissano, who travelled to Ri-Kwangba today, confirmed the elusive rebel leader had arrived.

If he signs, it will mark a climax of the long-drawn negotiations. Kony disappointed mediators and diplomats when he failed to show up for the signing ceremony on April 14 at Nabanga.

He said he would only sign if the world court withdrew charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against him.

He also wanted to understand how the traditional justice system and the special court which is to try war criminals would work.

However, foreign minister Sam Kutesa said Kony must first sign the peace before his indictment by The Hague is addressed.

Kutesa said Kony was the only serious obstacle to a final peace agreement.

“Our people are ready to sign any time, but Kony is the one who has been eluding us,” he told the BBC.

After a flurry of diplomatic missions to his hideout by Chissano, and a consultative meeting in Munyonyo last week, Kony seems to have been persuade to ink the deal.

Kony and his fighters had moved deep into the DR Congo, where they loot and abduct youth in “preparation for war.”

However, mediators gave Kony up to the end of November to sign the pact. The LRA leader had often called meetings with negotiators and elders from the north but failed to show up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Abyei: Drawing a firm North-South border is one of the biggest challenges facing Sudan

Question: What happens if the North-South Sudan border issue isn't resolved? Answer: A very ugly, protracted and expensive border war.

Drawing a firm North-South border is one of the biggest challenges facing Sudan.

From Strategy Page, November 24, 2008 - Border Wars:
Drawing a firm North-South border is one of the biggest challenges facing Sudan. The Government of South Sudan knows that this is a divisive issue (literally and figuratively) in the south as well as the north. Several tribes have let it be known they are suspicious of the process, believing that "the line has already been drawn" (by someone in a back room). The border issue, however, has not been settled.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) called for a fair and open border demarcation process that would take into account "verbal information" from tribal leaders as well as "physical features of the landscape" (like, don't arbitrarily divide a range of hills).

One of the biggest factors in drawing a North-South border is traditional tribal settlement patterns, which the war wrecked when so many people became refugees.

The boundary is also supposed to take into account "historical materials" like old Sudanese maps and colonial era maps. But there are a lot of problems with the old maps.

Border demarcation is way behind schedule. It was supposed to be done before the 2009 elections.

In 2011 South Sudan is supposed to hold a referendum on independence. Abyei is also supposed to vote that year on whether or not that region will be part of North Sudan or become part of South Sudan if South Sudan opts for independence.

What happens if the border issue isn't resolved?

Diplomats will advocate arbitration, but if that doesn't work the conditions are set for a very ugly, protracted and expensive border war.
- - -

Fighting between northern and southern troops over the contested oil-rich town of Abyei in May raised fears that Sudan could be heading back to civil war, and there have been numerous reports that both sides are re-arming

Former southern Sudan rebels threaten budget block

November 18, 2008 (Reuters) report by Andrew Heavens, a British journalist based in Khartoum, Sudan:
Sudan's former southern rebels threatened on Monday to withhold support from the budget unless President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's party agreed to enact a list of measures promised in the 2005 north-south peace deal.

Relations between the coalition partners have frequently come under strain over accusations by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) that its former foe is dragging its feet on parts of the peace deal. Now the approach of elections scheduled for next year is adding to tensions.


Senior SPLM member Yasir Arman told Reuters the SPLM wanted Bashir's National Congress Party to pass a list of key laws in the current parliamentary session, which ends next month.

"If these laws are not included (in this session), the leadership of the SPLM is thinking of boycotting the endorsement of the budget for 2009," he said.

The measures cover national security, the media, criminal law, and a referendum on secession for South Sudan promised for 2012 under the peace deal.

The National Congress Party controls parliament, but any attempt to force through a budget without SPLM support would lack legitimacy under the peace agreement, and analysts say it is almost inconceivable.

Arman said a high-level SPLM committee was hoping to meet National Congress officials later on Monday to discuss the impasse.

He said all the pending legislation was essential to the democratic transformation of Sudan outlined in the peace deal.

No one was immediately available for comment from the National Congress Party.


However, parliament did pass one other key part of the peace agreement on Monday by approving an electoral commission, a key step in organising Sudan's first free national election in 23 years.

"This is a relief," said Riek Machar, vice president of south Sudan's semi-autonomous government in Juba.

He said the make-up of the commission had been agreed between the National Congress Party and the SPLM for about two months but administrative issues had held up the process.

The commission will decide the election date and arrange how voting will work, but other obstacles to the poll remain.

"We still need the census results, demarcation of constituencies and the demarcation of the north-south border," said Wol Atak, a member of the southern parliament.

"Of course it's a step in the right direction, but there are other issues to be solved."

The SPLM fought Khartoum for more than two decades until the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement set up a national coalition government.

The SPLM temporarily pulled its ministers out of the coalition in October 2007, saying the north was blocking parts of the peace deal.

Fighting between northern and southern troops over the contested oil-rich town of Abyei in May raised fears that Sudan could be heading back to civil war, and there have been numerous reports that both sides are re-arming.
- - -

Formulation of an Independent National Electoral Commission (NEC) to oversee Sudan's first major elections in several decades due in 2009

AU chief lauds Sudan's preparations for post-war polls

November 20, 2008 (PANA) report from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:
The African Union (AU) said Thursday it was delighted at the formulation of an independent National Electoral Commission (NEC) to oversee Sudan's first major elections in several decades due in 2009.

AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said the Sudanese parliament's approval of the members of the electoral team was a major milestone in efforts to turn Sudan into a "truly democratic country" in line with the requirements of the comprehensive peace accord.

Sudan has not held elections in decades, as the country has been under military rule.

However, elections are anticipated in 2009, signaling the end of the war in the Southern Sudan region, which lasted for more than 21 years.

Southern Sudanese adults, especially those in the 50-plus age bracket, do not remember participating in any form of elections in their lifetime.

However, CPA signed in Nairobi on 9 January, 2005, set a time-frame for election s in the Sudan.

The elections might also be a referendum on the touchy issues that have consiste ntly divided the North and the South and would mark the official end of the war b etween the Northern and the Southern Sudan, which have been jostling for full co n trol.

Under the 2005 peace accord that ended the war, Southern Sudan has a semi-autono mous government with limited powers to engage directly with other foreign governments.

The Southern Sudan also has its own legislative body and a cabinet, with more th an 10 state governments, including the one in the disputed territory of Abyei, which had its own government formed just months ago after nearly three years of po l itical wrangling.

Ping said in a statement that he was pleased the Sudanese politicians agreed on the setting up and the appointment of the members of the electoral body.

He pledged the commission's support to the peace efforts in the Sudan and also u rged the new electoral team to ensure the polls due in 2009 are conducted in a more transparent, free and fair manner.

"The African Union stands ready to provide assistance to the NEC to ensure that the newly established commission carries out its mandate successfully," he assured.
- - -

Fighting talk from a South Sudan citizen

Here is an excerpt from an opinion piece authored by a Sudanese citizen, published at

Freedom Is Coming Soon

Written and Witnessed by: Ojwok Yorwin, South Sudan Citizen
Typed by: Stephanie J. Steward, Canadian Citizen
Sent by: Yuanes Kur Payit
November 21, 2008
Posted to the web on November 21, 2008
"My dear fellows, people of Darfur and as wide as South Sudan, "Freedom" remind you that if you do not fight, but stand weak still, your enemy will never give you the freedom you are yearning.  Because "Freedom" is on his way coming soon to you, you must come together and fight for your new and unborn children's futures.  For your land, you must fight; for your futures, you must fight.  Your leaders, government, economy, resources, lands, parents, brothers and sisters, and for love ones who have been used by your enemy, you must fight for. 

Fight!  Fight!  Fight!  For if you do not fight now, you shall have no freedom of any, and you are showing signs of ruined nations and weakness, lost of economy, lack of willing to have opportunities of good change.  If you do not fight, you shall always be slaved and slaves.  Second citizen classes you shall become in your own land, South Sudan or Darfur if you do not fight for your freedom."  Fight for your rights and Freedom.   "Freedom is coming soon."

Freedom will not come if you do not fight or if you show omens of limitations.  Therefore, fight; use any tool that you have in your hand now.  Unite and stand strong as one nation, South Sudan.  Darfur must do the same.  One dialogue, one heart, and one hand you must become to gain freedom.  Held "Freedom" the responsibilities of why you are fighting because He is coming soon, "Freedom" is coming soon."

For any comment, please feel free to contact Yuanes Kur at
- - -