December 10, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday has held an expanded meeting to brief the heads of its chapters in Khartoum on the challenges facing the country and ways to confront the civil disobedience action that will take place on 19 December.
Last month, the government decision to scrap fuel, electricity and drug subsidy stirred up large protests across the Sudan.
Following a three-day protest against the austerity measures between 27 to 29 November, groups of activists has called on the Sudanese people to engage in a civil disobedience on December 19th.
Several opposition forces and armed groups including the Sudanese Congress Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Sudanese Communist Party, National Umma Party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi expressed support for the upcoming event and called upon their affiliates to play an active role in the strike.
In his address before the meeting of the party chapters in Khartoum on Saturday, NCP deputy chairman and presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid said “Sudan is facing an unfair campaign that aims to exploit its resources and wealth”.
He pointed that the country is being targeted internally and externally, saying they would go ahead with the implementation of the national dialogue’s outcome.
Hamid renewed the call for the holdout opposition to join the dialogue, expressing his party’s support for the upcoming government of national concord.
The presidential assistant demanded his party members to face the challenges and ignore calls by the “rumors mongers” for civil disobedience, saying they only exist on the “virtual world”.
He added that the austerity measures aim to restructure the economy, saying 1.3 million family would be added to the government health insurance programme.
For his part, deputy chairman of the NCP in Khartoum, Mohamed Hatim Sulieman said they would implement a 100-day programme to ease the burdens of living.
TV ANCHOR SUSPENDED
Meanwhile, the pro-government Ashorooq TV has suspended one of its anchors for participating in last month’s civil disobedience action.
On a Facebook post on Wednesday, Arwa Khogali, anchor at Ashorooq TV said she would not appear on her programme on Friday due to an administrative decision by the station.
Sudan Tribune learnt that Khogali, didn’t appear on the weekly “Culture Week” show because of her participation in the civil disobedience.
President Omar al-Bashir on Saturday accused Amnesty International of spreading “lies” that Sudanese government forces had used chemical weapons against civilians in war-torn Darfur.Last month, Amnesty said in a report that Sudanese forces had carried out more than 30 suspected chemical weapons attacks in a mountainous area of Darfur that killed up to 250 people, including many children.
“In the past few days you have been following all the lies and allegations made by Amnesty International about use of chemical weapons,” Bashir said in an address to workers of his National Congress Party.
“These are just empty lies,” Bashir said in his first reaction to Amnesty`s report.
The rights group accused Sudanese forces of “the repeated use” of suspected chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur`s remote and thickly forested Jebel Marra area between January and September.
“Between 200 and 250 people may have died as a result of exposure to the chemical weapons agents, with many or most being children,” Amnesty said.
The nearly 100-page report contained gruesome photographs of children suffering from apparent chemical burns, satellite images of destroyed villages and displaced people, interviews with more than 200 survivors and analysis by chemical weapons experts.
Amnesty said the attacks were part of a military operation against the rebel Sudan Liberation Army – Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) group, which Khartoum accuses of ambushing military convoys and attacking civilians.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Jebel Marra since mid-January by fighting between the two sides, the United Nations says.
The UN has urged Sudan to shed light on Amnesty`s claims, while the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has sought further evidence to push for a formal investigation.
Sudan is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Darfur has been engulfed in a deadly conflict since 2003 when ethnic minority groups took up arms against Bashir`s Arab-dominated government, which launched a brutal counter-insurgency.
At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in Darfur since then, the UN says.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes and genocide charges related to Darfur, which he denies.
Sudan insists that the conflict in Darfur has ended, and that it wants UN peacekeepers who have been deployed in the region the size of France since 2007 to leave.
The research, which used extensive satellite imagery analysis as well as more than 200 detailed interviews with witnesses, revealed a troubling picture. The Sudanese armed forces have carried out widespread attacks on hundreds of villages, committing war crimes and gross human rights violations including bombing, killings, rapes and the use of scorched-earth tactics.
We also found substantial evidence – the photos included – of the use of chemical weapons being used to kill and maim civilians, including children.
Amnesty International has not taken the decision to publish these deeply disturbing photos lightly: we believe the horrific war crimes being committed in Darfur require concerted action on the part of the international community.
Once the cause celebre of many in the west, Darfur seems to have dropped off the global agenda in recent years. The fact that the region is under the watch of one of the largest peacekeeping forces in the world, and that earlier this month Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, proclaimed that peace had returned to the troubled region, make Amnesty’s findings all the more galling.
After all, we are talking about the same types of war crimes that first catapulted Darfur into the world’s consciousness in 2004. But this is 13 years later; and the attacks we’ve documented happened between January and September 2016. The most recent was on 9 September 2016; just a few weeks ago and the day after Bashir’s lofty proclamation.
And if the use of chemical weapons is confirmed, this would represent a new level of barbarity in the conflict, and a new depth to the range of suffering endured by the Darfuri people. One woman described how her baby was still sick some six months after exposure to what she described as “poisoned air”.
“The baby is not recovering … he is swollen … he has blisters and wounds,” she said. “The [medical staff] say he will get better if he drinks [breast] milk … but it is not working.”
Chemical weapons have been banned for decades at the international level in recognition of the fact that the suffering they cause can never be justified. Credible evidence that Sudan’s government might now repeatedly be using them simply cannot be ignored.
More than a decade ago, the international criminal court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. And yet, the president has since won two elections and travelled regularly, including to Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. As signatories to the Rome statute which created the ICC, each of these countries had a duty to arrest Bashir on his arrival. None of them did.
Absolutely no effective measures have ever been put in place to protect civilians in Darfur despite being under the watch of a joint African Union and United Nations peacekeeping mission (Unamid). Peace talks and agreements have brought no security or respite for the Darfuri people.
The response of the international community in the last 10 years has been utterly deplorable and in the face of such an ineffective reaction, it is little wonder that Al-Bashir’s hubris has grown.
In the light of this shocking new evidence, and on the eve of the UN security council meeting in New York, we are calling on it to do more to protect the children, men and women of Darfur.
It can do this by applying political pressure on the government of Sudan to ensure that the Unamid peacekeeping force, as well as humanitarian agencies, can access parts of Darfur such as Jebel Marra, where some of the worst abuses appear to be happening. There need to be more peacekeeping bases, and they must be able to conduct proactive patrols deep into these remote areas.
There also needs to be an urgent investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Jebel Marra and, if there is sufficient evidence, prosecutions of all those suspected of criminal responsibility must follow.
Bashir must learn that there are consequences when crimes under international law are committed. There has been 13 years of catastrophic violence and recurring human rights violations; it’s time the world set its focus, once more, on Darfur and act.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) Saturday has called on the United States Special Envoy Donald Booth to help to secure the release of detained pastors and activists in Sudan.
Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud, (L) shakes hands with U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth at his office in Khartoum on July 29, 2016 (ST Photo)
Last week a Sudanese court began the trial of two Sudanese Christian pastors, a Czech missionary filmmaker and a human rights activist. The four are accused of conducting intelligence activities and providing material support for the rebels in South Kordofan.
Ahead of Booth’s visit to Khartoum, SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman disclosed in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune that he requested the U.S. special envoy to advocate for their release.
“SPLM-N Secretary General on Friday phoned the US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan who is on his way to Khartoum about the attacks on Sudanese Christians especially the trial of Christian pastors from the Nuba Mountains and civil society activists including, Rev. Kuwa Shamal, Rev. Hassan Abdel Rahim, activist Abdel-Moneim and Czech journalist Petr Jasek,” said the statement .
According to the statement, the US diplomat stressed that the American embassy in Khartoum is following this “important issue”.
“The Secretary-General sent the same message to the other international envoys to Sudan” added the statement, underlining that the issue is related to the “right of citizenship without discrimination and to ensure basic human rights”.
The SPLM-N and two armed groups in Darfur signed earlier this month a Roadmap Agreement providing to negotiate cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements with the government.
The rebel groups and the government are expected to resume talks within two week to finalize the humanitarian truce before to hold a meeting to discuss other confidence building measures including basic freedoms. These steps are supposed to pave the way for their return to Khartoum to take part in a constitutional conference.
In a related development the SPLM-N formed a 23-member committee to reach the international community and to campaign for the rights of Sudanese Christians
Two prominent Sudanese editors are facing the death penalty over claims they are “inciting an Arab spring” and have introduced anti-government editorial policies at their newspapers.
Osman Marghani and Ahmed Yousef El Tay were seized by the intelligence services at their offices last Thursday. They face sentencing this week.
Marghani, editor-in-chief of the prominent El Tayar newspaper, said his publication had been made a scapegoat for widespread criticism of the government. “We were held by security officers and taken by cars from our offices, and they accused us of inciting people against the regime,” he said.
“I think the president is very angry about our media coverage of next year’s budget, and our criticism of the finance minister. So our newspaper is the scapegoat.”
The two men are accused of abusing their positions as journalists, publishing false news and undermining the constitutional system, a crime punishable by death in Sudan.
The Sudanese Journalists Network has condemned the arrests, urging all journalists to “counter the attack from the president and his intelligence agency”.
Marghani and El Tay are being charged under two articles of the criminal code, which adheres to Islamic Sharia law. Faisal Mohammed Salih, a journalist and human rights activist, says the code was in conflict with the constitution, which guarantees the right to “freedom of speech”.
“The government is facing a genuine challenge this time, and we will see whether they will respect their own laws and constitution, or not,” Salih said.
The arrests come just days after the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, threatened the media and vowed to take “decisive measures” against journalists who criticise his finance minister, Bader El Deen Mahmoud.
Sudanese reporters have worked in an increasingly repressive climate since Bashir seized power in a Islamist-backed coup in 1989. The country currently ranks 174th out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index.
Marghani’s El-Tayar newspaper was previously suspended for two years by the government before winning an appeal from the constitutional court in 2014. This year, the newspaper has had it’s entire print run confiscated by the security services more than 15 times.
In February, 14 daily papers were confiscated in one day, followed shortly by the seizure of copies of 17 further publications by the intelligence agencies.
“All over the world, the media shapes public opinion. Only in Sudan, when the newspapers disclose corruption or anything against the government, they get very angry,” Salih said.
Twenty-five Muslim men, including three teenagers, are facing the death penalty in Sudan after being charged with apostasy for following the wrong version of Islam.
The men were released on bail on Monday after being arrested in Khartoum in November while listening to religious teachings and imprisoned for more than five weeks.
The men, aged between 15 and 51, belong to the minority Hausa ethnicity, many of whom follow a different interpretation of Islam to the one sanctioned by Omar al-Bashir’s government.
They are accused of “rejecting the prophet Muhammad’s teachings”, rejecting the Hadith and taking the Qur’an as the sole source of religious legitimacy – a crime punishable by death in Sudan.
A judge granted the men bail on Monday and announced that court proceedings against them had been suspended until February, in what lawyers believe is an attempt to deflect international criticism of the case.
“I think they want to shrink [attention on] the case, because [it] started getting international coverage and [the judge] saw how foreign media covered the story,” said Ahmed Sibare, one of the lawyers defending the group.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative released a join statement calling for the government to drop the charges against the 25 “who are prisoners of conscience and have been put on trial solely because of their religious beliefs”.
The men are being tried under article 126 of the criminal code which adheres to Islamic Sharia law, but Sibare said the code is clearly in conflict with the Sudanese constitution which guarantees the right to “freedom of thought and conscience”.
The lawyer said he would challenge the article in the constitutional court. “[It is] vague and the authorities use it for malicious reasons,” he said.
I will never change my mind from what I was told is the right and true Islam, even if they want to kill us
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, 16
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, one of the teenagers facing the death penalty, remained defiant after his release. “This law has to be changed because it conflicted with the constitution that gives the rights to people to believe in whatever they want,” he said
He said he had been listening to the imam with his brother, Fareed, 21, when the police arrived. “He was telling us what the God and his prophet Muhammad said – and suddenly the police came and surrounded us with their guns on our heads like criminals.”
Some people fled the scene, the teenager recalled, but 22 people were put in police cars and taken to the local prison, where they were held for 12 days. They were later transferred with five others to the notorious Omdurman prison in western Khartoum, where they were kept for four weeks until being released on bail on Monday.
“I will never change my mind from what I was told is the right and true Islam, even if they want to kill us, let them do so,” Awad said
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, 16.
Rifaat Abdel-Mo’min Awad, 16. Photograph: Zeinab Salih
If the accused agree to renounce their beliefs in court, the sentence could be commuted to five years in jail.
Members of Khartoum’s Hausa community meet regularly in street markets to listen to readings from the Qur’an translated into Hausa, the group’s native language, as many of them are not fluent in Arabic.
Though Sudan is a religiously and ethnically diverse country, Bashir has long made his intolerance towards the country’s Christian and traditional African religions clear. They make up 3% of the country’s population, according to official figures.
Bashir declared in 2010 that the country would follow Sharia law: “We don’t want to hear anything about diversity – Sudan is an Islamic and Arabic country.
Rifaat’s father, Abdel-Mo’min Awad, said: “I really don’t know why we’re being targeted by the authorities. We are not politicians and we don’t care about politics, we only worship God.”
Mohamed Badwai, from the African Centre for Peace and Justice Studies, said this latest case shows the urgent need for legal reform in Sudan, where jailing citizens for their beliefs has become routine. “The ruling party uses trials like these to repress the people in Sudan, and force them into its preferred way of life,” he said.
Last year, a pregnant Christian woman from Khartoum, Meriam Ibrahim, narrowly escaped death row after she too was accused of apostasy and adultery for marrying a Christian man.
on 19/12/015 at 4;00 pm SPLA/N forces of SRF 4th front in Blue Nile region managed to repulsed NCP forces and militias attack on Torda area 50 km east Bau. NCP forces inflicted heavy casualties, the fled and left Four dead bodies on the ground Two presioners of war captured namely 1/ SGT. Juma Abdalla Maglub, 2/ CPL. Juma Orta Kado, SPLA/N ceased two pcs PKM Mg. three pcs RPG-7, and quantity of ammunition
and shells, no casualties from our side.
Arnu Ngutulu Lodi
SPLM/A-N official spokesman
صد هجوم على طوردا
تمكنت قوات الجبهة الثورية السودانية من الجيش الشعبى لتحرير السودان-شمال الجبهة الرابعة باقليم النيل الازرق من صد هجوم غادر على منطقة طورد 50 كلم شرق الباو والذى قامت بها قوات ومليشيات المؤتمر الوطنى يوم 19/12/2015 الساعة 4 مساءا، هذا وقد تمكنت قوات الجيش الشعبى من تدمير وتشتيت القوات الغازية مخلفة عدد اربعة قتيل فى الارض وتم اسر اثنين اخرين هما 1/ رقيب/جعفر عبدالله مقلوب، 2/عريف/ جمعة اورطة كدو، وتم الاستيلاء على عدد ثلاثة مدفع ار بى جى-7، واثنين مدفع بى كى ام وكميات من الذخائر والدانات، لا يوجد خسائر من جانبنا.
أرنو نقوتلو لودى
الناطق الرسمى باسم الحركة الشعبية والجيش الشعبى لتحرير السودان-ش
Jordan just deported 800 Sudanese refugees to Sudan. 180 of them were arrested upon return. UNHCR High Commissioner said nothing. Sudan is the 4th highest refugee producing country in the world due to ongoing conflict and human rights abuses; yet Sudanese refugees are being traded for political calculations. Why?
“The Sudanese refugees was deported today from Jordan the Sudanese secret service arrest 180 of them they but in the prisons in the cells of the collective…
And arrest 6 others in the prisons of the individual…
And the number might be able to get bigger
October 4, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Chadian president Idris Deby failed to convince leaders of the three major armed groups in western Sudan region of Darfur to join the national dialogue conference scheduled to be held next week.
In a meeting held in Paris on Saturday, Deby conveyed to the leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM), Minni Minnawi, and (SLM-AW) Abdel-Wahid al-Nur and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Jibril Ibrahim, Kharotum’s pledges to guarantee the safety of the rebel leaders participating in the dialogue conference.
The three rebel leaders in a statement released on Sunday said that Deby reminded the prolonged suffering of their people in the IDP’s and refugees camps and in Darfur in general, calling upon them to seek to achieve peace and to participate in the national dialogue “because Sudan’s issues couldn’t be resolved through military means”.
Ibrahim and Minnawi said they expressed desire to achieve peace and readiness to participate in the national dialogue if it meets the conditions stated in the roadmap issued by the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) in September 2015 which are in consistency with the demands of the rest of the opposition forces.
JEM leader Jibril Ibrahim told Sudan Tribune following the meeting with the Chadian president in Paris that the latter asked them to fly to Khartoum to participate in the national dialogue.
“He [Deby] said that Khartoum has pledged to offer all the necessary guarantees to protect the [rebel] leaders, pointing to the favourable opportunity that mustn’t be missed because solutions don’t come in one go,” Ibrahim said.
He said they told Deby that they are part of the Sudanese opposition and they can’t abandon their regional and international agreements and commitments, pointing to their desire to achieve a comprehensive peace that is based upon solid foundations.
For his part, the leader of SLM-MM, Minni Minnawi told Sudan Tribune that they told Deby that several steps must be achieved before to join the dialogue inside the country including ending the war, allowing freedoms, releasing political detainees, and holding the pre-dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa.
“We asked Deby to support those demands and to push for achieving them particularly as the crisis in Darfur impacts on N’djamena who shelters thousands of refugees from Darfur,” he added.
Minnawi further pointed that Deby pledged to continue his efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in Sudan. But Ibrahim said they felt that Deby does not want to involve himself much in the process because he fears to be accused of supporting this or that side.
Last week, Sudan officially requested Deby to persuade rebel groups in Darfur region to join the national dialogue conference.
“Sudan looks forward to the support of President Deby in convincing the holdout movements to sign the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and joining the national dialogue process,” said Sudan’s presidential aide Ibrahim Hamid in remarks from the Chadian capital after his meeting with Deby Wednesday.
In an alternative roadmap for the national dialogue released on 14 September, SRF groups demand stopping the war to provide security, guarantee humanitarian access to all civilians affected by the conflict and create conducive climate for holding peace talks and dialogue besides allowing fundamental freedoms and holding the pre-dialogue meeting in accordance with AUPSC resolutions 539 and 456 to establish frameworks, modalities, and procedures for a credible, transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive dialogue.
They further declared their willingness to six a six-month cessation of hostilities with the government once these conditions are met.
SLM-AW leader Abdel-Wahid al-Nur, for his part, said that just and enduring peace couldn’t be achieved unless security is being provided to the citizens on the ground by adopting the roadmap offered by his movement.
He said the roadmap of his group requires the government to create a conducive environment to peace by stopping genocide, killing, displacement and rape besides disarming the Janjaweed militiamen and evicting the new settlers from the land of the IDP’s and refugees, and providing individual and collective freedoms before embarking on any peaceful process.
The SLM-AW says since several years they can only discuss with Khartoum the root causes of the conflict but before negotiations Khartoum must unilaterally repair the consequences of the 12-year conflict.
DIALOGUE BODY CONFIRMS REBELS PARTICIPAION
Mean while, Sudan’s dialogue coordination body known as 7+7 has disclosed Sunday that several rebel leaders would accompany Deby to attend the opening session of the national dialogue conference next Saturday.
Last week, several rebel factions including SLM- Abu al-Gasim Imam, SLM-Unity of Abdallah Yahia and SLM-Justice led Taher Hajer confirmed to Sudan Tribune they would travel soon to Chad for a follow-up meeting with the Chadian authorities on ways to achieve peace in Sudan but denied meetings with Sudanese officials.
Sudan’s minister of information and member of the 7+7 mechanism, Ahmed Bilal Osman, stressed that rebel leaders would arrive in Khartoum to engage in the dialogue but he declined to disclose names of those leaders on the pretext that some armed movements had dismissed their members who welcomed the dialogue.
He told reporters on Sunday that the dialogue conference would convene on October 10th at 9:00 am (Local time), pointing that Deby will attend the opening session.
Osman said he doesn’t rule out that several rebel leaders would accompany Deby on his plane, stressing that a surprise would be announced during the first day of the conference.
The information minister further underscored that the international community supports the national dialogue, pointing that the African Union, Arab League and some European countries who wish to see a stable Sudan support the process.
September 11, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Eastern Sudan opposition group, the United Popular Front for Liberation and Justice (UPFLJ), discussed with the U.S. special envoy the failure of the government to implement the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA).
In a meeting held in Paris last Wednesday 9 September, Donald Booth participated in a meeting of the international envoys with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) groups to discuss ways to bring peace in Sudan.
UPFLJ’s leader Zainab Kabashi who is also a SRF deputy-chairman said they discussed with Booth in a separate meeting on Wednesday the political situation in eastern Sudan and the implementation of a peace agreement signed on 14 October 2006 with the government of President Omer al-Bashir.
“The (UPFLJ’s) delegation provided a detailed explanation about the issue of eastern Sudan, which is still at a standstill since long time. Also, the meeting dealt with the causes of the failure of Eastern Sudan agreement to achieve the aspirations of the people of the East in the removal of political, economic, cultural and social marginalization,” the group said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday.
The statement said they handed over to the American diplomat a memorandum including a detailed vision to resolve the issue of eastern Sudan within the framework of a comprehensive solution to the Sudanese problem.
The memo also dealt with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in eastern Sudan, the group further said.
The EAPA was signed between the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front a coalition of the Beja and Rashaidiya tribes. The head of the former rebel group Musa Mohamed Ahmed is appointed presidential assistant since the signing of the peace deal.
Recently Ahmed criticized the slow implementation of the East Sudan peace pact and the development projects in the region.