SCIO MARCH 15, 1997


  1. Chronology
  2. Sudanese seek Mandela's intervention
  3. Rumbek Diocesan Assembly held

Chronology - (continues from previous issue)

February 1997

15: Sudanese war planes have bombed a northern Ugandan town, killing one woman, the Ugandan government said here today, in the most serious yet accusation made by Kampala against Khartoum regime. Uganda Foreign Minister Eriya Kategaya told AFP that the three planes had bombed Moyo.

16: Sudan has denied that its war planes attacked Uganda and said the Ugandan claims were aimed at undermining Iranian mediation between the countries. Ugandan defence Minister Amama Mbabazi said eight civilians were injured when Sudanese aircraft twice struck Moyo, about 12 kilometres from the tense border.

18: The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is sending Sudan an ultimatum: Settle your debts or face expulsion. The 24-member board last week voted unanimously to require Sudan to meet a set of conditions it says would demonstrate Khartoum's intention to settle its massive arrears to the IMF and to comply with the agency's policies.

19: The United Nations today appealed for $120.8 million to meet the needs of an estimated 4.2 million people facing starvation because of war and natural disasters in Sudan. The money will be used to finance 33 humanitarian projects in Sudan this year, a UN statement issued in Nairobi and Geneva said.

19: The governor of Sudan's Blue Nile state accused southern Sudanese of abducting children to undergo military training in Ethiopia. Colonel Babikir Jabir Kebello, the Wali of Blue Nile Province which borders on Ethiopia, said at a Press conference in the provincial capital Al-Damazin that the SPLA has "forcefully taken away 500 children to coerced military training camps inside Ethiopia".

21: A US-based human rights group has accused Sudan of launching a new military trial of alleged coup plotters, carrying out torture in "ghost-houses" and making widespread arrests under arbitrary laws. The accusations were contained in a four-page letter from Human Rights Watch/Africa to President El-Bashir.

27: A UN ban on flights abroad by Sudan's national carrier could tear apart Sudan, a Sudanese official was quoted as saying today. The UN Security Council has warned Sudan that it may ban international flights by Sudan Airways if the country refuses to turn three men wanted in a 1995 assassination attempt on Egypt's president.

March 1997

1: A Sudanese opposition's rebel commander said today a ship loaded with Iraqi weapons from a storage in Yemen arrived in Port Sudan for the government last week. "From our sources in Port Sudan, we hear a ship by the name of al-Obeid, commanded by Captain Naji Asam Maki, came from Mukalla (in Yemen) taking arms to Sudan," General Fathi Ahmed Ali said.

4: Sudan has established a state-owned publishing house which plans to replace two daily newspapers with four new publications, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported today. Mena said the new National Media House is headed by Amin Hassan Omar, who had been the media adviser to president El-Bashir.

5: A combined force of Sudanese government troops and Uganda dissidents bombed Koboko, 12 kilometres inside Uganda on Saturday night amid heightened tension between the two neighbours. Military sources in the town over 500 km north west of Kampala, have said enemy forces dropped several mortar bombs on the town sending cold chills among the residents . Uganda did not retaliate.

5: Sudan has signed a contract with national oil companies from China and Malaysia and a private Canadian firm to develop its oil reserves. The agreements were signed in a ceremony broadcast live on state-run Sudan television.

7: A top executive of the Gulf Oil International has dismissed reports of security risks to the firm's operations in Sudan as grossly exaggerated, a Khartoum daily reported today. Gulf's managing director Mr Abdul Aziz Hamad al-Dilaimy said that his firm had decided to undertake oil investment in the Adaryel area of Upper Nile state in southern Sudan, where rebels are active.

10: Uganda has said it had driven rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army "back to Sudan" but said it remained on the alert against counter-attacks. "We have beaten these thugs...Their Sudanese masters ordered them back to re-think," Uganda's Minister of State for Defence , Mr Amama Mbabazi said in Kampala at the weekend.

11: Uganda today denied Sudanese allegations that its troops attacked a town in southern Sudan which Sudanese rebels said they had captured. The SPLA yesterday said its forces had taken the towns of Kaya and Gumuli and were advancing towards the region's capital, Juba.

12: Heavy fighting broke out near the Ugandan border town with Sudan when the SPLA launched lightening attacks on Sudanese military positions, a Ugandan government newspaper said today. The SPLA, according to the paper, is closing in on the main garrison town of Yei in Eastern Equatoria, close to the Uganda border.

14: SPLA spokeman said today that SPLA has captured Yei and destroyed a division of up to 6,000 Sudanese government troops. He claimed that SPLA has seized also Morobo border post.. He said SPLA forces besiege Lainya garrison, 100 km south of Juba and ambushed an army convoy between Juba and Lainya and figthing is continuing. "The SPLA have destroyed in Kaya, Bazi, Morobo and Yei a division of the NIF (National Islamic Front) which is about 5,000 to 6,000 men," said the rebel spokeman. He did not give rebel casualties.

Mahdi seeks Mandela's intervention

Sudanese opposition leader Sadek al-Mahdi has called for the expansion of a regional peace initiative for Sudan to include more countries and South African President Nelson Mandela.

Sudan's neighbours in the regional Inter-Governmental Authority (IGAD) have been trying to mediate in the Sudanese civil war over the past two years without much success.

"Our neighbours, the IGAD governments, have tried very much to discuss the Sudanese question but because of the intransigence of the present regime, the attempts, sincere as they were, have not been successful," Mahdi told a Press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, recently.

"So from the point of view of the people of Sudan, we hope that IGAD process will be developed further through the involvement of other regional forces so that the situation can have a higher international profile," he said.

IGAD groups Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
Mahdi said Mandela's experience in conflicts resolution in South Africa would be essential in the search for peace and establishment of democracy in Sudan, where rebels have been fighting for the past 13 years in a bid to free the largely Christian and traditionalist south from domination by the ARIBAs, Islamic north.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which groups northern opposition groups with the southern rebels, in January launched a major offensive to oust Khartoum's Islamic regime.

Mahdi, who fled Khartoum last December, making his way to Eritrea, was on a tour of East African countries to meet the leaders of the region.

Diocesan Assembly held at Mapourdit

From February 4-8 1997, the Diocese of Rumbek held a Diocesan Assembly at Mapourdit (Rumbek). Nineteen priests, sisters, brothers and lay people attended, representing all the people and the activities of the Diocese. It was a very special time of grace for the whole Diocese.

We have grown tremendously since we moved into the liberated area of Southern Sudan on November 10, 1991 in Yirol. There were only five members of the Church personnel in November 1991. Our journey since then has taken us to 10 different locations. Some missions were short lived, particularly Mayen Abun and Thiet, others lived 3 months or so, such as Yirol, Yondu, Nyamlell and then we had to leave them.

At present we are pastorally shepherding four missions in Bahr El Ghazal and a Sudanese Refugee Camp in Kakuma, Kenya. We are conducting the Blessed Bakhita Formation Center, in Kitale, Kenya, since October, 1996; and have established a residence, information office and procure for the Diocese at Bethany House, Nairobi, Kenya since September of 1994. To enable us to do this fast development, the Lord of the harvest has allowed our Church personnel to grow from 5 to 24 people.

During this Diocesan journey, we made a lot of precious experiences. Short and long Safaris. Long and short catechumenates, Catechetical and Educational courses. We worked in small pastoral communities or we worked alone for as long as three months as in the case of Yondu. We experienced the need of community support. There were days with sufficient food and days when we hoped for the manna to come.

Of course, there were days when our hearts were filled with joy to see the growth of our Christian communities. Feasts like Easter and Christmas, Confirmation and Baptism days, when the Lord allowed us to see the fruit of his grace and of our work. There were days in August of 1996 when one mission suffered the arrest, ill treatment and insults of its personnel. But it has only tested the Christian maturity of this community and has caused growth in faith and love of unity.

During the Assembly, with the power of Spirit, we have felt the presence of Jesus in our midst. We were enriched by the wisdom and light from these experiences. The Assembly has chosen three priorities for our work in the coming years:

  • a) Primary evangelization, with a special effort to reach all those who do not know Jesus and to prepare personnel for this task.
  • b) Education and formation of girls and women, as they represent those more forgotten in our society.
  • c) Justice, peace and reconciliation, so that the church will help the reconstruction of a more humane society.
The Assembly has given special tasks and planned the work ahead so that these three priorities will be gradually implemented in a variety of ways.
These priorities will be like beacons in a journey that is still surrounded by the darkness of insecurity, poverty of means, mistrust and a war situation that alters the best plans and could cause our displacement. Yet we are not discouraged. When in a few weeks we will celebrate Easter we will be reminded that our Lord is the Lord of Resurrection and Life.

Msgr.. Caesar Mazzolari (Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Rumbek)

For further information, please contact:
Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.562247 - fax +254.2.566668 - e-mail:


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