SCIO, August 15, 1997


  1. Chronology
  2. Yei Declaration
  3. Cap Anamur


July 16: Dr Riak Machar, leader of the United Democratic Salvation Front and aformer rebel leader now allied with the government, has claimed that his fighters have captured five towns in southern Sudan from rebel forces. He also warned Sudanese rebels that they are mistaken if they believe that they are in "a better military position than we are". The comments were published in the independent daily Akhbar al-Youm.

17: The Sudanese Parliament will next Monday begin a debate on a constitutional decree to implement a peace agreement reached in April with a series of southern rebel groups, officials said yesterday. Presidential legal adviser Ahmed Ibrahim al Tahir said the decree provides for a redistribution of powers and resources and for formation of a co-ordination council to run affairs in southern Sudan during a four-year interim period at the end of which a referendum will be conducted.

19: The pro-government South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) of Dr Machar retook the town of Ayod, Dr Machar told today's Akhbar al Youm daily.

21: A Sudanese pro-government militia killed 69 members of the SPLA in fighting for the southern town of Ayod, the militia has claimed.

21: A former Sudanese minister has said that Islamic militias allied with the Sudanese government are capturing children and selling them as slaves in the south, charges which the Sudanese government denies. Mr Santino Deng's comments, in an interview with Reuters last week, were the latest accusations of slavery against Khartoum government which said it is "deeply concerned" about such allegations. There was no independent confirmation of Mr Deng's allegations.

24: A four day Dialogue between representatives of the SPLA/M and of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC) has come to an end today in Yei. The Yei Declaration is reported as our second item.

25: Sudan's National Assembly yesterday unanimously endorsed the legal apparatus for a peace deal with former southern rebels that would pave the way for a self-determination referendum, the official SUNA news agency reported. The constitutional decree creates a co-ordinating council to run affairs in south Sudan during a four-year interim period preceding the referendum.

26: "Sudan is willing to overcome the obstacles standing on the way of improving its relations with the United States," Sudan President el-Bashir told Mr Gare Smith, the US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour on a visit yesterday, the official Al Anbaa daily reported today.

29: The official daily Al-Anbaa today quoted Mr Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, commander of a break-away SPLA faction in Bahr al-Ghazal state, as saying that Akon town was back in government hands.

30: A new planned constitution will give too much power to the government, a prominent Sudanese opposition figure in Khartoum has said, calling for a conference on the draft law. Mr Abdul Rasoul al Nour, a leading figure in the banned Umma Party, quoted by the Al Rai al-Akher daily called for "a democratic constitution that achieves aspirations of the majority and guarantees the rights of the minority.

31: Sudanese newspapers today quoted officials as saying contacts with rebel factions were in progress to try to persuade them to join in a peace agreement. August 1: Sudan's National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today accused the Sudanese authorities of abducting the youngest son of former prime minister Sadeq al-Mahdi. "The Khartoum security authorities abducted on Wednesday afternoon the youngest son of Al-Mahdi, Bushra Sadeq al-Mahdi (17)" and three other young boys from a street, a statement from the opposition umbrella group said.

1: A Sudanese Member of Parliament, Mr Ibrahim Othman Abdul Qadir, said today he has solid information showing some of Sudan's neighbours were trying "on Washington's orders" to make rebel leader Garang join an April peace agreement "to strengthen the prospects of separating the south". He did not identify the countries.

2: Sudan's first vice-president General Al Zubair Mohammed Salih appealed yesterday to the armed opposition to stop fighting the military government and join in the peace process. "All those bearing arms are called upon to lay down their weapons and return home and take part in national reconstruction," Mr Zubair said during the first meeting of a committee drawing up a new constitution for Sudan. The 60-member body is a sub-committee of the soon-to-be created national Constitutional Commission that will be chaired by former chief justice Mr Khalifallah Al Rashid.

4: Uganda has accused Sudan of arming the Allied Democratic Force rebels linked to a spate of grenade blasts in Kampala last week. The rebels, who have launched an armed campaign in western Uganda, have claimed responsibility for three grenade attacks in the capital which left nine people dead.

5: The Nuba people of central Sudan are facing genocide at the hands of the government forces despite the signing of an April peace agreement, London-based group African Rights warned yesterday. "Bomber aircraft and helicopter gunships have attacked civilian targets, dozens of villages have been burnt, together with all the foodstocks of their inhabitants and hundreds of civilians have been killed."

5: A former rebel leader was quoted today as saying he expects Col. Garang to open peace talks soon with the government. Mr Samuel Aru Bol, one of six former Garang allies who have signed the treaty, was quoted by the official Sudan News Agency today as saying he expects Garang to begin talks "in the upcoming few weeks".

6: Sudanese aid officials will resume food drops to inaccessible areas in southern Sudan in late August, a report said today, quoting officials.

7: The Sudanese government would welcome mediation by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the long-standing conflict between Khartoum and the SPLA, press reports said today. Mr Haider Haj Siddek, Sudan's ambassador-designate to Kinshasa, was quoted as saying that the Sudanese government "will keep the doors open to this and all other efforts for achieving peace in Sudan. DRC Agriculture Minister Paul Bondoma offered to play a mediating role in Sudan.

8: Sudan denied charges by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni that it was aiding Ugandan rebels, Sudanese state television said today. The television quoted Minister of Culture and Information al-Tayeb Ibrahim Mohammed Kheir, official government spokesman, as saying that Sudan had never given any assistance to Ugandan opposition forces and that President Museveni's charges were unjustified.

11: Israeli intelligence chief Rani Baghum has made a secret visit to rebel-controlled parts of eastern Sudan, the El Saree El Syasi newspaper reported today.

11: Riot police had to be sent to Omdurman prison in Khartoum on July 31 to forcibly evict people whose prison terms had come to an end. About 1,200 convicts who were due for release that day, including 74 women granted amnesty by President el-Bashir, refused to leave the prison. The Al Alwan daily quoted some prisoners as saying they were unwilling to leave because they no longer knew the whereabouts of their relatives, while others were afraid that they would not be able to manage in the outside world.

12: Efforts to end Sudan's 14-year civil war will top talks between South African President Nelson Mandela and visiting President el-Bahir. But President Mandela's spokesmen have been at pains to downplay speculation that the South African leader will offer his services as a mediator in another African conflict, one which is already the subject of a regional peace initiative backed by Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

12: President el-Bashir yesterday said the Khartoum Peace Agreement had been transformed into a constitutional decree. He said his government was committed to pursuing peace between the north and the southern Sudan. The Sudanese leader was addressing the Press during a one-hour stopover at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

13: A Sudanese member of parliament was killed in fighting between the government and the SPLA, Sudanese state television has said. It said in a report that Ibrahim Mohammed al-Amin Ibrahim, a Gezira state deputy in central Sudan, was "martyred in the operations areas in the south of the country".

13: President el -Bashir began talks in Pretoria today with President Nelson Mandela to discuss the civil war in his country, officials said. The two leaders went into talks to be followed by a working lunch, attended by a special envoy of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, Tan Sri Ahmad Kamil Jaafar.

14: Torrential rain in northern Sudan has levelled hundreds of houses and caused widespread damage to property, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported today. Reporting from Atbara, the capital of the River Nile state, SUNA said the rains on Monday night left 400 families homeless in the Bawga area, 350 kilometres north of Khartoum. Farms and other property were damaged but there were no deaths.

15: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said yesterday that he met John Garang in 1989 and that he told Garang of his concern for maintaining Sudan's unity. Garang in turn told him that he too was concerned that Sudan remain united and that he did not seek to divide it.

15: Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir left Malawi yesterday at the end of a three -nation southern African tour to brief leaders of his country civil war. He told a news conference that there were positive signs that peace initiatives would bear fruits in Sudan. He had previously visited South Africa and Mozambique, accompanied by Dr. Riek Mashar.

15: According to a report published in Khartoum, more than 300 teachers sent abroad for graduate studies by the University of Khartoum have refused to return home. This represents a loss of more than 80 per cent of the staff sent for studies abroad.

Yei Declaration

Delegates to the NSCC - SPLM/A consultationre-affirmed their common commitment to the struggle for the liberation of the people of Southern Sudan and the marginalized areas. They emphasised that genuine progress towards sustainable human security depends upon the establishment of a secular, democratic government in the New Sudan.

The meeting was conducted in a spirit of mutual trust and cooperation. It recommended the establishment of an on-going nechanism through which the NSCC and the SPLM/A can continue to address mutual concerns, to promote their common objectives and to provide effective and timely means of addressing misunderstandings and resolving conflicts. The delegates expressed that this dialogue mechanism would continue after the end of the war and become an on-going forum for church/state consultation in the New Sudan.

The meeting recommitted the NSCC and the SPLM/A to recognizing and respecting the roles and contributions of the Church and the Movement in building a new society. They noted that Church in Sudan has an essential part to play in nurturing the vision of a New Sudan. The Church is commissioned to care for the spiritual welfare of the people, to contribute to the social and political formation of Sudan and to be a prophetic voice on behalf of the poor and the dispossessed. The Movement is mandated to guide the political development of the New Sudan. While the people of the New Sudan remain oppressed, the Movement is above all mandated to mobilize the political will and the military action necessary for liberation.

The NSCC/SPLM/A dialogue meeting came to this common understanding in the context of a frank and thorough airing of a wide range of concerns and grievances that had developed between the Church and the Movement. In their opening statements to the delegates, both the Chairman of the SPLM/A and C-in-C Dr John Garang de Mabior and the Chairman of the NSCC, Rt Rev Bishop Joseph Marona urged the delegates not to hold back, but to air their concerns fully in a spirit of openness and mutual respect. The result was a wide range of recommendations and ideas that delegates agreed were fruits of a creative energizing tension.

The NSCC and SPLM/A groups agreed that their respective organizations would explore the implementation of a wide range of recommendations including:

  1. Exploring the feasibility of establishing within the SPLM a liason office, or Secretariat for Religious Affairs.
  2. To develop ways and means through which the Church can pursue reconciliation efforts and unity among the political/military groups struggling for the liberation of Southern Sudan.
  3. Explore the assigning of chaplains for service to the soldiers of the SPLA.
  4. The establishment of programmes of education for the soldiers and general population concerning humanitarian principles and human rights.
  5. The exploration of ways in which the Churches can be regularly consulted in relation to the IGAD Peace Process.
  6. Explore ways in which the Church and Movement can intensify efforts towards reconstruction and the building of basic infrastructure including demobilization and demining.
The consultation included guests from the local communities, fromneighbouring countries and the region and from the world. Delegates expressed appreciation for the support to the people of Sudan that has come from neighbouring States, the international community, NGOs and the international Ecumenical Movement.

Peace be with us.

Cap Anamur

In the last two months the German Emergency Doctors (Cap Anamur) under the direction of Dr. Reupert Neudeck - a long standing friend of the Comboni's and of the Sudanese Church - have done an assessment of the needs in Rumbek Diocese. As a result on August 5, 1997, two certified German nurses, Katrin and Andreas, have arrived in Agangrial accompanied by Msgr. Caesar Mazzolari and Bro. Mariano of the Comboni Missionaries.

Agangrial people could not believe that these two young and active young nurses were at there service and would stay there for the next few months. The nursed themselves immediately began interacting with the school children and adults present at the mission.

Cap Anamur is the first agency to react to the appeal of Rumbek Diocese to make relief and transport available for the people of Rumbek town. On July 31, 1997, the first plane landed in the vicinity of Rumbek and brought food and relief items for the displaced people, the second flight took place on August 8, and took 8 more tonnes of food and relief items.

Msgr. Mazzolari said "as we thank Cap Anamur we encourage others big and not so big agencies to follow this example, and to assist the displaced and returnees scattered over the whole of Bahr el Ghazal."

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PeaceLink 1997