September 17: Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir has begun a tour of his
country's eastern provinces including Halaib, a border territory whose ownership
is disputed with Egypt, the Al Anbaa daily reported today. The Halaib province
straddles latitude 22 degrees north which Cairo considers to be its frontier
18: Ugandan officials today could neither deny nor confirm reports early this
week that the rebel leader Joseph Kony had fled Uganda for Kenya after being
expelled by Sudan which has provided sanctuary to the Lord's Resistance Army
rebels. Press reports in Kampala on Monday said that the rebel leader's captured
intelligence officer revealed that the embattled Kony was trying to force
himself into Kenya with help of agents of the priestess Alice Lakwena, who has
been in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
19: Southern Sudanese rebels on Thursday said they plan to take part in a
regional ministerial meeting on Sudan's civil war to be held in Kenya next week.
A spokesman for the SPLA said in Nairobi that the organisation will send a
"ministerial level" delegates to the talks.
19: Khartoum today sent Federal Affairs Minister Mohammed and Riek Machar, who
chairs a council responsible for southern Sudanese issues, to negotiate with the
leader of another splinter faction from SPLA, Dr Lam Akol. Officials in
Khartoum said Mr Mohammed and Mr Machar headed today with a government team for
Fashoda in Upper Nile state, 750 kilometres south of the capital, to meet Dr
Akol, who recently declared a unilateral ceasefire in his own war with the
20: The Sudanese Trade Union Federation today demanded a 30 per cent wage
increase for the workers, threatening to call a strike if the government does
not ante up. The Sudanese Higher Council for Wages and Salaries, a council
comprised of workers, businessmen and bureaucrats, had earlier recommended that
salaries be increased in six month increments to cope with price hikes.
21: Egypt and Sudan's foreign ministers held talks today aimed at improving ties
strained over a long-standing territorial dispute and accusations of Sudanese
involvement in an attack on President Hosni Mubarak. Sudanese Foreign Minister
Ali Osman Taha said the meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Mr Amr Muossa,
"has resulted in the possibility of resolving the problems between the two
countries in a bilateral framework".
22: Manute Madut Bol, the US-based Sudanese basketball star and political
activist, left a Kampala hotel without paying a bill of Ush32,299,060 ($32,000).
The charge was for accommodation, meals and car hire between October 24, 1996
and September 5, 1997. There was no indication of the whereabouts of the
35-year-old, 7ft 7in athlete, who last week told the BBC he had switched his
southern Sudanese political allegiance from Col Garang to faction leader Machar.
23: Sudanese peace talks that stalled three years ago will resume in Nairobi on
October 28, the Khartoum government and the SPLA agreed yesterday. The two
parties said in a joint communiqu, that they agreed to provide chief negotiators
and negotiating teams of not more than six people each. They also pledged to
"fully co-operate" in the search for a negotiated solution to their conflict.
23: The government has signed a peace accord with a southern rebel group in a
move that will help secure the oil fields of Upper Nile state from insurgent
attacks, the official Sudan News Agency reported yesterday. The agreement
between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army-United faction late
Saturday was signed in the town of Fashoda, some 660 kilometres south of
Khartoum. Led by Lam Akol, the SPLA-United is the seventh small rebel group to
make peace with the government.
24: Analysts tracking the long civil war in southern Sudan portrayed the outcome
of talks in Kenya this week as a victory for Col Garang and a significant
retreat by the government. The two sides agreed in a joint communiqu, yesterday
to start negotiations in earnest in Nairobi on October 28.
26: Col. Garang today praised a decision by the military junta to return to
negotiations to end the country's 14-year-old civil war. The decision is the
"start of reason," said Col. Garang. In a television link-up with a press
conference in Nairobi, Col. Garang said Khartoum's change of heart was the
result of the military offensive launched by the SPLA and its allies in January.
26: Exiled opposition leader Mr Sadek al-Mahdi said today a new round of peace
talks between the military junta and the SPLA has little chance of success. He
said, "everything indicates that the Khartoum regime is not serious in the
search for a complete solution".
27: Sudanese state-owned radio announced last week that President el-Bashitr is
to meet his Ugandan counterpart , Yoweri Museveni, in South Africa on October 5.
The talks in Pretoria are part of President Mandela's peace initiative to mend
relations between the two neighbours.
28: Col. Garang has appealed for international food aid to tackle an "acute food
shortage" in the southern region, IPS reported. Garang said in Nairobi that the
rains had failed this year due to the "El Nino effect".
29: Islamic and traditional courts in Sudan have decided to impose higher fees
on people seeking divorce because more and more women are trying to leave their
husbands. Heavier fees will discourage women from suing for divorce according to
Sultan Deng Ring, a traditional chief from Southern Sudan whose court is located
east of Khartoum.
30: Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Osman Mohammed Taha is believed to have had
recent talks with former premier al-Mahdi in Cairo, a Khartoum newspaper said
today. The daily El-Sharee el-Syasi, quoting an unidentified source, said that
messages from "important government personalities" had been taken to Mr
October 1: Taha was quoted today as saying the US was fuelling conflicts in
Africa by increasing military aid to its hostile neighbours Eritrea, Ethiopia
and Uganda. "Increasing military aid falls in the category of increasing
conflict in the region, it doesn't help solve anything," the Foreign Minister
was quoted in the London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat as saying.
1: A former Sudanese envoy in Malaysia has alleged the embassy in Kuala Lumpur
has been co-ordinating arms deals with east Asian suppliers and reached an
agreement with a Malaysian company to covertly ship weapons to Sudan. The
ex-attache, Abu al-Aziz Kattab, resigned and defected recently to the NDA. He
claimed that Khartoum was planning to buy "heavy weapons" from China, Indonesia
and the Russia mafia.
2: An embarrassed State Department conceded that it acted prematurely last week
in announcing that US diplomats would return to Sudan after an absence of almost
two years. Spokesman Mr James P. Rubin acknowledged that the administration had
failed to take into account sanctions legislation before the Congress aimed at
tightening existing sanctions against Sudan's Islamic government.
3: International Rescue Committee (IRC) has reported an influx of returnees to
Mading in the Upper Nile region. Of the 650 returnees identified, 242 were from
Khartoum and 408 from Ethiopia. Some of the returnees indicated that there had
been several deaths along their journey. Possible investigations to assist this
group are being investigated.
3: Planning for National Immunisation Days (NIDS) activities in southern Sudan
have begun. Meetings have been held between the Centres for Disease Control
representative (CDC) and the medical co-ordinators of RASS, SRRA and NGOs
implementing health programmes. The goal of NIDS is to vaccinate all children in
southern Sudan against polio within a short period.
7: Some 63,000 Sudanese students have undergone military training, and many are
to be sent to fight in the civil war in the south. The Akhbar Al-Youm reported
on Monday that the students have completed the first phase of training. Being
sent to the South is considered "advanced training" by Sudan's chief of staff
General Ibrahim Suliman.
8: Sudan's Defence Minister has justified the deployment of high school students
in battle against southern rebels on the basis of a shortage of regular troops,
the media reported in Khartoum today. Amid criticism of the Khartoum junta for
enlisting youths, a government spokesman meanwhile said high school students had
indeed stood up to a rebel attack and destroyed a number of tanks.
9: A Sudanese government aircraft bombed the rebel-held town of Yei, killing one
civilian and injuring three others, aid officials said today. The plane bombed
the outskirts of Yei town at around 4 pm local time yesterday, according to a
Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) official in contact with Yei by radio.
11: Information Minister Brigadier el-Tayeb Kheir has called for talks with
Egypt to resolve disputes between the two countries, a Khartoum daily Akhbar
Al-Youm reported yesterday. It said Sudan was keen to resume talks.
11: Sudanese rebels said today they were in a better position to capture Juba
than at any other time in the 14-year war. On the front line around Juba, the
Khartoum government army and the SPLA squared off and mounted daily attacks
ahead of peace talks in Nairobi, starting at the end of the month, rebel
14: Thousands of Sudanese are fleeing Juba, complaining of food shortages and
accusing the government of persecuting Christians and other southerners. Juba is
threatened by guerrilla forces, and has to be supplied with food and other
requirements by air, they say.
14: Sudan's military junta has denied a claim that the SPLA captured a strategic
garrison town, Belinia, in South Kordofan Province. Army spokesman Mohammed
Al-Sanousi Ahmed said that the rebels had simply carried out "looting operations
on a post far away" from the provincial capital, Kadugli, in a reference to
Belinia, which he did not name as such.
15: The United Nations is sending emergency food supplies by barges to Juba
which urgently needs food, a spokesman said today. A convoy of barges loaded
with 2,700 tonnes of food is due to arrive in Juba in mid November, World Food
Programme spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume told a Geneva briefing.
Church grows against countless odds
"The attitude of the Government of Sudan (GoS) towards the church, particularly
the Catholic Church, is negative, to say the least," the Arch-bishop of
Khartoum, Gabriel Zubeir Wako, has said.
Arch-bishop Wako expressed the sentiments in a paper he presented on the
occasion of the Sudanese Catholic Bishops Conference in Rome, Italy, last
All the Sudanese Catholic Bishops, except Rudolph Deng Majak of Wau, made the
month-long visit which commenced on August 24. Bishop Majak chose not to leave
his people at the time of the Conference, which was in accordance with the
Catholic Church tradition in which every five years each conference of bishops
goes to visit the Holy Father, the Pope and the Sacred Congregations.
Arch-bishop Wako said that the latest manifestation of the government's negative
attitude towards the church has taken the form of systematic demolition of
Christian schools and multi-purpose centres. "The reasons given so far to
justify the demolition are not convincing. The policy behind them does no
justice to the government's oft repeated declaration that the Sudan respects and
recognises every religion,'' the paper further says.
It goes on to point out that for the last 30 years, the Islamic regime has not
granted the church any permit to construct decent places of worship. "Moreover,
the Sudanese school syllabus is nothing but Islamic indoctrination for the
children,'' says the paper.
The Sudanese Bishops on September 16-18 were received by Pope John Paul II, who
spent sometime with each one of them. They celebrated the Eucharist with him and
also had their plenary meeting with the Holy Father.
The Pope reassured the Bishops of his and the Church's continued support to them
in the face of all their difficulties. Said he: "The Sudan still finds itself in
the midst of great turmoil. The turmoil of a civil war which has brought untold
misery, suffering and death especially in the south, continues to afflict the
land and to drain the life and energies of your people. Your communities are
deeply affected by a breakdown in the good relations which should exist between
Christians and Muslims. Despite your people's poverty and their resulting
weakness by worldly standards, the Lord will not forsake you."
Together, the Sudanese bishops re-affirmed their commitment to serving their
people in the face of their miseries occasioned by many years of civil strife.
"Despite our fears and the clear awareness of our inadequacy, weakness and
poverty, we repeat the commitment we made at our Episcopal ordination. We will
go wherever the Lord sends us. We will do whatever he commands us to do. For we
know that He, true to his promise, has given us the Holy Spirit," they said in a
"After the example of the Word of God, who became Emmanuel, that is God with us,
we will continue to live with our suffering people wherever they may be, to
share their joy and hope, grief and anguish, until the fulfilment of the
Salvation God has promised to those who place all their hope on Him," said the
Accordingly, the Bishops set before them the vision of a Sudan devoid of war,
oppression, ethnic animosity, injustice and discrimination because of religion.
"According to this vision," they said, "the Sudan should become a country in
which basic human freedoms are fully respected, defended and promoted not only
by law but also in practice."
The Catholic bishops spelt out their pastoral priority, proclaiming the Good
News of salvation with renewed vigour and zeal, intensifying their efforts for
the ongoing Christian and Spiritual formation of their people and helping better
understand the real nature of the Church and of her role in society.
Besides Arch-bishop Wako others in attendance were the Arch-bishop of Juba,
Paolino Lukudu Loro, Bishop Joseph Gasi Abangite of Tambura-Yambio, Bishop
Vincent Mojwok Nyiker of Malakal, Torit's Paride Taban, Macram Max Gassis of El
Obeid, Bishop of Yei, Erkolano Lado Tombe, the Apostolic Administrator of El
Obeid, Antonio Menegazzo, the Auxiliary Bishop of Khartoum Daniel Adwok Kur and
Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari, who is the Apostolic Administrator of Rumbek
SUDAN CATHOLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
Bethany House, P. O. Box 21202, Nairobi, Kenya
tel. +254.2.562247 or 569130, fax 566668
For further information, please contact:
Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.562247 - fax +254.2.566668 - e-mail: SCIO@MAF.Org