April 16: A district in southern Sudan's El Buheyrat state is
threatened with famine, governor Mr Nicanor Mager has said. Mr Mager
warned of "the existence of a famine threat due to an acute shortage
in food and medicine" in Aliab district, the state's Yirol province.
16: Sudanese army spokesman Abdul Rahman Siral Khetim has said that
"heavy casualties " had been inflicted on the rebels in "extensive
mopping-up operations" conducted in the past two days.
18: The human rights situation in Sudan is deteriorating, and hundreds
of thousands are going hungry because of government obstacles to
humanitarian aid, a UN rapporteur has said. "Representatives of
humanitarian agencies and NGOs working in southern Sudan agree that
this situation is a purely man-made disaster," said Gaspar Biro of
20: With Christian southerners arriving in Khartoum at a rate of 1,000
a day, Sudan's capital is fast becoming less Arabic. Khartoum was once
a distinctly Arab town where most people looked north to Egypt or
Saudi Arabia for their cultural roots and where most common dress for
men was long white tunics and turbans.
20: Sudanese president Omar el-Bashir has denied accusations that the
military guards shot and killed any of the more than 50 student
recruits who died early this month in what the government maintained
was a boat capsize. "These are mere defamatory rumours," he said in
response to the accusations that the recruits were shot while trying
to flee from a military training camp.
20: Sudan's chief justice has announced that the punishment of
flogging won't be ordered against women and the elderly in most cases,
a pro-government daily reported. Alwan newspaper said chief justice
Obeid Hajji Ali issued the directive.
20: The government has appealed to humanitarian organisations to
supply food and medicine to parts of southern Sudan facing famine. The
appeal came three days after the UN's food operation in southern Sudan
accused the government of hampering efforts to feed some 350,000
people in the state of Bahr el-Ghazal.
21: The World Food programme has received a donation of 2,000 tonnes
of relief supplies worth more than $3.2 million for the famine
stricken southern Sudan. A statement from the UN relief organisation
said food consignment, donated by the US, is expected on board the MV
22: The UN food agency has warned of a catastrophic famine in Bahr
el-Ghazal unless it receives permission from Khartoum to triple relief
flights to the region. "The situation in Bahr el-Ghazal has reached a
critical and frightening level," the WFP's director for southern
Sudan, Mr David Fletcher, said.
22: Young Sudanese army conscripts will be allowed to leave the front
lines in the civil war against rebels to take high school
examinations, press reports said today. The decision applies to those
among the conscripts fighting the SPLA who failed their examinations
last year, a military official told the government daily Al Gamhouria.
23: Uganda is to review its diplomatic links with Sudan and will also
look at the visa issues within the COMESA region, President Museveni
told a news conference at State House, Kampala today. Museveni also
said that the recent bomb blasts in the capital, Kampala, were linked
24: The Apostolic Administrator of Rumbek Diocese, southern Sudan,
Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari, has appealed to the international
community to act expeditiously to save the Sudanese from mass
starvation. Monsignor Mazzolari said in Nairobi that the situation was
already pathetic but the worst could be on the way unless aid arrives
27: Peace talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLA will be
postponed to May 4 from April 30, a Sudanese minister said today. The
official news agency, Suna, quoted foreign minister Mustafa Osman
Ismail as saying his government received word of the new date from
Kenya, host of the peace talks.
27: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has appealed to the
international community for agent food aid for war victims in southern
Sudan. UNICEF executive director Eastern and Southern Africa Region
Carol Bellamy said food, seeds, tools, medical supplies and shelter
items were needed to reach an estimated 300,000 to 350,000
"vulnerable" people in Bahr el-Ghazal "to avert humanitarian tragedy."
27: Famine and civil strife have taken their toll on the people of
Southern Sudan with a new famine threat looming large. The World Food
Programme warned in a statement issued in Nairobi of "catastrophic
famine" in the Bahr el-Ghazal region.
28: A delegation of Sudanese government officials led by the assistant
president of the Southern Sudan Co-ordination Council, Dr Riek Machar,
has held talks with president Museveni at his countryside home in
Rwakitura, Mbarara, Western Uganda. The meeting was also attended by
Dr Metri Siddiq, the presidential adviser on peace, Mr Joseph Nyok
Adiel, minister of South Sudan Co-ordination Council based in Juba and
other Sudanese officials. No details were given.
28: Egyptian negotiations aimed at recovering properties confiscated
by Sudan have failed, the Al-Hayat newspaper reported today. The
London-headquartered daily said 10 days of the talks failed to produce
results when it became apparent that Sudan was willing to return only
some of the 33 schools, 16 guest houses and buildings of the Cairo
University Campus to Egyptian control.
29: Sudanese rebels have released around 400 government soldiers from
a jail at western Equatoria province, an aid official said yesterday.
The SPLA released the prisoners from a jail at Yei town in a ceremony
on Sunday morning, according to Mr Dan Eiffe, liaison officer for the
Norwegian People's Agency.
29: WFP has described the humanitarian situation in southern Bahr el
Ghazal state as one of "sheer desperation". A WFP spokeswoman, who
last week visited Majakaliet county, said only 30 per cent of some
25,000 people who came to the UN food distribution centre there could
29: The SPLA has denied claims by Khartoum that it is planning a major
offensive in southern and eastern Sudan. A Nairobi-based SPLA
spokesman, George Garang, said the organisation was defending its
positions in eastern Sudan which had come under attack from government
troops for the last three years.
29: Sudanese defence minister Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Sulayman has
said it was "mandatory to call up all young people" for military
service to enable them to fight alongside the army, Sudanese
television has reported.
30: Sudan's government is blocking emergency aid from reaching its own
people, thousands of whom are at risk from starvation, Britains's
international development minister said yesterday. "The government of
Sudan is deliberately preventing the food getting through, it is
deliberately inflicting this starvation on these people for its own
ends," Clare Short said in A BBC radio interview.
30: The UN food agency yesterday called on the international community
to pressure the Sudanese government into allowing more famine relief
flights into the strife-torn southern state of Bahr el-Ghazal. "Our
relief workers there are asking how many must die before the
international community reacts," said WFP spokeswoman Christiane
30: The SPLA said yesterday that it would not countenance a meeting
between SPLA leader Garang and Riek Machar. Mr Machar had proposed the
meeting with Col. Garang on Saturday.
May 1: Sudan government has accused southern rebels of hindering aid
to hundreds of thousands of starving people and urged the world to
help, but no end to conflict and famine was in sight. "The rebel
movement has always placed hurdles before relief delivery operations,"
foreign minister Ismail told European Union ambassador on Wednesday,
according to Daily Al-Anbaa.
4: A Sudanese government delegation, headed by the foreign minister
instead of the first vice-president as planned, was flying to Nairobi
today for peace talks with the SPLA, officials said. Khartoum's
security and defence council chaired by president el-Bashir, decided
in overnight talks that its team for the session starting in Kenya
would be headed by foreign minister Ismail.
5: Peace talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLA ended in
Nairobi on Wednesday with a pledge to hold a referendum on the right
to self-determination in south Sudan. A statement read by Kenyan
foreign minister Bonaya Godana said the talks, under the auspices of
IGAD, had made progress despite a failure to reach agreement on state
5: WFP has announced the start-up of the first additional C-130
aircraft which began airdropping food supplies to 50, 000 southern
Sudanese in the towns of Ajak and Akon in Bahr al-Ghazal state. In a
news release, WFP said the operation followed the Sudanese
government's agreement last Sunday.
9: Sudan's warring parties took a tiny step this week on a path that
could eventually bring an end to their long war. But a long list of
obstacles stands in the way of peace, including deep-rooted mistrust
between north and south.
11: An agreement on a referendum in southern Sudan to be supervised by
foreign monitors and a concession by Khartoum to lift its
controversial ban of flights ferrying relief food to the troubled
region were some of the highlights of the latest round of peace talks
held in Nairobi last week.
12: The Sudanese opposition has accused Khartoum of deliberately
sowing hatred of the Dinka among the Arab tribes of central Sudan to
enlist their support against SPLA. The military government had
deliberately "sown discord between the Arab tribes and the Dinka in
order that the Arab tribes mobilise and fight alongside" government
13: Sudan is taking steps to allow UN relief flights to the Nuba
Mountains, which is reportedly on the verge of famine, Sudanese
foreign minister has announced. Mr Ismail said the government was
making arrangements for the OLS to include the Nuba region in its
distribution of food and medical supplies.
Famine ravaging Nuba Mountains
There is severe famine in the Sudan and appeals are being sent far and
wide by all the concerned parties to the international community to
act expeditiously to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Bahr
el-Ghazal region. How about the neighbouring Nuba Mountains in
Southern Kordofan? Why isn't this central Sudanese region getting any
mention yet the situation there is equally bad if not worse?
According to a recent Southern Kordofan Emergency Assessment report,
conducted by members of USAID and Concern (an Irish NGO), at least
20,000 people face a 70-80 per cent food deficit over the next five
months (between April and August). This, the report says, calls for
urgent external intervention if the population is to be kept alive and
productive in their present homes.
"The war-affected and displaced people of Um Dulu Payam of Nagorban
County and Erre Payam of Heiban County are in serious need of food
relief to enable them make it up to the 1998 harvest."
The report points out that, "though there is relief food available for
the people in the Nuba Mountains, it is only in the
government-organised and UN-supported relief camps".
"To access this food," explains Kevin Ashley, a member of the
assessment team, "people must completely abandon their homes and
livelihoods, which is tantamount to acceding to the Sudan government's
intention to culturally re-orient them, and later use them to fight
their own brothers."
Other members of the team that conducted the assessment between
February 2 and March 16, 1998 were Paul Murphy and Luka Biong.
Counterpart staff were Philip Neroun and Mohammed Kambal of Nuba
Relief and Rehabilitation Development Services.
Ever since the Nuba took up arms on May 16, 1986 to fight against the
Khartoum government alongside the southerners, the government has used
the tactic of cultural re-orientation as a means to denying the
Sudanese People's Liberation Army their (Nuba) contribution.
To this end, thousands of the Nuba have been rounded up and re-located
to peace camps (read concentration camps), where Arabic has become
their lingua franca and Islam their religion. They are a pool of
cheap/free labour, women and young girls are turned into sex slaves
and young men forcibly conscripted into the government army.
Alternatively, near impossible conditions for their survival have been
created in several parts of their homeland, claiming the lives of
thousands and forcing many more to surrender themselves to the peace
camps in desperation. These have included mining villages, raiding and
setting ablaze houses, farms and food stores and driving away
In the face of all these, the Khartoum government authorises no
flights to the Nuba Mountain areas under the control of the rebels.
Reason...Nuba mountains is geographically not part of southern Sudan
which is bearing the brunt of the internecine civil strife, now in its
But the report asserts that since the combatants in the south are the
same ones in the Nuba Mountains, the UN should seek to gain access to
the war-affected people of the Nuba Mountains on both sides in order
to meet urgent humanitarian needs.
"The rural people of Southern Kordofan (Nuba Mountains) have suffered
greatly over the past 10 years as a result of the combined effects of
war, drought, dwindling trade opportunities and lack of access to
humanitarian assistance,'' says the assessment report.
"Ten years of continuous insecurity, causing migration and death,
reduced the rural population from an estimated 1 million to between
350,00-400,00 people," it adds.
The Nuba are a collection of about 50 tribes with over 10 distinct
language groups. Though centrally placed in Africa's most expansive
state, the Nuba have chosen to be part of Southern Sudan in their
struggle against the northern-based Arab/Islamic government.
They are both crop and livestock farmers. However, much of the
livestock in Nuba Mountains is not kept as a food source but for trade
option for grain, for marriage or as a status symbol. There is a great
tradition of generosity among the Nuba, which takes many forms. It is
common, for instance, for people to share up to 10 per cent of their
harvest with needy relatives and friends.
In all parts of Nuba Mountains, dura (sorghum) is the backbone of the
food economy. It is invaluable as an assortment of meals, madida,
asida, kisira and marissa, and it is preferred to all other cereal
The scantily document history of famine in the area in the last one
decade, ranks 1997-98 year the worst as a result of delayed rains,
widespread displacement and losses of 75% of the cattle in raids.
The frequent government raids and bombings, the report says, have over
the years forced huge chunks of Nuba population to move higher up the
mountains, which, though not vulnerable to attacks, are incultivable.
To supplement their dwindling food resources, says the assessment
document, the Nuba have resorted to wild fruits found along stream
beds both in the valleys and in the hills. "Access to fruit is
dependent on whether a household has a claim to a tree(s). Most fruit
trees in the Nuba Mountains are either owned by a household or a
specific community, and are not accessible to the general public."
To guard against future food insecurity, the report calls for, among
others, provision of seed and tools to about 4,000 households in the
region. It also recommends that there be constant monitoring, by the
UN, journalists and other parties, of the affected communities so as
to continue keeping the international community informed about the
situation on the ground.
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