Sudan Monthly Report

Current issue
October 15, 1998


  1. Chronology
  2. The family of God the Father on a journey towards justice, peace and reconciliation
  3. Cancellation of talks does not augur well for Sudan


September 16: The SPLA said its forces had captured a garrison in southern Sudan and killed 40 government troops in fierce fighting in the trouble region. An SPLA spokesman said by telephone from the Eritrean capital, Asmara, that al Gabalein garrison, 62 kilometres east of the main southern city of Juba, had fallen . 17: Sudan's army said it had killed 50 Ugandan and Sudanese rebel troops after a fierce battle in the war-ravaged south. State radio read out a statement from army spokesman Abdel Rahman Sir Al-Khatim, who said three government soldiers had died while repulsing the attack on al-Gabalein, Torit and Liria.

17: Flooding and torrential rains in northern and central Sudan have driven 30,000 people from their homes and left 25 people dead, a newspaper reported. Colonel Wagie All el-Tayeb, a government civil defence official, was quoted in the daily Akhbar al-Sa'a as saying 455 villages have been wiped out by the Nile River flooding in recent days.

18: Sudanese rebels have said they had captured the garrison town of Liria, 72 kilometres south-east of the government-held southern capital Juba. The SPLA claimed it had also captured Ngolere and Rodondo, two smaller garrisons on the road between Juba and Torit in Eastern Equatoria Province.

18: The Riyadh-based Arab Gulf Programme (AG-FUND) said it had allocated $50,000 to help flood victims in Sudan. AG-FUND, headed by Saudi Prince Tala bin Abdul-Aziz, said in a statement the assistance would be given to two UN agencies operating in Khartoum to "support needed humanitarian efforts".

19: Former US president Jimmy Carter has called for an investigation into whether a Sudanese factory destroyed by US missiles in August actually manufactured possible chemical weapons materials. A technical team should visit Khartoum to inspect the plant and to take samples of soil and building materials, Carter said in a statement.

22: Sudan has said an unspecified number of people, including a child, were killed when a south-eastern village was shelled. The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) quoted Lt.Gen. Sir al-Khatim as saying mortars and artillery hit several villages in Eastern Equatoria state, which lies on the borders with Ethiopia and Ugandan.

23: Sudanese soldiers clashed with Uganda forces supporting rebels in southern Sudan and destroyed several tanks and vehicles, the Sudanese army spokesman said. The clashes erupted in Eastern Equatoria province, where fierce battles have taken place since last week, said Gen. Sir al-Khatim.

23: Ugandan forces backed by Eritrea and Rwanda were involved in fighting against Sudanese troops in southern Sudan, a Sudan army spokesman said. Sir al-Khatim told a news conference that Khartoum's army had destroyed 11 tanks, as well as trucks and arms from the Ugandan forces he said had invaded Sudan's Eastern Equatoria state.

24: A Sudan army spokesman said Khartoum's forces had killed more than 70 Ugandan troops in recent fighting in southern Sudan, a newspaper reported. "Seventy-five tanks, three armoured vehicles and a number of trucks have been destroyed and over 70 killed, ''the official Al-Anbaa newspaper quoted army spokesman Lt. Gen.Sir al-Khatim as saying.

24: Former US attorney general Ramsey Clark has said the US government had wanted an excuse to strike at Sudan and the decision to bomb a pharmaceutical plant there was strictly political. Clark made the accusations to reporters after returning from Sudan, where he led a delegation from the International Action Centre on a fact-finding mission to the El-Shifa pharmaceutical factory, which was destroyed by US cruise missiles.

26: Representative Barney Frank, one of President Bill Clinton's most outspoken supporters on Capitol Hill, said he believes President Clinton made a mistake in ordering the bombing of a Sudanese factory suspected of manufacturing chemical weapons agents. Rep Frank said in a letter to President Clinton he initially supported the bombing of sites in both Sudan and Afghanistan but now believes the administration went too far in Sudan attack.

26: The United Nations has appealed for nearly US$9 million to provide shelter, clean water and medicine to 100,000 Sudanese left homeless by the worst flooding of the Nile in decades.

27: The Sudanese army killed 400 rebels and 50 Ugandan troops in battles near a strategic garrison town over the past two weeks, a military commander in southern Sudan said. The claim was the latest by Sudan that Uganda had sent troops to fight with southern Sudanese rebels involved in a 15-year civil war- an accusation Uganda has repeatedly denied.

28: Sudan's president Lt. Gen. Omar el-Bashir, paid a surprise visit to the strategic town of Juba in Equatoria province and warned of a major battle to keep the town in government hands. The visit came 10 days after Sudanese rebels claimed they had captured the garrison town of Liria, 72 kilometres Southeast of Juba, and two smaller army outposts.

28: Two children were killed and 132 injured when the Wad Shaarifai refugee camp, 20 km from Kassala, was shelled , the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies said. Since January, at least 55,000 people are thought to have moved from their villages in the area along Sudan's eastern border with Eritrea due to conflict.

28: Albert Navarro, director of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) said representatives of the Khartoum government and the SPLA would meet in Nairobi on October 5 to discuss and extend a ceasefire they agreed earlier in the year to allow food deliveries to reach hungry people in Bahr el-Ghazal. The truce expires on October 15.

28: Heavy floods have now affected 132 of Sudan's 26 states and in terms of people affected and damage to households and infrastructure, the situation is worse than in 1988 when the flooding was considered to have been of unprecedented dimension. Reports have said one million people were suffering from the impact of the floods, some 500 villages had been destroyed and agricultural sector ravaged.

29: Sudan has put the country on a mobilisation footing to confront what it called an attack by Uganda and Eritrea, southern Sudan, state radio said. "The cabinet, meeting yesterday...declared a state of general mobilisation to confront various other plots that target the country currently," it said.

29: The UNICEF has appealed for the extension of a three-month ceasefire between the government of Sudan and the SPLA which expires on October 15. It must be extended in time and broadened in scope, said UNICEF in a statement.

29: Sudanese air force planes have dropped cluster bombs on a hospital in a rebel-controlled town in southern Sudan, a humanitarian organisation said. A patient was seriously wounded and a ward was damaged in the bombing of the hospital in Yei, about 120 kilometres south-west of Juba, said Dan Effie of Norwegian People's Aid, which runs the hospital.

30: The Security Council held preliminary discussions on an Arab-sponsored draft resolution demanding a UN Investigation into US claims that a Sudanese factory it bombed in August was making chemical weapons. Council president Hans Dahlgreen of Sweden said he had received a letter from Lebanese Ambassador Samir Moubarak, the current head of the informal group of Arab states, known as Arab Group, with a copy of the draft resolution in it.

30: Thousands of Sudan's civilians are headed south to join the government's war against Sudanese rebels and Ugandan troops, the official media reported. The mobilisation follows an appeal by the government for retired army officers to help the military's defence against expected rebel assaults.

October 1: President Hosni Mubarak says a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory bombed by the US last month could have been used to make chemical weapons agents. President Mubarak's comments were published in the government-run Al-Ahram newspaper and are the first by an Arab leader endorsing the Clinton administration's claim that Sudan was using the plant for military purposes.

2: The Sudan government has imposed a blanket ban on aid flights to the south of the country, according to the UN's Operation Lifeline Sudan. The government gave no reason for the decision and OLS said it hoped the ban was an administrative matter that would be quickly resolved through negotiation with Khartoum government.

2: Sudan rebels are attempting to break the government's grip on the southern garrison town of Torit in their biggest offensive for 18 months, aid workers and other sources said. "The rebels are certainly going to attack Torit," said one senior Nairobi-based aid worker in contact with the area.

3: Sudan's army has killed more than 500 Ugandan soldiers who Khartoum says were invading the southern part of the country, the Sudanese news Agency reported, quoting a military spokesman. "the armed forces have managed up to now to kill over 500 of the invading troops, destroy or seize 17 tanks and five armoured vehicles," Lt. Col. General Sir al-Khatim was quoted by SUNA as saying.

5: A top Ugandan intelligence official said that a Sudanese plane dropped bombs in north-western Uganda, but no casualties had been reported. The senior official, who declined to be identified, said the bombs were dropped at around 1630 GMT in Adjumani district, about 550 kilometres northwest of the Ugandan capital Kampala.

5: The latest round of talks to seek ways of ending southern Sudan civil war were cancelled because the Sudanese government declined to send representatives, a rebel official said. "As far as we know, there are no talks tomorrow because Khartoum is not sending anybody," said Mr. Justin Arop Yaac, a spokesman for the SPLA.

6: Aid flights resumed to southern Sudan after the Khartoum government had refused clearance for a day because of an "administrative glitch," an OLS official said: "All planes are flying today. Permission for flights on Thursday was denied due to a misunderstanding over clearance procedure," said Elizabeth Kramer.

6: A cousin of president el-Bashir was killed fighting rebels in southern Sudan, state-run television announced. The broadcast did not say when the cousin, Abu Baker el-Tayeb Mustafa, was killed.

6: International efforts are underway to reschedule the postponed meeting of the IGAD technical committee on humanitarian affairs to discuss the extension and broadening of the Bahr al-Ghazal ceasefire. The meeting was due to have brought together representatives of the Khartoum government and the SPLA.

6: In the SPLA-held Ajiep, hunger-related deaths have fallen from 60 per 10,000 per day to three per 10, 000, OLS spokesman Gillain Wilcox has said. There has been a comparable improvement in government-controlled Wau.

6: Tension between the Sudanese and local communities has increased following the reported arrival of SPLA troops in the Dungu area, about 100 km from the DRC-Congo border.

7: The Uganda army has deployed troops to two northwestern Uganda towns near the border with Sudan after they were bombed by a Sudanese aircraft, a radio station said. The troops were deployed to Adjumani and Pakele, about 350 kilometres northwest of Kampala, where the bombing injured six people, the private Central Broadcasting Service said.

7: Sudan has denied that it launched bombing raids in northern Uganda in which six people were injured, newspapers reported. The Sudan foreign ministry "denied its planes bombed the towns of Adjumani and Pakele in northern Uganda on Saturday".

8: Uganda has dismissed a threat by president el-Bashir that Sudan may launch attacks on Uganda, the minister of state for foreign affairs, Mr. Amama Mbabazi has said. The minister said Sudan was no major threat to Uganda. "We are a no threat and he has no capacity to do it. He is not a real military threat to Uganda," Mr. Mbabazi added.

8: Some 50 rebels of SPLA have been killed in FNT forces in the Central Mendi area of South Kordofan Province, a Khartoum daily Alwan newspaper reported from the Sudanese capital. The report was not independently verified.

8: Khartoum is to demand an official explanation of a newspaper interview given by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak late last month in which he sought to justify August's US raid on a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, officials said. "The Sudanese government wants an explanation of this statement," information minister Mr. Ghazi Salaheddin Atabani said.

9: Sudan has agreed to discuss its complaint over an American missile strike on a Khartoum factory directly with the US as well as pursuing it in the UN Security Council, newspapers said. "The Sudanese government agreed officially to open the door of direct bilateral dialogue with the US administration through the foreign ministries in Khartoum and Washington," the private Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper said.

9: Sudanese defence minister Ibrahim Suleiman has said the government needed 50,000 volunteer fighters to crush southern rebels and their alleged foreign backers, newspapers reported. They quoted Suleiman as telling the National Assembly that a general mobilisation declared last week must continue until the government had enough men and money to crush what he called attacks by Uganda and Eritrea in Eastern Equatoria state.

9: An SPLA communique issued in Nairobi, Kenya, said the SPLA were extending and expanding their ceasefire in response to an appeal by Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi and because of widespread famine in southern Sudan.

10: Sudanese forces have fended off rebel attacks on a key town in southern Sudan and control the road linking it to a nearby army camp, state-run Omdurman radio has reported. The SPLA sustained heavy loses in the clashes near Juba, said an army communiqué read on the radio. It did not provide casualty figures for either side.

12: The SPLA has confirmed that its troops had withdrawn from the town of Liria in eastern Equatoria. A communiqué issued in Nairobi said the SPLA had withdrawn "for tactical reasons" but it gave no further details.

12: Sudan has declared it wanted a full ceasefire with southern rebels, but stopped short of agreeing to adhere to the partial truce that rebels have declared. The SPLA had earlier said it would extend by another three months a ceasefire set to end on October 15 in southern Bahr el-Ghazal province.

12: Although flooding has receded in northeastern Sudan, the flood emergency has now entered a "critical public health phase" as large areas remain under stagnant water, according to latest reports. There is concern that the emergency situation could worsen in the coming months due to outbreaks of waterborne diseases, lack of shelter and poor food security conditions.

12: Sudanese opposition parties have criticised draft legislation on the formation of political parties in Sudan, charging that it favours the Khartoum regime, press reports said. The Al Rai al Akher daily reported that critics have said the bill was "tailored to the interest of the national Congress," which will become a political party once the bill becomes law.

12: Al Rai al Akher newspaper has reported that senior National Congress official Mr. Mohammed al Hassan al Amin, commenting whether exiled opposition leaders Mr. Mohammed Osman al Mirghani and Sadeq al Mahdi might return home to lead their parties, said: "Mirghhani and Mahdi have committed acts that call for their trial on their return home."

14: A WFP barge started delivering 1,244mts of food to over 100,000 people in some locations along Sobat River in Upper Nile state. A WFP statement said the three-barge convoy left the port of Kosti to deliver food along the Sobat.

14: Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail has said his government extended a ceasefire in the southwestern Bahr el-Ghazal region by three months for "humanitarian" purposes. "We have decided to extend the ceasefire, which expires on October 15, to another three months in Bahr el-Ghazal region to allow humanitarian relief assistance to reach safely the needy people in that region," Mr. Osman said.

14: Mr. Carl Tintsman, the co-ordinator of southern Sudan for OLS has said the organisation welcomed the extensions of the ceasefire because they would allow the agencies to continue to deal with a devastating famine in Bahr el-Ghazal.

The family of God the Father on a journey towards justice, peace and reconciliation

This year's Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference was held in the Kenyan capital , Nairobi, from September 14-31. In attendance were Gabriel Zubeir Wako, the Arch-bishop of Khartoum, Arch-bishop of Juba Paolino Lukudo Loro, Bishop Joseph Gasi Abangite of Tambura-Yambio, Paride Taban of Torit, Vincent Mojwok Nyiker of Malakal, Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El-Obeid, Auxiliary Bishop of Khartoum Daniel Adwok Kur, Bishop of Wau Rudolph Deng Majak, Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei, Administrator, Apostolic of El Obeid Antonio Menegazzo and the Administrator, Apostolic of Rumbek, Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari. At the end of their deliberations, the bishops came up with the following document:


We, the Bishops of Sudan, gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for our Plenary Assembly, send our greetings of peace and love in the name of Christ, our peace.

In preparation for the Jubilee 2000 and for the Centenary of Evangelisation in Sudan, we are launching the following pastoral programme for all Christians in the Sudan. It is a programme that is intended to deepen the understanding and the implementation of the "Vision, Mission and Values" published by the Bishops of Sudan in September of 1997 in Rome.

The Current situation in the Sudan:
We, the Catholic Bishops of the Sudan, being critically aware of the devastating civil war in our country, and mindful of our responsibilities as Bishops, have discussed, among other things, the question of war and peace in the Sudan. We also reflected on the situation of human rights in general as well as on famine currently affecting various parts of the country, especially the hardest hit areas such as Bahr al Ghazal.

We noted with the greatest concern the devastating consequences of the on-going civil war on civilian population and property as represented by the continuing loss of innocent lives (this amounts to ethnic cleansing) and destruction of property; rampant sense of frustration and hopelessness; broken families; spread of crime and immorality including rape; dislocation and displacement of whole populations resulting in unprecedented suffering, impoverishment and dehumanisation. The influx of refugees into the neighbouring countries, no doubt, relates to the agonising effects of this war. We also noted with regret certain practices which undermine the dignity and worth of the human person. In particular, we deplore extra-judicial punishment, mysterious disappearance of people, slavery and slavery-related practices, torture, restrictions on freedom of worship, lack of freedom of expression, discriminative laws, practices and attitudes, manipulation of the media and lack of genuine dialogue between Christians and Moslems.

We disapprove of the use of food for faith or as a weapon. Furthermore, we express our concern for civilian population in crossfire especially in situations involving aerial bombardment. Finally, we deplore the slow, almost cynical response to the famine situation and the denial of food aid to some areas including the Nuba Mountains. By way of warning, we express our fears that another more devastating famine is looming and may most likely hit again in 1999 because of this year's insufficient rains and other reasons. The situation will demand timely concerted effort both at the national and international levels.

We cite the situation of war to express our total rejection of it. This conflict, in fact, should challenge and disturb the conscience of any believer in God or any person of goodwill. This situation is unacceptable and we call upon the principle parties to the conflict to seriously work for a negotiated settlement and to stop the perpetration of the heinous crimes.

As we reflected on the war situation, we could see that there are signs of hope and some light at the end of the tunnel. The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) involvement in the peace process, although slow, is commendable and encouraging. We also praise and encourage the role of friends of IGAD in the peace process. In addition, we commend the parties to the conflict for courageously coming to the negotiation table last August. This effort and spirit should continue. Equally, praiseworthy is the acceptance of a limited cease-fire by both parties

As far as the people are concerned, there are also signs of hope. The people are becoming increasingly aware of their destiny and are closing their ranks in unity and are more supportive of each other. They are more conscious than ever of their dignity and rights and of their duties and obligations towards the community and the Church. Many young people and intellectuals are more prepared now than ever, to get involved in community and Church affairs. They are involved in educational, cultural and religious programmes. For example, the Bible is presently being translated into many indigenous languages. The youth and women, in collaboration with the Church, are working whole-heartedly for a better understanding of the scriptures and for the spread of literacy. The Gospel has now reached areas previously untouched and the spirit of the people, both young and old, to learn the good news, is at once genuine and determined. We thank the selfless efforts and commitment of the youth, women and pastoral workers.

Signs of hope are spreading in other communities. We note with appreciation that people outside the Christian community are fostering our same values and are sharing with the larger community in its efforts and concern. We encourage this to continue for the good of our nation, the Sudan.

Cancellation of talks does not augur well for Sudan

The news about the cancellation of the next round of Sudanese peace talks has not taken many by surprise. With the latest developments on the battle field and the strong pronouncements by the leaders of the parties to the Sudanese conflict, it would have taken something akin to a miracle to bring the combatants to the negotiation table. The talks, under the auspices of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, (IGAD), were scheduled to begin in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on October 5.

The principle concern of the warring parties now seems to be the control of Juba, the largest town in southern Sudan, still under the control of President Omar Hassan el-Bashir's government. Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) leader Colonel John Garang is reported to have personally taken charge of the offensive.

Naturally, the government is not resting on its laurel. It is taking every precaution to ensure its continued stranglehold on the strategic garrison town. The fall of Juba to the rebels, could mark a major turning point in the 15-year-old conflict. It could as well mean the stamping out of the Islamic government's authority in the entire southern Sudan.
On a recent visit to Juba, President Bashir predicted that the impending battle would be "decisive and final" Among other things, the government has embarked on massive military recruitment that has seen university education suspended in Khartoum. Expenditure by various ministries has also been reduced drastically to help finance the war.
The likely consequences of the current dimension in the protracted conflict, especially on the civilian population, are not hard to imagine.

Southern Sudan continues bearing the brunt of a devastating famine that has claimed thousands of lives despite concerted international relief efforts. Floods have also set in, restricting accessibility to the thousands of people desperate for aid while playing havoc with whatever little has taken roots in the farms.

Is it the right time then for the war to intensify? The obvious answer is no. The ordinary Sudanese are definitely tired of this war, which together with its consequences, have claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives. What they need is peace to enable them go about their day-to-day activities and regain their dignity among the world's nations.

Though the previous talks cannot be said to have achieved much, the mere fact that the bitter foes could give dialogue a chance is commendable.

As all people of goodwill wait with bated breadth for the impending offensive, one can only hope that Col. Garang and Gen. Bashir will finally realise that dialogue is the best way forward.

Charles Omondi



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:

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