Sudan Monthly Report

Current issue
November 15, 1998


  1. Chronology
  2. Second graduation ceremony date set
  3. Agencies seek new ways to end crisis
  4. Hilaya's glorious past is no more


16: Sudanese authorities have released two opposition leaders after jailing them for 100 days, press reports said. Mr Abdel Rahman Ngudalla and Mr Abdel Mahmoud Abbo of the outlawed Umma Partry were arrested early in July, the day after a bomb exploded in Khartoum 16: The world Food Programme will air-drop over 17,000 metric tonnes of humanitarian aid to southern Sudan, making it the largest operation in its history. With 18 planes, the WFP will be making daily drops of 200-300 tonnes targeting a population of over 40,0000 people, WFP information officer Ms Lindsey Davies said.

16: Sudan's ruling National Congress will register immediately as a party once new legislation provides for the renewal of multi-party politics, parliamentary speaker Dr. Hassan al Turabi has announced. “The National Congress will be the first to apply for registration,” stated Dr. Turabi, a key figure in the Muslim community and secretary-general of the party, based on the defunct National Islamic Front (NIF).

16: Aid agencies have said they regretted the government cease-fire did not cover the Upper Western Nile region. British Minister of State at the foreign office Mr Dereck Fatchett has welcomed the government's decision to extend the cease-fire in Bahr el-Ghazal.

17: The Sudanese government is planning to invite all prominent figures to both inside and outside Sudan to participate in discussion of a bill by the ministry of justice on the re-introduction of political parties in Sudan. The bill was adopted by the council of ministers and submitted to the national assembly for further debate, with final passage into law expected as early as January.

19: Armed gangsters raided a bank in western Sudan, taking two billion Sudanese pounds. A government official said the bandits wore army uniform and arrived at the bank in a car with government plates.

19: The Sudanese government plans to induct some 100, 000 troops, drawn from the civil service and private business, over the next three years to combat southern rebels, the Al Anbaa has said. The soldiers, aged between 18 and 39, are to be inducted at the rate of more than 30, 000 conscripts each year to fight the SPLA, the official daily said.

19: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported in Nairobi that renewed fighting is taking place in the Eastern Equatoria region of southern Sudan. The ICRC said there had been a sharp increase in the number of patients reaching its medical facilities in the area.

20: A leader of Umma Party has rejected co-operation with the Islamist government of President Omar Hassan el-Bashir, which has invited its foes to discuss legislation to restore party politics. Mr Ngudalla, a former religious affairs minister released from detention last week, told Reuters the Umma Party would have nothing to do with Sudan's present leadership.

21: A senior SPLA official has accused Ugandan soldiers of exploiting gold and timber stocks on the pretext of helping his rebels fight the Khartoum government, a local newspaper said. The an unidentified official told the independent Crusader newspaper that the late Lt. Col. Jet Mwebaze, a Ugandan military officer killed in a plane crash last month, was in charge of a company fleecing southern Sudan of such resources.

22: Sudan's irrigation minister, a leading member of the Ansar religious sect linked to the Umma Party, has resigned, newspapers reported. They said president el-Bashir had accepted the resignation of Sharif al-Tuhami.

23: Heavy rains in war-ravaged southern Sudan have flooded homes and crops in low-lying areas, endangering more than 120, 000 people already suffering from famine, the UN has said. The WFP said flooding in three areas of southern Sudan has destroyed crops and dealt another blow to thousands already in the grip of famine caused by the 15-year civil war

24: Sudan has acknowledged that it is supporting rebels fighting to overthrow the governments of Uganda and Eritrea, but said this was only a response to similar policies from its neighbours. Sudan has long accused Uganda and Eritrea of supporting rebels fighting the Islamic government of Khartoum, and says the two countries, together with Sudanese rebels, invaded southern Sudan last month.

26: The Sudanese government has admitted that it lost a fighter jet while on mission against southern rebels but said it crashed due to a technical fault and not shot down by the rebels. The SPLA said their forces shot down a Russian-built MiG 23 fighter of the Sudanese Air Force near al-Jabalain, 64 kilometres east of Juba while it was on a support mission of a government ground attack.

26: Sudanese universities are to re-open in a week's time after they closed for a month to send students to fight against “Ugandan aggression” in the south of the country, state television reported. It quoted Sudan's higher education Minister Mr Ibrahim Ahmed Omar as saying students showed understanding of the national issues by participating in the “annihilation of the rebels and their response to the Ugandan aggression...”

26: Ethiopian Airlines has resumed flights to Khartoum after a three-year suspension following assassination attempt against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, a company official said. “The inaugural flight on Sunday will be followed by a second one during the coming week,” the official said.

27: The Sudanese government bombed the southern town of Yei, killing three civilians, the Norwegian People's Aid Agency said. NPA spokesman Dan Effie said a Russian Antonov bomber dropped seven bombs on a community grinding mill near the Eastern Equatoria town's hospital .

27: The Sudanese government is cracking down on people who fail to report for compulsory army service, military spokesman Kamal Hassan Ali told reporters. Mr Ali, spokesman of the national Military Service Administration, said his administration would immediately “commence taking legal measures” against public and private sector employees who have not responded to summons for military service. The age range is 18 to 39.

28: Four large relief organisations told Security Council members they will take a more active role in ending Sudan's civil war, saying aid alone would not solve disasters that have cost 1.5 million lives. “Sudan's warring factions use civilians as human shields and as strategic military resources ,” the agencies said. Representatives of CARE International, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders and Save the Children met Security Council members at Sweden's UN mission to press their campaign.

28: After 15 years of civil war, aid agencies says more than half the population of southern Sudan have fled their homes. Hundreds of thousands of them end up in the alien world of slums and shanty-towns which dot the countryside around the capital Khartoum in northern Sudan.

29: Dr Turabi has vehemently opposed an opposition demand for a constitutional conference to discuss all the country's problems as well as future rule in Sudan. “The opposition is more concerned with the scramble for power than with the passed constitution,” Dr. Turabi said, adding that there was no need to convene a constitutional conference as “the constitution has been passed by 96 per cent of the Sudanese people”.

29: An official of the dissolved Communist Party has slammed proposed multi-party legislation, which would not allow secular parties refusing to accept Muslim sharia law. He has declared that his party would continue functioning.

30: A Sudanese government relief official has warned that food in the southern Bahr el-Ghazal region, long plagued by famine and population displacement, will run out in early December. The head of humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in Bahr el-Ghazal, Mr Caesar Ezemangi, called on the authorities to speed up the process of renewing or extending food supply contracts with international and local NGOs operating in Bhar el-Ghazal in particular and in south in general.

November: 3: Sudan plans to round up men who have evaded compulsory military service and send them to battle fronts in the south, the official Al Anbaa daily said. It quoted national military service spokesman Kamal Hassan Ali as saying the drive “aims at those who have been called up but have not reported to mustering points or camps”.

3: President El-Bashir has declared an emergency in four states to combat armed robbery, state Radio Omdurman said. It said the state of emergency applied to Northern Darfur, Southern Dafur, Western Dafur sand Northern ”response to the wishes of the people of the area”.

4: The SPLA has been blamed in a court martial hearing for bomb attacks on several parts in Khartoum in late June, which caused no casualties. Interrogator Col. Ahmed Abdel Rahim told the court, which consists of three army officers and a civilian representing the ministry of justice that the SPLA was involved in bombings “through the first defendant Fr. Hillary Boma”.

6: World Vision is planning to “phase out” four therapeutic feeding centres in Bahr el-Ghazal by the end of the year as a limited harvest has temporarily reduced the threat of starvation in the region, the NGO said in a statement. Although the centres may need to be reopened early next year, closing them in meantime will encourage displaced populations to resettle., World Vision said. The centres, located in Thiet, Ngapagok, Luonyaker and Panacier have assisted about 2,000 malnourished children.

6: The president of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Bishop John Ricard, has urged the international community to establish a mechanism for peace in war-ravaged southern Sudan similar to the Middle East peace process. “I think what is missing in this effort towards getting the sides (rebels and government) to talk is some type of context or framework for peace to occur,” Bishop Ricard, who is the bishop of Pensacola, Florida, told a news conference in Nairobi.

9: Sudan official news agency SUNA has said its armed forces were shelled from inside Eritrea for an hour. The report, quoting armed forces spokesman Lt. Gen. Sir al-Khatrim, did not say if there were casualties.

9: The number of Sudanese who have returned to Yambio area of Western Equatoria from north-east DRC has reached 26, 000 according to World Vision. World Vision said the provision of humanitarian aid to the returnees has been hampered by recent insecurity in the area. Non-essential OLS workers were evacuated from Western Equatoria.

9; Sudan has began a regular flight to Bangui, the capital of Central Africa Republic. Sudanese radio cited Aviation Minister Hamid Muhammed Ali Tarayan as saying the air link would strengthen economic, trade and political ties between the two countries.

9: The foreign minister of Sudan and Eritrea arrived in Doha for peace talks to be mediated by Qatar. Eritrean radio quoted president Isaias Afeworki recently returned from a trip to Yemen after Hanish Island dispute was resolved- who said problems with Sudan should be resolved peacefully.

10: Rwanda's vice-president Paul Kagame and Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni have denounced the Congo-Sudan alliance. In a day-long meeting at state house Kampala attended by top Ugandan military brass, the two leaders also dismissed what they called “baseless theories and falsehood propaganda by president Kabila of Congo and some of his allies”.

10: Sudan and Eritrea have signed a memorandum of understanding in Qatar aimed at resolving their differences, news organisations reported. The two countries' foreign ministers met in Qatar mediation. Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Hamed bin Jassim Jabr al-Thani told reporters in Doha both countries had agreed to resolve their differences through mutual consultations and hold high-level meetings in future.

10: Two refugees were killed when armed assailants believed to be Sudanese rebels attacked a refugee settlement in eastern CAR, UNHCR said in a press briefing. The Mboki settlement, located some 70 km from Sudanese border, houses about 35,000 Sudanese refugees.

10: Preliminary assessments indicate the overall crop production is expected to be poor in most of the southern Sudan states, including Bahr el-Ghazal, although harvest is better than last year, WFP said. In its latest emergency report, the UN agency reported that the poor harvest was a result of major population displacement prior to the planting period, inadequate supply of agricultural inputs and late and erratic rainfall.

10: WFP reported that the government of Sudan has provided November flight clearances to all requested locations with the exception of Panyagor, Duk Padiet, Yamiciir, Boma, Maridi, Yei and Niat. In addition, all locations in Eastern Equatoria region were denied clearance, except for Torit, Lafor and Kapoeta.

14: Sudanese rebel leader Major General Kerubino Kuanyin Bol has accused his colleagues in the SPLA of harassing him because they suspect that he intended to rejoin the government in Khartoum. Gen Kerubino was one of the rebel commanders who joined the government last year, but he defected to the rebel ranks in January and launched armed attacks on government positions in Wau and other towns of Bahr el-Ghazal state.

Second graduation ceremony date set

The second graduation ceremony at the Blessed Josephine Bakhita Formation Centre (BJBFC), Kitale, Kenya, will take place on November 22, 1998.
The ceremony will be presided over by the Bishop of the newly-created Catholic Diocese of Kitale, Fr. Maurice Crowley, and will involve 22 catechists. The catechist have completed a one-year course. Also to take place on the same day will be the dedication of the institution's new church and the blessing of all the new buildings at the centre located about 407 kilometres north-west of Nairobi. The catechists will, two or three days after their graduation, report to different centres in southern Sudan where they have been posted.

BJBFC was initiated by the Diocese of Rumbek headed by Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari. It also serves the dioceses of El-Obeid and Wau.
Since its inauguration on August 21, 1996, the ultra-modern centre has experienced tremendous growth in a bid to cater for the ever increasing demand for qualified man power in the war torn southern Sudan. New programmes have been introduced, among them the Mission Orientation course for missionaries posted to serve in Southern Sudan.
There are currently six sisters and one priest undergoing the orientation training in Dinka culture and language. Of the seven participants, two are from Costa Rica, one from Mexico, one from Italy, one from Eritrea, while the other two are from Uganda.
The next lot of students comprising 80 seminarians, 23 teacher-trainees and 47 catechists, will report to the institution on January 7, next year.
Named after a Sudanese slave girl who became a Catholic nun in Italy and was proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul in 1992, the institution aims at forming young people into promoters of evangelisation, education and development.

It was built on the Kenyan soil because the present situation of civil war in Sudan does not allow the implementation of any consistent programme inside Africa's largest country.
Sudan has since 1983 experienced a civil war pitting the predominantly Arab and Islamic north against the mostly Christian and traditionalist south. The war and its consequences have, to date, claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives.
Meanwhile, Monsignor Mazzolari says that the first group to graduate from the Kenya-based Sudanese centre have done “excellent work'' despite of the many difficulties in their respective areas of operations. He singled out hunger and isolation as the biggest challenges the catechists have had to contend with. He appealed to them to remain steadfast in their faith as many more challenges are yet to come.

Charles Omondi

Agencies seek new Ways to end crisis

As the year 1998 comes to a close, fears have already been expressed about another famine of Biblical proportions in Sudan next year. In fact, those from the ground reckon that next year's food deficit in the war-ravaged country could surpass this year's hitherto unprecedented levels.
So how is next year's situation likely to be?
To put you in the picture; consider this: This year's famine affected an estimated 2.6 million people, prompting the greatest United Nation relief operation in human history Though the exact figures of those who failed to survive the ravages of the devastating hunger are yet to come out, they are in hundreds of thousands, adding to the misery of a people who have known little if any peace in their lives.

Next year's situation is likely to be worse because whereas the world did the most logical thing in the circumstances... feeding the hungry to safe as many lives as possible...nothing substantial has been done to address the principle cause of the famine...Sudanese civil war.
Now in it's 15th year, the current phase of the protracted conflict has ensured that Sudanese spend the least time engaging in activities that can keep hunger at bay. Rather than spend time cultivating, all the able bodied men and women spend time in the fields with guns protecting their territory and their people. Others busy themselves seeking refugee in more secure parts of the world. It is estimated that the past 15 years have seen more than half the population of southern Sudan flee their homes. The young ones are not spending time in schools acquiring skills for the future challenges, while the leaders are busy strategising on the next war plan.

It was therefore gratifying to learn that some four large relief organisations have opted to advocate for a more practical approach to tackling the civil war. Aid alone, they say, would not solve the disasters that have cost 1.5 million lives.
Representatives of CARE International, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders and Save the Children, all of whom have projects in Sudan, met Security Council members at Sweden's UN mission to press their campaign. Specifically, the four agencies called on the UN to “generate a forceful and positive lobby for peace” that would include shuttle diplomacy, followed by summit level meetings and a full-time special representative for UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in the area.
“Humanitarian assistance alone, in a political vacuum, will not solve Sudan's problems nor stop the next famine.. What we need is the political will to end the war,” said Guy Tousignant, secretary general of Care International.
Such an appeal could not have come at a more appropriate time. One can only hope that other agencies seize the earliest opportunity to help metamorphosise this noble dream into a reality

Charles Omondi

Hilaya's glorious past is no more

At the heart of Sudan's Eastern Equatoria lies Hiyala Payam. Once a prosperous settlement, the region located about 130 kilometres east of Juba, today has little if anything that the local people can be proud of.
Education, health and all other essential services grounded to a near halt several years ago. Not even the people's spiritual needs can be said to be well taken care of.

It all began in 1988 when the area became the scene of a fierce battle between the government forces and the forces of the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Caught in the crossfire, the surviving civilians had no alternative but to relocate to a safer area as refugees.
The SPLA emerged victorious and took control of Hiyala but the area remained a volatile war zone for close to a decade. It was not until last year that the local Lotuko people returned to their former homes, with the hope of reconstructing their shattered lives

The Payam has attracted a host of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which together with the Catholic Diocese of Torit, have the Herculean task of initiating as well as revitalising all manner of development projects.
The Diocese once had chapels all over the region, which, besides offering other pastoral services, celebrated mass once each month. Today, the local people's spiritual hunger is great. Not even catechists are easy to come by. The only .priest available resides at Ikotos, several kilometres from Hiyala. The local people are worried about their future as they generally feel that unlike the other “liberated” areas, Hilaya is definitely not progressing at the right pace.
The people maintain that insecurity is not the reason for the stagnation as people can now move about villages such as Iloli, Ogurung, Tiragore, Mura, Olianga, Ilien and Boira without much fear. But, like all other areas in southern Sudan, Hilaya is vulnerable to aerial attacks by the government forces. Many are the times that the Antonov planes have bombarded the area, killing and maiming several people.

Lack of religious instructors is particularly disturbing to the people of Hilaya. They wish to see many of their sons and daughters take positions of responsibility in the church as they believe their area is the heart of the Catholic Church in the entire Diocese of Torit
Hilaya has two schools, one primary and the other intermediate. However, both are in a state of disrepair. The school buildings' walls are still intact but the roofs went with the war and have been begging for replacement ever since. The handful of teachers in charge of the institutions are local volunteers who are poorly trained and ill-equipped for their responsibility.
One of the NGOs in the area, Norwegian Peoples' Aid (NPA) has made it clear to the local people that it will not repair the dilapidated buildings until the locals provide enough furniture for the schools. However, the Lotuko have so far been unable to rise to the challenge since they have been busy tending their farms. Like the rest of the southern Sudanese, the Lotuko have borne the brunt of the current famine and dread a repeat.

The nearest medical institution in the area is also located at Ikotos. But it can only deal with minor medical problems. More serious cases have to be referred to Chukudum, several kilometres away. All in all, the people of Hilaya are happy to be home and only pray for better living conditions.

Augustine Okwahi



Bethany House, P. O. Box 21202, Nairobi, Kenya

tel. +254.2.562247 or 569130, fax 566668



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