Sudan Monthly Report

Current issue
October 15, 1999


  1. Chronology
  2. Sudan's Oil: A blessing or a curse?
  3. Impressive score for peace deal
  4. Delegation seeks tips from South Africa


September 16: Veteran Sudan rebel leader Kerubion Kwanyin Bol, a warlord who is thought to have fired the first shot in Sudan's 16-year civil war, has died after being wounded in faction fighting, a relative said. "I can confirm the sad news," Acuil Malith told Reuters in Nairobi. "The commander has died. "

16: Flash floods have made more than 50,000 people homeless and cut off power and water supplies and telephones in the northern Sudanese town of Dongola, newspapers reported. The privately-owned Al-Sahafa daily quoted flood committee officials as warning of the danger of an epidemic from drinking water polluted by sewage and asking for donations to supply food, drugs, tenets and drinking water.

17: A Sudanese court jailed seven people who stoned the cars of Northern State governor Bedewi al-Khair and other officials. The demonstrators blamed authorities for not coping with floods. Al-Sahafa daily said a court in Dongola sentenced seven protestors to six months in prison.

20: To some Sudanese, warlord Major-General Kerubino was a psychotic killer. But to his 10 wives and dozens of children, he was a loving husband and father. Kerubino was killed last week in a mutiny.

20: Sudan's presidential advisor for authentication affairs Ahmad Ali al-Imam has said 75 per cent of the northern town of Dunqulah was under floodwater. Sudanese radio quoted him as saying the flood situation in the town and surrounding areas was "beyond the control of individuals and institutions".

21: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited Dunqulah town and inspected residential areas affected by the floods, Sudanese television reported. He described the situation as "pre-destined by God" and urged citizens to be "patient with these afflictions".

21: A meeting of the preparatory committee for a national accord between the government and the opposition has been set for October, Suna news agency reported. The agency quoted Foreign Minister Mustafa Uthman Ismail as saying this agreement was reached during a meeting between Sudanese, Libyan and Egyptian foreign ministers on the fringes of the recent OAU summit in Libya.

22: Sudanese rebels said they had blown up Sudan's newly-completed oil pipeline to deliver a message to Khartoum's Islamist government. "We wanted to show the government that we are able to do what we want," Lt-General Abdel Rahman, deputy commander of joint opposition forces said in Cairo.

22: Up to four million Sudanese were internally displaced by the end of 1998, a US Committee for Refugees (USCR) report said. It termed this the "largest internally displaced population in the world". It also said a huge population of the exiles lived in Egypt and elsewhere, "many of whom considered themselves refugees although host governments did not give them official refugee status".

22: The SPLA is positioning its forces in the south in readiness to respond to "likely" attacks from the government side. According to SPLM/A spokesman Samson Kwaje "repositioning" of troops in the area is not new. "We do this every year especially towards October at the end of the rainy season to make our army ready for attacks," he told IRIN. "

28: Khartoum residents have filed lawsuits against Sudanese riot police for breaking into their homes and damaging property in a crackdown against a student protest, a newspaper reported. A number of people living in west Khartoum around the Two Niles and Sudan universities have taken cases to the attorney-general, suing the police for violations of privacy, the independent Al-Rai al-Aam daily said.

29: Security police have detained an outspoken critic of the government, an independent newspaper said. Mr Ahmed Ali Al-Sayed has not been seen since he left home to report to the security police headquarters, said a family member who declined to be named.

29: Sudan will ask Egypt to extradite a rebel commander who said his forces blew up a new oil export pipeline in northern Sudan, newspapers said. Al-Rai al-Aam daily quoted public prosecutor Abdel Nasser Wonan as saying the request to hand over Rahman Said would be presented to the Egyptian justice ministry within two days under the terms of an Arab anti-terrorism protocol.

October 4: Rebel leader John Garang said Sudan's opposition alliance will hold talks this month in Egypt or Uganda on the future of the war-ravaged country. Garang told Reuters in an interview that the talks would come up with a framework for any future negotiations with the country's Islamist government in Khartoum.

5: Sudanese security forces raided and searched the home of ousted premier Sadeq al-Mahdi, apparently seeking evidence connected with a bomb attack on an oil pipeline. The government agents went to Mr Mahdi's house in Omudrman, Khartoum's twin city on the Nile, and rifled through it for four hours in the presence of his wife, Sara al Fadil, and his son Siddek.

6: Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and Libya's special representative for Africa, former foreign minister Ali Tureiki said they had agreed on steps to implement a joint peace initiative for peace in Sudan. Reuters said they told reporters after a meeting in Cairo contacts were underway to prepare for dialogue and both sides in the Sudanese conflict should abstain from anything likely to obstruct the peace initiative and from hostile media campaigns against each other.

6: Two humanitarian teams returned to Khartoum after completing the first phase of an inter-agency assessment of humanitarian needs in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan State, a UN press release stated. The two-week mission - comprising representatives of the FAO, UNOCHA, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and the NGOs: CARE and Save the Children Fund (UK) - visited several locations controlled by the SPLM in Heiban and Nogorban counties.

6: In the southern state of Bahr el-Ghazal, humanitarian access to camps for internally-displaced people (IDPs) around Wau continued to be a problem. Negotiations between agencies and the Rehabilitation and Humanitarian Aid Commission (RHAC) for "free and unrestricted access to the IDPs camps" were ongoing but, in addition, the presence of the pro-government Arab Murahaleen militia was creating tension among IDPs in the area, OLS reported.

6: Col. Garang has said that if the Khartoum government and opposition groups did not reach an agreement soon, the country would collapse totally. "We are now living in a double apartheid era, based on race and religion. Our struggle is for liberation, basic human rights and equality for women," the South African Press Agency (SAPA) quoted him as saying.

6: Prosecutor-General Abdel Nasr Wonan has formally asked Egypt to extradite NDA military chief Abdel Aziz Khalid - in addition to spokesman Abdel Rahman Said, whose extradition Sudan had previously requested - on terrorism charges related to the 19 September rebel bombing of Sudan's new oil pipeline near Atbara, responsibility for which was claimed by the NDA, the official SUNA news agency reported.

7: Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail has asked the international community during his address to the UN General Assembly to take punitive action against Col. Garang, similar to the sanctions against UNITA rebel leader Jonas Savimbi in Angola, in order to pressure him into "meaningful participation" in the peace process. He said Sudan was committed to a comprehensive ceasefire in all parts of southern Sudan "for humanitarian reasons and to prepare the atmosphere for peace talks".

7: President Omar el-Bashir told the National Assembly that the proceeds of oil exports would go towards building the country's infrastructure, "with special consideration for southern states and other war-affected areas", according to an address broadcast on national television. He said government policy would focus on electricity, irrigation, roads, capacity-building, scientific research and social programmes, with special attention to be devoted to the south and other war-affected areas.

Sudan's oil: A blessing or a curse?

The protracted civil war in Sudan is likely to assume a more intricate dimension with the commencement of exportation of oil from the vast African State.

Presenting a paper at conference on Sudan in Milan, Italy, (September 17-18) the Director of Canadian NGO Freedom Quest International, Mel Middleton, said the abundant revenue from oil meant that the Sudanese junta had lost any incentive whatsoever for a peaceful solution to the conflict. The government's earnings from the oil are estimated at $2 million a day

A Canadian company, Talisman Energy Inc., last August exported 600,000 barrels of oil from Sudan upon the completion of a 1,500 kilometre long pipeline it runs in partrnership with the state oil companies of China, Malaysia and Sudan. The pipeline runs from the oil fields in the Unity State to Port Sudan. It currently has a capacity to handle 100,000 barrels a day but will be able to handle double the number when fully operational in two year's time.

Freedom Quest International is a member of Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group (SIARG), a forum for Canadian agencies working on/in Sudan. Other members of SIARG include Canadian Friends Service Committee, Canadian Labour Congress, Emmanuel International, Steelworkers Humanity Fund and Inter-Church Coalition on Africa.

"Why would a brutal junta, which has violated virtually every human right in the book, make peace with its adversary if it has the resources to be victorious and impose its final solution,? Middleton posed.

"Dictators are not known for their magnanimity. Or are we to assume that there has been some form of collective epiphany and that the Sudanese rulers have all repented and purified themselves in the waters of the Red Sea?"

Sudan has been engulfed with a vicious brutal civil war since 1983. The war, spearheaded by the southern rebels under the John Garang-led SPLA, seeks a democratic, secular Sudan that is devoid of discrimination on any grounds.

The current Sudanese regime, now in its 10th year, came to power by the barrel of the gun that displaced the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq el-Mahdi. It has unleashed untold terror on both Muslims and Christians opposed to its fundamentalist policies while ignoring international censure and frustrating numerous peace initiatives.

Middleton described Talisman as "a respected company, the darling of the Canadian business community and an influential blue chip corporation with abundance of capital''.

Their decision to venture in Sudan, he pointed out, was made with very little thought given to the impact on the human rights situation in the country.

He said: "Talisman CEO Jim Buckee admitted that neither he nor anyone from the company had spoken to anyone connected with any of the opposition parties. They had gathered their information solely from the Sudan government, the Canadian government, the UN and a few small NGOs working in government-held areas of Sudan."

Talisman further rationalised their venture, arguing that the exploitation of Sudan's oil resources would go ahead whether they were there or not. "If the Canadians were not here, the Germans, or Dutch, or Italians, or someone else would be. So Canadian companies may as well cash in on the deal.''

To the Sudanese Embassy in Rome, there was no cause for alarm but every reason for Sudanese to jubilate about the new development. The Deputy Head of the Mission, Mr Altereifi Ahmed Kormino, said the exploitation of the oil would accelerate the termination of the civil strife.

"The oil revenue would bring riches to Sudan and as you all know, rich people do not fight," he said.

"Why is there no war in the USA, in Canada or Italy?" Kormino posed and explained that contrary to Middleton's fears, the Sudanese government would use the earnings from the oil exports to improve infrastructure, fight ignorance and disease, minimise infant mortality and raise the life expectancy in Sudan.''

Mr. Kormino also refuted claims that the pipeline was under surveillance of 20,000 specially-trained Chinese militias. "The truth is that there are only 6,000-7,000 Chinese protecting the pipeline,'' he said.

The SPLA representative in Nordic Countries, Mr. John Duku, while supporting Middleton's sentiments, warned that any multi-national corporation exploiting Sudan's vast oil resources, before peace and justice are attained, risked paying dearly.

"The SPLA's position is that any oil corporations in Sudan are legitimate military targets. Let nobody be under any illusion about that."

And as if to confirm Duku's threat, an explosion on September 20 ruptured the pipeline near Atbara, about 275 km northeast of Khartoum.

A rebel spokesman, Lieutenant-General Abdel Rahman Said, was later quoted as saying they had blown the pipeline to deliver a message to Khartoum's Islamist government.

"We wanted to show the government that we are able to do what we want," he told Reuters in Cairo.
Industry sources in Singapore said the damage would take about one week to repair.
The Milan conference, was organised by the Italian Campaign for Peace and Justice in Sudan. It's theme was: Peace perspectives for Sudan: A rebirth of the civil society.

It was promoted by a group of associations, NGOs and Italian information organs (Pax Christi, Acli, Amani, Arci, Caritas, Cesvi, Cuore Amico, Mani Tese and Nigrizia) that have for a long time been involved in solidarity initiatives with the peoples of the South, particularly in Africa.

The Italian campaign has been active since April 1995, with the aim of supporting peace process and the respect of human rights in the African State that has witnessed decades of conflict. Towards this end, the Campaign has been lobbying at the political level, with the Italian government. It has promoted a wider and better information on Sudanese situation, to involve the public opinion, through the use of media and collection of 50,000 signatures on its initial document.

Other presenters at the Milan Forum were Richard Gray, professor emeritus of African History, Hungarian Dr. Gasper Biro, who until last year was the special rapporteur of the United Nations on violations of human rights in Sudan, Prof. Peter Woodward of University of Reading, UK, former Sudanese vice-president (under Jaffar Numeiry) Abel Alier, northern Sudanese lawyer Ghazi Suleiman and Adlan Hardallo, Professor of Politcal Science at the University of Khartoum and former president of the Khartoum University Academic Union.

Charles Omondi

Impressive score for peace deal

The Wunlit Dinka-Nuer Covenant continues to bear impressive fruits since its signing last March, a report from the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC) says.

At a recent special forum in Yirol County in the Bahr el-Ghazal region, the Dinka-Nuer West Bank Peace Council gave a summary of the ways in which the two largest southern Sudanese communities have continued to benefit from the peace deal brokered by the NSCC.

The Wunlit meeting had charged the Peace Council with the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the Covenant resolutions.

According to the report, the gains so far made from the unprecedented peace initiative include the freeing of 148 abductees, return of 141 cattle to their rightful owners, formalising of five marriages involving former abductees and the arrest and arraignment of those involved in any identified acts of violation.

Others are the opening of extensive trading routes, peaceful reception of thousands of displaced Nuer entering Dinka areas as a result of Government of Sudan-sponsored fighting in Western Upper Nile, sharing of common grazing areas and fishing sites as well as extension of the reconciliation process to the East Bank of the Nile among Nilotic and Equatorian people.

Twenty-three Council members, representing nine out of 11 counties and provinces along the border areas of Bahr el-Ghazal and Western Upper Nile attended the meeting at Yirol.

In addition, several radio operators underwent an intensive training in use of radios as a preparation for the establishment of border posts that are a key to the implementation of the Wunlit resulutions.

The Dinka and the Nuer, both of whom are cattle keepers, have since time immemorial fought numerous battles, most of which have revolved around livestock and grazing lands.

With the outbreak of the current phase of the Sudanese civil war in 1983, the tribal animosity assumed a political angle with Khartoum tacitly fueling it to make the southerners perpetually vulnerable pawns.

It is against such a background that the NSCC undertook to reconcile the two communities through the Wunlit Covenant.

In the Wunlit deal, amnesty was granted for offences committed prior to January 1, 1999, freedom of movement across lines of conflict was affirmed and inter-communal commerce, development and services encouraged.

Other resulutions reached were:

  • All hostile acts shall cease between Dinka and Nuer whether between their military forces of armed civilians.
  • Border grazing lands and fishing grounds shall be available immediately as shared resources.
  • Displaced people are encouraged to return to their original homes or re-build relationships with their neighbours.
  • The spirit of peace and reconciliation of the Covenant to be extended to all communities in southern Sudan.

Charles Omondi

Delegation seeks tips from South Africa

The Sudan Catholic Bishops' Regional Conference (SCBRC) will send its Justice and Peace Preparatory Committee on a one-week fact-finding tour of South Africa.

The tour, set to begin on October 18, will be part of the intended elaborate exposure of the group members to countries where the Church has had a long tradition of searching for peace and justice.

The Sudanese Catholic Bishops, working in a country engulfed with a brutal civil war for decades, have set themselves a principal objective of formation of a Justice and Peace Commission to enhance lobbying in both north and south Sudan.

Sudan's civil war, deeply rooted in the country's colonial past, pits the mainly Arab and Islamic north against the pre-dominantly Christian and traditionalist south. Its current phase, dating back to 1983, has together with its attendant consequences, claimed an estimated 1.9 million lives. It has sent thousands into exile and earned Africa's most expansive state the ignominious distinction of having the largest number of internally displaced populations.

The decision to form the body that will be touring South Africa was arrived at during the Bishops' plenary meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, last August.

The group is expected to conduct research within and without Sudan, investigate and report on the structure, purpose and mandate of the intended Justice and Peace Commission.

The Bishops chose South Africa, among others, because of the tremendous efforts the church made towards reconciliation of the racially divided nation during the apartheid era. The apartheid rule came to an end in South Africa in 1994 with the holding of successful multi-racial presidential and parliamentary elections.

The election saw Nelson Mandela win to become South Africa's first democratically elected president. Mandela has since surrendered the baton to Thabo Mbeki, having completed his first five-year term in office.

Leading the Sudan delegation will be His Lordship Caesar Mazzolari, the Bishop of the Diocese of Rumbek.
Others making the trip will be Daniel Adwok, the Auxillary Bishop of Khartoum and Johnson Akio Mutek, who is the Auxillary Bishop Torit Diocese. Fathers Celestino Paul and Camillo Afore and Mr. Francis Bassan will also make the trip.

Charles Omondi

Bethany House, P. O. Box 21202, Nairobi, Kenya
tel. +254.2.577595 or 577949, fax 577327

For further information, please contact:
Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.577595 - fax +254.2.577327 - e-mail:

SCIO Homepage Africanews Homepage
PeaceLink 1998