Sudan Monthly Report

Current issue
September 15, 2000


  1. Chronology
  2. Bishops in plea to IGAD


August 16: Relief agencies working to feed millions of people in war-torn southern Sudan will resume their activities following a week-long suspension, called after facilities were bombed from the air, allegedly by Sudanese government aircraft. Masoud Haider, a representative for the World Food Programme in Khartoum, said Sudanese officials had assured him relief planes would be able to fly safely

16: Routine bombing continues in the life of the peoples of Bahr el Ghazal region in Southern Sudan. This province has been attacked for weeks by the air force of the military government, escalating the number of victims, the missionaries in the area reported. This has gone on since 1983, causing over 2 million dead, and it cannot go on any longer," stated Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of Rumbek in an interview with the MISNA missionary information agency. "We appeal to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to send a contingent of blue helmets to Southern Sudan. This is the only way to guarantee a truce in the confrontations and bombings," the Bishop said.

16: Minister of justice Ali Mohammed Osman Yassin has underlined that the Sudanese-Chinese relations are witnessing tangible progress in all fields, especially in the economic domain for realising common benefits. Upon his return from a seven-day visit to China, the minister said in a press statement that these common interests necessitate cooperation in exchange of legal information in such fields as investment, companies and trade, besides judicial cooperation.

17: The UN's WFP has begun distributing food in two towns in Sudan's oil-rich Unity state, where fighting has left thousands homeless, a spokeswoman said. Makena Walker said the agency had begun distributing 240 tonnes of food in Bentiu and Rubkona, about 750-km (470 miles) southwest of Khartoum, on August 12.

17: Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak began talks on the Middle East peace process and Sudan, presidential officials said. The two leaders are expected to discuss the latest efforts to reach a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told reporters.

21: Sudan marked the second anniversary of the US cruise missile raid on a Khartoum pharmaceuticals factory, reviving its claim for compensation and saying it "will never keep silent" over the incident. A foreign ministry statement said Khartoum maintains its complaint to the UN Security Council over the attack, which destroyed the Al Shifa factory in the capital.

21: Relief operations in Sudan have been proceeding normally since the decision to resume relief flights on 16 August, UN officials have said. The UN suspended the flights on August 8 after bombing raids in which the property of some humanitarian organisations was damaged.

22: Sudan's social planning minister Chol Deng has discussed the "problems and obstacles" facing OLS with the ambassadors of donor nations, according to a state television report. It said the ambassadors had stressed the importance of the humanitarian operation being able to operate normally and that he had asked them in turn to redouble international efforts aimed at achieving a "comprehensive" cease-fire between government forces and rebels in the south of the country.

22: WFP said it had started emergency food distributions to nearly 50,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had started arriving in the Bentiu, Upper Nile State, and in Rubkona in Unity State since the beginning of the month. "Recent nutritional surveys showed global malnutrition rates of 28.6 percent in Bentiu, and 30 percent in Rubkona," the statement said.

22: The Sudanese government has said that it hoped diplomatic relations with the United States would be fully restored. In a statement released by its embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, it said: "The government of Sudan hopes that reason will prevail in the US external policy towards Sudan and that the current US-Sudan dialogue will embrace all issues, including bilateral matters in order to pave the way for the full restoration of diplomatic ties between Sudan and the US."

22: A Sudanese newspaper editor and supporter of the government's once powerful Islamic ideologue has been fined 11 million Sudanese pounds (US$5,500) for accusing another journalist of spying. Alwan daily editor Hussein Khogali was found guilty by the Khartoum Criminal Court of libeling Abdel-Gader Abdel-Hafez, a Sudanese journalist who works for the Saudi daily Al-Jazeera.

22: Sudan has urged the USA to engage in dialogue, pay compensation for the 1998 bombing of a medicine factory and help end UN sanctions on Khartoum, a newspaper reported. "Sudan calls on the US to be rational, to retreat from its stubborn positions and respond to the wishes of the international community to remedy the injustice and damage our country suffered," the government-owned al-Anbaa quoted a foreign ministry statement as saying.

23: The United States, responding to a Sudanese request for dialogue, said the government in Khartoum must first take steps to end violence and terrorism and make progress on human rights. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher noted that the United States does have contact with the Sudanese government, through diplomats who visit Khartoum, special envoy Harry Johnston and teams of security and counter-terrorism experts.

23: A Sudanese air force plane dropped 15 bombs near a relief agency compound in southeastern Sudan, destroying five buildings, an aid official said. No casualties were reported in the morning raid, but several head of cattle were killed, said Kristen Flogstad of the Norwegian Church Aid.

24: Responding to government concerns that UN relief may be helping rebels, a UN official signed onto a joint statement calling for Sudanese monitoring of aid operations staged in neighbouring Kenya. "The government of Sudan emphasised the importance it attaches to the establishment of a presence in Lokichoggio in northern Kenya," read the statement signed by Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail and UN special envoy Tom Eric Vraalsen.

24: Sudanese opposition leader and former prime minister Sadeq al-Mahdi, in a fresh attack on his former allies, said in remarks published in Cairo that southern rebels were blocking peace in Sudan. "The SPLA is the only obstacle on the road to comprehensive political solution," he told London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayat.

25: The rebel movement in the Sudan has rejected a proposal, accepted by the UN that would allow Khartoum to monitor relief flights entering Sudan from Kenya. "We will not accept the proposal because it will be against the tripartite agreement," Dr. Samson Kwaje, spokesman for the SPLA said referring to a 1989 arrangement between the UN, Khartoum and the SPLA, which spawned the multi-agency relief effort OLS.

26: Fifty people, many of them schoolchildren, are now known to have drowned when a boat taking them across the River Nile capsized in central Sudan, a senior provincial official said. Younis el-Sharif el-Hassan, governor of the Sennar State where the accident happened, said that a total of 67 people were on the boat when it capsized in the Blue Nile outside Sinja, a town that is 700 km (477 miles) south of Khartoum.

26: UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) chief Jacques Diouf arrived in Sudan for a one-day visit that will include discussion on the food situation in Africa. Addressing reporters at the Khartoum airport, Mr. Diouf said he would talk to Sudanese officials about ways to cooperate with Sudan and about "issues related to food security in Africa".

28: Sudan has accused the US of fanning the flames of the civil war in south Sudan by supporting and assisting the SPLA. The US "openly sides with the rebel movement and offers it political and military assistance", foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said in remarks published by the independent Al-Sahafi Al-Dawli newspaper.

28: The Communist Chinese government has sent tens of thousands of soldiers to the African country of Sudan in the past year as preparation for an offensive against rebels, according to the London Telegraph newspaper. The report said the soldiers acting as security guards and prisoners forced to work at oil fields operated by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, are being prepared to enter a big offensive against the rebels to bring to an end a war that threatens their access to oil.

29: Beijing rejected reports that hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers were helping Sudan defend oil fields in which a major Chinese petroleum company has a financial interest. Chinese officials told CNN in a faxed statement that recent reports that approximately 700,000 People's Liberation Army soldiers had been placed on alert in Sudan to protect the fields -- in which China National Petroleum Corporation had a stake -- were false.

30: State Department and military intelligence sources are disputing reports that China has deployed "tens of thousands" of troops to Sudan to help guard oil fields in which a Chinese corporation is a key partner. "The figure of tens of thousands of troops is just not credible based on the information available to us," a State Department official said, on the condition his name was not be used.

30: As the Sunday Telegraph reported, China may have as many as 700,000 troops in Sudan and is preparing to enter that country's civil war. Some of these Chinese are to serve as guards at oil fields and facilities controlled by China's oil companies. But mostly these Chinese in Sudan are officially considered "cheap labourers," working in Sudan according to special contracts and agreement between Beijing and Khartoum.

30: Persecuted Christian Concern, a voice for the voiceless in Sudan, is organising a memorial service for the millions of Christians who have been martyred, tortured and enslaved because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The service, planned to coincide with the United Nations' Millennium Summit, will take place in front of the UN (47th street and First Avenue) from 2-4 p.m. on September 9, 2000.

September 3: The foreign ministers of Egypt and Sudan have met for the first session in 10 years of the joint Egyptian-Sudanese committee. Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters that the meeting was the "crowning" of the process of normalisation between the two Nile Valley countries and said he hoped it would boost exchanges.

4: A pro-Khartoum government militia said it had killed 250 rebels and seized 150 in an oil-rich state in southern Sudan. The Southern Sudan United Army (SSUA) claimed to have captured the area of Mankien, 900 km southwest of Khartoum, in Unity State from the SPLA.

11: Sudan's Constitutional Court has suspended a controversial decree by the Khartoum state governor banning women from working in some public places. "Women in the private and public sectors who were prevented by the governor's decree from working should continue to work in their places until a final decision is taken on the case," the court said in a ruling, according to the official Sudan News agency SUNA.

11: The SPLA said they had seized three strategic areas in oil-rich Unity State. "The forces of the SPLA repulsed a government offensive in Unity State and took control of the three strategic zones of Boudh, Rier and Mankien," SPLA spokesman Yasser Ermane said on the telephone from Asmara.

12: A woman student was killed and 19 people were wounded, including five policemen, in clashes between police and anti-government demonstrators in the western Sudanese town of al-Fasher, newspapers reported. The independent Al-Sahafi al-Douli said the demonstrators took to the streets of al-Fasher, 750-km (470 miles) west of Khartoum, to protest at water and electricity shortages and delays in the payment of teachers' salaries.

13: The United States has launched a lobbying campaign to stop Sudan from getting Africa seat on the UN Security Council next year, arguing that it is "an unsuitable candidate," a State Department spokesman said. The United State is telling other UN members, especially African countries, that the Sudanese government should not be eligible because it is under UN sanctions and because the Sudanese air force has bombed airfields in the south while the UN relief planes are on the ground, State Department spokesman 14: Sudan has reiterated its claim to a seat at the United Nations Security Council, despite United States efforts to prevent it from succeeding Namibia next month. Addressing the UN general assembly, the Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustapha Osman Ismail said his country was confident of getting the endorsement of all the UN members.

14: The Arab foreign ministers reiterated their support to the nomination of Sudan to the membership of the UN Security Council, affirming that the permanent Arab representatives to the UN are to extend all the necessary support to the Sudan with respect to Sudan's efforts and contacts with the other geographical groups to back the nomination. This came in the annual meeting of foreign ministers of the Arab states in New York on the fringes of the 55th session of the UN general assembly.

14: Sudanese minister of energy and mining Dr Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz, has affirmed his ministry's readiness for cooperation and providing Sudanese expertise and technical assistance in the petroleum field to Ethiopia. This came when Dr Al-Jaz received in his office the visiting Ethiopian deputy minister of energy and minerals, Ms Sinkesh Egiju.

Bishops in plea to IGAD

The Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference (SCBC), meeting in Pesaro, Italy, for their Annual Plenary Assembly (September 11-21, 2000) and in anticipation of the canonisation of the first Sudanese Saint , Blessed Josephine Bakhita, to take place in Rome on October 1, 2000, send to IGAD and all its members the following message.

Dear Sirs,

We the undersigned, send our sincere thanks for all the achievements of IGAD since its inception and for its tenacity in sustaining the dialogue between the conflicting parties of Sudan in order to resolve the civil war and to bring to an end the ever-more inhuman condition of suffering for the people of Sudan.

The SCBC has in the past and continues in the present to support the IGAD process. In a particular way, we affirm the stand taken by IGAD to adopt a clear "DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES"(DOP), which truly embodies the key issues towards the attainment of peace in Sudan.

If the fighting parties could abide by the objectives of the DOP there would be a sound guarantee towards a just and lasting peace. In order to achieve peace and stability, the SCBC asks the IGAD members not to put aside or neglect any article contained in the DOP. Any deviation from the DOP would jeopardise any effort towards reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.

In our meeting in Pesaro, we have exchanged information and experiences gained from all sectors of both North and South Sudan. We are indeed horrified by the deteriorating condition of life of the people and the state of affairs prevailing in our land. In this context, we would like to submit the following for your consideration:

  1. We have reliable reports about several events that are continually occurring at debilitating rhythm. The bombing of Kauda Primary School in the Nuba Mountains on February 8, 2000 in which 20 pupils and their teacher were killed and 17 others maimed is one such incident. The bombing of the Catholic compound in Tonj, in Bahr El Ghazal, August 9, 2000 is another. One of the three bombs fell only two-and-a half metres from two priests and a dozen youth gathered under mango trees. By God's protection, none of them was injured in spite of the 5-metre wide crater caused by the explosion and dirt and debris scattered all around.

    We could report many such events that give evidence of indiscriminate and premeditated attacks on civilian targets, which have happened with total disregard to a bilaterally agreed upon cease-fire (see appendix attached.)

  2. Similarly, after the fall of Gogrial on June 24, 2000, all the properties of the civilians displaced by the fighting, were looted. The ground fighting and the bombing have caused 442, 000 displaced people in Bhar El Ghazal and nearly 220, 000 in the Unity Zone, Blue Nile and Upper Nile regions in the last five months.

    These events have increased tremendously the already high number of internally displaced Sudanese, i.e. 2.3 million.

  3. To the above, we must add a large number of cases of human rights abuses. In this category, we can list several acts of oppression:
    • (a) In the border areas between North and South Sudan, we have seen many individuals maimed and physically handicapped, hundreds of unaccompanied orphans and numberless psychologically traumatised victims of slavery.
    • (b) We have watched young girls of 13 or 14 years of age carrying babies born from cruel and humiliating acts or rape and abduction that will traumatise them for the rest of their lives.
    • (c) A common example of social violation of human rights is to deny starving people their share of relief. A woman in Bahr El Ghazal had to sell the poles from her hut under construction to have enough money to buy her rightful share for herself and her family.
    • (d) At an increasing pace, the government of Sudan (GOS), deliberately vetoes the international community and the NGOs from reaching areas that are in need of relief assistance. At present, it is estimated that 1.2 million Sudanese in Bahr el Ghazal , Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile , Upper Nile, Ingessena Hills and Eastern Equatoria are at risk of starvation and insecurity. As we write, the GOS is the only policy maker designating where and when humanitarian goods can be taken by OLS, the aid agencies and the Church and it has interfered repeatedly by bombing relief flights indiscriminately.
    • (e) With regards to religious freedom, it is a known fact that building permits are not granted to construct churches, schools and chapels while more and more church structures are being destroyed or confiscated by the government, e.g The Catholic Action Club in Khartoum and the trespassing and harassment of church personnel in the Comboni College in Khartoum by the police.

  4. We are dismayed by the forced conscription of adolescents , who, without adequate military training, are placed on the frontline where they are senselessly mowed down in a brutal genocidal confrontation in the name of "JIHAD" (holy war) or presumed but false patriotism.

    This dreadful situation has been going on for some years and we fail to notice any evident move towards ending the conflict. In fact, everyday that passes many more innocent lives are lost. We do not see any sign of a decisive effort towards a just prompt peace by the warring parties.

  5. We are under the impression that there is either lack of political will to restore peace or there is an ulterior motivation for the continuation of war.

    We have the impression that the UN and the OAU are indifferent about the situation of Sudan as if there were no plausible solutions or as if Sudan is not considered part of the family of nations.

    The Sudan conflict is more than just a national issue. It is destabilising the neighbouring countries, and soon may take a regional and international dimensions.

    Sudan conflict does not differ from those in Kosovo, Sarajevo, East Timor and Sierra Leone, where violations of human rights have prompted massive international intervention.

  6. We foresee that the production and sale of oil will fuel the war rather than expedite its termination.

Since several countries have rushed to show interest in the trading of oil with Khartoum, the GOS has lost interest in pursuing a peaceful solution to the war. Khartoum is now interested in a military settlement aided by new allies who covet the oil wealth. Moreover some foreign countries are assisting the GOS to drive people from their ancestral land to facilitate the exploitation of the oil wells. We are convinced that the oil revenues will not be used for the welfare of the Sudanese. The fact that numberless government employees have gone without pay for several months attests to this.

Indeed, Christ was sold for 30 pieces of silver and our people are being sacrificed in exchange for barrels of oil. The prolongation of the war will increase the fragmentation of the Sudan, tribal divisions and the instinctive personal quest for food, money and security and will engender additional internal displacement. this situation is allegedly exploited and perpetuated by those who have opted for a military solution.

From the above analysis, we the Catholic Bishops of Sudan, submit to the members of the IGAD countries the following:

I- Cease-fire be adopted and implemented immediately as a just and peaceful solution is sought under the auspices of IGAD.

II- That all relief aid be channeled by the UN, NGOs and Churches through non-military flight zones and designated corridors strictly monitored by the UN.

III- That all the warring parties abide by the principle of respect for human dignity of all citizens.

IV- That in order to guarantee No I,II, III, it is of paramount importance to have the UN monitoring teams on the ground.

V- We want to assure all IGAD members that we, the Church leaders of the Sudan, fully support their initiative in the quest for justice and peace in Sudan. Above all, we fully support the DOP in its entirety as the only vehicle towards a just and lasting peace. Finally, we are fully confident that the IGAD members will adhere to and enforce the implementation of the DOP. We consider it a very wise and far-reaching benefit for Sudan.

VI- We firmly believe that all the national borders and state-sovereignty cease to exist whenever a state commits willful crimes against its own people.

VII- In this case, we request that UN, OAU, the USA, European Community and the international NGOs should come to the rescue of the people from an impending genocide.

VIII- We are convinced that the benefits from the oil production are not shared for the development of the South and other marginalised areas. In fact we fear that this wealth will cause escalation of the conflict.

We, the members of the SCBC, while thanking the IGAD members for their endeavours, request you to resume the negotiations as soon as possible in a conclusive way. Any other co-opted solution, which does not honour the DOP, is only wasted time.

God bless you,
H. G. Paolino Lukudu Loro President SCBC
H. G. Gabriel Zubeir Wako Archbishop of Khartoum
H. L. Joseph Gasi Abangite Diocese of Tombura-Yambio
H.L.Vincent Mojwok Nyiker Diocese of Malakal
H.L Paride Taban Diocese of Torit
H.L.Macram Max Gassis Diocese of El Obeid
H.L.Erkolano Lodu Tombe Diocese of Yei
H.L.Rudolf Deng Majak Diocese of Wau
H.L. Caesar Mazzolari Diocese of Rumbek
H. L.Antonio Menegazzo Apostolic Administrator El Obeid
H.L. Daniel Adwok KurAuxiliary Bishop of Khartoum
H. L.Johnson Akio Mutek Auxiliary Bishop of Torit absent

Bethany House, P. O. Box 21102, 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:

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