Sudan Monthly Report

Current issue
November 15, 2000


  1. Chronology
  2. Raids trigger psychological trauma
  3. Hospital poised to perform better


October 16: The government of Sudan's Popular Defence Forces (PDF) have raided villages in Aweil West County of Northern Bahr-El-Ghazal. In one village alone, Goc Machar, they enslaved at least 21 black African women and children on October 7, 2000, according to the Civil Commissioner of Aweil West County, Simon Wol.

16: Former Sudanese president Jaafar al-Numeiri, who is the chairman of the people's forces, has announced his nomination for the next Sudanese presidential elections. In his electoral programme, al-Numeiri said that the period after the elections will be for revisions and construction aiming at eliminating poverty, building the homeland and rehabilitation of the individual in Sudan.

17: The SPLA has declared a 10-day ceasefire to enable immunisation of children against polio to proceed smoothly. The SPLA leadership has ordered all the SPLA forces to strictly observe the ceasefire from midnight of October 16 to midnight to October 27 so that Unicef carry out this immunisation and noble campaign for the interest of our children," the statement said.

18: Fresh from the canonisation of Sudan's first saint earlier this month at the Vatican, Roman Catholic Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid Diocese in Sudan, planned a month-long coast-to-coast tour of the US and Canada to garner support for the needs of the war-torn populations of central and southern Sudan. 'It is wonderful to have our own saint canonised in this time of religious persecution,' Bishop Gassis said in a recent interview on the canonisation of St. Josephine Bakhita, herself a victim of slavery and racism in Sudan, who died as a Canossian Sister in Italy in the late 1940s.

18: A UN human rights investigator has accused Sudan's military of systematically bombing civilians in its war with rebels in the south, calling the policy a serious violation of international law. Leonardo Franco said he was "profoundly shocked" by bombings that have killed an estimated 45 people and injured some 230 this year, rejecting the government's explanation that pilots had a standing order not to bomb civilian targets.

18: Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) ministers of transport and communication will meet in Sudan to implement the full liberalisation of transport and communication in the region. Comesa director of infrastructure development Jerome Ntibarekerwa said in Lusaka that before the actual meeting of ministers on October 25-26, a committee on infrastructure will meet to review progress made among member countries in the infrastructure sector.

18: Sudanese government planes bombed two relief centres in the south of the country, killing several people and wounding 32, the SPLA said. SPLA spokesman George Garang said the attacks violated a 10-day ceasefire agreed to allow the Unicef to carry out anti-polio immunisation drive. The raid had targeted two relief centres run by international organisations at Tali and Terekeka in the southern region of Eastern Equatoria.

18: Deputy chairman of the Sudanese Hizbul Ummah Party Omar Nour al-Dayem has stressed that his party is serious to continue its march to achieve reconciliation and peace in Sudan regardless to sacrifices. In a statement to the Sudanese daily al-Anbaa, Nour al-Dayem described the statements made by the Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the chairman of the preliminary forum of the national reconciliation Abdul Rahman Sewar al-Dahab and member of the forum Ahmad Abdul Halim as valued and excellent.

18: Malaysia's national oil and gas corporation Petronas has said that one of its subsidiaries was awarded a contract to service more oil fields in Sudan. OGP Technical Services was appointed project manager for the second phase of the Muglad Basin Oil Development project in the African nation, it said.

18: Little attention has been paid to the development needs of the people of southern Sudan, where chronic conflict has "systematically destroyed the social fabric of institutions sustaining food security, education and health care". In a joint statement, Christian Aid and Oxfam said despite humanitarian efforts in the war-affected south, underdevelopment had become institutionalised.

19: South Korean car manufacturers Hyundai are to open an assembly line in Khartoum. According to an agreement made public in Khartoum, Hafiz Barbari Incorporated will assemble and market the Hyundai 1,500cc and 2,000cc limousines in Sudan.

19: OGP Technical Services Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), has been appointed project management consultant by Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co Ltd (GNPOC) for the second phase of the Muglad Basin oil development project in Sudan. Under the contract, OGP will provide the management of engineering and construction of facilities for the development of two new oil fields, Munga and Bamboo, in the basin.

19: Ambassadors of the 15 European Union countries discussed means of finding a peaceful solution to the Sudanese crisis during their meeting in the headquarters of the European Union chairmanship in Cairo in a response to the invitation of El-Sadek El-Mahdi - the former Sudanese prime minister and chief of Umma Party. The meeting tackled the democracy issue in Sudan, the south, the raised peace initiatives to solve the crisis in addition to Sudan's regional and international relations in addition to human rights and terrorism. 20: The Ebola outbreak now unfolding in Uganda is caused by a strain of the virus previously seen in neighbouring Sudan, health officials said. This would seem to confirm the leading theory that the outbreak began in Sudan. Dr. Robert Swanepoel of the Institute of Virology outside Johannesburg, South Africa, confirmed that the virus involved in the current outbreak in Gulu, Uganda, matches the virus that caused outbreaks in 1976 and 1979 in Maridi, Sudan, about 200 kilometers north of Gulu.

20: The United States will lift sanctions on a key source of income for Sudan's radical Islamic regime if a trade bill passed unanimously by the House of Representatives becomes law. In July the House passed the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2000, which would suspend sanctions on gum arabic, an important ingredient in products such as soft drinks, candies, printing ink, and pharmaceuticals.

20: The United States has condemned the renewed bombing of civilian targets and international relief centres by Sudanese government warplanes. Analysts described the latest Sudanese action as a sign of frustration at its recent failure to be elected to the UN Security Council by a majority of General Assembly members.

23: Aid agencies working in southern Sudan said that warplanes of the country's Islamist government attacked a rebel-held southern town and dropped bombs on a pre-school and several houses. Dan Effie of Norwegian People's Aid said 23 bombs were dropped on the town of Nimule in two separate attacks, but there were no casualties.

23: The Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak convened a meeting with the Sudanese President Omar Hassan El Bashir. The Sudanese president informed his Egyptian counterpart with the results of his meetings with head of the opposition Sudanese National Alliance Mohammed Osman El Merghany and the communications held by the government with the opposition leadership to achieve the rapport in Sudan.

24: The executive director of UNICEF, Carol Bellamy, visiting Sudan to launch the countrywide polio immunisation campaign, received "the fullest assurance yet" from the SPLA/M that no children under the age of 18 would be recruited, or allowed to stay in the ranks if already recruited, a press release from the agency stated. At the UNICEF-supported Deng Nhial School for demobilised child soldiers in the central southern Sudanese town of Rumbek, Bellamy received the renewed commitment from Commander Salva Kiir Mayardit, deputy chairman of the SPLA.

24: The government ignored its commitment to having 'days of tranquility' in Sudan's civil war during a polio vaccination campaign, and dropped 24 bombs on Nimule town in Eastern Equatoria, SPLA spokesman George Garang Deng stated. This was the second time the government had bombed civilian targets during the current polio campaign, a statement from Garang said.

24: Officials of the Sudanese and Ugandan governments were in continuing contact to arrange for the deployment of Egyptian and Libyan monitors to prevent border violations by opposition rebels, the semi-official Ugandan 'New Vision' newspaper reported. The monitors were expected to assure that no support reached the SPLA from Uganda, and to help relocate the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) away from the Ugandan border, deeper into Sudan, the paper quoted Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Abdel Rahman Nimeiri as saying.

24: Conflict, more than any other issue, poses the biggest problem to relief projects such as the anti-polio campaign launched in Kenya and Sudan, the executive director of UNICEF, Carol Bellamy, said. Speaking in Nairobi at the end of a four-day visit to the two countries where she helped launch polio immunisation efforts, Bellamy said the obstacles were man-made, rather than problems associated with logistics or equipment.

24: The Ugandan army - the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) - were on high alert at strategic border areas in Adjumani, Pakelle and refugee settlements for fear of a possible attack by the LRA, humanitarian sources in northern Uganda said. The alert followed a report that the rebels had crossed from their Sudanese bases, and were probably heading towards Adjumani or Pakelle, they said.

25: The Sudanese minister of justice has admitted before the constitutional court that the decision of the Wali (governor) of the capital Khartoum Majzoub al-Khaleifa to prevent women from working in hotels, restaurants and tourism area is not comprehensible and needed to be dealt with.
In his statements before the court, the justice minister added that the decision of the Wali embarrassed the president of Sudan who was then at the UN to attend the third Millennium Summit and that the Wali did not consult the ministry of justice to this effect.

27: Sudan's armed forces have regained control of a town after clashing with the country's main rebel group, an army statement said. The army entered Hamash Koraib, about 250 miles east of Khartoum, after battles with the SPLA, which had controlled the town since March.

27: Sudan soon will be producing its own tanks and heavy artillery, president Bashir said at the recent inauguration of a US$450 million industrial complex. Sudan, which buys most of its weapons from Arab and Asian countries, already produces rocket-propelled grenades, machine-guns and mortars, Bashir said at the ceremony 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Khartoum.

27: US president Bill Clinton sharply criticised the government of Sudan after aid agencies reported that government planes bombed a village while aid workers were distributing food. "I am deeply concerned by reports that the government of Sudan is bombing innocent civilians in the southern part of the country,' Clinton said in a statement released by the White House.

28: Pro-government militia killed 53 rebels in an assault on three camps in southern Sudan, the government-owned al-Anbaa newspaper said. The daily said the militia destroyed the SPLA camps in attacks that lasted three days in the Fanjak area in the Upper Nile State.

28: Sudanese Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi said his party will boycott the coming elections, saying they are both illegitimate and unconstitutional and will not be free and fair. Turabi said his party would continue exposing "all unconstitutional shortcomings and corruption", and would not resort to force but warned: "If all avenues are blocked before us, there will be an uprising."

29: The Khartoum government has decided to sell its 45-percent share in the Sudanese Telecommunication Company (Sudatel). "The government has decided to sell its share in Sudatel in keeping with the declared policy of privatisation," Hafiz Atta, chair of the technical commission assigned to privatise some public utilities, told reporters in Khartoum.

30: Sudan will join its neighbours in tarrif-scrapping agreement to be launched by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa). The independent Sahafial-Douli daily said that president Bashir has decreed the move, which puts Sudan among nine of 20 Comesa member states to implement the first stage of a planned Free Trade Area (FTA).

31: El-Sadek El-Mahdi, the former Sudanese prime minister and chief of Umma Party said that the date of his return to Sudan will be on the 23rd of the coming month. This came during his meeting with the Eritrean President Asias Afeworki in Asmara. Afeworki assured during his meeting with El-Mahdi that he will continue his communications with the Sudanese government and all the Sudanese political forces to support a comprehensive political solution.

31: Sudan's foreign relations minister Mustafa Othman Ismael has held the US responsible for the continued war in Southern Sudan, through its continued backing to the rebellion movement in southern Sudan led by John Garang. In press statements issued by the Sudanese dailies, Ismael called on the UN to reconsider its relations with the rebel movement and instead to invest these relations for establishing peace and reconciliation in Sudan.

31: Sudan is forging ahead with plans to hold simultaneous legislative and presidential elections in December despite civil war and threats of a boycott by almost the entire opposition. The General Electoral Commission (GEC) has began publishing preliminary lists of the names of eligible voters -- men and women aged 17 or older -- in Africa's largest country and one of its poorest.

November 1: The US House of Representatives has quietly passed legislation that aims for the first time to restrict corporate access to US capital markets in order to influence the behaviour of a foreign government. The House has approved the Sudan Peace Act, which contains measures that, if enacted, would effectively de-list from the New York Stock Exchange companies doing business with the Sudanese regime.

2: Eritrea is proposing that Sudan accept a transitional government as part of a six-point plan to end a 17-year civil war with its mainly Eritrea-based opposition, a newspaper said. The independent As-Sahafi Ad-Dawli reported the plan, which it said, was being conveyed by a high-level Eritrean delegation.

2: President Bashir lashed out at Mauritius for ignoring an African consensus and successfully running for a UN Security council seat at the behest of Washington. "The United States has always been against us. That behaviour is not justifiable, but they have maintained it. In the case of the UN Security Council seat, they found a tool to bar us from getting what was rightfully ours," Bashir said in an interview at Lusaka airport.

6: USA author, minister, and Christian broadcaster, Dr. D. James Kennedy, is launching a campaign in November to liberate women and children held under brutal conditions as slaves in Sudan. The "Free the Slaves" drive will be announced on The Coral Ridge Hour, Dr. Kennedy's weekly nationwide television programme, on Sunday, November 12, 2000-also designated as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

7: The United Nations is planning to send a needs assessment mission to Sudan in advance of the country's upcoming parliamentary elections on December 11, a UN spokesman announced in New York. A UN spokesman said at a press briefing that the mission by the UN's Electoral Assistance Division follows a request from the government of the Sudan for international observers during the elections.

7: Sudan's Islmamist government must put its peace proposals in writing if an Eritrean effort to mediate between Khartoum and opposition groups is to succeed, a Sudanese opposition spokesman said. Eritrean foreign minister Ali Said Abdella left Khartoum after talks with the government aimed at brokering an agreement with the umbrella NDA, Mohammed al-Mutasim Haakim said in Cairo.

7: Ambassador Tom Eric Vraalsen, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan, has criticised "the collapse of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefires" in Sudan which had been in effect since July 1998. Vraalsen, who chaired a meeting of the Technical Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (TCHA) in Geneva, expressed displeasure during the meeting at the cessation of the ceasefires, and noted the loss of life and damage to property from war-related ground and air offensives.

8: The UN has offered the Sudanese government the right to deal with any air, land or river conveyer working in the humanitarian field areas inside Sudan, illegally. The Sudanese minister of state and social planning Shoul Denq unveiled tough measures agreed upon by the Sudanese government and the UN as well as the rebel movement led by John Garang in meetings held in Geneva during the past few days.

8: An agreement for the encouragement and protection of investment has been signed between the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Republic of Sudan, in Beirut. Drawn up within the framework of the Fund's Private Sector Facility, the convention was initialed by Mohamed Kheir al-Zubeir, Minister of Finance and Saleh Al-Omair, chairman of the Governing Board of the OPEC Fund, said a press release.

8: A bill passed by the United States House of Representatives would ban companies that do business with the Sudanese government from raising capital on US stock exchanges. The measure, if it becomes law, could affect Talisman Energy Inc. of Calgary, which is one of three partners with Sudan's state oil company, and also trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

9: The Sudanese government will urge the UN Security Council to lift diplomatic and economic sanctions against it after more than four years, despite the threat of the US blocking any such move with its veto in the Council, Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said in Khartoum. He said the US had sent Sudan a message threatening to use its veto on November 15 if Khartoum requested a lifting of the sanctions, imposed in 1996 in the wake of Sudan's refusal to hand over suspects in an assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia, and its alleged assistance and support for terrorist elements.

9: Sudan's main opposition alliance said it had captured the major eastern town of Kassala after a day of heavy fighting. A spokesman for the NDA said the town of some 300,000 people close to the Eritrea border was overrun by rebel soldiers before dawn.

9: Pope John Paul II's October 1, 2000 canonisation of Josephine Bakhita, a former Sudanese slave, has been the first news on Christian life to appear in a national newspaper in Sudan in recent years. The news was reported by Khartoum sources of the Vatican missionary agency Fides. The Catholics in this capital city, who for years have suffered the government's Islamisation programmes, were surprised to see that the Al Ra'I Al Akher newspaper dedicated a page to the new saint.

11: More than 130 people were killed in fighting between government forces and rebels for the control of the eastern border town of Kassala, a Sudanese official has said. Kassala province commissioner Mohammed Yousif told state television that 52 civilians and soldiers had been killed in the fighting. The station said 80 SPLA rebels were also killed.

11: A spokesman for NDA has confirmed that the government was in control of Kassala. "We completed our withdrawal from Kassala this morning around 5 am. Our plan was to destroy the enemy and we did so," Mr. Yousif Arman said.

11: The Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has stressed that the Sudanese army will continue to fight the rebels led by John Garang until the matter is ultimately settled because the " call advocated by the government for peace and reconciliation is considered by some as a weakness." In a statement issued by the Sudanese dailies on Friday al-Bashir added that "instructions were given to the armed forces not to stop the fighting until an end is put to the rebels."

13: Some 3,800 young Sudanese refugees who have been living in Kenya's Kakuma camp for nearly 10 years will be resettled in the US over the next several months in the largest-ever population transfer of its kind. Many of the immigrants are orphaned male teenagers, leading US officials to refer to the group as the "Lost Boys", a designation derived from the story Peter Pan by Scottish author James M. Barrie, in which young orphans are helped to find a home.

14: Sudan has signed an oil exploration agreement with several local and international companies for an area in central Sudan. The government-owned Al Anbaa newspaper said "Sudan has signed a production agreement _covering prospecting, development and transportation of oil with Gulf oil companies, the Chinese National Petroleum Corp, Al Than Sudapet.

14: Thousands of parcels and letters have formed a heap at Khartoum airport, as the strike by postal workers entered its second day. The Sudanese Post and Telegraph trade union declared a three-day strike to press demands for the payment of salary arrears and increments.

14: Chinese vice premier Wu Bangguo has arrived in Khartoum for three-day official visits to Sudan. The visit came at the invitation of Sudanese first vice president Ali Osman Taha. "I'm very pleased to visit this great country at the invitation from the Sudanese government," Wu told reporters upon his arrival at the Khartoum International Airport.

Raids trigger psychological trauma

Continued bombardment of civilian targets in Sudan's Eastern Equatoria is inflicting devastating psychological trauma on the civilian populations.

The worst affected, eyewitnesses say, are the children who now flee at the sight or on detecting the slightest sound of an aircraft.

A lot of people in the area, now believe that the last days mentioned in the Bible have come, says Fr. Maurice Loguti, the Pastoral Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Torit. Fr Loguti, who has ministered in the area for eight months and has witnessed most of the aerial raids, says the way they are conducted would leave even the most daring soldier stupefied with fear. He recalls how on October 25, the dreaded Antonov bomber dropped 12 bombs in Ikotos, near the Uganda border, in a span of about two hours.

"It first appeared at 5 pm (East Africa time), dropped two bombs then flew away. When people who had sought cover in every direction thought that they were now safe, the monster reappeared and dropped two more bombs.'' This, he said, was re-enacted until a total of 12 bombs were dropped. Some of the bombs hit the Ngaluma refugee camp, reduced three huts (tukuls) to rubble and left two women and a boy with serious coughs from the polluted air.

The following day, said the 40-year-old priest, the bomber was back employing the same techniques to wreak havoc on the defenceless civilians. "The Antonov made three rounds without dropping any bomb. On the fourth round, it bombed Ngaluma, hit cassava and banana plantations at Logirekaka on the fifth round, and then struck the area between Logirekaka and Ngaluma on the sixth round. A total of eight bombs were dropped that day in a span of 21/2 hours."

Fr Martin Vuni, 32, witnessed the bombardment of Nimule on October 22. "The Antonov came twice at 11 am and at 2.30 pm, each time dropping 12," he said.

The psychological impact of the incident was particularly great considering that it happened at a time when Khartoum and the SPLA had declared a cease-fire to facilitate the UN-sponsored polio immunisation programme.

A day after the bombardment that reduced a kindergarten to rumble, said the Catholic clergy, everything in Nimule came to a standstill. "Both pupils and their teachers refused to report to school fearing for their lives." He said that the majority of the people are now convinced that the government is out to annihilate them since it has continued to attack them despite the fact that there are no rebel military activities in the area.

Besides the kindergarten, the bombs destroyed at least five huts and the kitchen of a hospital run by the Norwegian People's Aid. The bombs further shattered most windows of the local Catholic Church and the windscreen of a car belonging to the Church.

Mr. Caudio Opwonya, 47, still recalls vividly the grisly sight of a 65-year-old man cut into two pieces at Narus on September 18. On that day, a church-run clinic was hit at a time when about 120 patients were waiting patiently for most basic medication available at the institution. Four huts were destroyed in a raid that left two people with serious injuries. The injured were taken to the Lopiding hospital at Kenya's border town of Lokichoggio.

A day later, the aerial raider was back, this time round hitting cattle fields away from the villages.
Mr. Opwonya says it has become virtually impossible to conduct lessons at the Blessed Comboni and Saint Bakhita schools in Narus near the Kenya border. Every time the pupils detect the sound of an aircraft, they take to their heels, he says. The trouble, adds the diocesan coordinator of education, is compounded by the fact that most of the aircrafts on humanitarian mission overfly Narus. He suggests that the aircrafts use an alternative route especially on their way from Sudan to save the children further psychological torture. However, he points out, the best solution would be to declare southern Sudan a no-fly zone for all military aircrafts. The two schools have a population of 870 pupils, majority of whom are children of the displaced.

Charles Omondi

Hospital poised to perform better

Gordhim Hospital, the only medical facility with a laboratory in Sudan's vast northern Bahr el Ghazal region, is poised to offer better services to the Sudanese, thanks to US$30000 worth drugs and materials from a German NGO, Sign of Hope.

The Catholic Diocese of Rumbek runs the hospital, with a hinterland extending upto 300 kilometres radius. It was revived late last year after over a decade of non-operation occasioned by Sudan's 17-year-old civil war.

Presenting the drugs to the hospital on November 8, 2000, the executive director of Sign or Hope, Mr. Reimund Reubelt, said his organisation was committed to continuing its crusade for the dignity and well being of the victims of the long running civil war. He said that in extending any assistance to the Sudanese, Sign of Hope would work closely with their partners on the ground to ensure that they provide only what is most needed. Mr. Reubelt was accompanied by his assistant Anke Lieby.

Sign of Hope is a relief and human rights organisation with operations in different parts of the world, especially where Christians are suffering persecution. They first ventured in Sudan 1994 and have since worked closely with the churches in the southern part of the country. As part of their advocacy for the African state, every issue of their monthly publication carries an article on Sudan. Other countries in which the German NGO is present include Chad, Rwanda, Kosovo, Peru and India.

Among the drugs donated were anti-malarial medicines to combat the scourge that threatens thousands of lives in the region especially during the rainy seasons. The non-drug items donated by the German organisation were, mosquito nets, cooking pans, water jerricans, sorghum and rice, which were presented to the displaced populations.

The intensive military activities in Gogrial and the surrounding areas since mid this year, have seen many people reduced to internal refugees in the SPLA-controlled Aweil East County. A local administrator with the Diocese of Rumbek, Mr. Kongor Deng Kongor, said most of the displaced had either lost all their belongings while fleeing the war or had been forced to barter whatever little they possessed for food.
Their lack of shelter and adequate clothing has aggravated the incidents of malaria in the region.

According to statistics provided by a nurse at the hospital, Ms Margaret Wanjiru, it handled 2,446 malaria cases in August and 2,132 in the subsequent month. In October, 1,537 malaria cases were treated at the hospital.

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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