1. Chronology
  2. Is Sudan Government's Fall Imminent?
  3. SCIO man scoops prestigious Italian award


Jan. 16: The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) said today a joint rebel force had captured another Sudanese army garrison - Gadamyeeb - north-east of the town of Kassala as Khartoum declared an Islamic "holy war" to counter advancing rebels.

17: An alliance of Sudanese rebels said today they were advancing towards Kassala, a rich agricultural area in north-eastern Sudan. Fierce battles also continued south-east of the hydro-electric dam of Damazin, on the Blue Nile, which supplies the capital of Sudan with most of its power.

18: The Eritrean government has denied Sudanese claims that it is aiding rebels who have made significant advances in the past week in the eastern part of Sudan. In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs qualified as "unfounded and baseless" claims by the government of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir that its forces had killed 250 Eritrean soldiers who had penetrated Sudanese territory.

18: The SPLA said today a joint rebel force had captured the town of Maban on the southern front of the Blue Nile region as the government poured in forces to counter the rebel advance. SPLA told Reuters that rebels were now marching towards Damazin.

18: Uganda today denied Sudanese allegations that it was massing troops on the border ready to launch an attack on its northern neighbour and instead accused Khartoum of harbouring expansionist ambitions. "These are the usual allegations by Sudan against Uganda," Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi said.

19: The Sudanese government said today its army had pushed back attacks in the east of the country, where it says Ethiopian forces invaded last Sunday. In Cairo the opposition NDA, which says it is responsible for the attacks, denied the government's account. "They are liars," opposition spokesman Farouq Abu Eissa told Reuters.

19: Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI) said Antonov bombers, helicopter gunships and ground troops had been razing villages in Blue Nile state.

20: The Sudanese opposition in Cairo said their troops in eastern Sudan killed 150 government soldiers in Blue Nile province today. "Our soldiers clashed with the government troops north of our garrison in Keili - 100 km south of Damazin - and they killed 150 of them," opposition spokesman told Reuters in Cairo.

20: Sudanese opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi is visiting Saudi Arabia to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and could meet Saudi government officials, sources close to Mr. Mahdi said. But there was no indication that the Mr Mahdi would meet Sudanese Vice President Al-Zubair Mohammed Saleh, who is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia today.

21: President Hosni Mubarak today ruled out any intervention in Sudan, saying fighting there pitted only the government against opposition forces. Sudan has tried to secure Egyptian support amid warning from Khartoum that the attacks on the Blue Nile region were threatening Egypt's Nile water resources.

21: SPLA said rebels from the NDA were 70 km outside Damazin and still advancing.

22: Former Sudanese prime minister Sadiq el-Mahdi called on the armed forces and police today to overthrow the Islamist regime of General Omar el-Bashir.

22: John Garang said today his forces killed 300 government troops in a battle south of the key eastern town of Damazin.

22: Hundreds of Sudanese war volunteers staged a rally in downtown Khartoum yesterday to protest against what they called Eritrean and Ethiopian attacks along the borders of Africa's largest country.

24: Sudan claimed today to have halted the rebel advance on the strategic hydro-electric power station of Damazin.

24: Perceptions of Sudan as an Islamic fundamentalist State could hurt its chances of avoiding expulsion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after it defaulted on about US$1 billion in debt, an IMF official said. Jose Pedro de Morais, an IMF alternate executive director for 20 African countries, said Sudan defaulted last year on $5.5 million a month in repayments and the only fair alternative to "compulsory withdrawal," -- expulsion - was to reschedule debt.

25: The 24-member executive board of the IMF, meets on January 31 to review Sudan's financial situation and may recommend that IMF-member countries vote to remove the African state from the agency when they gather at the annual meeting this fall.

27: The intensified armed conflict in Sudan over the past week has added to the religious and political polarisation in Khartoum, with pro-opposition students and Christian leaders opposing the holy war declared by the state. Students have demonstrated in favour of the opposition National Democratic Alliance.

28: Sudanese Justice Minister Abdel Bassit Sabdarat has vowed that celebrations commemorating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan would be held in the town of Kurmuk, which was recently captured by rebel troops.

28: Sudan said today it had attacked a rebel base near the southern border with Uganda - Lokia, 75 km from the Ugandan border - opening another front in the war against rebels trying to overthrow the Islamist government.

29: The Sudanese government said today the army was advancing against the forces which attacked in the east of the country two weeks ago. Sudan is also sending out more envoys to try to persuade other countries that it is the victim of Ethiopian and Eritrean aggression rather than under attack by internal rebels.

29: Sudan's Islamic government slammed shut the doors of its most prestigious university, exhorting its 20,000 students to the front. "A million martyrs for a new era," went one cry. But only about 250 answered the call, professors and students say, most of them obliged by virtue of their membership in Sudan's ruling party.

February 1: President Yoweri Museveni said yesterday that Uganda and neighbouring Sudan were on the brink of war, as Khartoum accused Kampala of support for Sudanese rebels. President Museveni told reporters after meeting European Commissioner Joao de Deus Pinheiro that there would be a "battlefield" solution to crisis. Uganda claims Sudan is supporting anti-Museveni rebels.

1: A top Sudanese official accused President Museveni of acting as a Trojan horse for western colonisation in Africa.

3: "A huge build-up of Ugandan, Eritrean and Tigrayan (Ethiopian) forces...have completed their plans to launch an attack on southern Sudan from inside Uganda, " Culture and Information Minister Al-Tayeb Ibrahim Mohammed Khair was quoted in the government Al-Sudan al-Hadith newspaper as saying.

5: Sudanese President Al-Bashir yesterday formally asked his Kenyan counterpart to continue with his reconciliatory talks over the escalating conflict in Sudan. Lt. Al-Bashir held talks with President Moi for one hour at State House, Nairobi.

5: The Sudanese government said yesterday it would bring leading opposition figures including former premier Sadiq al-Mahdi to trial for undermining the regime.

6: Sudan has told a visiting delegation of Egyptian opposition leaders it wants to improve strained relations with Cairo and that the fighting along Sudan's eastern border threatens Egypt's security. "The Sudanese government and the people are prepared to surmount the differences (because) the security of Sudan is that of Egypt," said the Secretary General of Sudan's decision-making national congress, Ghazi Salah Eddin Atabani.

6: Sudan said today Ethiopia had taken more than 15, 000 people captive since its troops began fighting the Khartoum government in the southern Blue Nile province more than three weeks ago.

7: The military commander of Sudan's northern Red Sea province has said Eritrean forces are massing along the border between the two countries and planning to attack.

15: Sudanese war planes have bombed Moyo in northern Uganda - about 12 km from the Sudan border - killing one woman, the Ugandan government said.

16: Sudan has denied that its war planes attacked Moyo, and said that the Ugandan claims were aiming at undermining Iranian mediation between the two countries.

16: According to independent sources in Nairobi, 12 bombs were dropped yesterday by Sudan government planes on the village of Aburok in Upper Nile, the main base of SPLA-United (Dr. Lam Akol faction). No casualties were reported.

Is Sudan Government's fall imminent?

"Northern and Southern oppositionists have seized territory from the government and look capable of staying on the offensive," screams an article in a recent issue of Africa Confidential. Is the end imminent for the National Islamic Front government?

According to the article in Volume 38 No.3 of the authoritative publication, the strategy of oppositionists who launched their offensive on eastern front early this year, "is to follow military successes with civilian uprising".

So far the Sudan People's Liberation Army led by Colonel John Garang, for many years in control of most of southern Sudan, has captured Kurmuk, Geissan and Maban on the Ethiopian border. A combination of SPLA and Sudan Alliance Forces under Brigadier General Abdel Aziz Khalid Osman have seen the government forces routed out of Yagoro-Yabashir-Menza triangle, about 80 kilometres south-east of Damazin, the main source of hydro-electric power for Khartoum.

The response to the government's general mobilisation call has so far been lukewarm and so has been the response from the international community. Whereas for a great majority of the Sudanese the new offensive offers a glimmer of hope in the struggle against an oppressive regime, the international community views it as an internal affair that does not warrant their involvement.

The mobilisation call, says the article, "produced only 1, 000 People's Defence Force volunteers," adding that "eye witness saw security rounding up youths on the streets, some as young as 15".

Perhaps, most damning external response to NIF's plea for international support was that from Egypt, Sudan's immediate neighbour to the north and with whom Sudan shares a lot of interests particularly the waters of the River Nile. Said Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Musa: "The conflict in Sudan is caused by the regime's policies and practices, which are unacceptable to the Sudanese as well as the Arab states and the international community ...Egypt is siding with the Sudanese people".

SCIO's Fr. Kizito scoops prestigious Italian award

Father Kizito Renato Sesana of Sudan Catholic Information Office (SCIO), Nairobi, is the 1997 winner of Raoul Follereau Prize. Fr. Kizito, a priest- journalist of the Comboni order, will be presented with the US$20, 000 Prize at a ceremony in the central Italian city of L'Aquila on May 24.

Launched in 1985, the prestigious Raoul Follereau Prize, is every year awarded by AIFO (Associazione Italiana Amici di Raoul Follereau) to a person or a group of persons who have worked in an exemplary way in the defence of human rights and the edification of justice and the peace in the world. AIFO is an Italian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with 53 groups in Italy. It is present in 50 other countries where it runs a total of 164 projects.

The Prize was last year won by Monsignor Samuel Ruiz, bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico, for his actions in favour of liberation and justice for the Mexican Indians.

The Prize is named after French man Raoul Follereau, who devoted his life to the fight against leprosy. Follereau's efforts brought to the attention of the world the plight of the victims of leprosy, launched a "World Leprosy Day", promoted the treatment of hundreds of thousands of lepers around the world and played a major role in the complete eradication of the dreaded disease in many countries.

Seeing that the battle against leprosy was about to be won, Follerau urged the members of the world wide association he had founded to shift their efforts to the war against "other forms of leprosy" - indifference, human rights abuses and injustice.

Fr. Kizito, who became a priest in 1970 has since his ordination spent most of his life in Africa, ministering mainly among the marginalised and oppressed communities. He has since 1988 been instrumental in writing about the Sudanese in general and the Nuba in particular. The Nuba are a Central Sudanese community, whose existence is threatened by a genocide by the Sudanese Islamic regime.

In addition to the Prize money, Fr. Kizito is set to tour 10 Italian cities, during which time he will deliver talks on the future of Africa, the war in the Sudan, the genocide of the Nuba people and the need for a new information order that will give the poor and the marginalised people the opportunity to speak for themselves.

Charles Omondi

For further information, please contact:
Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.562247 - fax +254.2.566668 - e-mail:


PeaceLink 1997