Sudanese Catholic Information Office

S C I O

P.O.Box 21102 - Nairobi - Kenya

Tel. 00254 - 2 - 562247

fax. 00254 - 2 - 566668

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

SCIO, September 15, 1998

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

Sudan Monthly Report

September 15, 1998

1.Chronology

2.Fight against famine goes on

3.1999 might not be any better in Southern Sudan

 

 

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

1. Chronology

August 16: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has

named several human rights investigators, including one for Sudan,

where both sides in Africa's longest-running civil war are accused of

violations. Leonardo Franco, an Argentinian expert who headed the

UN Human Rights mission in Guatemala, replaces Gaspar Biro,

who resigned last April after serving for five years as UN special

rapporteur on human rights in Sudan, a statement said.

 

16: Sudan has criticised Egypt for allowing Sudanese groups trying

to topple the Islamic government in Khartoum to meet in Cairo for

the first time. Egypt's move was "against the Sudanese People, its

constitutional institutions and legitimate set-up," state-owned

al-Anbaa daily quoted a senior official as saying.

 

16: Sudan's umbrella opposition group, the National Democratic

Alliance (NDA), has said it was close to overthrowing the Islamic

government in Khartoum. "The NDA is getting close to its ultimate

goal: overthrowing the government... and restoring multiparty

democracy in Sudan," spokesman Mr Faruq Abu Issa said.

 

16: A former Sudanese rebel-turned senior government official has

accused Egypt of seeking to overthrow the Islamic-led regime in

Khartoum by force, an official newspaper reported. "There are

covert objectives being adopted and discussed by Egypt and the

(Sudanese) forces presently meeting in Cairo," said Riek Machar,

who last year left the South Sudanese rebel movement to become a

key ally of the Khartoum government.

 

17: The only solution to Sudan's 15-year civil war is the overthrow

of the country's Islamic government, the main Sudanese rebel leader

has said.. "This is a regime with which we cannot do business. It

terrorises Sudanese people, it has run down the Sudanese economy,

it is killing people," John Garang, who heads the Sudanese People's

Liberation Army said.

 

18: Sudan has accused Egypt of "plotting" against it, as leaders of

NDA again declared their determination to overthrow the

Khartoum regime. Mr Mutesim Abdel Rahim, secretary of Sudan's

ruling party; said a meeting between NDA leaders and Egyptian

president Hosni Mubarak was "shrouded'' in secrecy and "indicates

that Cairo is plotting something against Khartoum'', according to

Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper.

 

19: Sudanese rebel leaders have vowed to continue their war

against the Khartoum government while maintaining the country's

unity. The announcement was made after rebel leaders wound up a

three-day meeting in Cairo which was convened at the behest of the

Egyptian government.

 

20: Sudan's ruling party accused Egypt of "interference" and

"enmity" after Cairo hosted a conference by the Sudanese

opposition. An official from Sudan's National Congress Party, Mr

Mohammed al-Hassan al-Amin, read a statement saying the

conference was 'an odd precedent in the neighbourly relations and

norms and a flagrant defiance of the Sudanese nation."

 

21: Floods have destroyed homes in eastern Sudan and cut

electricity supplies to the capital, the press reported. Almost 1,000

houses were destroyed in the eastern town of Kassala, reports said.

 

22: Angry Sudanese stormed the empty US embassy compound in

Khartoum and pulled down the American flag to protest a US

missile attack on a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudanese capital.

Sudanese government officials termed the missile attack "a criminal

act" and charged that it had been ordered by president Clinton to

draw attention away from the investigation into his relations with

former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

 

22: In the two weeks ahead of the US air strikes in Sudan and

Afghanistan, Israeli intelligence agents provided their US

counterparts with considerable information on Islamic militant

groups, an Israeli newspaper said. Prime minister Benjamin

Netanyahu was evasive when asked whether Israel helped the US

select the targets in air raids, which came in retaliation for the US

embassy bombings in East Africa earlier this month.

 

22: President Yoweri Museveni received a telephone call from

secretary of state Madeleine Albright to inform him about US

missile strikes launched against targets in Sudan and Afghanistan,

and he supported the action, a statement from his office said. The

statement said Mrs Albright told Mr Museveni the actions were

carried out "because those sites accommodated factories that make

explosives with which the terrorists make bombs."

 

23: About 10,000 Sudanese shouted for the downfall of the US at a

Khartoum demonstration against American air strikes on Sudan.

"Down, down USA, we won't be ruled by the CIA," The crowd

chanted in the central Matyr's Square as they waved banners

emblazoned with more anti-American slogans.

 

24: America's missile barrage on a pharmaceutical plant in the

outskirts of Sudan's capital was called a strike against terrorists

operating from outlaw states. For Sudan's government, it has

provided an opportunity, one that has become a woefully rare, to

rally its weary people around the flag.

 

24: Egypt's foreign Minster has said his country had nothing to do

with US strikes against Sudan despite its strained relations with

Khartoum. "This American action has nothing to do with Egyptian

interests," foreign minister Amr Moussa said.

 

24: The US reiterated that it had credible evidence linking a

pharmaceuticals plant in Sudan to chemical weapons, and said the

Islamic world strongly supported its missile strikes. Sudan denies

the plant was engaged in chemical weapons-related production and

many Muslim nations have expressed outrage at Washington's

cruise-missile strikes.

 

25: Islamic states at the United Nations have backed Sudan's

demand for an urgent Security Council meeting and a UN inquiry

into the American attack that destroyed a pharmaceutical factory

near Khartoum. But the League of Arab states, in its own formal

letter to the Security Council, did not call for any specific action

except for the US to "refrain from such acts which constitute

violations of national sovereignty".

 

25: Sudan wants a public apology from Washington for its missile

strike against a factory in Khartoum, and has asked the UN to

investigate US allegations that the factory produced ingredients for

chemical weapons. Sudan would welcome a UN inspection of the

factory that US missiles destroyed, but would not allow the team to

inspect any other alleged chemical weapons sites, information

minister Ghazi Salahel-Din told a press conference.

 

25: Sudan's president has said that if the US truly believed a

Khartoum factory made chemical weapons, it committed "an ugly

crime" by bombing in the midst of a city and endangering thousands

of lives. President Hassan Omar el-Bashir argued that there was

evidence US officials knew the Khartoum plant made only

medicines as Sudan maintains.

 

25: The Arab League has urged the UN to send a team to Sudan to

show that the medicine factory bombed by the US did not produce

chemical weapons components. "The Arab League urges the

Security Council to consider its responsibilities in keeping

international peace and stability," the Cairo-based organisation said

in a statement.

 

26: Despite an American attack last week that wrecked Sudan's

largest pharmaceutical plant, troubled relations between the two

countries that soured almost a decade ago, will soon become better,

Sudan's parliament speaker says. The remarks of Mr Hassan Turabi,

the man considered the real power behind the Islamic government,

stand in sharp contrast to several days of rallies and protests in

Khartoum, where demonstrators have denounced the US and

president Bill Clinton.

 

28: Declaring it will continue supporting US attacks against

terrorists, Britain announced it is withdrawing its ambassador and

other diplomats from Sudan following the American bombing of a

suspected chemical weapons plant there. Foreign secretary Mr

Robin Cook warned Britons not to go to Sudan following the

departure of ambassador Alan Goulty and the eight other British

staff at the embassy.

 

29: The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) has said it supported

sending a fact-finding mission to Sudan to verify Washington's

claim that a Khartoum pharmaceutical factory attacked on August

20 was producing ingredients for chemical weapons. At a meeting

convened at the request of Khartoum, the OAU executive

expressed its "deep concern" about the attack on the Al-Shifa plant,

north of Khartoum and also about the bombings on August 7 of the

US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which left a total of

257 dead, most of them Africans.

 

30: Sudan's vice president concluded a three-day West African

diplomatic tour to press for African condemnation of a US missile

attack on a Sudanese factory. George Kongor Arop told reporters

he hoped to convince the 53-member pan-African organisation to

join the Arab League in roundly condemning the attack and giving

political support to Sudan's government.

 

31: Sudan has hinted that a relief plane from a UN umbrella group

may have spied on behalf of the US, carrying out surveillance just

before the American missile strike on a Sudanese factory. The

Sudanese foreign minister, Mr Mustafa Osman Ismail, said in

Nairobi that Sudanese suspicions were aroused by the fact that a

plane from Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) had been cleared to

land just prior to the August 20 US raid, but instead circled the

airport and then flew off.

 

31: The Sudan government has stressed that it has no links with

Saudi Arabia-born Osama bin Laden, the alleged leader of an

international terrorist group. Sudan has in fact appealed to the UN

Security Council to send a fact finding mission to investigate the

US bomb attack on the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant outside

Khartoum.

 

31: Khartoum expelled terrorist leader Bin Laden in 1995 due to

pressure from other governments which considered him a security

threat, the Sudanese external affairs minister has said. "Although

there is no concrete evidence linking him to actual cases of

terrorism, we asked him to leave because his name was being

mentioned in connection with acts of terrorism," said Mr Ismail.

 

September 1: Sudan has urged the 113-nation Non-Aligned

Movement (NAM) to support its call for a UN probe into the

August 20 US missile attack on a Sudanese factory. Sudanese

foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail, speaking before a meeting

of NAM foreign ministers in Durban, South Africa, reiterated his

call "for the UN Security Council to send an investigation team''.

 

1: The OLS has vehemently denied any involvement in the US air

strike on Sudan. OLS information officer Gillian Wilcox said in a

press release that OLS does not, nor has it ever, been involved in

surveillance for anyone. "OLS is strictly neutral, humanitarian

operation which provides emergency assistance to the civilian

victims of the Sudanese war," said Wilcox.

 

1: Sudan's president Omar Hassan al-Bashirt has formed a

committee to investigate the ownership of the factory bombed by

the US, a Khartoum newspaper reported. The privately-owned

Al-Jumhouria daily said the committee would be headed by a senior

judge Abdallah Ahmad Abdalla.

 

2: Floods in northern and eastern Sudan may have affected up to

100,000 people in the past few days, the head of the Sudanese Red

Crescent Society has said. Mr Omar Osman Mahmoud said the

Gash river had broken its banks and flooded western parts of the

city of Kassala, about 450 kms east of Khartoum.

 

7: Sudan has appealed to the international community for urgent aid

to help it deal with flood damage in the north and east of the

country, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported. Suna

quoted Mr Hussein al-Obeid, Sudan's commissioner for

humanitarian aid, as telling ambassadors, UN officials and

non-governmental organisation that his country needed US$19.5

million to provide shelter, food and health services for the people

affected by the floods.

 

8: A Sudanese court has sentenced to jail six people who tried to

join a group opposed to the Khartoum government, a newspaper

said. The privately-owned Al-Rai al-Aam daily said the six were

given two-year jail terms .

 

8: Troops of the pro-government South Sudan Defence Force

(SSDF) have recaptured Bentieu, the chief town of Al-Wihda state,

and two other towns from a rival faction, an SSDF source said. The

military source, who asked not to be named, told reporters that

SSDF forces had launched an offensive on Bentieu, Matkenj and

Nekai, where they "defeated and drove out the men of Paulino

Mateb, who took full control of the town".

 

8: One person was killed and 25 others seriously injured when

fighting broke out between Sudanese and Somali communities at

the Kakuma refugee camp in north western Kenya. Police sources

at the camp said the fighting started after a scuffle between a

Sudanese and a Somali refugee, which spread to their families and

later involved the two communities.

 

10: The rains have fianlly arrived in Bahr el Ghazal, the area of

south Sudan worst affected by famine, transforming the region from

an unforgiving dustbowl into what looks like an oasis. But while the

rain may have washed away the dust, it has come too late to save

most of the September harvest, residents, say.

 

11:Residents of Tuti islands, cut off from Khartoum by the Nile

river, closed their shops and stacked sandbags to prepare for more

of the country's worst floods in years. Officials at Sudan's ministry

of irrigation and water resources said the Blue Nile was due to rise

in the next two days from torrential rains in the Ethiopian highlands.

 

14: Relief supplies from at least three Arab countries have started

to arrive in Sudan where officials say floods spilling into 12 of the

country's 26 states of the country's 26 million people, newspapers

said. The privately-owned Al-Rai Al-Aam daily said an Egyptian

plane arrived at Khartoum airport carrying 32 tonnes of tenets and

jute sacks for making sandbags.

 

12: The Sudanese plant bombed by the US last month was funded

by the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank. The bank financed El

Shifa factory to the tune of $6 million. The PTA's 1997 annual

report lists the plant as one of the 18 firms whose projects had been

approved for financing in 1997.

 

12: The first secretary at the Sudanese embassy in Kenya, Mr.

Almamnsour Bolad, said that the people of Sudan had suffered

immense losses as a result of the "unjustified American act of

aggression". Speaking at the embassy in Nairobi, Mr. Bolad said

that while Sudan had not only lost a facility that produced over

two-thirds of its pharmaceutical needs, 350 people had been put out

of employment.

 

14: Some 2,800 Rwandan and Ugandan rebels are being trained at

secret camps in Sudan and could be unleashed as part of

Khartoum's support for president Laurent Kabila in Congo,

Uganda's top intelligence official has claimed. But the claims were

dismissed as "baseless" by the first secretary at Sudan's embassy in

Nairobi.

 

15: At least 400 people have been killed in fighting in oil-rich

province of southern Sudan, news reports and sources in the region

said. James Marbour Gattkoth, an official at the Southern States

Coordination Council, said in Akhbar al-Youm that since August

fighting had led to "serious human losses and material damage".

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

 

2. Fight against famine goes on

 

Armed with bowls, calabashes, sauce pans and whatever else could

hold some food, the well over one hundred naked children, most of

them pot-bellied, queued to be served with their daily ration of the

unimix, a high nutrition porridge provided by the Catholic Church

to help fight famine in southern Sudan. One after another, they got

their share and retreated to a safe corner to have a go at the

long-awaited only meal for the day. Though steaming hot, the little

ones had minimal difficulty consuming, with their bare hands and

improvised spoons, the gruel that would have, under normal

circumstances, burned their mouths into wild screams. The equally

malnourished and scantily dressed adults waited patiently in the

background. The hunger in their eyes was crystal clear as, like the

children, they had had to endure a long wait since the previous day's

ratio at a similar time.

 

Some had no containers and had to wait for their children to clear

their food so that they could use the same. The third lot, consisting

the more energetic adults (by southern Sudan standards), had to

wait even longer. Unlike the first two groups, they were not entitled

to ready made food but a tin of dry maize to carry home and

prepare a meal on their own. For most visitors, even those from

other third world countries where poverty has become part and

parcel of life, it was a scene difficult to bear.

 

"The situation now is much better," said Fr. Benjamin Madol, a

Catholic priest at Rumbek helping with the supervision of the

process. "Not so long ago, we used to bury many on almost daily

basis.'' Similar sentiments were expressed by Fr. Madol's colleague,

Fr. Raphael Riel and Justin Makwach, the peace co-ordinator for

the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek. With the long rains now on, the

local people are supplementing whatever little they are provided

with by the international community with wild vegetables and a

little of their farm produce. Their livestock too are having a good

time feasting on the lush vegetation. However, the rains have also

compounded the hunger situation in a way. Vast areas are now

flooded, making them inaccessible to relief delivery planes and

vehicles. The floods have also destroyed some crops, and a famine

in future cannot be ruled out unless there is further international

intervention. Vast areas of Rumbek county remain fallow as most

local people have neither the energy, seeds, nor tools to enable

them make optimum use of the land.

 

Captured by the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) only a

year ago, Rumbek is still bearing the brunt of the one decade of

destruction set in motion since the government take over in 1986.

Rumbek has two feeding centres catering for about 700 people.

One is run by the Catholic Church and the other by UN relief

agencies. The 700 are part of the estimated 2.6 million southern

Sudanese threatened by what has been described as Sudan's worst

food crisis in decades.

 

The once flourishing commercial, agricultural and religious centre,

is hardly recognisable today. Former shops, residential houses,

churches, bank, post office, prison, play grounds and everything

else to do with modern day civilisation, are today ugly ruins and an

eyesore. Nearly all the modern buildings whose walls have

withstood the vagaries of weather, have no roofs. Yet it is such

structures that are homes to hundreds of returnees. A good number

of people live under trees while others have managed to put up

some huts. How they cope with the heavy rains now falling in the

region is anybody's guess. Those interested in rebuilding the town

are moving with caution. It is still a war zone and no one can tell

for sure when the next bombardment will be. How long this human

misery will continue, is a question many have asked.

 

While appreciating the response from the international community,

the UN secretary-general Koffi Annan maintains that "such an

effort cannot, and should not have to be sustained indefinitely. Only

peace can bring a solution to this crisis".

 

Charles Omondi

 

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

 

3. 1999 may not be any better in Southern Sudan

 

Hunger in Southern Sudan is far from over. In fact, it will not be

over this year. On my recent visit of Bahr el Ghazal region from

August 23-27, I came to grips with the alarming factors that are

frustrating local food production and threatening the survival of

enough cattle in Southern Sudan. In Western Bahr El Ghazal, rains

came late in July and the first planting was a total failure. People

then planted in low lands hoping that the preserved moisture would

see their crops through to the beginning of the rains.

 

In August, rains came in excessive amounts (never seen in recent

years) and the crops were submerged. Maize, simsim, groundnuts

and beans rotted away as several people were displaced from their

homes in low lands. It is a tragic disaster. The sorghum is far from

mature and only time will tell how its crop will be The 150, 000

displaced people from Wau were not able to prepare their fields

during their roaming through Bahr el Ghazal in 1998 due to several

reasons: First was malnourishment which cut down almost totally

on cultivating energy.

 

Secondly, having been away from cultivating for the last 12 years,

they had become city dwellers to whom cultivation was alien. They

relied on buying food from the Wau market even though at

prohibitive costs. They were not prepared to make fields in 1998.

They are likely to settle down to meaningful cultivation next year.

Thus, for the rest of this year, most of the displaced people from

Wau will not have any harvest. Consequently, the problem of

hunger is likely to be worse next year than this year. Traditional

granary areas of Western Bahr el Ghazal such as Nyamlell and

Marial Bai have this year experienced crop failure. Hunger has also

forced the pastoral people of Bahr el Ghazal to sell their cattle for

meagre prices. Veterinary experts in Bahr el Ghazal reckon that

cattle is being slaughtered and sold in the most indiscriminate ways.

Young animals and even pregnant cows are slaughtered and sold at

meat markets. Generally, cattle in Bahr el Ghazal is presently as

valueless as the Sudanese pound. All you can get for a cow is

30,000 to 40,000 lbws in southern Sudan, while in the North they

are still worth 1/2 million Sudanese pounds a head. Yes; a cow is

barely worth a sack of beans. A cheap sale in deed.

 

In addition, diseases are rampant among cattle for lack of adequate

feeding and vaccination. Animal gradual extension is a factor to

keep in mind in the global estimation of food for Sudan in 1999. All

present indications are very decisively pointing to a hunger situation

in 1999 worse by far than that of 1998. It will take the efforts of the

combined internal and external resources and international agencies

to face the hunger of 1999 in a way that will be honourable for the

starving Sudanese.

 

Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari.

Apostolic Administrator

Diocese of Rumbek

 

 

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

For further information, please contact:

Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.562247 - fax +254.2.566668 -

e-mail: SCIO@MAF.Org

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

SUDAN CATHOLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

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

tel. +254.2.562247 or 569130, fax 566668

e-mail:scio@maf.org

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

 

 

- - - - - - - - - - -

Distributed by Sudan Infonet

An Information Service of the Sudan Working Group--USA

SudanInfonet@compuserve.com

Web Site: http://members.tripod.com/~SudanInfonet/

Funding provided by: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

9/17/98 1:17 PM