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Sudanese Catholic Information Office

 

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S C I O

P.O.Box 21102 - Nairobi - Kenya

Tel. 00254 - 2 - 562247

fax. 00254 - 2 - 566668

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SCIO, December 15, 1998

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Sudan Monthly Report

December 15, 1998

 

Chronology

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1. Chronology

 

November: 16: Sudan will host a ministerial meeting of the

Commission on Refugees, and Displaced Persons in Africa, a

statement from Embassy in Nairobi said. The Sudanese

government, working in liaison with the Organisation of African

Unity (OAU) general secretariat, have set three days next month for

the ministerial conference in Khartoum from December 13-15.

 

17: An attempted assassination of top SPLA leader John Garang in

Nairobi left one man dead and several wounded. The SPLA leader's

Nairobi residence was attacked by supporters of his rival, Major

General Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, it was revealed.

 

18: Kenya police officers fuelled the battle between Garang and

Major-General Kerubino, it has been claimed. It was revealed that

the weekend fight was sparked by the arrest of Kerubino, his

deputy Dr Amon Wantok , and his three top aides at the Jomo

Kenyatta International Airport.

 

18: A fight between supporters of Garang and Kerubino took place

at a Muthangari Police Station in Nairobi. And Garang has gone

underground.

 

18: A Sudan government war plane bombed a hospital run by the

Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) agency in a rebel-held town in

south Sudan killing two people including a child and injuring 11,

rebels and the aid group reported. "A Sudan government Anotonov

plane dropped six bombs on Yei town," said a statement by the aid

agency.

 

19: The SPLA has accused Kerubino of trying to assassinate Col

Garang, in Nairobi. A "hit squad" raided Col. Garang's house but

the attack was foiled by the "alertness of the Kenyan police," an

SPLA statement said.

 

19: Kenya parliament will be told the cause of the fight between

Sudanese rebels at a police station in Nairobi. Minister of state

Major (Rtd) Marsden Madoka made the pledge after Dagoretti MP

Beth Mugo sought a ministerial statement from office of the

president on the fight.

 

20: General Kerubino has said he will not be returning to the side of

the Sudanese government, despite accusations by the SPLA that he

tried to assassinate Col. Garang. "This is ridiculous. Going back to

Khartoum would not be good for our people. Our people are

fighting for self-determination," Gen Kerubino said.

 

20: The Deputy speaker of the Sudanese ruling National Congress,

Mr Ali al Haj Mohammed, has denied any link between the

Sudanese government and bloody conflict in Nairobi between Col

Garang and Gen. Kerubino. Mr Haj was quoted by the daily

newspaper Al Usbu, denying government involvement in the

assassination bid and asserted that in fact Col Garang had sought to

have Gen Kerubino murdered.

 

21: Sudanese officials and rebels signed a pact guaranteeing better

security to aid workers, including a promise not to lay land mines in

areas where they provide help, a UN official said. The accord,

signed in Rome, was forged to allow food to reach people caught in

a 15-year civil war in the south.

 

22: President Hassan Omar el-Bashir has warned opposition groups

based in neighbouring Eritrea and Ethiopia that Sudan was about to

mend fences with the two Horn of Africa nations. Relations

between Sudan and its two neighbours have been fraught with

tension for several years. Khartoum accuses them of aiding

Sudanese rebels while Ethiopia and Eritrea level similar charges.

 

23: Civil strife in Africa has escalated because of the continued

manufacture of arms by some states in the West, the Kitale Catholic

bishop, Maurice Crowley, has said. He was speaking at the Blessed

Josephine Bakhita Formation Centre, Kitale, Kenya, during the

graduation ceremony for 23 Sudanese catechists.

 

23: A gun-fight in Nairobi between two factions of the SPLA, in

which one man was killed and several wounded, exposed the sharp

divisions in the main opposition fighting to oust the Khartoum

government. Col. Garang, who reportedly escaped an assassination

attempt by supporters of Major-General Kerubino, 10 days ago,

was said to have gone underground.

 

23: The head of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, has

appointed Father Caesar Mazzolari the bishop of the Diocese of

Rumbek in Southern Sudan. Fr. Mazzolari, a Comboni missionary,

has for the past eight years (1990-98) been the apostolic

administrator of the Sudanese see.

 

23: Sudanese authorities have completed the seizure of weapons

from the pro-government militia leaders in Khartoum in a bid to end

factional fighting, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA)

reported. "The campaign of collection of arms from the southern

factions, which was implemented recently in Khartoum state, was

completed with success, "SUNA quoted Major-General Oman

Jaafar Osman, police commander of Khartoum state, as saying.

 

25: Sudan's parliament has passed a controversial bill allowing

organised political activity amid protests that the legislation was

rushed through with insufficient debate, press reports said. Some

Members of Parliament walked out of the assembly to protest the

way the bill was debated.

 

25: Sudan has asked the UN to stop the US and other countries

from "obstructing" the peace process with southern rebels, the

official SUNA reported. President el-Bashir made the request

during a meeting with Sir Kieran Prendergast, the UN

under-secretary general for political affairs.

 

25: A Sudanese newspaper said Egypt had sentenced a number of

Sudanese citizens to jail on spying charges after they were

"kidnapped" by Egyptian authorities last month in the disputed

Halaib border area on the Red Sea Coast. "The kidnapped were

tried by the Egyptian state security court on charges of spying for

Sudan and the court passed harsh verdicts ranging from 15-25 years

in prison," the independent Al-Usbua newspaper said without

giving a source.

 

25: Major-General Kerubino has called for reconciliation and unity

in the liberation struggle. In a statement, Kerubino said

reconciliation was necessary if the struggle was to succeed in the

face of "determined policy of prosecution, domination, exploitation,

cultural and religious imposition by the government of Sudan''.

 

25: A rebel group has attacked a convoy of commercial trucks,

killing 34 northern Sudanese merchants in a southern town, a

pro-government newspaper reported. The daily Alwan quoted

government sources in the Upper Nile state as saying the attack

took place in the Khor Donglawi area near the town of Renk, 450

kilometres south of Khartoum

 

27: The SPLA has accused agents of the Sudanese government of

being behind an attack on Col. Garang's Nairobi residence in

Nairobi. The director in the office of the chairman, Mr Edward

Lino, said the SPLA held the Khartoum government responsible for

the 9.30 p.m. attack which was foiled by Kenyan security detail.

 

30: Sudanese parliament speaker Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi is

expected to tender his resignation as leader of the national

assembly, a post he has held since 1996, press reports said. The

Al-Rai al-Akher daily said Turabi, seen as the eminence grise of the

Moslem fundamentalist-backed military junta that seized power in

1989, was said to be giving up the post to devote his time to the

organisation of the National Congress.

 

December 1: Several outlawed political parties in Sudan have

rejected a new law on party formation, saying they considered

themselves legal all along, press reports said. Representatives of the

Democratic Unionist (DUP), Umma Communist and Moslem

Brotherhood parties argued that they do not need a licence to

operate because they do not recognise the new legislation.

 

1. The famine which affected hundreds of thousands of people in

southern Sudan in the summer is under control, but aid agencies

fear a new crisis without a settlement of the 15-year civil war in the

area. "There is a considerable improvement, the number of people

admitted to the feeding centres is diminishing," said Gillian Wilcox

of Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) set up by the UN to organise

international aid.

 

2: Sudanese rebels said they were still fighting government forces in

the Nuba mountains of the south-central Sudan after the army

launched an offensive there last month. Officials of the SPLA said

the government had embarked on a dry season offensive in the

Nuba Mountains of the Southern Kordofan Province on November

11, attacking on four fronts with around 2, 000 troops.

 

2: Sudanese foreign minister Mr Mustafa Osman Ismail has

criticised Sir Prendergast, the UN under-secretary-general for

political affairs, for meeting secretly with the opposition in

Khartoum, press reports said. Khartoum newspapers quoted Mr

Ismail as saying that the government "would not have refused

arranging a meeting of the UN envoy with internal opposition

representatives ...but he preferred to ignore diplomatic norms and

hold an unscheduled meeting with the opposition without

permission or knowledge of the government.

 

2: In a response to the increase in attacks against its staff members,

World Food Programme has launched a new security initiative for

its employees. A new WFP task force is examining current security

practices in field offices and a special training programme for staff

will be implemented next year. The agency said in a statement. In

1998 alone, nine WFP staff members have been murdered.

 

3: The Sudanese army claimed to have recaptured areas on the

eastern border from opposition forces. The armed forces general

command said in a communiqué that its troops, supported by the

popular defence forces, recaptured the border areas of Telik and

Toqan near Kassala town from "the traitors and outlaws'' who "ran

away, leaving numbers of dead bodies behind".

 

3: The WFP has sent about 2,500 tons of relief aid for hungry

civilians in war-torn southern Sudan, a UN official said. A convoy

of seven river barges carrying relief material left the river port of

Kosti, 300 kilometres south of Khartoum, to distribute the aid. to

people along the Nile River, the WFP representative in Khartoum,

Mr Mohammed Saleheen, said in a statement.

 

4: Sudanese parliamentary speaker and the junta's helsman of

political reform Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi has confirmed to MPs

that he will resign in January, state television has announced. Mr

Turabi, an Islamic law expert, said he would stand down once the

ruling National Congress was confirmed into a political

organisation and that he would then concentrate on his leadership

of the movement.

 

4: Christian Solidarity International (CSI), an anti-slavery

organisation has voiced concern over alleged trafficking of slaves in

Sudan. CSI, which has "bought back" more than 4,000 slaves in the

past three years, called for a UN probe into slavery in Sudan.

 

9: A Sudanese government plane bombed an NPA hospital and

medical training school at Chukudum in southern Sudan, but caused

no casualties or damage, the NPA said. The NPA said in a

statement that the government Antonov plane appeared at 9.30 am

and dropped six bombs aimed at the hospital but there were no

casualties.

 

10: Famine devastated Sudan in 1998, with skin-and-bone survivors

sacrificing the weakest members of their families, but the civil war

went inexorably into its 16th year. International peace bids resulted

in limited cease-fires in Africa's largest country, but did nothing to

resolve the fundamental split between the Arabised, Islamic north

and the black, largely Christian south despite an agreement to hold

a referendum at some stage on the "unity of outright secession" for

southern.

 

10: President el-Bashir has signed a law to restore a multi-party

system nine years after his military coup dismantled democracy,

state radio Omdurman reported. Opposition parties have dismissed

the Islamist government's moves to reinstate democracy as a sham.

 

10: The UN Security Council is considering requests for UN

officials to be allowed to take part in a refugee conference in

Khartoum, despite sanctions that bar such meetings in the Sudan,

council members said. The ministerial-level conference being

organised by the OAU is a three-day session of experts, to which

the UN was also invited.

 

11: Africa must face up to the problem of its eight million refugees

and bear the responsibility, the organisation of OAU said in

Khartoum. Opening a pan-African conference on refugees, the

assistant secretary-general of OAU, Mr Daniel Anotonio, said host

countries were experiencing "fatigue and donors were suffering

fatigue".

 

11: The US special envoy to the horn of Africa met with Sudanese

rebels and dissidents during his six-day mission in the region to deal

with the Ethiopian-Eritrean border conflict stay, according to a

rebel spokesman,. Mr Yasir Arman, spokesman in Eritrea for the

SPLA, Mr Anthony Lake met with representatives of the National

Democratic Alliance in the Eritrean capital.

 

12: Ethiopian troops have left the Sudanese border town of

Kurmuk, leaving it in the hands of Sudanese rebels who have held it

since 1996, a senior political source told a Sudanese daily. Al-Rai

al-Aam daily did not name the source but said the Ethiopian

withdrawal marked the "new step" in the improvement of relations

between the neighbouring countries.

 

12: Two senior Sudanese military officers were killed when a

government vehicle struck a landmine near the north-eastern border

town of Kassala, Sudanese rebels said. The chief government

operational officer in Kassala and an intelligence unit officer were

killed in the incident near the border with Eritrea, according to a

statement issued by the NDA, the umbrella group for Sudanese

dissidents and rebel groups.

 

14: The OAU defied the UN Security Council by failing to seek

permission for a refugee conference in Sudan, UN officials said.

The officials said that OAU ambassadors to the UN had met to

discuss a US demand and that the OAU - which is sponsoring the

conference in violation of a UN resolution- request UN permission

for the event.

 

14: When Pope John Paul II visited Khartoum five years ago, he

likened the treatment Christians sometimes undergo in Sudan to

Christ's crucifixion at Calvary. Now the Sudanese government is

threatening a pair of Roman Catholic priests and 18 co-defendants

with the crucifixion for allegedly setting off almost a dozen bombs

around Khartoum on June 30 to mar official celebrations marking

the anniversary of the 1989 coup that brought the National Islamic

Front to power.

 

14: Sudan's ruling party has reshuffled its leadership ahead of what

the Islamist government bills as a return to a multi-party system

after a nine-year gap. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir banned all

political organisations in Sudan after seizing power in a 1989 coup.

 

15: African leaders attending a ministerial conference on refugees in

Khartoum have called on the international community to increase

assistance to millions of displaced people throughout Africa.

President el-Bashir, in his opening speech, warned of "an imminent

catastrophe" in Africa with the refugee problem "getting worse and

international assistance diminishing.

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For further information, please contact:

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

e-mail: SCIO@MAF.Org

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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

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

12/17/98 3:02 PM