SCIO Sudan Monthly Report Jan 2000

1. Chronology
January 16: Eight Sudanese aid workers were killed in southern Sudan when their vehicle was attacked and burned near the border with Uganda, an official of Norwegian Church Aid said. The attack occurred about 7 kilometres (4 miles) from Parajok- about 5 kilometres (3 miles) from Ugandan border - said Eigil Larsen, NCA regional financial co-ordinator for Eastern Africa.

17: Save the Children, a Connecticut-based aid organisation, has joined most of the private and religion-based aid agencies that operate a US$1 million-a-day relief programme in Sudan in beginning to criticise US policy as one-sided in its hostility toward Khartoum government and insufficiently committed to promoting a just peace.

17: The SPLA has expressed concern over the killing of aid workers and said it had stepped up security in the area. "Most of the victims are our people, we know them by name," SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje said.

17: Individual consultations between the facilitators of the Sudan peace talks the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Khartoum government on one side, and the SPLA on the other, continued in Nairobi, Dr Kwaje said. "We have not started the face to face talks," he confirmed. Discussions are to continue on the Declaration of Principles (DOP) and the issues of self-determination for southern Sudan and the use of shari'ah.

18: A little-known opposition group has bombed a portion of an oil pipeline, which supplies Khartoum, a Sudanese government spokesman said. The attack damaged a three-metre section of the 1,600 kilometre pipeline, Mr Amin Hassan Omar, a top official at the Culture and information ministry said.

18: The Sudanese government has vowed to deal severely with those responsible for blowing up an oil pipeline in Haiya, some 170 km south of Port of Sudan, Sudanese television reported. "While successive steps are being taken by the government to realise the national consensus, some quarters which felt uneasy decided to practise violence and destruction against the gains of the nation and citizens," it said.

18: Both the rebel SPLA and the Sudanese government have extended their respective humanitarian ceasefires for three months. The SPLA announced the extension of a partial ceasefire in Bar el Ghazal, western Upper Nile (Bentiu and Panaru/Pariang areas) and Central Upper Nile (Bor, Fangak, Waat, Akobo and Pibor areas).

19: Peace talks aimed at ending Sudan's 17-year civil war have started in eanest after lengthy opening consultations, officilas said. The talks opened in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

20: Mediators in Sudan's ruling party have proposed a compromise solution to the country's month-old political crisis, a senior official was quoted as saying. The suggestion by a reconciliatory committee of the National Congress (NC) would see president Bashir assume executive power in the party while Turabi takes over other party duties, the official Al-Anbaa daily quoted committee member Mahdi Ibrahim as saying.

20: A Sudanese presidential visit to Eritrea underlines a warming of relations once strained by mutual accusations of supporting each other's rebels. Egypt's Middle News Agency reported today that president Bashir stopped unexpectedly in Eritrean capital a day before on his way back from a trip to Bahrain and Yemen.

21: Bulls were slaughtered and sweets distributed as Eritrea re-opened it's embassy in Khartoum, a day after Sudan's president made a surprise visit to Asmara. The ceremony in downtown Khartoum was attended by hundreds of Eritreans.

21: Sudan-based Ugandan rebels have freed eight girls kidnapped more than four years ago from a school in northern Uganda and handed them over to the UN Children's Fund in Khartoum, a UNICEF official said. UNICEF's Nans Webber said eight of the Ugandans had been handed over .

24: The Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has handed over 53 abducted Ugandans to the UN children's fund UNICEF, the agency said. All of the 53 abductees, 48 of whom are children, were handed over to UNICEF at Juba in southern Sudan.

24: The Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association, which is the SPLA humanitarian wing, has issued an ultimatum to NGOs working in southern Sudan to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or leave the area, Dr. Kwaje confirmed to IRIN. "It is true, we want to have a memorandum of understanding between us and the NGOs working in the area," he said.

24: The Sudan government and SPLA have issued a joint communique in which they reiterated their commitment to a
peaceful resolution of their conflict. The communique, issued after talks in Nairobi under the auspices of the IGAD, said they agreed on self-determination for the people of southern Sudan.

24: The Sudanese government denied recently that it was using the southeastern airport of Hallij for military purposes, the Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) reported. In a letter to his Canadian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mustafa Uthman Isma'il said the airport was being used for the civilian purposes of transporting equipment and employees of the oil companies.

25: President Bashir and Turabi have accepted proposals to end their six-week power struggle, a senior official of the ruling party said. The proposals, adopted by the ruling party's consultative council, appear to strengthen president Bashir's hold on power after he ousted Mr. Turabi as parliamentary speaker last month.

26: President Bashir fired his entire government and appointed a new cabinet in an effort to consolidate power in a long-simmering rivalry with his party-strongman. In the expected purge, Bashir fired 10 ministers and retained 15 others, including the foreign, interior and defence ministers to pack the government with loyalists.

February 2: Two supporters of Turabi are challenging in court president Bashir's appointment of new governors in the country's continuing political crisis, the pro-government Akhbar al-Youm newspaper said. Bashir cut short terms of serving governors to 25 of Sudan's 26 states in a government reshuffle.

2: Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has expressed doubt over December 1999 Nairobi peace accord with Sudan. He has also ruled out normalisation of relations between Kampala and Khartoum until Sudan disarms and relocates rebels operating from its territory and also helps in the return of abducted children.

4: A Sudanese opposition leader has said opposition factions were awaiting an announcement from Khartoum on its negotiating stand to end the country's 17-year-old war. The head of Sudan's National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Mr Mohammed Osman el-Mirghani suggested a preliminary meeting with the government to pave the way for a wider one.

4: Sudan wants to implement its Nairobi peace deal with Uganda, a senior Sudanese official was quoted as saying. "Khartoum is keen to implement the Nairobi peace deal with Uganda," the official SUNA quoted Ali Nimeiri, state minister at the foreign ministry, as saying.
6: Dr. Riek Machar, the rebel leader who convinced six rebel factions to lay down their arms and sign a peace agreement with the Khartoum government in 1997, abandoned the agreement, throwing the peace process into confusion. Dr. Machar, who under the Khartoum peace agreement became the assistant president of Sudan and administrator general of Southern Sudan, tendered his resignation to president Bashir on January 31.

9: Negotiations for the release of four UN officials taken captive with their light plane by a south Sudanese militia in Upper Nile State have reached a deadlock, the UN chief official in Khartoum said. The four hostages, identified as a Kenyan, a South African, a US national and a Sudanese were seized on February 3, 2000. They were working with UN-sponsored Operation Lifeline Sudan.

10: Sudan said that the UN itself is to blame for one of its aid delivery planes being seized by an armed military in the south along with four occupants. In a statement, foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail suggested that the UN invited trouble when a plane on a WFP mission flight "transported military men" belonging to a militia on January 28.

10: Sudan and UN have agreed to work together for the release of four UN workers as well as pro-government Sudanese militiamen held by rebels, SUNA said. SUNA said foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail and UN coordinator Phillippe Borel agreed during a meeting to cooperate to resolve the seizure of our UN workers by militiamen demanding the release of their men.

14: Upper Kauda Holy Cross School in southern Sudan was still in shock three days after a government air attack killed 14 children in a hail of shrapnel. The Antonov aircraft dropped four bombs that landed near the school building while an outdoor lesson was going on. A 22-year-old teacher also died and 17 students sustained injuries ranging from fractured limbs to severe wounds.

14: Two Kenyan pilots and an American official, held hostage by pro-government militia in the southern Sudan for a week have been freed and flown to safety in Kenya, the UN announced. But a Sudanese aid worker who had been held with them stayed behind after the release at Old Fangak, about 750 km south of Khartoum where they were held captive since February 3.

15: Anglican Church of Kenya Arch-bishop Rev David Gitari has urged the Synod of the Episcopal Church of Sudan to work for peace and reconciliation in their country. He said if achieved, peace in Sudan will be a benefit for the entire African region.


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