Archive for September 19, 2011

Sudan and South Sudan sign border deal

Posted: September 19, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

The defence ministers of the two states signed the accord, mediated by Thabo Mbeki
Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein (R) speaks during joint news conference with his southern counterpart John Kong Nyuon after signing an agreement in KhartoumThe defence ministers of the two states signed the accord, mediated by Thabo Mbeki

Sudan and South Sudan have signed an agreement on border crossings in a bid to reduce tension following the South’s independence in July.

The two sides have agreed to open 10 border crossings to ease travel.

Last week, South Sudan accused the north of damaging its economy through a cargo embargo, in place since May.

For its part, Sudan accuses the South of fuelling conflict in the border regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, an allegation Juba denies.

The agreement was signed in Khartoum and brokered by African Union mediator and former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Teams with six soldiers from each side and six Ethiopian peacekeepers would investigate any reports of violations, the Sudanese news agency reports.

In July, the UN Security Council sanctioned the deployment of 300 Ethiopian troops to monitor a demilitarised buffer zone between the two countries.

The BBC’s James Copnall in Khartoum says the real significance of the deal is perhaps that it shows Sudan and South Sudan want to show they can work together.

This comes despite both sides accusing the other of supporting rebel movements, and a failure to reach an agreement on the crucial area of oil, he says.

Despite the deal, the two sides have not yet demarcated their border – especially in Abyei, which is claimed by both sides.

‘Backing rebels’

“Today we agreed to open 10 border crossings, to facilitate the movement of people and communication between the people of the two countries,” Sudan’s Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein said, after signing the accord with his counterpart, John Kong, the AFP news agency reports.


Gen Hussein denied the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan – which had displaced tens of thousands of people – had caused tension between the two countries.

“There are no allegations against the government of South Sudan and there are no differences between us on Blue Nile and South Kordofan,” he said, AFP reports.

Earlier this month, Sudan said it was complaining to the UN Security Council that South Sudan had sent 25 armed land-cruisers to support rebels in Blue Nile.

Sudan had previously made a similar complaint about South Kordofan, where rebels have been fighting pro-Khartoum forces for the last three months.

South Sudan strongly denies the allegations.

During the long north-south civil war, many residents of the two areas fought for the SPLM , which is now the ruling party in the south.

Last week, Sudan ordered 17 political parties, including the SPLM-North, from operating, saying their leaders were now foreigners.

South Sudan has also accused the north of declaring an “economic war” by unilaterally introducing a new currency and imposing a cargo embargo in May.

Khartoum said it was acting to protect its own economy ahead of the split

U.N. General Assembly: A viewer’s guide

Posted: September 19, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By CNN’s Joe Vaccarello

World leaders converge on the United Nations in New York this week for the 66th annual session of the General Assembly. Of 193 member nations, South Sudan being newly inducted this past July, 121 heads of state and government are expected to attend the six-day event.

U.N. General Assembly: A viewer's guide
September 19th, 2011
07:34 AM ET

Here is a helpful Security Clearance viewer’s guide to key events this week.


The U.N. kicks off events with a two-day first-ever high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases that cumulatively kill three in five people worldwide. It will focus on combating cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is looking to "broker an international commitment that puts noncommunicable diseases high on the development agenda."


President Barack Obama will participate with other leaders in a Friends of Libya summit designed
to enlist support from the international community to help the country rebuild after the war.

By the way, don’t expect Col. Moammar Gadhafi to make an appearance this year at the U.N. like he
did two years ago, when he delivered a 100-minute speech and ripped and tossed the U.N. charter. Libya’s National Transition Council, newly recognized by the U.N. as the legitimate authority in that country, will be present in New York and will be represented by its chairman, Mustafa Jalil.


General debate speeches begin with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. This will be the first time a female leader will be the first speaker of the debate. She will be followed by Obama, who will make his third appearance at the annual U.N. event. Other speakers for the day will include President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and President Hamid Karzai of


A controversial figure at the event for the past few years, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will take the podium on Thursday. He is expected to address regional Mideast upheaval as well as his usual strong pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli messages.


Friday brings us to the Palestinian quest for membership at the U.N. In the morning, Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to speak
. He has said that after he gives that speech, he will deliver a letter for application to the U.N. secretary general.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak a little later in the day. Also, a large pro-Palestinian protest is planned for outside the U.N. that same day.

There will be various ministerial meetings and conferences happening outside the General Assembly hall, focused on topics such as Somalia, counter-terrorism, nuclear safety and Afghanistan.

Finally, next Monday, as the Security Council remains deadlocked on how to respond to the Syrian crackdown on protesters, a representative of the Assad regime (not the Syrian president) will get a chance to address the country’s critics.

Special Reports Sudan, S. Sudan create border checkpoints

Posted: September 19, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Sept. 19 (UPI) — The governments of Sudan and South Sudan announced plans to establish checkpoints along their shared border and set up multilateral security response teams.

Sudan and South Sudan agreed to set up 10 checkpoints that would extend along their 1,300-mile border. A team composed of six soldiers from each country would join six of their Ethiopian counterparts to investigate skirmishes as well, the official Sudan News Agency reports.

Authorities from South Sudan said bilateral talks were moving in the right direction. Defense officials in Khartoum, meanwhile, said a formal committee was set to start examining border violence once both sides agree to the locations of the checkpoints.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than 80,000 people have been displaced since fighting broke out between Sudanese forces and fighters in the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North along the border. An estimated 20,000 fled the country to neighboring Ethiopia this year.

Human rights groups said there was evidence of mass graves and other atrocities associated with the border violence along the border between Sudan and South Sudan. The United Nations had said some of the violence appears to be ethnically motivated, a charge the government in Khartoum denies.

South Sudan became an independent state in July as part of a comprehensive peace agreement that ended one of the bloodiest civil wars in human history.

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Heavy fighting in Sudan border region: rebel leader

Posted: September 19, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Simon Martelli (AFP)

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Heavy fighting in Sudan’s war-torn border region saw rebels drive the army back at a key garrison town, one of its leaders said Monday, as the United Nations warned the conflict could jeopardise peace between north and south.

"Aerial bombardments, which are mainly targeting the civilian population in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, are continuing," Yasser Arman, the secretary general of the beleaguered northern branch of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-N), told AFP by telephone from London.

"Yesterday (Sunday), the SPLM was attacked by the Sudanese armed forces near Talodi. There was heavy fighting and the army was repulsed by the SPLM-North.

"As a result, the government lost three outposts at their garrison in Talodi. Our forces are now besieging Talodi," Arman said.

Army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad denied there had been serious fighting in Talodi, saying only that troops retaliated after the SPLM tried to "disrupt the security" in the area.

The South Kordofan conflict between the Sudanese army and militiamen who fought with the SPLA, the former rebel army of the south, during their decades-long war with Khartoum, erupted in June a month before southern independence.

The fighting, apparently triggered by the army’s insistence on disarming SPLM elements, spilled into nearby Blue Nile state this month, as the government moved to assert its authority within its new borders following South Sudan’s formal secession.

The UN human rights envoy for Sudan said the violence in the country’s border region, and particularly in Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, threatened peace between Khartoum and Juba.

"Sudan and South Sudan cannot be at peace if the border areas between the two countries remain mired in armed conflict," Mohamed Chande Othman told the UN Human Rights Council.

The fighting in Blue Nile prompted President Omar al-Bashir to declare a state of emergency there and sack the elected governor, Malik Agar, who is also the SPLM-North’s chairman.

The party, an offshoot of the ruling party in the south, was shut down shortly afterwards and dozens of its members arrested.

On Monday, three SPLM-N MPs announced their resignation from parliament in a statement accusing the government of rights abuses.

They accused Khartoum of carrying out ethnic cleansing against South Kordofan’s indigenous Nuba peoples since June, which they claim have led to the deaths of 2,132 people.

An SPLM-North source in South Kordofan said earlier that the army had bombed a village in Buram county on Thursday, killing three teenage girls.

It has been virtually impossible to get independent information on the border conflict, with the UN peacekeeping mission disbanded in July and international NGOs denied access to the two affected states.

The United Nations said on Sunday that the number of people fleeing from South Kordofan’s Nuba Mountains region across the border into Unity state surged last week, to about 500 a day compared with 100 a day in August.

On Monday, Sudan’s Vice President Ali Osman Taha flew to the South Kordofan capital Kadugli for the opening of the state assembly, where more than 50 members of the SPLM-North were absent.

He dismissed claims that the government was targeting the Nuba, and urged the rebels to lay down their weapons and the absent members to return.

"Everyone who puts down their weapons and comes back will be welcome. And everyone who comes back to his seat in this parliament will be welcome," Taha said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

"But those who insist on imposing their agenda by fighting… the government forces are ready for them."

The Sudanese government has repeatedly vowed to crush the rebels within its new borders.

But while the SPLM-North has been chased out of its offices, the fighting continues in its heartlands, and the movement appears undeterred from its long-term goal.

"The problem of the centre, the problem of Khartoum, this is the fundamental problem in Sudan. (The government) will either change or they will be changed," Yasser Arman said.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

Catholic Priest in War-Torn Sudanese State Repeatedly Detained

Posted: September 19, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Previously tortured clergyman threatened with death if he returns to area of South Kordofan.

KHARTOUM, Sudan – A Roman Catholic priest of Kadugli parish in Sudan’s embattled South Kordofan is in hiding after being detained three times in the past three months.

Authorities tortured the Rev. Abraham Lual on two of those occasions with accusations that as a Christian he opposes northern forces’ military campaign in the disputed region, he told Compass by phone.

Detained at 10:20 a.m. on Sept. 6 and interrogated for five hours at the security unit’s head office in El-Obied, Lual told Compass that authorities are monitoring his movements and those of other church leaders on the assumption that they are supported by Western Christians opposed to Islam and the north’s military push for territory in South Kordofan.

He was also detained for two days in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, on Aug. 28, and the torture he suffered left him with injuries to his left leg, he said. Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) agents had also arrested him on June 8, accusing him of preaching that people should oppose the Islamic government, he said; authorities tortured him for two days at that time as well.

Lual’s church building had been gutted by fire in the fighting, and during the Aug.28 interrogation authorities threatened to kill him if he returned to visit the burned structure in the war-torn town, he said.

“You are preaching against Islamic government and opposing its teaching and rules,” they said as they beat him, he said.

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Lual said it will take him a long time to recover from the trauma of the Aug. 28 mistreatment.

“I am totally traumatized as a result of what they did to me and members of my congregation,” he said. “They have badly mistreated me. I ask God to help me remain strong in faith as well as my displaced members and all Christian communities who are facing persecution.”

Armed conflict in Kadugli broke out between southern and northern militaries on June 6 after northern forces seized Abyei in May.

Christian sources said Sudanese authorities in the Muslim-majority north are targeting Christians in the battle for South Kordofan because officials seek to rid Sudan of Christianity, which they perceive as anti-Islam and pro-West, Christian sources said. Lual said he has become the target of security forces because he is a church leader.

“On my arrival there, they were already monitoring my movements without my knowledge,” he said. “They also asked about who the church is getting money from and who are supporting the missionary activities.”

Lual said he went to Kadugli to see the remnants of the church buildings that were destroyed three months ago, when forces loyal to the Sudan government and supported by Islamic militias “killed Christians and destroyed churches.”

“Most of the congregation members have been displaced, and some of them were even shot dead,” he told Compass by phone. “They are now like sheep without a shepherd.”

Christian sources in South Kordofan have confirmed that SAF and Islamic militias in Kadugli burned church schools and church buildings, he said.

“They burned the Catholic church and looted everything, as well as other churches in Kadugli such as the Sudanese Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Sudan Presbyterian Church of Sudan,” Lual said.

The military forces burned a Catholic guest house in Kadugli and the church’s Comboni School, he added.

“My main concern is my scattered congregation, most of whom have become displaced in their own home land,” he said, “and the Islamic government continues to refuse aid agencies seeking to provide assistance to the stricken displaced, saying that this will give room to Christian organizations to step in and Christianize the region.”

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir told media on Aug. 23 that the government did not want any relief assistance unless humanitarian organizations first handed it over to officials to distribute. Al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur, asserted last year that after the July 9 separation from South Sudan, (north) Sudan would be based on sharia (Islamic law) and Islamic culture, with Arabic as the official language.

North/South Demarcation

Posted: September 19, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Editorial: North/South Demarcation

In the news the discussions on border demarcation between Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan resumed last Thursday in Addis Ababa.
The Technical Demarcation Committee Chief, Prof. Abdallah Al-Sadiq announced that the two parties’ meeting aims at the formation of two sub-committees from the two countries to continue the talks over the disputed issues.
The issue of the demarcation is considered one of the pending issues during the interim period due the difference between the NCP and the SPLM within the committee formed for that purpose.
The dispute was in five sites which represent only 20% of the borders length.
The two parties agreed on 80% of the borders but the agreement was only on paper without implementing it on the ground by putting the signals of the demarcation.
Accordingly the issue remained, among other issues, as an outstanding issue.
After the declaration of South Sudan State the southern side in the demarcation committee announced that the committee is considered as dissolved because it was formed according to a republican decree before south Sudan secession and forming its own independent state.
Now the situation necessitates entering into a new agreement between the two neighbouring countries to form a joint demarcation committee.
The two parties should agree on the mandate of that joint committee to resolve the conflict over the disputed areas.
The nature of the proposed joint committee will be definitely different from the previous one as it will represent two independent states.
However, the dispute over borders between any two states is always a serious issue that requires great efforts to resolve.
Let us hope that the proposed joint committee succeeds in making a breakthrough to achieve stability in the bordering areas between the two countries.

By Sudan Vision, 8 hours 8 minutes ago