October 29, 2009

Churches are highly thought of

The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has called on churches to assist the regional administration in preaching peace building, reconciliation initiatives and development related messages.

The government says the church, like in the past wars should continue preaching peace and reconciliation initiatives particularly in tribal stricken areas across the regions, said GOSS minister of information and broadcasting, Paul Mayom.

more at:


October 21, 2009

Beja Congress rep interviewed about ESPA implementation

Eastern Sudan Front Central Committee Member, Beja Conference Spokesman, Salah Barkwein, stated that the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) Security Arrangements file leads other Agreement' files in terms of implementation.

He demanded commitment to availing the sum of $600 million earmarked to Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF) as one of the components of the Wealth Sharing Protocol of ESPA, regretting that the ESRDF has received only $30 million yet. 

On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of ESPA sealing, Barkwein attributed the slow implementation of the Agreement to the fact that the return home of the Eastern Front troops was one year late accusing parties he refused to name of procrastinating on that process for special agenda. He uttered the statement without excluding the adverse impact of the international financial crisis on oil prices, public budget, hence implementation of the peace agreement. 

The Beja Conference spokesman believes that the current stage dictates a huge political work that requires collaboration of efforts for expediting completion of pending issues and files.

Responding to Sudan Vision interview, he called on political entities and parties that have emerged in Eastern Sudan Region to work for the welfare of the people, rather than being tools for foreign parties targeting fragmentation of the country.

He further pointed to the pioneering role played by the Beja Conference ever since its establishment in 1958 and its devotion to life promotion in the region and alleviation of grievances.

In that context, Eastern Front Chief in Kassala reported efforts exerted for implementation of development projects beyond the framework of the ESPA, speaking high of Qatar and China contributions in that respect.

Moreover, he stressed the criticality of assigning more emphasis on Seitiet project for its high potential contribution to Sudan economy at large, calling on rehabilitation of war-ravaged area and de-mining of areas which were battlefields for over 20 years.

Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement was signed between the Government of National Unity and Eastern Sudan Front in Oct. 14th, 2006.

COMMENT: The federal government promised to allocate $100 million per year, and it now 3 years since signing and only $30 million has been distributed.  The math is simply that $300 million should have made it's way to helping redevelop the east, and yet only one tenth of that has been paid.  Looks like the government made big promises in order to shut down a rebellion, and low level insurgency. Having got what they wanted, they now feel no compulsion to deliver anything more, though they promised in point 80, on page 20 of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement. You can get your own copy here.

UPDATE: Nov 2011. Found an article written this week in 2009, in Arabic, that calls for accountability for the funds. Where's the money? How has it been spent? Has it been spent wisely?
Read it in English [machine translated].

Read it in Arabic

Red Sea governor meets with UNICEF reps

The Deputy Wali (governor) of the Red Sea State, Eissa Kabbashi, and the General Director of the Ministry of Education in the state met with UNICEF and Italian Embassy representatives. 

The meeting reviewed the implementation of educational and and environmental hygiene projects in the Red Sea State through funding from the UNICEF and the Italian Embassy.


ANALYSIS: Separation of North and South?

Sudan stands on a precipice - of partition, and perhaps a return to all-out war. The next 18 months will determine not only the future of Sudan, but also what the coming decade will look like across the Horn of Africa.

Read it all.


Graphic of a T-72 Tank.
about the tanks being delivered to South Sudan.

October 20, 2009

Picture book about the Eastern Desert

Dutch desert traveller and researcher Arita Baaijens had her book of photographs published late this summer. She travels in west and north Sudan, but has interesting experiences as a nomadic traveller. The book is available at Amazon.com

Her own website is here

She has been profiled in an Egyptian newsmagazine.

How hot can it get?

Revisit the past for a moment. In a 1960 tour of the region northwest of Port Sudan, geological researchers measured the temperature of the ground.

Autumn Temperatures in the Red Sea Hills

University of Khartoum, Sudan.

DURING the autumn vacation, we made geomorphological and biological surveys in the Red Sea hills and coastal plain north of Port Sudan. Details of these will be published later. While trekking among uncharted jebels in the area 36.50° E., 21.00° N., high surface temperatures were recorded, especially on wind-blown sand. 

For example, on September 24, 1960, at 1300h. local time, when the air temperature varied between 40.5 and 43.5° C. (105–110° F.) the surface sand temperature was 83.5° C. (182.5° F.)as measured with an electrical resistance thermometer employing thermistors.  Four hours later, when the temperature had fallen to 32.0° C. (90.0° F.), the sand temperature had dropped 45.5° C. to 38.0° C. (100.5° F.).

October 16, 2009

President of Sudan given information about the needs of the east

From Sudan Vision Daily

Al-Bashir Calls for more Concern with Socio-Economic Development in East Sudan
Posted on Thursday, October 15 @ 11:29:56 BST by admin

  Khartoum - SUNA
President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, has called for concern with the socio-economic development in east Sudan. This came when he received in his office Tuesday the Presidential Advisor, Dr. Amina Dirar, who acquainted him on the implementation of East Sudan peace agreement.

In a statement to SUNA after the meeting, Dr. Amina Dirar referred to preparations to hold a donors conference toward pushing ahead the economic development process, combating poverty and providing basic services such as education, health and water in east Sudan.

Comment: The East Sudan Peace Agreement was signed in November 2006, between the national government and representatives of the Eastern Front, in Asmara, Eritrea. One of the items in the Agreement was that an Eastern Front person [preferably a Beja] would be appointed as Presidential Advisor. Another was that $600 million would be made available for development in the east, spread over a few years.

Do Eastern Front representatives actually have capacity for spending $100 million per year?

Now it appears that a donors conference is being developed. If it is about recruiting more funds, that would difficult to justify unless clear accounts of previous expenditures were made known. If it is about donors offering expertise and resources to fulfill the plans for removing the marginalization of the East, that may be of real value in bringing people and organizations together that could make a real difference.

It is certainly good news that President Bashir is calling for action.

The very question of fulfilling the ESPA has been raised previously on this blog


October 15, 2009

Demining finished in Al-Lafa, Kassala region

UNMAO 14/10/09 - The people of Al-Lafa can now look forward to the reconstruction of their community, after UNMAO and its partner Mines Advisory Group (MAG) cleared over 44,000 m2 of land in the eastern state of Kassala. 

The town of Al-Lafa has been a key priority for the government of Sudan, since it hosted an official visit from the President last November. Al-Lafa will house 2,500 displaced persons who were affected by the conflict in the area, and a new access road to an official border crossing between Sudan and Eritrea will be built. 

However, the heavy presence of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war was hampering the reconstruction efforts in the area. At the request of the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC), UNMAO tasked its partner Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to survey and clear the area. 
NMAC was able to provide MAG with the minefield record for the suspected area, which allowed the team to reduce the time spent chasing suspected areas and move right onto the real hazardous areas instead. 

Once the technical survey was completed and two minefields were registered, MAG moved on to clearance operations and over a two-month period released 44,000 m2 of land and destroyed an impressive amount of 430 mines.


October 14, 2009

Port Sudan water reservoir full

Good rains through the summer of 2009 have provided a complete collection of water, and the reservoirs that provide water to Port Sudan are full. The Khor Arba'at is dammed about 15 km east of the Red Sea and 25 km north of Port Sudan. It is the only permanent water source in the Red Sea Hills.
The seacoast of Sudan is bordered by a flat sandy hinterland that runs parallel to the coast and the inland hills. This region is typically 10 km across. Rainfed rivers in the hills are temporary, and do not flow all the way to the coast. A good supply of water for port towns on the Red Sea has always been problematic.

Population growth in Port Sudan and on its outskirts have increased demand for basic services such as water and electricity. Authorities have explored the idea of building a water pipeline from the Nile across the Nubian desert to provide a stable supply of water. 

Seasonal migration during the summer months reduced the population of the city, and reduced the demands on electricity, so it was stable then. During the rest of the year, electricity supply may not always be secure.

No access to Halayeb Triangle for Election

Election impossible in Halayeb area, says Beja Congress
Khartoum Monitor reports that Beja Congress Spokesperson, Salah Barukin, has ruled out the possibility of conducting elections in the disputed Halayeb Triangle in northern Sudan. He reportedly told Miraya FM that the area is totally under the control of Egyptian authorities and that no Sudanese citizen could go in.

In March 2009, a Egyptian naval patrol boat, guard tower and 5 large shore-based military cannons were in place.
UNMIS media: MMR 14Oct09

About the Halayeb Triangle.
This area is just north of the Egyptian border line, by the Red Sea, and is named after a seacoast town in the area. The administration of this area was given to Sudan [rather than Egypt] in the first two decades of the 20th century, before Egypt was an independent country. Access was easier from Sudan than Egypt. The line also followed tribal territories. The Beja Bisharin live south, while the Beja Ababda live north of the line. Being mostly desert this hasn't mattered for a century or so.

In the past few years, oil companies have begun to search in the area, and so national interests have become important.

The Sudanese National Electoral Commission recently listed the area as an electoral consituency, and the residents have welcomed the opportunity to vote in Sudan elections. The Egyptian authorities have not agreed to such a plan, and have argued against the participation of local residents to vote in Sudanese elections.

Beja herdsmen drive camels along the historic route up the coast to sell in northern markets, so there is an interest in using the Halabyeb triangle as a trade route between Sudan and Egypt.

For information about the first ever locust survey in the Halayeb Triangle, visit
[very slow to load]

October 12, 2009

Tourist project established at Suakin

The Government of Sudan's Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife has established a Village Project designed to accommodate 150 tourists. A diving centre, provision of boats to access local coral reefs and a handicraft centre are features of the $2 million [US] project.