March 29, 2011

Oil tanker seized by pirates

 Photo taken in Vancouver in January 2011.

A tanker with Sudan oil in it, on its way to Singapore {China?} was hijacked by pirates off East Africa. There were 29 sailors on the ship, the Zirku. It is 244 meters long, and 42 meters wide.

Associated Press, as reported on msnbc.

March 28, 2011

Development announcements

1. Highway. A meeting held in Kassala discussed development projects at the locality in the field of highways and bridges for the construction of a 320-km highway that connects Kassala, New Halfa and Khartoum North that passes through Buatana. This road will be funded by Kuwaiti money. Link.

2. Roads. New Haifa expects to get 100km of internal roads too. Link.

3. Dam Loans. Setit River and the Atbara River Dams will be joined together and given greater height. The total cost is over $800 million. An additional loan of $175 million has been agreed to by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. Link.     Learn more about this giant project.

4. Waterworks. Unnamed east Sudan project. The cost is $10 million, but it may covered by a previously announced grant from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. Link.
5. Airport. Khartoum New Interrnational Airport will be given a loan of $175 million. Link.

March 25, 2011

More demining in Kassala State

 It looks like the [Sudanese?] National Center for Anti Landmines Operations has been provided with 24 million Euros. These funds have been directed toward further operations in Kassala State, and Red Sea State and Gedarif State. The National Center sends teams to find, mark and clear landmine zones.

Sourced from the Sudan Media Center 

Japan provided equipment worth $170,000 a year ago for demining in the east, and MAG International has an active programme of training agencies and demining workers in Sudan. [MAG photo from May/June2010]

March 24, 2011

Rumours of a US military base and port?

Agig is a small town next to the Red Sea, about 30 miles south of Tokar, Sudan. The Eritrean border is 20 miles further south.

Rumours have circulated - the Americans want to build a port and military base there. This could be useful to prevent smuggling. The route along the Red Sea coast allows weapons to be smuggled into Egypt, and then into the Gaza strip. The US and Israel want to prevent that.

Red Sea State officials and the Agig locality commissioner [or mayor]  have denied the rumours.

Construction is taking place, being described as renovations of army barracks.

UNMIS reports this on page 5 of the daily news report. [pdf]

March 23, 2011

Gold - Sudan wants more

The Ariab open pit mine has lots of potential for extracting more gold. [January 2011 report]

The Ariab gold mine has been reported as offering 10 tons of the precious mineral in 2010. The mining region is north of Musmar in the Nubian Desert. That's located east of the Nile, and west of the Red Sea Hills, north of the Atbara-Port Sudan highway.

Ten tons of gold can be estimated as having a value of almost $500,000,000. [assuming $1400/oz]

In a public and private partnership, France has signed an agreement with Sudan to research the ground using modern technology to prospect for mineral deposits. Research results would be offered to mining firms to invite their investment for development. Sources for groundwater will be included in the search. Training Sudanese cadres is part of the program.

La Mancha Resources owns 40% of the mine. 

Sudan has divided the country into large areas of land "blocks" or "concessions." Mining companies bid for rights to explore and extract minerals from these blocks. View the  status of agreements for these regions in this map.

March 21, 2011

Interview with Dr. Amna Dirrar

published by Sudan Vision Newspaper.

By: Ibrahim Al-Jack

East Sudan suffered from war throughout recent period however signing of East Peace Agreement has resulted in tangible breakthroughs in east's crisis and number of practical agenda has been set up in coincidence with donors' support to settlement of development in east.

Ibrahim Aal-Jack of Sudan Vision met and interviewed Dr. Amna Dirrar Senior Figure from eastern Sudan, so as to enlighten readers about reality of situations in the east.

Q: We would like you to tell us about East Peace Agreement.
A: Firstly, it's important to mention that east Sudan enjoys a great number of natural resources however the area has been neglected for long. Absence of development has led a number of citizens to rebel. They went to Eritrea and from there armed confrontation began. People in east Sudan suffered much from war between the National Congress Party (NCP) and insurgents.

A large number of the population left their homeland to escape the war. War contributed to raise rate of poverty as well as ignorance. Large groups of people lived in slums on the outskirts of cities. Later, different parties grew to strive for peace after brutality of war had been experienced practically. The agreement addressed basic citizens' basic needs in the east as east's crisis hasn't involved either political or ideological aspects. The agreement is based in particular pivots including security arrangements. The pivot of security arrangements is central in the agreement as it enabled great number of young people fighting the government, to demobilized and reintegrated in society.

Q: Are you satisfied with what has been achieved by the agreement?
 A: About 65 percent of the agreement has already been implemented so far. However, great outputs are expected as soon as the rest of the articles are implemented. Donors Conference convened in Kuwait recently has pushed implementation ahead and I think great efforts as exerted now to implement the agreement comprehensively.

Q: It has been said that the agreement is not more than bilateral political deal between governments of Sudan and Eritrea. Do you agree?
A: No, I don't agree. The agreement is based on profound negotiations between Sudanese government and opposition. What is important is that the agreement provides opposition with great opportunity to work in Sudan.

Q: What is the nature of relations between Eritrean government and opposition in the east?
A: It is a distinguished relation as a number of ethnical as well as cultural ties link east Sudan with Eritrea. In general, our relation with Eritrea is distinguished since it is based on mutual understanding.

Q: How do you evaluate recent crisis erupted in the Red Sea state over property of the port in Port Sudan?

A: I think the port is a national property and its revenue is for all Sudanese people however Maritime Port Authority is required to earmark particular budget from the revenue for development in the east.

Q: Could you inform our readers about East Reconstruction Fund.
A: The objective of the fund is boosting reconstruction in the east. I think USD 600 million is too little to carry out such a magnificent project putting into consideration that the east is a war-affected area however the allocated sum represents  a step forward. I think Donors' Conference conducted in Kuwait is one of the most successful steps towards reconstruction. I think the conference has been successful as it hasn't only pledged to boost reconstruction but it has also taken practical measures to rehabilitate developmental and service projects in the area.

Q: What are the guarantees ensuring implementation of developmental projects?
A: Funds financing these projects guarantee implementation. No project is to be financed unless comprehensive study upon its feasibility is conducted.

Q: What are the advantages of Sitate Dam?
A: It will provide the area with vast areas for cultivation the thing facilitate settlement of citizens residing in the area via providing them with proper job opportunities.

Q: What is your point of view on Halayib issue post change of regime in Egypt?
A: Change of regime doesn't mean change of politics. As the current government in Egypt is a transitional one it is difficult to speak about its stance towards Halayib issue. Anyhow, Halayib is part of Sudan. Current situation won't affect the fact that Halayib is Sudanese.

Q: What is your evaluation to health and educational situations in east Sudan currently?
A: Education in Sudan is less developed compared with other countries. Main challenges hampering development of education in the east are language, poverty, lack of educational institutions in addition to child labor which affect school enrolment negatively. Girls' education is also confronted by number of difficulties. On the other hand, endemic diseases such as TB and Kalazar in addition to maternal mortality in rural areas stand as the main factors threatening people's health in the east. I think great implementation of planned projects will play a great role in resolving these problems.

Q: It is remarkable that east Sudan has been suffering from lack of drinking water for long. Do planned projects put this problem into account?
A: Problem of drinking water has almost been resolved in Port Sudan and Gedarif. Sitate Dam has contributed to resolve the problem effectively. There are projects aiming at drilling artesian wells in addition to projects aiming at establishing stations for water desalination on the Red Sea in addition to water project in Tokar.

Q: Are there split in East Front?
A: East Front is a political party that kicked off negotiations with government on development of the east. Post signature of the agreement number of political forces was formed including Al Osood al Hura and Bija Conference. The emergence of these parties is normal as the new era bears new dimensions. We exerted tangible effort to preserve continuation of different parties as part of East Front however number of difficulties hampered us. We registered the party in the name of East Democratic Party.

Q: Unfortunately East Democratic Party is also witnessing number of disagreements.
A: Inaccurate evaluation of political situations has resulted in the disagreements. Competition on political offices also contributes to increase the agreements. The group that has dismissed me from the party hasn't referred to laws and regulations. This group attributes their mistakes to the chairperson of the party. Anyhow, any chairperson of any party is responsible for indicating the headlines for the party not the details. I think the dismissal is far from laws and regulations directing the party.

March 18, 2011

Musa Ahmed sets Al-Bejah Congress meeting

Kassala — The Al-Bejah Congress in Kassala State Thursday [Mar. 17] organized a meeting with representatives of the political forces in the state toward preparing for an inclusive conference of the people of the eastern Sudan as an initiative of the Assistant of the President of the Republic, Musa Mohamed Ahmed.

The Secretary General of Al-Bejah Congress, Jaafar Mohamed Adam, explained that this initiative came when the country is witnessing changes that necessitate real unity and responsibility to make landmark progress in east Sudan in all fields and to participate in rehabilitation and development of in Sudan.

He pointed out that this initiative aims to supporting the unity of Sudan and boosting the peace process and realizing sustainable development in east.

Adam said that the initiative also aims to assessing the implementation of East Sudan Peace Agreement and assuring the unity of the people of the east. He indicated that similar meetings are held in Gadara and the Red Sea states coinciding with this meeting.

As reported in allAfrica. Q.

March 13, 2011

MUSIC: "Kassala" at the Sudan Peace Concert

Mohammed "Adarob" Eltahir sings "Kassala", a song from the Eastern Beja region of Sudan. Performed at the Sudan Peace Concert on January, 7, 2011 in Alexandria, VA (USA)

محمد الطاهر (أدروب) في أداء رائع لأغنية بيجاوية بعنوان "كسلا" والتي كانت من ضمن احتفال سلام السودانالذي قام في السابع من يناير 2011 في مدينة ألكساندريا بولاية فيرجينيا (الولايات المتحدة)

March 9, 2011

Lighting up the east

 East Reconstruction Fund Pledges to Light Up all Villages, Including Halaib

By: Al Samani Awad Allah

Agreements on grants of the Kuwaiti Fund for Development and the Arab Fund for Development to implement a number of projects in the three Eastern states are expected to be concluded next week, according to Deputy Executive Director of East Sudan Development & Reconstruction Fund, Nafie Ibrahim Nafie. 
The link to the complete story is broken.

March 7, 2011

Kuwait gives $50 Million to the east

As already announced, Kuwait is giving $500 million to help develop East Sudan. In a report published by Sudan Vision on Tuesday March 8,  Sudanese officials met with Kuwaiti officials in Khartoum , and encouraged a gift of $50 Million for developing the east.

"... the Kuwaiti government will grant Sudan USD 50 million to be signed in the coming days for health, education in the Eastern Sudan States.

"He revealed the establishment of 12 hospitals in Gedarif, Kassala and Red Sea States to be implemented next September.

"Kuwait Ambassador to Sudan, Dr. Sulieman Al-Harbi called for allocating the lands to implement the projects in the health and education fields."

UPDATE: March 18. This deal has been signed. reports that "The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, Mustafa Yousif Holi, signed for government of Sudan and the Legal Advisor, Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Omani, signed on behalf of the Kuwaiti Development Fund.

March 6, 2011

Forum: Racial heritage of Beja in Egypt

 Beja man on the Red Sea.

On the topic of "Beja, the closest relatives to the Ancient Egyptians," the thread starter states,

The presence of the Beja people can be traced as far back as pre-dynasty times; their proud and uniquely huge crown of fuzzy hair (tiffa) was first recorded in Ancient Egyptian rock paintings.

Egyptologist, Emile Brugsch traced the clan of the Khawr kiji Beja through the matriarchal Female line to the 20th Dynasty.

A series of photos are included.

See also more pics in another thread on EgyptSearch.

March 3, 2011

Revision of the ESPA ??

Sudan Vision Daily reports that Special Assistant to the President of Sudan, Musa Mohamed Ahmed, returned after a two day visit to Eritrea.

The visit to Asmara allowed conversation with Eritrean officials about the impact of the Referendum in  South Sudan, and the large amounts of money pledged at the Donor's conference in Kuwait.

Additionally, "his talks focused on revising East Sudan Peace Agreement as well as the implementation of the remaining clauses."

Musa described his visit to Asmara as fruitful, explaining that the relations between Sudan and Eritrean have developed greatly through the exchange of continuous visits by officials in the two countries.

He said that there are mutual understandings between the two sides with regard to the implementation of service projects in the border areas.

March 2, 2011

PICTURE: Port Sudan Aerial Photo

Thought I'd offer our readers a new feature.

I've got a variety of photos of the Beja world - of Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea. They're from the internet, somewhere. I may not have sources for them- I'd love to credit you if you took the picture. Leave a comment.

The plan is to upload a photo to illustrate aspects of the world of the Beja people every now and again. It might not be news, but they certainly are interesting.  Enjoy!

Port Sudan Harbour, looking northwest. date 1995???

Compare with a map from 1946 by the [U.K.] Naval Intelligence Division

March 1, 2011

Fourth Tourism Festival complete

The Red Sea State tourism festival began in November 2010 and ran for three months. The festival ended on Friday February 25, with a large celebration at the Port Sudan stadium. This long festival was supported by government and business, artists and musicians.

Among the 20,000 people attending the final celebrations were high ranking government officials like the Minister of Information, Dr. Kamal Obeid.

However, no reports of the festival activities were found on the internet in English. Previous festivals included folkloric exhibition, general exhibitions, camel race, car rally, motorboat and traditional boats contests.

The Governor of the Red Sea State, Dr. Mohammed Tahir Aila, announced that a summer festival will be based in Sinkat locality during August and September. UPDATE: review of Sinkat festival.

A list of events in Arabic was found at through a RSS feed. Here's a selection [translated by google]

November 2010
Opening event - Nov. 25
The night of the creators of the Red Sea - Nov 26 
Play (Wenches in trouble) - Nov 28
Local Port Sudan  - on the night of Nov. 29 -  Corniche

December 2010
Asim al-Banna / Yasser Ibrahim - Dec. 2 - Stadium Port Sudan
Unity Week - Dec 3
Culture Night - Dec 13 - Corniche
Night local - Tokar - Dec 14 -  Corniche Iitanina
Culture Night - Dec 20  - Corniche
Play (Wenches in trouble) - Dec 22 - Red Sea University
Seminar on Tourism - Dec 24 - Hall of peace
Night local - Sinkat Dec 27 - Corniche
Cultural symposium - Dec 28 - Corniche Istanbul

January 2011
Night singing - musician Hafez   Jan. 2 - Corniche
Night local,  Suakin - January 3 - Corniche
Culture Night - January 6 - Corniche Iitanina
Night local, Agate - January 11 Corniche plateau
Night local, Alooulib - January 13
Taha Suliman, etc. - January 14 - Stadium Port Sudan
Culture Night - January 15 - Corniche
Night local, Halaib - January 17 - Corniche Istanbul
Jamal Farfur, etc. -  Jan. 24 - Ahmed Said Stadium, Port Sudan
February 2011
Economic seminar (Abdel Rahim Hamdi - Governor of the Bank of Sudan - February 1 - Hall of Peace
Thanks to God - Feb 3 - Sadiq Hussain Stadium, Port Sudan
Culture Night Feb 5 - Corniche family Play (local band) - Feb 6 - Theatre
Culture Night - Feb 10 - Corniche, the main
Culture Night - Feb 15 - Aitanina Corniche - Plateau
Culture Night - Feb 22 - Corniche
Final Night - Feb 25 - Stadium, Port Sudan
Final Night - Feb 25 - Exhibit area (Cornish Iitanina)

There were three emphasis weeks; the opening week, the closing week and just before new years.