August 31, 2011

Ethnic cleansing in S. Kordofan

"The Sudanese government is literally getting away with murder and trying to keep the outside world from finding out. The international community, and particularly the U.N. Security Council, must stop looking the other way and act to address the situation."

"While rights organisations and independent researchers have been unearthing evidence of ethnic cleansing in South Kordofan since early June, the North's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) continues to vehemently deny reports of illegal actions, claiming that the offensive against the peoples of South Kordofan is necessary in order to eliminate the lingering threat of armed rebels."

Sourced from: Human Rights Watch [long article, many anecdotes] which was rewritten in a short article at All Africa titled, "Watchdogs Blast Ethnic Cleansing in South Kordofan"

August 30, 2011

Bashir contradicts constitution

The President of Sudan made a speech at the end of Ramadan, where he essentially ignored Sudeanse who are not Muslims. This demonstrates a lack of respect for the constitution of the country which allows freedom of religion. However, it is well known that Bashir wants to run the country of Sudan along Islamic lines in governance, jurisprudence and culture.

From allAfrica.

"Al-Bashir congratulated the Sudanese people, Tuesday [August 30] on the advent of Eid Al-Fitr.

"President Al-Basher in his speech renewed commitment to defend Islam and the option of the implementation of the Islamic teachings represented in the values of freedom, justice, sincerity, loyalty, love and sacrifice.

"He called on the Sudanese people to unite and to be sincere to Allah and the teachings of Prophet Mohamed who lights our minds and hearts by combating ignorance and illiteracy and defending values and morals."

Note on religion in Sudan. The 1958 constitution had declared Islam to be "the official religion of the state"; the 1973 constitution stated "In the democratic republic of the Sudan the religion is Islam." The 1998 constitution says,  "Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and religion and the right to manifest and disseminate his religion or belief in teaching, practice or observance. No one shall be coerced to profess a faith in which he does not believe or perform rituals or worship that he does not voluntarily accept."

August 27, 2011

Eritreans gearing up for September 1

Hamid Idris Awate, first leader of Eritrean freedom fighters.

The fiftieth anniversary of beginning of the armed struggle by the Eritrean people against their oppressive Ethiopian masters will be celebrated on September 1.

The armed struggle began in September 1961 when a contingent of eleven fighting men, under the leadership of Idris Hamid Awate formed the first armed forces of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). Awate died in May 1962, probably as a result of battle wounds.

Eritrea had been federated to Ethiopia by the United Nations. Ethiopia tried to absorb Eritrea, which hoped for its own independence. Political parties were banned, publications were censored and languages suppressed. In ten years the institutions that might have encouraged Eitrean nationalism had been destroyed.

In 1962, steps were taken by Ethiopia to make Eritrea simply a province. By the spring, over 500 soldiers had joined the uprising. They harrassed Ethiopian soldiers near Agordat. ELF guerillas fought from the rugged Eritrean hills against Ethiopia. They nearly gained independence in 1978, but Russian  assistance to Ethiopia made it impossible.

Eritrea finally gained independence in 1993, now celebrated annually on May 24.

August 25, 2011

More rain in the Eritrean highlands

Thursday August 25. Rain in the hills.

August 24, 2011

Bashir looking for economic renewal

Since the Republic of South Sudan [RoSS] has declared it's independence, the leader of north Sudan has awoken to a new financial reality. The oil money is going, and soon will be gone.

For generations the revenue for the country of Sudan has come from the sale of agricultural products like cotton, sugar and gum arabic. When oil was discovered by Chevron in 1980, new possiblities opened up. An 1600 km oil pipeline was constructed from the oil fields across the country to Port Sudan. It opened in 1999.

The first eleven years of the 21st century belonged to Sudan. With new wealth that came from selling oil, Sudan aggressively pursued a building construction program for Khartoum, and the purchasing of military tools. The plan for Arabizing the country continued, with civil wars in the east, the south and the west, as minority groups resisted the marginalization, Islamization and destruction of their tribes and cultures.

In Sudan as a whole, oil sales revenue provided over 90% of the country's income during the first decade of the 21st century. This means that oil income was 10 times more than all the agricultural sales, which provided most of the income in previous years.

Sales of oil to China and other Asian countries provide $300-400 million US per month. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, the income was split, about 2/3 to the north, and 1/3 to the south. In the south, of total revenue, new oil money provided 99% of income in 2006.

Most of the oil is in RoSS ground, and so sales of the oil will now all belong to the south. The north must seek to replace the oil revenues, or else return to the meagre income that agricultural sales brings.

How will the south spend their oil money?
The government of the republic of South Sudan has an agressive plan for creating a modern nation state. They are building a new national capital. Government services have to be put in place. Security services and military forces have to be established and maintained. They are creating a banking system, roads are being paved, a pipeline to Kenya's coast is being planned.

The government hopes to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and provide universal primary education. They have plans to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and they want to ensure environmental sustainability by providing clean water and sanitation.

What is Bashir doing to replace oil revenue?
A plan was announced in February, 2011, just after the referendum, to spend 3 years creating a detailed map of north Sudan. The country is attempting to take an inventory of their physical resources. In the process of making the map, the government hopes to discover new mineral resources.

Gold mining is currently the only active high value resource extraction in the country. In the spring of 2011, various north Sudanese officials boldly proclaimed that gold mining would expand, thus making Sudan rich.

The government is more receptive to foreign companies who want to come in and look for gold, iron, etc. In addition, the government is interested in processing minerals. This added value work will provide employment for Sudanese. The export of raw iron has been outlawed.

For the oil in the ground, some of it actually is within northern boundaries. Sudan plans to double the production, which will draw down the overall amount more quickly, but it will smooth out the declining revenue of the country.

Sudan is planning to charge a fee to RoSS for every barrel of oil shipped through the pipeline. South Sudan wants to pay a fee of 41 cents per barrel. North Sudan wants to charge a fee of $21 per barrel. Actual costs of shipping the oil run about $3-4 barrel.

UPDATE: Sept 2. Reports of ongoing negotiation say that north Sudan wants to charge $32 barrel, while South Sudan has moved up from the minimal opening bid to a more realistic $4-7/barrel. Read the complete article at

Thousands of acres of new land will be planted, to increase agricultural production. Certain lands have been subject to exclusive deals to provide crops to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Kenana sugar production factory has been expanded. In December 2010, they expected to plant 500,000 feddans of cotton in 2011-12. In July 2011, that estimate had risen to 640,000 feddans.

In addition to increasing production in the country, President Bashir is looking for money from friendly countries. Sudan has asked all its ambassadors to seek out connections with possible foreign investors.

Sudan is also looking for millions of dollars worth of debt forgiveness.

For east Sudan, the Kuwait Donor and Investment Conference was held in December 2010. Over $3 billion was pledged. About $700 million was pledged by Sudan itself, yet we believe this is the same money that was previously pledged at the signing of the East Sudan Peace Agreement in 2006. Still, other countries have stepped up to help by offering millions of dollars for investment projects like cement plants, roads, water and electrical improvements, and colleges.

August 17, 2011

Rain in the Eritrean highlands today

Watching Al Jezeera weather for Africa, the graphic showed rain over Eritrea, and west of Khartoum too. Hopefully not enough to cause floods.

UPDATE September 4: Found a photo of the Gash River at Kassala - very high and fast. Uploaded on August 19.

August 15, 2011

Sudan gets ready for Sharia

Persecution of Christian Churches
The Episcopal [Anglican] Church in the USA reported that as Sudan gets ready to reinvent itself as an Islamic nation, pressure is being put on Christians.

President Omer Hassan al-Bashir has declared Sudan would embrace Sharia and Islam as the official state religion after the breakaway. has documented this in a previous post. On 7 August, Qutbi al-Mahdi, the political bureau officer of the ruling National Congress Party told the Sudan Tribune that the decrees would soon be issued.

Churches in the Muslim north are facing pressure from government officials and members of the public who are demanding their closure.

South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July, creating hope for many Christians, especially in the north, where they were never allowed full freedom to operate. But they are now facing increased threats from individual groups, according to Rev. Ramadan Chan, a Baptist.

"The groups have collected names of pastors and are warning them against conducting church services on Sundays or they would be killed," said said Chan, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches.

He said that renewal of identity cards and other important documents for the leaders and the south Sudanese were being denied. "The people are not being allowed to take property like refrigerators and cookers. Money is also being taken away by the soldiers at the border points," he said.

Read the whole article. 

Persecution of Journalists
In additional news, reporters who have written articles about human rights violations in north Sudan have been detained. Entire newspapers have been closed down because they were partially owned by South Sudanese investors.

Persecution of the South Sudan economy
River transport has been reduced, and the amount of good flowing into South Sudan from the north has diminished. This traditional route of import is forcing South Sudan to improve the muddy roads from Uganda. Additionally, the oil that is pumped from South Sudan through the 28" pipeline to Port Sudan for export to Malaysia and China is now being subject to excessive transit charges, reducing the profit to South Sudan, which is dependent on oil exports for the vast majority of government revenue.

August 14, 2011

Human trafficking passes through Tokar region

One hundred and ninety seven illegal immigrants drowned in the Red Sea on Tuesday August 9 according to a report published on Sunday, August 14.

A ship was on fire [by accident, or by coast guard attack?], and only 3 people were rescued, though the search was continuing.

The immigrants were traveling to Saudi Arabia on a Cuban registered ship owned by Yemenese businessmen. Passengers were from Chad, Somalia Nigeria and Eritrea.

The ship was still in Sudanese waters when the incident occurred, and authorities believe the planning and loading the ship took place in the Tokar region. Another ship, also in the Tokar region, with 247 migrants was unable to cross the Red Sea because of the action of Sudanese authorities.

There is no operating port in the Tokar region.


August 8, 2011

Nuba Mountain peace demonstration in NYC, USA

In New York City, Beja Congress representative Ibrahim Tahir holds a handmade sign that says, "Beja Congress and Beja people call for international protection for Nuba Mountain people." Jewish Rabbi Steve Gutow challenges the crowd to support the Nuba people, using the bible story of the murder of Abel by Cain; "There is no hiding from murder." You can watch the video.

The Sudanese government forces has been fighting in the Nuba Mountains against the civilian population. Fighters from that region have fought back. Many people think this is unacceptable, and are calling on the government forces to cease their atrocities. Many people together in public can create awareness of troubled regions, and gain publicity for their cause.

A crowd of Sudanese activists from a variety of American lobby groups demonstrated outside the Sudanese Consulate in New York City on Friday, August 5, 2011. Speeches were made outside the United Nations site. A petition to the United Nations and the African Union was released.

As they marched, the demonstrators chanted "Bashir must go, Bashir must go," and "We need our freedom."

In the video below, Ibrahim Tahir, the Beja Congress representative based in Washington DC makes a short speech, calling on the United Nations to protect the civilians in the Nuba Mountains, and for people who like freedom to apply pressure on behalf of the people living in the Nuba Mountains.

A series of videos of the speakers at the Sudan Rally by SudanUnlimited is available on youtube. The activists work together, though they have regional interests; the central Sudanese government typically fails to support outlying regions of the country. So the Beja participate in calling President Bashir to account.

A petition signed by over a dozen groups was submitted to the United Nations. It urges "the United Nations to support lasting change in Sudan by pressuring the National Congress Party to step aside." After pointing out the belligerent activities of the Bashir regime, the petition calls for implementation of the International Criminal Court arrest warrants, and the creation of a no-fly zone over the Nuba Mountains to protect the civilian population.

A report of the demonstration was published, in Arabic, on   It notes that some of the speakers were able to make a presentaiton before the US Council on Foreign Relations the day before the demonstration.

August 3, 2011

ESPA - implementation reviewed

Assistant of the President of the Republic and Deputy chairman of the Higher Committee for implementation of East Sudan Peace Agreement, Musa Mohamed Ahmed, Tuesday chaired a meeting which reviewed the implementation of the items of the East Peace agreement.

The meeting included the Presidential Advisor and official of East Sudan File, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, and Chairman of the Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, Dr. Sulaf-Eddin Salih. In a press statement following the meeting at the Republican Palace, Dr. Ismail said that the meeting was aimed to discuss the item on the demobilization of staff of the Eastern Front, after hearing a report of the Commission's Chairman.

He said that after deliberations the meeting decided to submit a report supported by proposals addressing the item of demobilization and reintegration to the Vice-President of the Republic and Chairman of the Higher Committee, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, prior to issuing the required directives for enforcement of the remaining assignments as soon as possible. Sudan News Agency learned that Dr. Ismail will leave for Kuwait on July 14 to discuss progress of implementation of projects by East Sudan Reconstruction Fund.


August 2, 2011

Confusion inside the Beja Congress

An inappropriate release of a policy statement of Beja Congress by a foreign office has caused the central committee in Sudan to review the control of their representatives in other countries.

Representatives of the Beja Congress in England issued a statement calling for a change in the federal regime in Khartoum. A couple of days later, a statement was issued from the Foreign Offices of the Beja Congress that said they condemned the first statement.

The English group is headed by Mrs. Zeinab Issa Kabashi. The English statement was developed after a meeting took place to discuss the situation now that South Sudan had proclaimed independence. The group noted the [north] government was having a constitutional crisis, economic collapse, disturbances in security, and policies design to marginalize eastern Sudan in terms of community structure and economic development. Further reasons were offered, leading to an aggressive call for broad action against the existing government.

The first call for action in the statement called for democratic forces and civil society and the armed movements and the masses of eastern Sudan, and our children in the armed forces and the lovers of peace and democracy to engage in unified action to topple the revolutionary regime. This would allow the restoration of democracy and the independence of the judicial system in [north] Sudan.

The English statement decried the dictatorship and offered ideas for Beja people to accelerate the drop of the system. It closed with two powerful phrases. Long live the struggle of the Beja -
Glory and eternity for the martyrs of democracy.

In turn, the Foreign Office of the Beja Congress issued a statement that condemned the English statement and pointed out that Mrs. Zeinab Kabashi is not a member of the current central leadership. It pointed out that no consultation had occurred between the English group and the Sudan-based group before the English statement was released.

The Foreign Offices called for proper internal procedures for electing Beja Congress leaders and invited members to work together to avoid conflict and maintain security.

The source for the English statement appears to have been removed. Sorry.
The reply from the BC was published on  مؤتمر البجا يوضح ويحذر

UPDATE: Turns out the Beja Congress has beenmore upset about internal elections.Here's a statement published on Saturday, August 6.

Beja Congress denies the statement in relation to Zainab Kabashi
In a statement was distributed widely denied that the leaders of the Beja Congress abroad any links to a statement published in some websites announced the appointment of one of the leaders of the National Congress in the Red Sea as secretary-general of the Beja Congress, said in a statement of leadership that it has extensive contacts between them was agreed to condemn the statement which was signed Mrs. Zainab Kabashi, especially with the professor Mr. Aboamna As is known to all is a leading member of the National Congress Party and former state secretary of his youth Red Sea. 

 The statement also said that Mrs. Zainab Kabashi England as head of the branch office has no authority to appoint members to the central office at home unless the purpose of its statement to form a new organization parallel to the Beja Congress and a pro-authority. Leaders also emphasized that Mr. Syed Aboamna one day a member of the organization of the Beja Congress also confirmed that he is not at all the meeting of the Office of the Beja Congress in England or anywhere else to discuss any of the topics referred to in the statement of Mrs. Zainab Kabashi. 
 The leaders confirmed that it has contacted all the organizations, movements and forces of the margin and civil society organizations and all the strong opposition and warned of the penetration of elements of power under the name of the Beja Congress and that the President of the Office of the Beja Congress in Britain did not grant authority to an official spokesman for the Beja Congress. Department and call blocs strong margin and democratic organizations under any circumstances as it is not a member of the leadership positions in the central organization. 
As expected, the appointment of a member of the ruling party in a leadership position of the Beja Congress has created a wave of anger amid the masses of the organization.