February 29, 2012

No leadership roles for Beja in SRF

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) announced the composition of its Leadership Council after the election of Malik Agar of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) as chairman of the rebel alliance.

While there are some Justice and Equality Movement  [JEM] members on the leadership council, the report at AllAfrica did not list any Beja Congress people. The Council is dominated by SPLM-N members.

The SRF was founded in November, and the Beja Congress joined a week after it formed. Their goal is to overthrow the regime of Al-Bashir.

In South Kordovan, the Sudan Armed Forces [SAF] has been harassing civilians fleeing war and obstructing humanitarian aid  over the past few weeks. On Sunday, February 26, a military operation attacked the SAF garrison in Jow in South Kordovan, and made off  with  
  •  Four military tanks
  •  Over 50 pickup trucks mounted with military guns
  •  10 Large transport trucks
  •  7 Fuel tanker-trucks
  •  various supplies and ammunition.

February 28, 2012

US Congressman Wolf offers help

Mr Wolf is a Republican and represents Virginia in the US Congress. He was first elected in 1981. He has become known as a tireless worker on behalf of the oppressed, downtrodden, suppressed, poor and hungry, and marginalized the world over. He has written a book titled, Prisoner of Conscience: One Man's Crusade for Global Human and Religious Rights.

On February 1, Mr. Wolf was present at the Beja Cultural Day in Washington DC. He made the following remarks in front of the Beja and their friends who gathered there in the Rayburn Building.

United States Congressman Frank Wolf is a longtime advocate for Sudan and visited the world's newest country, South Sudan, in mid February. He visited a refugee camp in Yida filled with men, woman and children who have fled the fighting in the nearby Nuba Mountains. This was his fifth visit to Sudan.

February 27, 2012

Uk Beja demonstrate in Manchester

As they planned to, Beja Congress members and friends marched in Manchester, England.

Full details available at sudaneseonline.com  [Arabic]

February 25, 2012

VIDEO: Eritrea's struggle to survive

Featured on the USA Public Broadcasting System over a year ago, this documentary will take you through the history of Eritrea, and into the modern era. It explores the Italian influence, especially in architecture, and their aparthied system. The war for independence against Ethiopia is revealed.  About an hour long, in four parts on youtube.

They're all together on this page.

See it all.

Or see part one below.

February 23, 2012

Egyptian medical services in eastern desert

A team of about 40 medical personnel will be travelling from Aswan south to Wadi Halfa in Sudan from February 25 to March 3.

During this time they expect to examine about 7,000 people.

Dr. Magdy Hijazi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of health in Aswan said the team has will be doing medical examinations and surgeries free of charge, as well as distributing medicines for various aliments.

Members of the team come from various disciplines from the Faculty of Medicine at Ain Shams University. The convoy will be in addition to previously organized visits to country villages earlier in February.

شبكة أسوان الاخبارية A.N.N.

February 21, 2012

Newspapers confiscated over government accusation

 Al-Turabi speaks at the press conference, accusing the government
of wiretapping his office.
[Sudan Tribune photo]

Limited Press Freedom in Sudan
The complete print run of Al-Tayar and Al-Youm Al-Tali newspapers were confiscated by the National Information and Security Services on Monday February 20, 2012.

They each published accusations of wiretapping by the government. The leader of the opposition showed listening devices said to be found in his office.

Hassan al-Turabi of the Popular Congress Party held a press conference to publicize his allegations. Security officials warned the papers not to publish the information, but the papers printed the stories. The printed copies were confiscated.

Reporters later protested the actions of the government at National Press Council, which is in charge of licensing newspapers.

Sudan has been ranked among the world's 10 worst countries with regards to media freedom in the 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.

Read the complete story at AllAfrica.

UPDATE: Al-Tayar newspaper will be closed down according to security officials.

February 19, 2012

VID: Trafficking between Eritrea & Sudan

Refugee camp near Kassala gets 3,000 refugees a month from Eritrea. How many are Beja?

February 18, 2012

Eritrean operations in east Sudan?

An Eritrean opposition party official has been missing for two days in eastern Sudan and there are fears he may have been kidnapped by Asmara's security agents, the party alleged on Thursday.
Mohammed Ali Ibrahim, a member of the People's Democratic Party central council, left his house in Kassala town at 8:00 am (0500 GMT) on Tuesday and has not been seen since, the party said in a statement emailed to AFP.

Sudanese police and the Kassala hospitals had no word on him, it said. "The big fear prevailing in Kassala is that he might have been kidnapped by security agents of the Eritrean regime, who enjoy free mobility in the region," it said.

Eastern Sudan is home to tens of thousands of ethnic Eritreans.

The United Nations refugee agency in Sudan says about 2,000 asylum-seekers, mostly Eritrean, cross the border monthly, many to escape the Asmara regime's compulsory military service.

There are around 80,000 people living in refugee camps near the border, some of whom began fleeing to Sudan four decades ago during their country's independence war with Ethiopia.

AFP, via Harnet.org
For further analysis, try this article from the Christian Science Monitor.

An additional article published in the Sudan Tribune says:
Many Eritrean opposition parties are based in neighbouring Sudan and Ethiopia, where thousands of refugees have fled following forced military national service and a lack of political and religious freedom.
The office of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Kassala has been informed, the EPDP say, as well as UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The group accused the Sudanese government of collaboration with the Eritrean officials and intelligence services in handing over opposition officials and other refugees who fled home in protest to oppression by regime in Asmara.
According to the Eritrean opposition group, Khartoum does not allow Eritrean opposition groups to operate in its territory as part security agreements between the two east African neighbours.
EPDP condemned the acts by the Sudanese government and called on the international community to intervene over the situation.

February 17, 2012

UK Beja demonstrate

Manchester UK, February 15, 2012

In solidarity with other pressure groups and activists, British Beja demonstrated in Manchester on February 15.  They called for Bashir to submit to the International Criminal Court. They denounced the violence, murder and genocide perpetrated against citizens of Sudan. They demanded change in government operations that are causing starvation in the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile.

Another demonstration is planned for February 24 in Manchester.


February 16, 2012

Short news - mid February

BEJA CULTURAL DAY. This February 2 event for government officials in Washington DC got picked up by All Africa.  Report on the day's events by the IRD.

FAITH.  Two stories in one article. Christ follower evangelist in Khartoum arrested. Government officials are enabling the advancement of Islam by reducing the role of the church. There are complicated legalities, but surely they could come to an agreement before destroying property.

PROPANE and GAS SUPPLY. In Aswan, propane has been in short supply, and people were having to line up and pay a high price. Gas for vehicles is in short supply too. aswan.akbarya

SPORTS. Sudan's soccer team was able to advance into the quarter finals of the AllAfrica Cup of Nations tournament for the first time in 42 years. They defeated Burkino Faso 2-1. On February 4, Zambia beat Sudan 3-0, and went on to become the continental winners on February 12.

Beja Congress LEADERSHIP: An internal rift is developing inside the Beja Congress leadership as two approaches toward the Nation Congress Party are being promoted. One side is adamantly against the existing regime, and has significant support in England, while the other side is organizing a conference in Cairo for early March. Should Beja Congress members even associate with the current government? A new group is being developed, the Beja Front for Liberation and Justice. sudanile.com  sakanab.co.uk

REMEMBRANCE. As some Beja and other human rights activists demonstrated, or held conferences, a few were also arrested after reminding whoever would listen that the government officials had killed 22 Beja in Port Sudan on January 29, 2005. The people arrested have been released.  Girifna

ANNOUNCEMENT. Didn't the governments of Sudan and Egypt proclaim a plan to build a road south from Aswan to Wadi Halfa? Thought I recently saw that somewhere...

February 14, 2012

PICTURES: Diving in the Red Sea

 Beja Fisherman, Red Sea. Terrence Weston photo.

Tourism is an important aspect of life for people living along the coast of the Red Sea. In egypt there is a well developed tourism industry, that is based on large hotels and resorts, with beaches, bars and night life.

In some places wilderness adventure and exploration of archeological sites and natural features are offered, but less people attend those.

And a few people love to dive into the beautiful waters of the sea, exploring ship wrecks and coral reefs.

The photo above comes from a large set of photos taken by Terrence Weston as he explored regions north of Port Sudan back in 2006, looking for suitable places to dive.

 Beja Fisherman load their catch onto ice.  Terrence Weston photo.

 Jazirat Bayer or  Shambayer. Terrence Weston photo.

February 11, 2012

Beja situation described for Brits

In a United Kingdom charity headed by Baroness Caroline Cox, the January 2011 edition of their newsletter described the plight of the Beja on two pages. This was written before South Sudan separated. Here's just one paragraph.
The lack of political will [to care for the Beja] stems largely from the exclusion of the Beja from the political process. They hold no positions in the Khartoum government, and there is no Beja state governor. Lacking representatives in the organs of government, the Beja are ignored. Denied a legitimate means of expressing their discontent, a number of Beja were recruited to fight for the Eastern Front, an amalgamation of armed opposition groups including the Beja Congress. This has further turned the government against them, perceiving all Beja to be rebels (even if in fact only a minority have fought against government forces). A siege by government forces in the Red Sea State in 1997 resulted in 450 deaths – and when the government proceeded to ban the import of food and medicine, a further 2500 died.
Download the pdf edition, read page 10 and 11. Yes, this material is over a year old, but I just found it recently.

February 9, 2012

Beja Cultural Day report

A Beja band performs on Capitol Hill (Enough - Juliana Stebbins) 
An excellent article captures the spirit of the Beja Cultural Day, held in Washington DC on February 1. It also offered background material and links to more details of the difficult situation of many Beja people.

A diverse group of activists, diaspora, and Congressional staff came together on Capitol Hill last week to draw attention to the marginalization of the Beja people of eastern Sudan by celebrating the group’s rich history and culture.

To publicize the plight of the Beja people, the Beja Congress, Beja Friends, and the Institute on Religion and Democracy hosted a Beja Cultural Day to bring to light the silenced atrocities occurring in eastern Sudan and to encourage lawmakers to actively engage on eastern Sudanese issues as well as provide assistance to the region.

While the afternoon was filled with festive traditional dancing and live music, a panel of representatives from Beja advocacy groups, prominent members of the Beja diaspora, and Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), a champion for Sudan issues in the House of Representatives, used the event to convey the desperate state of eastern Sudan and commemorate those who died in the January 2005 Port Sudan Massacre.

Read the complete article at enoughproject.org. Another report of the day's events has been published by the Institute of Religion and Democracy.

February 8, 2012

Beja Congress UK meets in Manchester

The Beja Congress held their annual meeting in Manchester England at the end of January. The meeting discussed important issues like support to the Sudanese asylum seekers, the issue of human rights in Sudan, atrocities  committed by the regime in eastern Sudan, south Kordofan, Manasir and Blue Nile provinces.

The group of 20 people decided to organize demonstrations in Manchester and London, to draw the attention of the international community to the atrocities that are taking place in Sudanese regions, where the people are struggling for their basic human rights, and in response the government prevents food from reaching their areas, thus using food as a weapon.

The international community is called upon to increase pressure on the government to stop its atrocities. All members of the SRF together with other opposition parties are invited to participate.

Read the full report at the Rapar site.

February 7, 2012

Sudan budget - $40 M for the east

 Farmers in Tokar region [UN Environment]

The Minister of Finance and National Economy and Chairman of the Board of Director of the Fund for Rehabilitation and Development of East Sudan, Ali Mahmoud, disclosed the assignment of 40 million pounds in the general budget of the fiscal year 2012.

This came during the minister's meeting with directors of the fund administrations in the presence of the Walis (governors) of the three eastern states.

He indicated that the fund will receive support of the expertise of the Ministry of Finance to help attracting more loans for implementing development projects in east Sudan.

The minister also revealed the assignment of 50 million dollars from the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank for the rehabilitation of Halfa Agriculture Scheme, besides the assignment of another 50 million dollars for the rehabilitation of Toker Delta Scheme.

Meanwhile, the State Minister at the Presidency of the Republic, the Executive Director of the Fund for Rehabilitation and Development in East Sudan reviewed the performance of the fund and the projects implemented in the three states of east Sudan in the field of water, electricity, education, besides the implementation of projects through the donors mechanism in the three states.

The implemented projects include the establishment of 16 rural hospitals, and bridges dams in al Gadarif State and water desalination stations in the Red Sea State, filtering stations, and underground water wells in Kassala State.

COMMENT: We note that this budget item is not really new money, since the Khartoum government has previously promised $600 Million, but not paid it. They have made promises before, and not fulfilled them. Still, we are hopeful that these funds will be spent in a way that will help meet the needs of the poorer inhabitants of the east, and not line the pocketbooks of those people already wealthy.

The $100 Million for the agricultural developments is generous, and we hope it will make a real difference for improved land use and better crops. These funds are presumably part of the grants or loans that were pledged at the Kuwait Donors Conference.

Sourced from Sunanews.net

Related articles:


February 4, 2012

Beja activists arrested

 Port Sudan Beja demonstrate on February 2 against the arrests of human rights activists a week earlier in Kassala. Shortly after this photo was taken,  some Beja in Port Sudan were arrested. [sakanab.com]

A conference entitled "The Massacre in Port Sudan and the Crisis in East Sudan" was held in Kassala on January 25. The conference was organized by Nagi Musa. He has been arrested.

Conference participants discussed human rights and the political situation in Sudan. The primary focus of the group centered on the Massacre in Port Sudan on January 29, 2005. Twenty two Beja people were killed by Sudanese National Forces while demonstrating in the streets of the city. In the melee, 400 other Beja people were severely injured.

After domestic and international pressure from human rights organizations, the government set up a commission to investigate the Port Sudan event, with a view to determining how unarmed civilians were killed, and who was responsible for police decisions  to use deadly force. However, the final report has never been published. Every year, many Beja activists create events to remind the government that no real effort has been made to bring justice to the Beja people and to remember those who were killed. Activists now see them as martyrs, and view some government officials as perpetrators of crimes against humanity, etc.

In Kassala, last week, Nagi Musa and four others were arrested. Those arrested along with Nagi Musa include: Amar Dirar, Gazi Altayeb, Mohamad Mahjoub and Shareef Kamal. All are members of Girifna, the organizing group. Two youth leaders also disappeared on Wednesday, January 25: Omar Ahmad Hamid, a senior student at Khartoum University and Mohamed Omer Al Amin, a recent graduate of the College of Law at Nillen University. Apparently, several other Sudanese citizens engaged in the human rights conference and Girifna group have complained of intrusive police surveillance. Fearing arrest, torture or worse, several people have gone into hiding.

In a separate event, on the 28th of January, Sudanese National Security Forces arrested four leaders of the non-violent pro-democracy movement organization, Sharara: Youth for Change. At a regular meeting of Sharara, Sudanese police took four human rights activists into custody. Khalef Saeed, a human rights campaigner based in the United Arab Emirates who was visiting Sudan to consult with Sharara was arrested along with three more organizers of the nonviolent Sharara movement: Magdi Akasa; Hatim Shinab and Yasin.

Since the arrests, Beja people in East Sudan have mounted a campaign to release the detained citizens. Street demonstrations have been held to publicize the situation [see photo at top of page].

After a street protest in Port Sudan on Thursday, February 2, as many as fourteen more people were arrested, including some women. They include lawyers and members of the Beja Congress Students Union.

Concerned Beja believe that some of the arrested persons are now being held in isolation at the infamous Kober Prison in Khartoum.

UPDATE: A facebook page dedicated to freeing the Girifna group of 10 that were arrested has been created. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-the-Girifna-Heroes/177199752386817

UPDATE #2 Amnesty International has picked up these arrests as an item to highlight on their Sudan page, along with arms trading to Darfur, etc.

UPDATE #3 Most of the people arrested have now been released. Some of them were subject to torture. Details are available at the Girifna site

UPDATE #4 No further action required. 

February 3, 2012

VIDEO: Mongolian nomad yert

Watch a time lapse video as a traditional mongolian home is set up in about 1 hour. It is well structured and designed in a way that it can be easily assembled. The video is only two minutes long.