October 6, 2013

Eritrean kids trafficked for body parts

The Free Lions, a former anti-government movement in Kassala State said that entities involved in human trafficking in eastern Sudan are violating human rights. Human trafficking and trade in human organs are some of the key human rights violations, the Free Lions said.

Various media have reported that human trafficking is occurring in eastern Sudan along areas bordering Eritrea. Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees as well as Sudanese are being targeted by the traffickers.
El-Fatih Mahmoud Awad, a communication officer for the Free Lions Movement spoke to Sudan Radio Service about the issue.

In fact the issue of human trafficking has become famous. The dangerous thing is that they smuggle small children between the ages of 11-14 from both genders with the aim of getting human organs,” he added.
He claimed that the criminal groups behind the practice have devices for preserving organs harvested from the victims.

 “They are taking the adults to the desert. They have fridges and doctors to harvest organs like kidneys, eye corneas and blood. This has become a booming trade,” he added. Awad appealed to the government to address the issue seriously.

Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed its concern about kidnappings and smuggling of Eritreans in eastern Sudan.

Source. SudanRadio.org

October 5, 2013

Work permits for 30,000 Eritrean refugees

Nearly 30,000 work permits will be granted to refugees in Sudan's Kassala state under an agreement with the UN refugee agency to improve the livelihoods of refugees and reduce their dependence on external assistance.
Thousands of Eritrean refugees live in large camps near Kassala city. 
The agreement between UNHCR and Sudan's Commission for Refugees (COR), Kassala State, and Kassala Ministry of Finance - last week after negotiations that began in late 2011 - is an unprecedented step for refugees in Sudan. Work permits are essential for refugees to legally work and have the same employee rights as Sudanese citizens.

September 18, 2013

Museum to feature East Sudan might be built

Assistant of the President of the Republic, Musa Mohamed Ahmed, Monday received in his office at the Republican Palace the Dean of Fine Arts and Design Faculty at Al-Mustaqbal University, Prof, Hussein Jama'an Omer, and discussed the possibility of establishment of a museum for Sudan heritage in general and for heritage of East Sudan especially.

Prof, Jama'an said in a press statement after the meeting that he acquainted the Assistant of the President of the Republic on richness of the Sudanese heritages and reached agreement with him to conduct a comprehensive study for building a museum in Khartoum to include works on the Sudanese folklore and East Sudan artistic works.

He affirmed that he felt understanding and support of the Assistant of the President to the idea, explaining that efforts are underway to find a site in Khartoum for building the museum.


September 16, 2013

Iron Factory to open in Red Sea State

The Minister of Minerals, Kamal Abdul-Latif, announced that the inauguration of the Chinese Iron concentration Factory in the Red Sea State would be next Wednesday {September 18, 2013}. In a statement to SUNA, Abdul-Latif said that the factory is considered part of the Chinese Companies' contribution to development of the minerals sector in Sudan.

He noted that the factory operates in concentrating iron and raising its quality for preparing for international competition, affirming his ministry endeavor to develop the production of all minerals in Sudan, top of them are chrome and copper.


Questions that readily arise include: Will local people get any jobs? Where exactly is this located? What return comes to Sudan? - presumably China gets the pig iron?

August 25, 2013

2006 Peace Agreement not fulfilled yet

Over 700 Beja militants who voluntarily demobilized after the peace agreement was signed some years ago, with the expectation that they would be given jobs in the Sudanese Army, or in a police force, have been on sit-in strike for almost a month, as they still wait for placements.

From a report on RadioDabanga:

A sit-in strike by 769 demobilised Beja Congress fighters at the Office of Reintegration and Demobilisation in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, has entered its 24th day, apparently without any resolution in sight.

The ex-combatants complain that the government has not absorbed them into the civil and military services as stipulated in the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) signed in 2005.
Hamid Idris, a member of the Legislative Council of Red Sea state, told Radio Dabanga that the demobilised
Beja Congress fighters are maintaining their sit-in for the 24th consecutive day without the national or state governments responding to any of their demands.

Idris cautioned that disregarding the demands of demobilised combatants could lead to an escalation of the situation.

The provisions of the ESPA on security arrangements called for the return of Beja Congress combatants from Eritrea, where they were based, and their integration into the Sudan Armed Forces under Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) supervision.


July 24, 2013

Hunger in East Sudan? Let's fix it, please.

Sudan warns of looming famine in eastern region, asks UN help

Text of report in English by independent, Nairobi-based Sudan Radio Service, funded by US State Department on 22 July

A leaked letter purportedly from Sudan's ministry of interior warns of a looming hunger crisis in Eastern Sudan due to lack of rain and... deteriorating environmental conditions.

The alleged letter, written by Interior Minister Ibrahim Hamid Mahmud, is addressed to Ali Hasan Zatari, the UN resident coordinator for humanitarian affairs.

Dated 19 July, 2013, it quotes figures from national health institutions saying that scarcity of rains, deteriorating environmental conditions and conflicts, have contributed to high rates of malnutrition among the general population in eastern Sudan.

The letter adds that these factors have negatively impacted the livelihood of the people in eastern Sudan, and may lead to a disaster.

The letter then urges Zatari's office to fund efforts to cover for the existing food gap. It adds that the implementation of the effort to alleviate the food shortage will be undertaken by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society and government partners in the eastern Sudan states.

"Because of this we write to you hoping for your generous and appropriate contributions in filling the gap, while the implementations will fall on the shoulders of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and government partners in the States."

Sudan Radio Service's attempts to contact Zatari for comments on this issue were unfruitful. Efforts to reach [the] commissioner for relief affairs coordination, Sulayman Abd-al-Rahman, were also unfruitful.

[Sudan Interior Minister Ibrahim Hamid Mahmud is from east Sudan and member of the Bani-Aamr ethnic group]

Source: Sudan Radio Service website, Nairobi, in English 22 Jul 13

July 14, 2013

Beja Congress convention underway in Khartoum

 The Beja Congress has not yet made a decision on freezing their participation in the government despite their grievances about the implementation of the 2006 peace agreement, one of its officials told Sudan Tribune today. The federal government has not paid promised funds offered as part of the ESPA.

The official denied reports that emerged claiming that the Beja Congress decided to pull out from the government during its convention currently underway.
However, he noted that they have reservations on the government's behavior towards them and the progress of the peace agreement.

He stressed once inter-party deliberations are completed they will release a statement outlining their final position.

From the Sudan Tribune, via All Africa.

July 6, 2013

Water shortage, so prices rise

 File photo.

The water shortage in Port Sudan is prompting many people to migrate to other cities in Sudan. This is overstretching the bus system, that has seen ticket prices soar from SDG80 ($18) to SDG150 ($35) on the black market, while a tin of water has risen from SDG4 ($0.90) to SDG5 ($1.14).

And activist from Port Sudan told Radio Dabanga that with the ongoing water shortage has caused overcrowding and panic at the bus station.

"As there are no clear solutions in sight, most of the population want to desert the city, so the price of a ticket from Port Sudan to Khartoum and other cities has risen to SDG150 ($35)," he said. "Neither the central government nor the state authorities are serious about finding solutions to the water crisis. When the First Vice President committed visited the city, he promised to provide funds as well as ten large tankers to relieve the crisis, but a month has passed without result, and peoples' suffering continues to grow," the activist lamented.

From June 28, 2013. AllAfrica . Additional info in this article about the malnutrition of children. (see below.)

The Medical Director of the Children's Hospital in Port Sudan, Dr Zafaran Al Zaki, has confirmed that there has been an outbreak of acute malnutrition among children in eastern Sudan.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Dr Al Zaki said that it is occurring in various segments of society, and affects about 30 per cent of children. She says that this figure can be expected to rise during the period from October to March, attributing it to "economic factors and the acute poverty among people of eastern Sudan".

June 18, 2013

Port Sudan running out of water

Satellite view shows the dam and water reservoir north west of Port Sudan.

Reports from parliamentarians in the Red Sea State suggest that the water supply situation in Port Sudan is desperate.

From Radio Dabanga... as reported on June 12, 2013 at AllAfrica

A member of the Legislative Council of Red Sea state, Hamid Idris Suleiman, has warned of "a real disaster in the coming days" as the water crisis in and around Port Sudan deteriorates on a daily basis.

"The high temperatures are exacerbating the situation, but the Khartoum government has not yet come up with any alternative sources or viable solutions. Suleiman told Radio Dabanga that although the Legislative Council is well disposed to the Khartoum cause, when Red Sea State Governor Mohamed Tahir Aila met with President Omar Al Bashir, "he only came back with promises without solutions".

Suleiman mentions that all Governor Aila returned with was "the National Congress Party's instruction to Legislative Council members not to talk about the water crisis again".

"The members of the Legislative Council make no decisions nor have they any political will other than that of the National Congress Party, which is run by a group headed by Al Bashir, so I did not expect that there would be any solutions forthcoming from the Khartoum government," he said.
Suleiman expressed surprise at "the efforts of the National Congress Party leaders in Red Sea state regarding mobilisation for Jihad".

"By opening recruitment camps, focusing on mobilisation and disregarding the thirst that's threatening their state, they are forgetting the problems of citizens who are about to die of thirst."
Radio Dabanga reported last month that Red Sea State's Ministry of Education was to close schools and kindergartens "due to a lack of drinking water".

May 20, 2013

Egypt-Sudan highway partially paved now

 Aswan-Abu Simbel road (2007) sourced from skyscraper city

From Aswan south to Abu Simbel, the highway has been paved. Officials are excited about new opportunities for Egyptians. They make no note of the coming loss of the weekly ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa along the River Nile.

From AllAfrica: 

The new road will reduce the cost of goods transport by 80% percentage and reactivate the signed agreements between the two states. Sudan had already welcomed Egyptian investments in fields of agriculture, industry and fisheries that will benefit both countries.

Engineer Abdu Rabo Ahmad at the General Authority of Roads & Bridges in Aswan said that the road had been paved from Aswan to Abu-Simbil and gravelled to Qustul port with guiding signs, up to the Sudanese city Wadi Halfa.

On his part the Governor of Aswan city Major General Mustafa Al-sayied stated that Egyptian-Sudanese relations will witness a huge improvement particularly in regard to infra structure projects and rehabilitating land roads, besides improving logistical services in the High dam and Wadi Halfa ports, thus transforming Aswan and Halfa into attractive investment locations.

... the article goes on.

May 8, 2013

More water in the east please...

 Red Sea State Wali [Governor] Tahir Aila

The First Vice President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, has given a directive for more concern with issues of the citizens of the Read Sea State and to focus on support to the development and services projects in the state.

This came during his meeting Tuesday at his office in the Republican Palace with the Red Sea State's Wali (governor), Mohamed Tahir Aila, who briefed Taha on the performance of all the services and development organs in the state, in addition to the projects carried out by the state particularly those relating to support for the poor and low-income families.

The Wali (governor) said in a press statement following his meeting with the First Vice president that they reviewed the security, services and social situations in the state.

He noted that the First Vice President has given a directives for addressing problems that hinder the work process and to speed up implementation of water and electricity projects in all the state's localities.


April 30, 2013

Pediatric hospital in Port Sudan serves the very poor

An Italian NGO has built an 18 bed pediatric hsopital outside Suakin to serve the children of very poor Sudanese, including local Beja.

 There are three outpatient clinics, hospitalisation and sub-intensive care wards, a dispensary, service areas and professional staff, modern equipment and spotlessly clean rooms. As the first free pediatric clinic in Africa, the hospital has been a lifeline for some of the continent’s most underprivileged mothers and their children. Many of the patients here are recent arrivals to a nearby refugee camp. The clinic they use is as good as any that can be found elsewhere in the continent and at the very least offers their children a better chance of life.
Raul Pantaleo, the architect and one of the board members of Emergency and partner in Tamassociati, explains: ‘During the war, a lot of refugees moved to Port Sudan so right now the city is in the middle of nowhere and rapidly expanding. The clinic is based in a huge area of poor people and it’s the only medical facility for children available to them.’ He explains that the clinic, like others built by Emergency, are designed to meet Italy’s own standards of construction and medical requirements, which ensures world class treatment for all its users.

The hospital design includes a garden. The architect says, ‘Gardens are not a marginal part of our designs, they are somehow the centre of our projects. We want in two years for there to be a real garden and real trees. What makes the building friendly is the garden; it’s somewhere that makes them feel comfortable. They can sit down and the kids love to walk on the grass. It’s like a playground for them.’ It is not just children who take advantage of the space: ‘It has become something of a meeting point for the whole community as it’s the only place where there are shadows and water in the daytime and light in the nighttime.’
Port Sudan Pediatric Centre occupies an area close to the ancient city of Suakin and its aesthetics found their way into many visual aspects of the structure. ‘It was completely built with coral stone. Nowadays, everyone in Port Sudan is using concrete bricks but before building we decided to use traditional coral stone and brick for the façade,’ says the architect.

To counter the climatic extremities of Sudan, Pantaleo turned to traditional ways of cooling and as with all Emergency projects, local advice and skills were central to the successful outcome of the project. ‘There are fantastic people in Port Sudan called the Beja, who are desert people and are one of the biggest populations in the region,’ he says. ‘We had technicians come in for the building who worked there permanently with local people. We only used a special technician for finishing, like tiles, but all the rest was built by the local community.’

 ‘Our buildings are quite simple, but they are still very rooted in their traditions. When it was unveiled the people couldn’t believe there was such a clean and efficient hospital for free, just for them. It was a sort of miracle and a wonderful feeling because they perceived that we really do take care of them. It is a matter of respect,’ he says. To ensure that Port Sudan’s population has some sense of ownership towards the building, Emergency has trained local staff so that the clinic remains a Sudanese enterprise. ‘Apart from a pediatrician and a nurse, the rest are all Sudanese. We want to keep a high standard to the clinic. We don’t just build a hospital and then move away.’

See more pictures and read the full article. 

April 28, 2013

Another minority group oppressed by government

Officials in the Sudan, the almost completely Muslim remainder of the nation from which a Christian and tribal South Sudan broke away from recently, say they won’t be issuing any more new licenses for church buildings.

They explain that what with the “arrests, detentions and deportations” of Christians, some of the existing buildings already are empty.

The announcement came just recently from Al-Fatih Taj El-sir, the minister of guidance and endowments for the nation of Sudan. It was documented in a report from Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

“The minister explained this decision by claiming that no new churches had been established since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011 due to a lack of worshipers and a growth in the number of abandoned church buildings. He added that there was therefore no need for new churches, but said that the freedom to worship is guaranteed in Sudan,” CSW said.

The ministry, however, explained that the announcement comes against a backdrop of a massive repression campaign against Christians in the portion of the old Sudan that now is almost entirely Islamist.

Just before the Sudanese announcement, CWS noted that Catholic priest Father Maurino and two expatriate missionaries were deported.

“The two missionaries, one from France and the other from Egypt, worked with children in Khartoum. According to Fr. Maurino, no reason was given for the deportations,” CSW reported.
But the goal isn’t hard to determine, with Maurino explaining that Christians are in trouble in Sudan since the government sought to Islamize the country and eliminate the Christian presence.

CSW’s own documentation gives evidence, since 2012, of “an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians and of those suspected of having links to them, particularly in Khartoum and Omodorum, Sudan’s largest cities. There has also been a systematic targeting of members of African ethnic groups, particularly the Nuba, lending apparent credence to the notion of the resurgence of an official agenda of Islamisation and Arabisation.

“The campaign of repression [has] continued into 2013, with foreign Christians being arrested and deported at short notice, and those from Sudan facing arrest, detention and questioning by the security services, as well as the confiscation of property such as mobile phones, identity cards and laptops. In addition to the arrests and deportations, local reports cite a media campaign warning against ‘Christianisation’,” CSW reported.

In February alone at least 55 Christians linked to the Evangelical Church in Khartoum were detained without charge, the report said.

Andrew Johnston, CSW’s advocacy director, said, “The recent spike in religious repression in Sudan is deeply worrying. The minister’s claims of guaranteeing freedom to worship are at odds with regular reports of Christians being harassed arrested and in some cases expelled from the country at short notice. We urge the Sudanese government to end its campaign of harassment against the Christian community and respect the right of all of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief, as outlined in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sudan is a signatory.”

Sourced from World Net  News

January 4, 2013

BOOK - covers plant use by bedouins in Arabia

Bedouin Ethnobotany offers the first detailed study of plant uses among the Najdi Arabic-speaking tribal peoples of eastern Saudi Arabia. It also makes a major contribution to the larger project of ethnobotany by describing aspects of a nomadic peoples' conceptual relationships with the plants of their homeland.

This volume includes a CD-ROM featuring more than 340 color images of the people, the terrain, and nearly all of the plants mentioned in the text as well as an audio file of a traditional Bedouin song and its translation and analysis.

A review published in Saudi Aramco World (Sept/Oct 2012) notes that the author, James Mandaville has an impressive knowledge of Arabian plant life. "His insights into the nomadic way of life makes this book a treasure for anyone who wishes to know how the Bedouin survive in so harsh and unforgiving an environment."

Bedouin Ethnobotany: Plant Concepts and Uses in a Desert Pastoral World costs $55US.
Published by University of Arizona press