Sudan journalists hope to enshrine freedoms with first union in decades.


31 August 2022   |   1:17 pm

For the first time in more than three decades, Sudanese journalists have formed an independent union to shore up hard-won press freedoms that have been imperilled since last year’s military coup.

The journalists’ syndicate held elections on Saturday, the first since ousted president Omar al-Bashir dissolved independent unions after rising to power in 1989.

“It’s a big step towards building the civilian democratic state that Sudanese people aspire to,” said Mohamed Abdelaziz, a member of the newly formed union.

Saturday’s ballot named as head of the syndicate Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali, a correspondent for Agence France-Presse in Khartoum.

Reporters Without Borders, which ranked Sudan 151 out of 180 countries in its 2022 World Press Freedom Index, welcomed the “positive step”.

Pro-democracy groups in Sudan have also hailed the move.

“Press freedom was muzzled under Bashir,” said Hend Helmy, an assistant professor at the University of Khartoum’s media department.

“It will be a big challenge for the new syndicate as there is an entire generation of journalists who were brought up during this period.”

Press freedom was severely curtailed under Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019 on the back of mass protests.

Under his three-decade rule, authorities regularly targeted journalists and confiscated entire print-runs of newspapers for publishing articles deemed critical of Bashir’s policies.

His 2019 fall ushered in new press freedoms that saw television stations in the country cover mass protests calling for civilian rule.

Media outlets ran articles with the protest slogans of “Freedom, Peace and Justice”.

– ‘Persecution of journalists’ –
A fragile transition was agreed in August 2019, heralding a break from decades of media censorship, repression and abuses under Bashir.

Under the transition, attacks targeting journalists largely diminished.

Critics appeared on television and ran op-eds lambasting the government’s performance.

“The persecution of journalists and media outlets critical of Sudan’s former regime officially ended with the installation of a civilian-led government,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a 2020 report.

But Sudan’s transition was upended in an October military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, sparking near-weekly mass protests calling for civilian rule and a violent crackdown that has killed at least 116 people to date.

Dozens of journalists have been arrested or targeted since the coup, amid fears that the hard-won freedoms following Bashir’s ouster would be rolled back.

In the immediate aftermath of the coup, authorities suspended radio stations and disrupted internet services nationwide.

According to Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, a Geneva-based non-governmental organistion, Sudanese authorities carried out 55 attacks against journalists and media outlets between October 2021 and March 2022.

“These attacks included arbitrary detention, harassment, the storming and closing of media offices, and physical and psychological assaults,” it said in a statement.

In a December report submitted to the Security Council, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Sudanese authorities to “respect freedom of speech and of the press”.

The newly formed syndicate has also been targeted.

A journalists’ union established under Bashir’s rule slammed the newly formed syndicate as “illegal” and “politicised”.

Abdelaziz says the elected syndicate was formed under international regulations that were ratified by Sudan in March 2021, during the transition.

“The attacks are expected from groups that had interests under decades of the former regime,” said Abdelaziz. “They feel very threatened by the new formation.

“But this syndicate will continue to represent journalists and their aspirations.”

Helmy agreed. “The union was founded on democracy,” she said. “This will not be taken away from the people.”

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Freedom of Press in Sudan still in transition- 2 years ago (Getty Images ) Here protesters are calling for the removal of media linked to the Bahir regime ..

Drug abuse in Sudan: ‘the tip of the iceberg’!

August 26 – 2022 KHARTOUM

Captagon pills (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime)

Captagon pills (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime)

Contractors who cannot keep construction workers for more than one day, students who might use drugs to spike others’ drinks, street vendors selling ‘special tea’, rumours about police officers selling confiscated drugs. Sudan, in particular its capital, has been witnessing growing drug abuse in the past decade, with an explosive but under-reported increase in the past few years.

“Cannabis has been used for ages in Sudan, but since about 2011 people in Khartoum started taking other kinds of drugs, often chemically produced stuff,” a former police officer, now a rickshaw driver, told Radio Dabanga from the Sudanese capital.

“In particular since 2015, when the economic situation really began to deteriorate, people discovered that drug trade was an easy way to quickly earn money,” he said. “Problems grew over the years, but now there is an explosive increase.”

He estimated that roughly 30 per cent of young rickshaw drivers are using drugs. “They often order a special drink from the many women selling tea and coffee on the streets of Khartoum,” he said.

A building contractor in Omdurman complained that he cannot keep labourers for more than one day “because, once paid their daily wage, they buy bango (marihuana) or pills, and do not appear at the construction site the next day”.

The use of drugs is especially widespread among youth nowadays, various sources told Radio Dabanga. They are often addicted themselves. Several young men and women students selling drugs at secondary schools and universities say that they are mainly driven by poverty.

The sources added that since the October 2021 military coup, many young people lost hope for the future, and are tempted to seek relief in drugs as well.

Absence of official data

Though reports on drugs being smuggled in Sudan already appeared in the 1970s, it was only in 2003 that a specialised department was set up to combat drug trafficking. In 2015, the country developed a national drug control strategy, to enable the authorities to work with non-governmental organisations in combating drug trafficking. Yet, official data on the sale and number of users are hard to find.

Researcher Mohamed El Mahi as well noted the lack of reliable data on the number of abusers in his paper on Substance Use Problem in Sudan in 2018. Data seem to be collected only by treatment centres in the capital.

In a workshop on drug abuse in Sudan, organised by the Awafi Initiative under auspices of Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo in Khartoum in February, it was reported that about 13,000 young addicts, aged between 14 and 24, of various educational levels, visited addiction treatment centres in Sudan’s capital in 2021.

According pharmacist in central Khartoum confirmed that this number only represents “the tip of the iceberg”. He said that “many young addicts do not even know that such centres exist, while treatment often cannot be found outside the capital”.

Dr Ali Baldo, director of the El Amal Centre for Addiction Treatment in Khartoum, told Al Jazeera in June 2019 that an estimated 25 per cent of young Sudanese in the capital slip into drugs abuse.

Rehab Shabo, Director of the Hayat Centre for Psychosocial Treatment and Rehabilitation, which is the only government centre for the treatment of drugs addiction, reported in 2018 that they had treated 7,000 addicts that year. She told Al Bayan at the time that the largest rates of drug abuse are found in Khartoum, and lamented the absence of other centres where addicted could find treatment at a low cost.

‘Clubs, cinemas and gyms could have played a role in directing the energy of young people away from drug abuse’ – Social researcher Mohamed Adlan

Medicine abuse

Despite the lack of reliable data, El Mahi did report a rapid surge in the use of various substances in Sudan’s drug scene during the past decade, especially among young people. The substances include common prescription medicines, he explained in his 2018 research paper.

Prescription medicines include Tramadol (aka strawberry or pink), an opioid analgesic, benzodiazepines such as Clonazepam, cough syrups which are often used in combination with five grammes tablets of Valium (called khamsa which means ‘five’), and antihistamines. Other substances include trihexyphenidyl (aka kharsha), anticonvulsants and neuropathic pain agents, and antipsychotic medications.

El Mahi added that “solvent misuse is another evolving problem, particularly among poor children and young adults”. A source confirmed recently that many teenagers “who don’t have much money to spend, sniff a mix of glue and gel found inside pampers”.

The former police officer told Radio Dabanga that the police in Khartoum did not receive many reports about the sale and use of drugs before 2010. “Yet, since then, we worked on an increasing number of cases. I remember that I was shocked in 2011 when we found a briefcase filled with ‘strawberries’ and ‘fives’ in a cafeteria near a secondary school. A year later, such findings had already become normal.”

Large bags of cannabis seized in El Radoom, South Darfur, 2017 (RD)

New drugs

Traditionally, Sudanese consume alcohol and cannabis for enjoyment and relief from the hardships of life. Cannabis is still grown in Sudan, in particular in El Radoom in South Darfur. According to the General Office for Combating Drugs in Khartoum, Sudan was the largest producer of cannabis in Africa in 2016. The trade of cannabis (marihuana, known and grown as bango in Sudan) exceeded $7 billion while its use grew by 34 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

Researcher El Mahi noted in 2018 that amphetamines, methamphetamine, opioids, cocaine, and new psychoactive substances were still uncommon in Sudan, “probably owing to high cost”.

This has definitely changed. Independent Arabiya said in May this year that ‘crystal meth’, aka ‘ice’, is used on a wide scale as well, by both young men and women. Rumours go that many young demonstrators protesting against the military junta in Khartoum are taking this very addictive stimulant. Radio Dabanga recently reported that the authorities are now subjecting detained protesters to drugs tests.

The smuggling and sale of Tramadol and Captagon (containing fenethylline, a synthetic stimulant that is reportedly widely used in the Middle East) has grown rapidly as well, Sudan reported to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in April last year.

Already in 2010, about a million of Captagon tablets were seized in the country. Four years later, a load of more than 1.4 million tablets, to be shipped to Lebanon, was impounded in Port Sudan. About 14 million Captagon tablets, more than 19 million Tramadol tablets, and about 1,300 kilograms of heroin were seized in 2020.

Gen Mohamed El Naeem, Director of the Sudanese Narcotics Control Department, said in April 2017 that “drugs are seized almost every hour”. He mentioned in particular marihuana, qat, Captagon, Tramadol and Oximol, Anadolu Agency reported in February this year.

In 2018, Sudan’s anti-narcotics police found a hidden factory in Khartoum, with a production capacity of 300 tablets per minute.

The abundance of drugs in Sudan may explain the relatively low prices on the market. “It’s a vicious circle as this in turn has led to the excessive increase of drug abuse,” the former police officer told Radio Dabanga.

Human rights activist Yasin El Mubarak however believes that “there are hidden hands that seek to spread drugs among young people in Sudan. He told An Nahar Al Arabi in February that “Despite the high prices of drugs globally, we see them being sold at low prices in Sudan, which reinforces the hypothesis that there are organised parties working to broaden their access to Sudanese youth and facilitate the circulation [of the drugs]”.

Widely available

Pharmacists often sell prescription medicines directly to the patients. “We do this for some years now as most of the people cannot pay a visit to the doctor anymore,” a pharmacist in Khartoum explained.

“We usually sell cough syrup without a prescription,” she told Radio Dabanga. “Yet we insist to see the patient personally. And if a person asks for the syrup for someone at home, we need to hear the patient’s voice on the phone before giving it.”

Another pharmacist said that she recognises an addict from the way they look. “But what can I do? Many people fake their cough and say that their syrup bottle broke or got lost. I then offer them herbal syrup, but they say that this doesn’t work for them. Others fake their illness in such a good way that you believe them, and there are also people who confess they are addicted to the syrup that includes DM [Dextromethorphan]. Many members of the security forces ask for DM syrup all the time”.

Drugs are also sold by the many people, mostly women, selling tea and coffee on the street. They put pills in coffee or tea, or they sell the drugs straight to the customer,” the former policeman explained. “If you see a tea seller with more than 10 customers and a lot of movement, than you can be sure she’s selling more than just coffee and tea.”

He added that “things are happening more and more in broad daylight. It is well known that you can buy drugs at certain smaller markets in the city. Dealers selling from their homes has also become a common phenomenon. Policemen are easily bribed as their salaries are far from enough to earn a decent living.”

A tea and coffee seller in Khartoum (File photo)

A young tea seller working in El Salha in Omdurman confirmed to Radio Dabanga that drugs are widely sold in the neighbourhood. “In particular the poorest tea sellers combine coffee with pills to attract more customers. Others are even forced to sell drugs by the dealers who know them personally.”


A university graduate who used to sell drugs to fellow students until 2020, told Radio Dabanga that the types of drugs most used are ice, Tramadol, Cosmos (chlorpromazine), flue tablets mixed with coughing syrup, and aspirin mixed with soft drinks.

Older students and also lecturers prefer marihuana (bango) and Ethiopian hashish (called shashmandi, which is quite new and smuggled through Sudan to other African countries), she said. “Heroin and cocaine are used only by the really rich students.”

The source added that “some students are even secretly putting pills in drinks of other students, to pester them if they have a different ethical origin, or to get them addicted so they can sell more”.

She further explained that “Many young people are using drugs for social, economic, and political reasons. They have lost hope on a better future, and want to escape from continuously deteriorating situation here.”

‘There are even cases of seven- and eight-year-old addicts’ – Doctor Ali Baldo

According to social researcher Mohamed Adlan, the recent explosive increase of drug abuse is probably caused by “the great vacuum in the country” young people are suffering from, as a result of being idle for long periods of time due to the on-and-off closure of universities since December 2018 following the revolution and the emergence of COVID-19.

“This makes them ready to experiment with drugs, especially in a country that suffers from a noticeable lack of entertainment opportunities,” he explained. “Clubs, cinemas and gyms could have played a role in directing the energy of young people away from engaging in destructive activities such as drug abuse.”

Specialist Ali Baldo told the Independent Arabia in February that that there are even cases of seven- and eight-year-old addicts. He further referred to the relatively large proportion of young women using drugs, which according to him is caused by “the violence of men against them, tensions in the political and social arena, economic problems, and daily living pressures”.


Due to the weak border controls and tense internal conditions in Sudan, the drugs trade has found an easy way to enter the country, social researcher Mohamed Adlan said.

Bordering seven countries, with often porous borders, Sudan has become an easy target for the smuggling of drugs, by air, over land, and, more and more, by sea.

Sudan’s 2021 report to the UN on the spread of drugs in the country for instance mentioned that the smuggling of heroin, which used to be confined to Sudanese airports, has shifted to Red Sea ports. Ships are being used more and more to smuggle large quantities of heroin into the country, the report said.

Other drugs were smuggled into Sudan over sea much earlier, whereby allegedly also officials were involved. A former member of the Sudanese Coast Guard in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, told Radio Dabanga that his forces found four containers filled with pills and powder in 2013. “Apparently, it belonged to the son of an official, so we were asked to move the containers to Khartoum and hand over the investigation to the authorities there. We never heard something about the subject again.”

The officer, who worked at for the anti-drug unit in Abu Jubeiha in South Kordofan until 2011, added that it was not unusual to discover that government officials in Abu Jubeiha were responsible for the trade. “Many of the smugglers we caught would later be released following orders from the top.”

The former police officer confirmed that policemen, army officers, members of the Rapid Support Forces and former rebel fighters are among the drug traders. “They all trade and use themselves as well”, he claimed. “Every day, police all over Khartoum receive reports from the anti-drug units. They then seize the traders and their goods, but the confiscated drugs are often sold on again.”

Rebel groups are also involved in the trade of drugs. El Intibaha newspaper reported in July that a load of 1,000 Tramadol tablets of 225 milligrams was seized by customs officers at Khartoum International Airport in November last year. The bill of lading contained the name of the person to whom the goods were sent but the customs officers reported “an unknown person”.

According to El Intibaha, the load was manufactured in Mumbai, India. It was shipped Israel, from where it was sent to South Sudan. The pills were then transported by Ethiopian Airlines to Khartoum.

The newspaper reported that months later, leaders of a rebel group submitted a letter to the customs department, demanding the deliverance of the load, as Tramadol is used by their members for “training purposes”. They were referred to court.

Many thanks to Marwa, Khulood, and the former policeman who preferred to stay anonymous, for their valuable contributions.

Sudan official: Death toll from seasonal flooding at 100.

A Sudanese official says flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains across much of Sudan have killed at least 100 people since the start of the rainy season in May

By The Associated Press

August 31, 2022, 1:29 PM

This is a locator map for Sudan with its capital, Khartoum. (AP Photo)
This is a locator map for Sudan with its capital, Khartoum. (AP Photo)

CAIRO — Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains across much of Sudan killed at least 100 people since the start of the rainy season in May, an official said Wednesday.

The downpours, which began earlier than normal this year, also injured at least 96 others, said Brig. Gen. Abdul-Jalil Abdul-Rahim, spokesman for Sudan’s National Council for Civil Defense.

The United Nations said at least 258,000 people have been affected by floods in 15 of Sudan’s 18 provinces. The downpours wrecked many villages and left tens of thousands of acres of land flooded, it said.

Authorities have declared a state of emergency in six hard-hit provinces.

The western Darfur region and the provinces of Nile River, White Nile, West Kordofan and South Kordofan are among the hardest hit areas, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Abdul-Rahim said around 27,600 houses were “completely destroyed” and around 42,000 more were “partly damaged.”

Sudan’s rainy season usually starts in June and lasts until the end of September, with floods peaking in August and September.

A peace agreement was supposed to end the Darfur war. Instead violence continues to plague the region.

Darfuris hoped for the return of stability following the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement in 2020, but an attack in Jan. 2021 by the Arab Rizeigat tribe marked a worrying escalation of the conflict

30 AUGUST, 2022

The city of Geneina in West Darfur in March 2022. More than 100,000 internally displaced persons are now living inside the city of Geneina to protect themselves from attacks by Arab militias. ARTHUR LARIE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The Krinding displacement camp in Sudan once provided refuge for thousands ofpeople fleeing conflict in the country’s war-torn Darfur region. For Abdelsalam and his family, it was home.

Now the camp, which stretches several kilometres on the outskirts of the city of Geneina, in the state of West Darfur, resembles a ghost town. It’s filled with ruined houses.

“I had a happy life, and now this is all I have left,” Abdelsalam said during a visit to the camp in March, as helifted the charred roof of what used to be his own dwelling.

Abdelsalam, whom The Globe and Mail is identifying only by his first name because he fears retribution for speaking publicly, is among more than 2.5 million people displaced by the Darfur war, which has lasted for almost two decades.

More than 300,000 lives have been lost since the conflict began in 2003, when ethnic African groups rebelled against then-Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir’s Arab-dominated government. Darfur’s African tribes accused Mr. al-Bashir and his administration of favouring the interests of Arab communities in the region. In response, Mr. al-Bashir supported Arab militias, who pursued an ethnic cleansing campaign that targeted non-Arab civilians accused of supporting the rebels.

Abdelsalam, a survivor of the Kirinding attack, works as a tailor in front of a school turned into a camp in the center of Geneina.ARTHUR LARIE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

In January, 2021, an attack on the Krinding camp by militiamen associated with the Arab Rizeigat tribe marked a worrying escalation of the conflict. More than 160 people died in the massacre, and the militiamen burned homes. Almost a third of the camp was reduced to ashes.

This is when Abdelsalam’s home was destroyed. He and his family were caught up in the violence.

“Bullets were flying around me. They tried to kill us but we managed to reach Geneina,” the 24-year-old said. He is still traumatized by what he experienced that night.

The Krinding camp attack, and other massacres that followed, unfolded despite the Juba Peace Agreement, an accord signed by Sudan’s transitional government and many of the country’s warring factions after the fall of Mr. al-Bashir in 2019. It was supposed to end the Darfur war and bring peace to the troubled region.

But the agreement has yet to be fully implemented. Instead, insecurity and violence continue to plague the region, putting civilians’ lives in danger.

The latest incident, which occurred between June 6 and 11 in the town of Kulbus and neighbouring villages in West Darfur, left at least 125 people dead and 33,000 displaced, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Most of the victims of the attack, which was carried out by the same militia behind the massacre at Krinding, were reportedly from the ethnic-African Gimir community.

In April, more than 200 people were killed in clashes between an Arab community and the non-Arab Massalit minority in the Kreinik area of West Darfur. The United Nations estimated more than 86,000 people were displaced in that incident.

Mohamed, a surgeon at Geneina Teaching Hospital, has witnessed tensions erupt between tribes within the hospital.BASTIEN MASSA/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Geneina’s Teaching Hospital had to assign patients to separate buildings based on their ethnicity or tribe to avoid further violent conflict.BASTIEN MASSA/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Tensions even spilled into the Geneina Teaching Hospital, where those who were injured in the clashes were treated for their wounds.

Mohamed, a surgeon at the hospital, whom The Globe is identifying only by his first name because he also fears retribution, said attacks have happened there repeatedly.

“Conflicts have already broken out in the emergency room itself, with bullets flying in the courtyard,” he said.

The hospital has had to assign patients to separate buildings based on their ethnicity or tribe. “If we have to treat a wounded Arab, we call in an Arab consultant to avoid reprisals. Armed men have already come to threaten us in the middle of an operation,” the exhausted doctor added.

Insecurity has also increased in Darfur’s main towns, like El Fasher in North Darfur.

“Every day, we hear stories of robberies, crimes or rapes in the street,” said Mohamed Taha, a lawyer with the Sudanese Association for Transitional Justice.

“There is no authority anymore. Everyone does what they want, and no one is held responsible.”

In El Fasher, the United Nations World Food Programme had to temporarily close its operations following a series of attacks and looting of all three of its warehouses in Dec. 2021.BASTIEN MASSA/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The lack of law enforcement in El Fasher forced the United Nations World Food Programme to close its operations there temporarily, following a series of attacks in December, 2021, and looting of all three of its warehouses.

“It was organized. They came with trucks and lifts, and left with five thousand tonnes of foodstuffs,” said Baker Mukeere, a local official with the UN agency. “The operation took two days and two nights without the police or the army intervening.”

The Juba Agreement, which was signed in Oct. 2020, covers a wide range of issues, including governance and a transitional justice process to address human rights abuses.

To strengthen security in Darfur and protect civilians, the agreement provided for the deployment of a 12,000-strong joint force made up of members of the Sudanese army and the various armed groups that participated in the deal.

To this day, the armed groups are still waiting to be integrated into the force, and Darfuris have yet to benefit from its protection. “On the ground, nothing has been implemented,” said Mohamed Abubakar, a spokesperson for the governor of West Darfur.“Every Darfuri wants the conflict to end, but we have no support from the state.”

Eldai Ishag (left), general of the Sudan Liberation Army and his bodyguard in the local headquarters of the SLA in Geneina on March 8.BASTIEN MASSA/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Eldai Ishag, general of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA-KA), one of the rebel groups that signed the Juba Agreement, was similarly dejected. “We are stuck in our barracks because we are not allowed to control the borders and we cannot patrol the cities to secure the citizens,” he said.

Meanwhile, those displaced from Krinding, Abdelsalam among them, have taken refuge in municipal buildings in Geneina. Some 100,000 internally displaced people are sheltering there. But it’s no substitute for the lifestyle they were once accustomed to in the camp, where they had stable homes, jobs and community.

“We are tired. Our life is boring. We have no money, no security. People are suffering a lot here,” Abdelsalam said.

He now lives with his family on the grounds of Dar Masalit, a local primary school, among 2,000 other people who have also sought shelter there. The displaced Darfuris, mainly farmers, have no resources to support themselves, and they depend on food aid.

“We are lost. No one here believes in the Juba Agreement anymore,” said Abdelsalam’s mother, her fatigue showing on her face.

That sense of helplessness has led some to seek return to Krinding. Suleiman Ali Adam, a pharmacist, decided to go back with his family five months ago. “Our life is here, but everything is missing – water, education, services,” he lamented in front of his dispensary, which still bears scars left by bullets.

While he has decided to stay put for now, others who have returned are regretting their decisions to do so.

“Most people are already starting to return to Geneina because of the lack of security,” said Bashir Omer, a local official from the UN’s International Organization for Migration.

That feeling of insecurity is reinforced by the dysfunction of the judicial system in the region. “The government does not care about justice. In West Darfur there is no public prosecutor and very few judges,” said Mohamed Al Doma, the former governor of West Darfur.

On Jan. 4, 2021, seven people who had filed complaints following the attack on the Krinding camp and 21 witnesses were murdered after a prosecutor leaked their identities. “There is a real sense of impunity,” said Mr. Al Doma, who is now a board member of the Darfur Bar Association. “If the perpetrators of violence and massacres are not tried, what is to stop them from doing it again?”

Sudan floods death toll nears 100 with more heavy rain forecast.

Destruction on a large scale in worst-hit area

Families walk on a flooded road after heavy rainfall in the village of Aboud in the Al Manaqil district in Al Jazeera state south of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. AP
Families walk on a flooded road after heavy rainfall in the village of Aboud in the Al Manaqil district in Al Jazeera state south of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. AP

The death toll from the floods in Sudan rose by 10 to nearly 100 at the weekend as authorities warned the worst was yet to come.

Heavy downpours and rising water levels in the Blue and White Niles are forecast for the next few days.

The National Council of Civil Defence said 99 people had been killed and another 93 injured since the floods struck most of the vast nation earlier this month.

It said a total of 23,724 homes have been entirely destroyed, while another 35,225 have been damaged.

Sudan is not new to flooding, with the country hit by floods virtually every year between June and September. The worst of the flooding, however, occurs during August and September.

However, the floods’ severity and the extent of destruction they cause vary from year to year, with this year’s rated by Sudanese officials as among the worst since record flooding in the 1940s.

Flood victims wade through water in Al Manaqil area in Al Jazeera state south of the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Reuters
Flood victims wade through water in Al Manaqil area in Al Jazeera state south of the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Reuters

“The next week will be critical for the country and requires that we raise the level of preparedness to the maximum,” said the committee in charge of monitoring floods at the Irrigation Ministry.

It forecast heavy rainfall this week and into early in September, especially in the Khartoum area.

Figures released by a senior emergency official in Al Jazeera state south of Khartoum, one of the worst areas hit by the floods, showed the extent of destruction in one region. They also highlighted the massive relief operation and rebuilding funds needed for life there to return to normal.

Abu Bakr Abdullah, who is in charge of emergency services in Al Jazeera, told the state Suna news agency that a total of 31 villages have been wiped out by the floods.

Of these villages, 120 were in one region, Al Manaqil, he added.

A total of 14,500 families have been affected by the floods and rain in Al Jazeera, he said. A total of 90,000 hectares of farmland have been inundated by water, he added.

“The disaster is beyond the resources of the state,” said Mr Abdullah. He said the call for help sent out by local officials brought relief supplies by land and air.

A flooded road near the village of Aboud, south of the capital Khartoum. AP
A flooded road near the village of Aboud, south of the capital Khartoum. AP

Osman Al Ameen, a farmer and father of five in Al Manaqil, told The National by phone how he and his family cheated death when disaster struck last week, thanks to the help of their neighbours.

“We left our home with only the clothes on our back. May God compensate us for everything that we lost. Thanks be to God, in all cases,” he said.

He said he and his family took shelter at a primary school they which they reached after considerable difficulty. “It took us an hour wading through the water to reach the school,” said Mr Al Ameen, who is surviving with his family on relief handouts.

“We are now very concerned about how we will rebuild our home and even more worried about the loss of our crops. We will have difficulty living a dignified life in the months to come.”

Bakry Hussein, an emergency official at Al Manaqil, said the area saw 3,357 homes destroyed by the floods. A total of 3,500 people also became homeless, he added.

“Our big concern now is that the health situation at the displaced camps will rapidly deteriorate. That could be the next disaster,” Mr Hussein told The National. He also complained that the relief operation in the area was “haphazard” and lacked coordination.

Updated: August 29, 2022, 12:02 PM

Sudan Offers More Oil Blocks to Russian Company

File photo


Moscow / Khartoum — Sudan has offered more oil blocks to Russia’s Zarubezhneft oil company, at the end of a three-day visit of a high-level government delegation to Moscow. The two countries also agreed to enhance cooperation and expand trade in several other sectors.

On Wednesday, Sudanese-Russian technical talks began in Moscow, in preparation for meetings of the Russian-Sudanese intergovernmental commission on Friday.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Minerals, Mohamed Saeed Zeinelabdeen affirmed Sudan’s readiness to enter into new partnerships with Russia, the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported on Thursday.

New oil blocks

El Tahir Mohamed Abulhasan, Director of the Oil Exploration and Production Administration at the Sudanese Ministry of Oil, said at plenary session of the Russian-Sudanese intergovernmental commission on Thursday that they discussed Zarubezhneft’s proposal for investments in Sudan.

“We previously provided several blocks for development, and now we have added more, in regions with gas and oil potential. I think by October we will pass on the necessary information so that they can start looking at these areas,” he stated. At the end of the joint meetings on Friday, he confirmed the deal.

The Interfax Information Services Group on Thursday cited Dmitry Semyonov, head of the Russian Energy Ministry’s International Cooperation Department, who said that “the number of oil blocks for development by our Zarubezhneft company, together with Sudan’s Energy and Oil Ministry and state company Sudapec, was increased.

“We also agreed with companies to discuss expanding cooperation in the oil sector beyond just production, to look at oil recovery technologies, associated gas utilisation, oil refining, petrochemicals and training,” he said.


Timur Samoletov, representative of the Russian Agriculture Ministry, said on Friday that the expert consultations concluded with a number of agreements, including “solidifying bilateral cooperation in the agro-industrial complex, as well as on increasing and diversifying the turnover of agricultural products”.

He said that trade turnover in agricultural products between Russia and Sudan exceeded $287 million in 2021, and that it totalled $137.7 million in January-July 2022, when wheat and sunflower oil, the main export items, with the value of $101 million and $37 million respectively, were supplied to the Sudanese market.

Russia’s main imports from Sudan are non-food extracts, natural resins, and live primates. Deliveries increased 51 per cent year-on-year in value terms in January-July, Interfax stated on Friday.

Earlier this month, the Russian-Sudanese joint ministerial committee, in its seventh session, concluded in Moscow with a number of agreements and protocols of joint cooperation in the fields of economy, agriculture, trade, industry, tourism, transport, communications, energy, mining, geology and higher education.

Minister of Minerals, Mohamed Bashir Abu Numou, who signed the agreements on behalf of the Sudanese government, on August 8 affirmed the strong relations between the two countries. According to SUNA, he said that Sudan possesses the capabilities that qualify it to create partnerships with its regional and international surroundings.

On August 3, Russian and Sudanese officials met during the 10th session of the Political Consultation Committee between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Sudan and Russian Federation in Khartoum.

The meeting reviewed ways to strengthen bilateral relations in various sectors, and also completed the ratification procedures of the agreement exempting diplomatic passport holders in the two countries from entry visas.

Enhanced cooperation

The two sides also agreed to enhance the cooperation between the two countries at the United Nations and other international forums.

The military junta governing in Sudan has been keen on intensifying its relations with Russia, in particular after the western community, including the World Bank, suspended aid following the coup d’état on October 25 last year. According to the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Sudan, Sudan has lost $4,364 billion in aid pledged by the international community in the eight months since the coup.

On February 25, a day after Russia invaded Ukraine, a Sudanese delegation headed by Gen Mohamed “Hemeti’ Dagalo, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, visited Moscow, where he declared support for Russia’s invasion by saying that Russia had a right to defend itself and its people.

Back in Sudan, Hemeti charted the official Sudan policy on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and called on the international community to support the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine. He also said that Sudan would let Russia, or any other country open a naval base on the 730-km Red Sea coast, given that it would not threaten Sudan’s national security.

In an extensive report published in end July, CNN accused the Sudanese military rulers of letting Russia “plundering gold in Sudan to boost Putin’s war effort in Ukraine”.

Sudan is the second largest gold producer in Africa. The production however is often driven by unregulated, artisanal (individual subsistence) mining, and routine gold smuggling across international borders is a constant problem. Estimates are that between 50 and 80 per cent of Sudan’s gold is smuggled out of the country. It is also known that proceeds have been used to finance internal conflicts.

Read the original article on Dabanga.

2 Ethiopian Airlines pilots fall asleep, miss airport runway!

 August 22, 2022, 02:43 AM

Photo credit :  Unsplash

Two pilots for Ethiopian Airlines fell asleep and missed their landing while flying from Sudan to Ethiopia on Aug. 15, aviation news site Aviation Herald reported.

Passenger flight ET343, a Boeing 737-800, was travelling from Khartoum to Addis Ababa.

However, the pilots failed to land in Ethiopia on their first approach as they both fell asleep, resulting in the plane flying past the runway and remaining airborne.

Alarm went off

It was further reported that air traffic control tried to contact the pilots multiple times, but could not get ahold of them.

An alarm eventually got set off that woke the pilots up.

This was caused by the autopilot being disengaged after the pilots flew past the landing point.

The pilots then rerouted the plane back to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, where they safely landed 25 minutes later.

No one was harmed and the plane landed safely, but it is unclear how many passengers were aboard.

Plane rerouted confirmed

A flight map from FlightAware showed the exact path the plane took.

Data from aviation surveillance system ADS-B confirmed that the incident took place and the aircraft flew over the runway.

Ethiopian Airlines would not confirm whether the pilots fell asleep though.

It did put out a statement on Aug. 19 stating that the flight “temporarily” lost communication with air traffic control.

“The concerned crew have been removed from operation pending further investigation,” Ethiopian Airlines said.

“Appropriate corrective action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation. Safety has always been, and will continue to be, our first priority.”

Sudan: Hundreds rally in support of initiative to end crisis!

Monday 15 August, 2022

Hundreds of Sudanese gathered on Sunday outside a conference hall in the capital, Khartoum, where meetings were held to find a way of ending the country’s political crisis.

The Call of Sudan’s People initiative was launched last month by Al Tayeb Al Jed, a Sufi leader, and has the backing of Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, who led a military takeover last year.

Sudan has been reeling from political unrest, a spiralling economic crisis and a spike in ethnic clashes in its far-flung regions.

Mr Al Jed said the initiative would address the economic attended a conference under the initiative on Saturday, where Mr Al Jed said 120 political parties and multiple factions were involved.

Diplomats from EgyptSaudi Arabia and the African Union attended a conference under the initiative on Saturday where Mr Al Jed said 120 political parties and several factions were involved.

A woman attends a rally calling for an end to ethnic tensions and civil conflict following an escalation of violence in Blue Nile state and Darfur, in Khartoum, Sudan July 26, 2022. REUTERS / Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

© Provided by The NationalA woman attends a rally calling for an end to ethnic tensions and civil conflict following an escalation of violence in Blue Nile state and Darfur, in Khartoum, Sudan July 26, 2022. REUTERS / Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Mr Al Jed and Gen Al Burhan have called on all sections of Sudanese society to join the initiative. In a televised speech on Sunday, the military chief renewed the army’s support towards “democratic rule under an elected civilian government”.

Sudanese have been protesting to demand a civilian government since October, when the military removed the transitional government led by Abdalla Hamdok, a former UN economist. Security forces launched a violent crackdown on the demonstrations that has claimed the lives of more than 110 protesters and left thousands injured.

Last month, Gen Al Burhan pledged in a televised address to step aside and make way for Sudanese factions to agree on a civilian government.

Civilian leaders who were ousted by the military last year have dismissed his move as a “ruse”, and pro-democracy protesters have held fast to their rallying cry of “no negotiation, no partnership” with the military.

However, demonstrators outside the conference hall on Sunday said they backed the latest political talks.

Hozaifa Mohamed told AFP he supported “the initiative which calls for national consensus and which we hope will bring an end to the crises in Sudan”.

Another, Othman Abdelrahman, pointed out that it “calls for ending strife” and “brings together multiple factions from across Sudan, including Sufis, armed groups and others”.

The Forces for Freedom and Change, the main civilian bloc in the ousted government, is not taking part.

Also absent were members from the resistance committees — informal groups that emerged during months of protests that led to the military’s removal of dictator Omar Al Bashir in April 2020.

The military takeover upended a transition to civilian rule launched after the 2019 ouster of Al Bashir, who ruled for three decades.

The country has since been rocked by near-weekly protests and a violent crackdown that has so far killed at least 116 people, according to pro-democracy medics.

Imas supplying third feed mill in Sudan.

Imas Makina_Yem Fabrikasi_Khartoum Sudan_E.jpg
Imaş Makina’s Viteral brand feed mill in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo courtesy of İmaş.

08.15.2022By Susan Reidy

KHARTOUM, SUDAN — İmaş Makina is supplying through its Viteral brand a third feed mill in Khartoum, Sudan.

The feed mill is scheduled for commissioning this year with a capacity of 20 tonnes per hour.

Livestock feed will be produced in the fully automated mill, which will be commissioned as a complete project by İmaş under the Viteral brand. The facility will be equipped with technology machines produced by Viteral, especially the VHM hammer mill, VHF Mill feeder, and VPP pellet press. The facility will be able to produce feed using either a single or double line.

It also includes two raw material silos with a capacity of 4,500 tonnes as well as crushing, dosing, pelletizing, transport and packaging departments.

More than 38,000 people affected by floods in Sudan!

15 August, 2022

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) in Sudan on Monday estimated that about 38,000 people in Sudan had been affected by rains and floods since the start of the rainy season.

About 314,500 people were affected in Sudan during the rainy season of 2021, according to Ocha.

Flooding caused by rains in Sudan have killed at least 52 people and inundated more than 8,170 homes since the rainy season started, state media and police official said at the weekend.

Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan between May and October, and the country faces the risk of severe flooding every year, which can wreck properties and infrastructure and ruin crops.

“A total of 52 people have been killed and 25 others [injured by] torrential rains and floods since the beginning of the fall season,” Suna reported, quoting Abdel Jalil Abdelreheem, spokesman for Sudan’s National Council for Civil Defence (NCCD).

Mr Abdelreheem said 5,345 houses in Sudan had been destroyed and 2,862 damaged. Other public facilities, shops, and agricultural lands were also damaged.

Children cross flooded fields near Malualkon in Bahr el Ghazal state, South Sudan, during the rainy season in 2021. AP Photo
© Provided by The National Children cross flooded fields near Malualkon in Bahr el Ghazal state, South Sudan, during the rainy season in 2021. AP Photo

North and South Kordofan states, River Nile state, and South Darfur were among the most affected in Sudan, he said.

udan’s military leader, Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan inspected the damages on Sunday in the flood-affected areas in River Nile State, including Al-Mikaylab and Kadabas in Barber locality, according to state news agency Suna.

Gen Al Burhan directed the federal and state authorities to provide the requested assistance.

Residents of Makaylab village in the River Nile province are trapped by floodwater.

Residents believe that the floodwater covering the area is affecting their health, leaving many sick with no access to no medical services.

Nineteen fatalities have been recorded in North Kordofan province, followed by Nile River province, which reported seven deaths, said Brig Gen Abdelreheem, spokesman for the NCCD.

The western Darfur region, which has five provinces, reported 16 deaths, he said.

He did not say when the first causality occurred.

Sudan’s rainy season usually starts in June and lasts until September, with floods peaking in August and September.

Brig Gen Abdelreheem said at least 25 people had been injured so far this year, according to the country’s state-run Suna news agency.

The flooding and heavy rainfall inundated 16 government facilities, about 40 shops and damaged at least 540 feddans (17 hectares) of agricultural land, Brig Gen Abdelreheem said.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by heavy rainfall across the East African country since May.

Last year, flooding and heavy rains killed more than 80 people and swamped tens of thousands of houses throughout the country.

In 2020, authorities declared Sudan a natural disaster area and imposed a three-month state of emergency in the country after flooding and heavy rain killed about 100 people and swamped more than 100,000 houses.