US moving to remove Sudan from list of states sponsors of terrorism.

October 31, 2019 at 2:24 am | Published in: Africa, Asia & Americas, News, Sudan, US

Flag of Sudan. (file photo)

Acting US embassy in Sudan, Brian Shukan, revealed that efforts are underway to remove Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

According to Sputnik, the US official explained: “This may take some time,” following a meeting between Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan in his office at the Republican Palace, and Shukan, to discuss prospects of cooperation between Sudan and the US.

Al-Burhan stressed that the US must play an effective role in removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, highlighting the importance of positively considering the real change brought about by the revolution and the practical measures that it entailed in favour of a change in Sudan.

Sudan has been on the list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993. On Monday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry called on the United States to establish a joint mechanism to negotiate the removal of Sudan from such a list.

Ilham Mohamed Ahmed, an assistant undersecretary at the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, referred to the need to reintroduce a joint plan to resume the dialogue with the United States to remove Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

Ahmed made these statements, following a meeting in her office with Shukan.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191031-us-moving-to-remove-sudan-from-list-of-states-sponsors-of-terrorism/

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Rwandan peacekeepers construct school for 800 students in Darfur.

By James Karuhanga. Published 25 October, 2019

Rwandan peacekeepers operating in Sudan’s Darfur region as part of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) on Wednesday handed over a newly constructed secondary school they constructed in El Salaam IDP Camp, El Fasher – Darfur.

Nusaibah Girls’ secondary school was previously constructed with rudimentary materials and had a grass roof but Rwandan battalions in the area provided their own engineers and manpower to build a modern structure with a capacity to accommodate 800 students

The school now has 14 classrooms and four offices constructed in collaboration with Rwandan Battalions and the UNAMID Christian Fellowship.

“Today we are glad to receive a complete school for our students.  The school will not only be used by El-salaam IDP camp residents but also those in the surrounding areas,” the school head teacher, Adam Suleiman Muhamad, said during handover ceremony.

Peacekeeping ‘with a difference’ has always been the commitment of Rwandan peacekeepers serving under the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and other UN missions, as they continue to build schools for local communities in their areas of operation.

By doing this, the army is always demonstrating that it lives by the values characterising the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) in regards to the social cooperation with the local population.

In all the UN missions where they are deployed, RDF troops introduced initiatives aimed at contributing to the local communities’ physical security and addressing pressing issues of human security as the bedrock of sustainable peace.

Initiatives such as firewood patrols, construction of energy saving stoves, and construction of schools and health centers fall into this category; on top of their core UN mandated military tasks.

Speaking during the school handover ceremony at El-salaam IDP camp, the Secretary General from the Governor’s office, Brig Gen Muhamad Ibrahim, applauded the contribution of RDF peacekeepers towards socio-economic development in the area.

He said: “This serves as a symbol of love and partnership between Rwanda and Sudan.”

Lt Col Bosco Rugema, the Commanding Officer RWANBATT 52, said that the school serves as a knot of friendship between Rwanda and Sudan.

“In Rwanda, the supporting culture is not a sign of wealth but a sign of love, value and honor.”

Rwanda has maintained peacekeepers in South Sudan ever since the creation of the peacekeeping mission.

Rwandan peacekeepers also include police officers. 

https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/rwandan-peacekeepers-construct-school-800-students-darfur

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Al-Bashir to be handed over to ICC as part of new Sudanese talks!!

Omar al Bashir at Khartoum International Airport, 25 October 2018. (Getty Images)

October 25, 2019 at 3:35 am | Published in: Africa, International Organisations, News, Sudan, UN

Sudan’s Attorney General, Taj Al-Sir Ali Al-Habr, met with the delegation of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) to discuss the extradition of ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and transitional justice.

The Sudanese SUNA News Agency reported on Wednesday that the meeting discussed a number of issues related to the DBA, including the extradition of the ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to the ICC, the draft amendment of the laws in force, the performance of the Office of the General Prosecutor for Darfur Crimes and transitional justice.

Saleh Mahmoud, Deputy Chairman of the DBA, said the two sides agreed that the timing was not right for releasing statements about handing over Al-Bashir to the ICC.

Saleh pointed out that the Attorney General promised to coordinate with the Minister of Justice to ensure speedy and effective procedures with regard to laws which are inconsistent with international standards.

He noted that the Attorney General also promised to take steps to improve the performance of the Office of the General Prosecutor for Darfur Crimes to safeguard the rule of law so that all citizens enjoy justice.

In January 2012, Minister of Justice Mohamed Bishara Dousa ordered the establishment of a court responsible for all major and serious crimes committed in Darfur.

The ICC has already issued two arrest warrants against Al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010, on charges of “genocide and other atrocities,” as part of his campaign to crush a rebellion in Darfur.

On 11 April, the army’s leadership ousted Al-Bashir from the presidency, after 30 years in power, under the weight of popular protests that began in late 2018 to condemn the country’s deteriorating economic conditions.

Since 2003, Darfur has been the scene of a conflict between the army and three armed movements that have left 300.000 dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN statistics.

Sudan has entered, since 21 August, a transitional period to last 39 months and end with elections, during which power is shared by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, leader of the popular movement.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191025-al-bashir-to-be-handed-over-to-icc-as-part-of-new-sudanese-talks/

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Lebanon’s Year of Fire

REGIONAL NEWS

From self-immolations to forest blazes, the country’s conflagrations are igniting pan-sectarian protests.

BY FIRAS MAKSAD | OCTOBER 21, 2019, 1:53 PM

Lebanese demonstrators stand by a fire near a makeshift barricade during clashes with security forces at a mass protest in Beirut on Oct. 18. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

For the people of Lebanon, struggling under the weight of an ever-growing economic crisis, endemic corruption, and rising social economic crises, it has been a year full of fire. In February, George Zreik, a struggling father who could no longer afford his young daughter’s tuition, torched himself in her school’s playground. His desperate act of self-immolation shook the country to its core. A photo of Zreik embracing his now-orphaned daughter blanketed social media platforms, but Lebanon’s fragile status quo held, if only just.

This week, after unprecedented wildfires ravaged much of the country, popular discontent finally exploded. Paralyzed by corruption, officials watched helplessly as volunteer firefighters battled the flames with rudimentary and aging equipment. Even as Lebanon’s once lush mountains were still smoldering, an out-of-touch government announced a fresh round of taxes, including on WhatsApp, the popular messaging service. The Lebanese had finally had enough.

The ongoing protests, which so far have brought millions of people into the street and led to the resignation of four ministers, are unprecedented in their nature and scale. Unlike previous waves of popular unrest—including the Cedar Revolution of 2005 and the “You Stink” movement of 2015—the current uprising cuts across all the sectarian and class divisions that historically have made mass mobilization difficult. Lebanese of all backgrounds, including Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and Druze; poor and affluent; urban and rural; are in the streets.

To avoid traditional social cleavages that could undermine the movement, each separate group is focused on bringing down the established political order in its own community. The Sunnis of northern Lebanon tore down portraits of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Christians put posters of President Michel Aoun to the flame. Shiites ransacked offices affiliated with Hezbollah and with parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement.

Although spontaneous and still unorganized, the protesters have a few core demands, namely the resignation of at least the current cabinet if not the entire government; its replacement by a government of technocrats to see the country through political, economic, and administrative reforms; and the lifting of taxes levied on poorer segments of society.

Yet despite the extraordinary public pressure being brought to bear, with the country at a virtual standstill, the entrenched political establishment in Beirut is refusing to give way.

Over the weekend, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah and the most powerful political figure in the country, took to the airwaves and firmly outlined his organization’s red lines against the protesters’ demands. He emphasized that the presidency of his Christian ally Aoun is to continue unobstructed and the current government is not to be toppled. If other political parties tried to take advantage of the unrest, Nasrallah threatened, his militant group would move into the streets and display the full extent of its power.

Heeding Nasrallah’s words of warning, Druze leader Walid Joumblatt, who had called on Hariri to resign along with his own ministers, reversed course and decided to back the existing government. Likewise, Hariri decided to buy time, announcing an ambitious set of economic reforms and hoping that the nationwide protests would gradually recede.

Whether Hezbollah’s intimidation, coupled with Hariri’s overtures, will prove enough to contain popular anger remains unknown.

The fear that once kept many Lebanese from openly and directly challenging Hezbollah is giving way. After Nasrallah’s speech, thousands of people thundered back at him from downtown Beirut, “All of them means all of them, and Nasrallah is one of them,” a reference to the political elite they accuse of ruining the country.

More importantly, protesters within Nasrallah’s own Shiite community are taking to the street despite their ongoing suppression by the militia members allied to him. In the southern city of Tyre, a traditional bastion of support for Hezbollah and the associated Amal Movement, people chanted, “How can we fight for you in Syria and Yemen if we are left hungry in Lebanon?”

Hezbollah’s dilemma, and by extension that of its patron in Iran, is that it can no longer pretend that it isn’t Lebanon’s dominant party. It may hold only 10 percent of cabinet seats, but its real power runs deeper; ever since it secured the presidency and much of the cabinet for its allies in 2016, with traditional rivals Hariri and Joumblatt agreeing to be junior partners, much of the public now holds it ultimately accountable.

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Sudan Talks Delayed After Attacks in Nuba Mountains.

By Waakhe Simon Wudu October 16, 2019 03:53 PM

FILE – Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) leader Malik Agar (L) speaks as Sudanese Deputy head of the Transitional Military Council, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (R), looks on during a press conference in Juba, South Sudan, July 27, 2019.

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – The SPLM-North (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North) faction based in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains suspended peace talks in Juba with Khartoum officials after military forces allegedly bombed several areas in the region and killed a sheik on Tuesday. The group’s leader said the sustained attack shows the Sudanese government’s failure to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement the parties signed last month.

Amar Amoua, SPLM-North’s Secretary General and spokesperson for the group, told reporters in Juba Wednesday his group will not take part in any peace talks until there is a full investigation into the attack. For the last 10 days, Amoua said Sudanese government forces bombarded several areas of the Nuba Mountains.

Amoua said SPLM-North will not return to the bargaining table until their demands are met.
 
“Our coming back to negotiate on table is bound by government decision to clear all these things. The government should withdraw its forces and stop from gaining new ground by occupying new areas. We will not allow that and also we need the government to release immediately the traders whom they have arrested with all their property and hand them to SPLM/N authorities in Nuba Mountains,” Amoua told South Sudan in Focus.
 
Amoua said Tuesday’s attack included 25 armed Land Cruisers that attacked civilians in Kor Waral, a rebel-controlled area of the Nuba Mountains. He said a local chief named Sheik Mahamed Afdal Fadil and one soldier were killed in the area, while at least 10 people are missing.
 
“We are asking the government also to make thorough investigations into the chief, who is been assassinated because he rejected passing of nomads in that new road, which passes through farm lands,” Amoua told VOA.
 
The Sudanese government downplayed the accusations, blaming the attack on cattle herders.
 
Mohammed Hassan Eltaishi, a spokesman representing the transitional Sudanese government delegation at the peace talks in Juba, told reporters Tuesday that the government has full knowledge of what he referred to as the “incident,” and indicated military leaders were not involved in the attack.
 
“The incident happened at the context of local inhabitants who happen to be herders attacking local merchants. Some fell victim and got captured and local goods were confiscated. The government regrets and condemns in the strongest terms these unfortunate events that keep happening in the area and in other parts of the country,” said Eltaishi.
 
It is particularly troublesome that “the event” took place at a time when people were entering peace talks, said Eltaishi, adding, “the country is united for the cause of peace in Sudan.”
 
Eltaishi vowed the government would investigate the incident and hold those responsible accountable.

Tutkew Gatluak, South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s security advisor and a chief mediator in the talks, called on Sudanese authorities to quickly launch an investigation.
 
“We have received a report from the SPLM-North, led by Alhilu, because there is an incident that happened in (the) Nuba Mountains. It is an unfortunate incident. It is an environment of peace.  We don’t want any situation from both parties that interrupts the peace process,” said Gatluak.
 
Talks between the Sudan government and an alliance of more than a dozen rebel groups headed by SPLM-North chairperson Abdelaziz Adam Alhilu was to begin on Wednesday, according to mediators. The alliance includes the rebel group Sudanese Revolutionary Front.
 
Before the announcement of the SPLM-N’s refusal to negotiate, mediators and other observers including the African Union had already convened at Juba’s Pyramid Hotel, the venue of the talks.
 
Jeremiah Kingsley, the African Union ambassador to South Sudan, offered his assurances of support to regional leaders for the Sudan talks.
 
“We are grateful that the parties have agreed to come here to begin talking. It is not going to be easy; we can only call up on them to fine each other. It is in the interest the Sudanese people who have suffered a great deal. They should put the interest of the people first,” Kingsley told South Sudan in Focus.
 
On Monday, Alhilu said the African Union held 22 rounds of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebels but the two sides had failed to address the root causes of the problem.

https://www.voanews.com/africa/sudan-talks-delayed-after-attacks-nuba-mountains

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EU reiterates keenness to help transitional authorities in Sudan

Photo link.

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-16 01:13:25|Editor: Mu Xuequan

KHARTOUM, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) — The European Union (EU) on Tuesday reiterated keenness to be key partner to the transitional authorities in Sudan.

Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, on Tuesday received Ambassador Robert van den Dool who presented his credentials as the new Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Sudan.

“The European Union and its member states are very keen on being a key partner for the transitional authorities,” said Dool in a statement.

The EU ambassador further welcomed the appointment of the government with four female ministers and the first female chief of justice in Africa as “important signals that the new Sudanese government is making important efforts towards equal rights for men and women.”

Link to web article.

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US envoys open Sudan bank accounts for first time in decades!

Sudan hopes to revive its failing economy.

16 October ,2019

Four US diplomats on Wednesday opened accounts at a Sudanese bank for the first time in decades, as Khartoum seeks to draw international businesses back to the country to help revive the ailing economy.

In October 2017, the United States lifted its decades-old trade embargo on Sudan. But the move has so far failed to attract foreign investments, seen as vital to revive Sudan’s economy hit hard by foreign currency shortages.

In December 2018 an economic crisis sparked a nationwide protest movement. The uprising eventually led to the ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir in April.

“We lifted economic sanctions in 2017 and we want to show that Sudan is open for business, that banks, international banks and businesses are welcome back here,” Ellen Thorburn, deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Khartoum told AFP after she opened her account at a branch of the Bank of Khartoum.

“The timing seemed right now with the civilian led transitional government and the changes that they are enacting,” Thorburn said.

She also cited the “dramatic changes” Sudan has witnessed this year as an incentive.

With the ouster of Bashir, Sudan is now ruled by a joint civilian-military body, called the sovereign council, which is tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule.

Washington has kept Sudan in its “state sponsors of terrorism list” along with Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Sudanese officials say this is still keeping international businesses away.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-7581095/US-envoys-open-Sudan-bank-accounts-time-decades.html

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Sudan’s Government, Rebels Start Peace Talks in Juba

By Associated Press October 14, 2019 03:14 PM

In this photo provided by the official SUNA news agency, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, left, head of Sudan’s sovereign council,…

CAIRO – Sudan’s new transitional government met with rebel leaders on Monday, kicking off peace talks aimed at ending the country’s yearslong civil wars.

The peace initiative was built into a power-sharing deal between Sudan’s army and its pro-democracy movement. That deal was reached after the overthrow of longtime autocrat President Omar al-Bashir in April. The transitional authorities have six months to make peace with the rebels, according to the agreement.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is hosting the talks in its capital, Juba, where some rebel groups signed a draft agreement last month that detailed a roadmap for the talks, trust-building measures and an extension of a cease-fire already in place.
 
South Sudan gained independence from the north in 2011 after decades of civil war. But in the 2000s, Sudan was most known for al-Bashir’s brutal repression of an uprising in the western Darfur region.

Achieving peace is crucial to the transitional government in Sudan. It has counted on ending the wars with rebels in order to revive the country’s battered economy through slashing the military spending, which takes up much of the national budget.

Sudanese authorities have introduced good-will signals. They dismissed death sentences against eight rebel leaders and released more than a dozen prisoners of war. They have also delayed the formation of the parliament and the appointment of provincial governors to allow time for the rebels to come on board.

The government delegation, led by Gen. Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, a member of the Sudan’s sovereign council, arrived in Juba late Sunday. Rebel leaders arrived earlier this month.

Rebel leader Malik Agar of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, an alliance of Darfur rebel groups, told The Associated Press that they would start “the official opening” of the talks Monday in Juba.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s sovereign council, also arrived in Juba to attend the opening session, along with other African leaders including Egypt’s Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, according to the official SUNA news agency.

Ahmed said the start of the negotiations was a “demonstration of the will for peace and reconciliation.” He encouraged “all stakeholders to reach a consensus and redirect their focus to building an inclusive and prosperous Sudan,” his office said.

Ethiopia and the African Union mediated the power-sharing agreement in August which ended months of violence and faltering talks between Sudan’s generals and protesters following the uprising against al-Bashir.

On Sunday, Sudan’s newly appointed top judicial officials were sworn in before Burhan.

Neamat Kheir, a veteran female judge, took the oath as chief of the judiciary. She’s the first woman to rise to Sudan’s highest judicial post. Taj al-Ser al-Hebr, a lawyer, was sworn in as the country’s public prosecutor.

Last month, thousands of Sudanese took to the streets demanding the two original appointees be sacked. Those two had been chosen by the military council that ruled Sudan after ousting al-Bashir.

Protesters insisted that independent judges be appointed before prosecuting members of the old regime, as well as those responsible for a deadly crackdown on protesters in June.

Unlike many judges, Kheir was not known to compromise her integrity to serve the interests of al-Bashir’s government. However, she was widely criticized for not having supported the Sudanese uprising since its inception.

Link to web article.

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How The Women-Only Facebook Group Minbar-Shat Helped Overthrow The Sudanese Government

The women of Minbar-Shat just wanted to snoop on their boyfriends. They helped topple a dictator instead.

image
ILIANA HAGENAH OCT 4, 2019
DAVID DEGNER + GETTY IMAGES safa-al-hadi-paints-satirical-graffiti-at-the-sit-in-site

It all started in 2015 with a frantic message from a woman in Sudan who was having cold feet ten days before her wedding. The woman had a nagging feeling her husband-to-be was cheating on her, and she was desperate to find out the truth before she went through with the marriage. She decided to reach out to her friend Rania Omer, who had won a lottery visa to become a U.S. citizen five years earlier. Now Omer was 24 and studying at a college in Nebraska, but she still fancied herself an anti-matchmaker among her close-knit community back home in Khartoum. The friend wanted Omer’s help. Would she mind posting a photo of the potential husband to Facebook to see if other women could dig up information on him?

A few hours later, Omer had her answer: one commenter posted to say she was his wife. “His wife showed up and said please delete this picture and I was like, ‘Oh my!” said Omer in a phone interview with ELLE.com.

As more women began coming to Omer for information on men they knew, she decided to start a Facebook group called Minbar-Shat as a community of female “cheater detectives” who would work to police men’s behavior. Within a week, Omer said, the group’s membership grew to more than 10,000. That’s when she realized there was something more to Minbar-Shat than catching cheaters.

When Omer came to the U.S. from Sudan in 2010, her home country had been ruled by dictator Omar Al-Bashir for 21 years, more than the average age of the population. Most Sudanese citizens spent their lifetime under his rule, and many spent their youth protesting it. In July 2010, Bashir became the first head of state to receive an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, due to his involvement in wiping out non-Arab groups in Darfur. It was a momentous occasion that ultimately petered out without a prosecution, leaving newspapers constantly referring to him as the president “wanted for war crimes.” 2010 was also the year that Sudan’s National Security Act was repealed and replaced with a new one that granted the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) more power to arrest, detain, and torture protestors based on vague grounds. The government protected many NISS officers from prosecution after they were accused of sexual violence and publicly flogging women in the streets.

Sudanese families traditionally approve when and where an unmarried woman can meet with friends, so there was a notable lack of physical spaces where women could connect and vent their frustrations. Living under an authoritarian state, daily speech was also heavily policed. But with Minbar-Shat, Omer was able to provide a space for women to privately share information they might otherwise be too scared to divulge. “The men disagreed with what we were doing,” Omer said. But at the time, she wasn’t afraid of repercussions; she considered the resistance from men as just “talk.”

Marine Alneel, a 26-year-old group member and activist, remembers once when a woman posted a picture of a guy she was dating who had invited her to meet his parents. The woman was hesitant to move the relationship forward, so she posted his picture to find out more intel on him and discovered that two other women in the group were dating him. The women decided that one would ask him to meet at a popular restaurant in Khartoum and then the other women would show up. “After that story, that’s when everyone was like—this group, we need to beware,” Alneel said laughing.

Sudanese activists raise a banner in celebration of the revolution in April 2019. The sign reads, “Girls be strong, this is the revolution of the girls.”
EBRAHIM HAMID GETTY IMAGES

Women have always played a key role in challenging regime rule in Sudan while fighting for female equality. The “morality laws,” one of Bashir’s most infamous pieces of legislation, allowed police to whip anyone who did not adhere to vague ideas of public decency, including ways of dressing. The law inevitably ended up discriminating against women, as their bodies faced the most scrutiny in the context of “public morality.” By 2015, in regime-ruled Sudan, women were desperately in need of platforms to help them hold men accountable. Minbar-Shat became one of those platforms.

“If you girls had nothing to do in life and you just want to talk about men, then I’m sorry.”

The group grew into a support network for women around the country. Members would often help each other with advice and life problems; Omer said Minbar-Shat once collected around $2,000SD in small donations for a woman who needed help paying for college. “We helped sick people, students, someone building a house,” she said.

But not every female activist in Sudan was completely on board with the group at first. 30-year-old Rowa Kodi, a women’s rights activist, joined the group for the first time in 2015. Dissatisfied with the lack of conversation on social issues, she left soon after. “I thought, ‘If you girls had nothing to do in life and you just want to talk about men, then I’m so sorry,” Kodi said. “But then, to some extent they were able to be the first advocates for topics like womens’ rights and rape victims.” After 2018, she rejoined when she saw a transformation. Topics of conversation within the group had shifted alongside the political climate; soon the women were talking more about rallies and activist slogans than badly behaved men. As major protests started to spread across Sudan, the group became an important political tool in the fight for the country’s future.

Kodi next to a sign from the Sudanese resistance movement that she’s a part of, “قرفنا,” which translates to “we are fed up.”
ROWA KODI

Kodi herself had been a part of many major protests in Sudan since she was in college. But when they erupted again in December of 2018 it felt different, she says. The protests started in Ad-Damazin, the capital of Sudan’s Blue Nile state and one of the most economically vulnerable regions. This small southeastern region had been devastated by high food prices due to economic policies that lead to crippling inflation. Once Bashir announced that he was going to end wheat subsidies, the price of bread tripled. In Sudanese Arabic, Bread is “Aeesh,” which literally translates to “life:” people began putting their lives on the line in protest.

The protests bloomed across the country throughout December, but Bashir was undeterred. “Changing the government and changing the president will not be through WhatsApp nor Facebook, but will be through the ballot box,” he told supporters in the provincial capital of Kassala.

The government responded to the mass of protesters in Khartoum by granting NISS officers free rein to terrorize them on the streets. They came to protest areas with pick-up trucks armed with AK-47 rifles and pistols; they used tear gas, batons or truncheons to disperse the crowds. Hundreds were critically injured, and women—who comprised up to 70% of the marchers—faced some of the worst retaliation.

Samira Sawlani✔@samirasawlani
Women are at the forefront of the uprising in Sudan.
Just look at her.
Absolute queen.
Crowd are chanting ‘revolution’.
(Video circulating on WhatsApp so have no idea who to credit!)7,3627:47 AM – Apr 9, 2019 https://twitter.com/samirasawlani/status/1115491460340756480

Many popular women’s Facebook groups turned into makeshift organizing headquarters during this time. The Forces of Freedom and Change, the coalition of Sudanese groups that organized the protests, made Facebook posts for groups to share. Popular beauty and hair care groups started spreading the word about protests, as did another chit-chat group that talked about women’s crushes called El-Radmia. In Minbar-Shat, after the second week of January, if you posted anything other than the revolution, you were really shamed about it,” said Omer.

In January 2019, a woman messaged Omer privately on Facebook to tell her about a NISS officer who had harassed and followed her home. The girl managed to take a picture of the guard on her phone and sent it to Omer, asking if she could post it on Minbar-Shat so one of the hundreds of thousands of members could help find his address and tell his family what he had done. Omer complied; soon after, a woman commented with the guard’s name and address.

“He got really scared,” Omer said. “After this incident [the NISS officers] all started to cover their faces” so they couldn’t be identified by the women, who had begun posting pictures of NISS guards instead of crushes. That month, Minber-Shat found its place in the revolution. Omer decided to officially turn the group into a place to shame NISS officers and organize protests. “There are people killing each other, fighting with the government, there is a lot of stuff going on in Sudan,” Omer said.“That is not the right time for posting pictures or fun stuff and videos.” Omer began approving all posts and deleting those that didn’t revolve around the revolution.

BBC News Africa@BBCAfrica · Feb 13, 2019Replying to @BBCAfrica

The victims are beaten.
Dragged into the car.
And disappear.

BBC News Africa@BBCAfrica

So who are these masked, plainclothes agents?

Local activists describe them as low-ranking thugs in the pay of the Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services, or NISS.

View image on Twitter

1031:01 PM – Feb 13, 2019

Omer, now 29, is the oldest of nine siblings and hails from a poor family in Khartoum. She came to the U.S. so she could work to send money home while attending college. “Everything is expensive and there were no jobs,” Omer said of her childhood in Khartoum. Now she lives in Nebraska with her two-month-old baby, while her husband, whom she is trying to help get U.S. citizenship, lives in Sudan. Though she wasn’t able to physically be a part of the revolution, Minbar-Shat made her feel like she could take place in the historical protests from afar.

But the Sudanese government was watching the group carefully, and threatened them on many occasions, according to Omer. Most of the threats she received were over the phone, but she also heard that the government was asking for hackers to expose the group in exchange for money. As men started creating fake female accounts to sneak their way in, she began enforcing stricter background checks for new members. But since many Sudanese women are Muslim and value modesty, they don’t always use a real picture of themselves as profile photos, which made it harder to figure out which profiles were fake. Omer admits there are men on the page, but she does her best to monitor and kick out members she assumes are men. “They say things, different and weird, not like us,” Omer said on how she would detect a man.

“There are people killing each other, fighting with the government. There is a lot of stuff going on in Sudan. That is not the right time for posting fun stuff and videos.”

Concerns about the group’s safety came to a head in March 2019 when an administrator was imprisoned. Omer remembers receiving a call from the administrator’s phone, but when she answered, a man was on the line. The man identified himself as a NISS officer and told her that the government had tracked the administrator down using her IP address. She was arrested on the street while riding in an Uber. “They said they would arrest her forever and said they would arrest my family” if she did not shut the group down, Omer said. After alerting Omer to her friend’s arrest, the officer passed her the phone so she could speak with Omer. Scared, her administrator told her that the government would agree to let her out of jail if Omer gave them control of Minbar-Shat. Omer was undeterred. “All the women—they trust me. There are at least 300,000 members of the group. If we close it, it will be dangerous to them as well,” she said. The administrator was freed from jail about a month later after the government’s demands went un-met.

Minbar-Shat remains influential in Sudanese politics, even after Bashir was ousted from power in April 2019 and replaced with the Sudan Sovereign Council, which now runs the country’s 3-year transition period. On August 19, a woman posted a photo to the group of a local pharmacist named Nasri Morgos the day after it was announced he was nominated as the eleventh member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council. In the post, the woman said that Morgos, an endeared “uncle figure” and well-respected expert in the medical field, had asked her to go behind an aluminum curtain during a consultation at the pharmacy, where he rubbed her legs and lifted up her skirt. Frightened and confused, she ran away.

An activist holds a Sudanese national flag during a 2019 protest in Khartoum.
EBRAHIM HAMID + GETTY IMAGES

“I know that I am not alone,” the woman began her post. Within moments, many other women commented with harrowing stories that chronicled years of alleged sexual harassment from the pharmacist. Within a day of the post’s creation, the Sudan Sovereign Council announced their decision to let a female member take over the seat instead. There was no official announcement about why Morgos’s nomination was revoked, but most activists say the answer is obvious. “Minbar-Shat admins are part of these resistant committees in local neighborhoods,” Kodi said. “They have good connections with the Freedom of Change Forces. Two of the victims met with them.”

In February, Omer went back to Khartoum for the first time in two years, and said she was greeted with screaming fans. “When I was in Sudan, I heard people talking about Rania Omer and the group like everywhere,” she said. “I was famous. I wasn’t used to this.” The group had become larger than life, and Omer anointed a revolutionary hero.

Kodi, who’d originally been skeptical of Minbar-Shat, is one of Omer’s fans. She believes the group has given a reason to “dominate” post-Bashir Sudan even now that members have gone back to posting pictures of cheating men. “Cheating on us, or abusing us—whatever you do it will be exposed,” she said.

“I think Sudanese men will think twice before they cheat now,” she added. ILIANA HAGENAHIliana Hagenah is a writer and producer based in New York City who enjoys telling stories about news, culture, but mostly rebellious women.

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Sudanese Congress says Islamists prepare to pounce on transitional authority.

PCP consultative council members arrested by the army after am attack by angry students on their way to a meeting on 27 April, 2019 ( PCP = Popular Congress Party )

October 6, 2019 (KHARTOUM,) – Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) has accused the Islamist “anti-revolutionary factions” of working to mobilize the masses in an attempt to pounce on the recently formed transitional authority after the collapse of their regime. ( Under Omar al- Bashir)

In a statement issued on Sunday, the SCoP Media Secretariat says that it has been monitoring plans by anti-peaceful democratic transition aiming to “use the difficulties the transitional government is encountering to mobilize the mass to cover up a military coup under the pretext of taking side with people’s will.”

The SCoP’s statement comes after calls in the social media from members of the Islamic movement to launch a series of protests ending by a sit-in outside the army headquarters on 21 October to demand the military to “correct the course of the revolution”.

One of the Sudanese Islamists who called for the protest Ammar Alsjad, a PCP leading member, said that the national and Islamic forces have given the FFC, an “adequate opportunity”, but now they will “work to correct the course of the revolution”.

The SCoP party which is one of the main components of the ruling Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) pointed out that the transitional government is committed to the slogans and objectives of the revolution after its formation and won the satisfaction of local and international.

“It does not make sense to expect the final results of its work before the end of one month since its assignment,” further said the statement.

The difficult economic challenges facing the transitional government coupled with the high expectations of the Sudanese street encourage the Sudanese Islamists to increase their efforts to destabilize Hamdok’s cabinet.

In a related development, the Popular Congress Party distanced itself from a call by some of its leading members to demonstrate on October 21 in front of the army headquarters.

Acting Secretary-General Bashir Adam Rahma told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that his party “has not issued any statement on the demonstration on October 21st.”

http://ww.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article68252

(ST)

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