24 July, 2019 .General Hashim Abdel Muttalib Ahmed and several officers arrested after coup attempt this month, state media reports.
Sudan’s military said it has arrested a number of senior officers in connection with the coup attempt earlier this month, the state news agency said.
The military council, that took over the country after overthrowing longtime leader Omar al-Bashir in April, said it arrested at least 16 active and retired military officers over an attempted coup on July 11.
The military “revealed a coup attempt involving General Hashim Abdel Muttalib Ahmed, head of the joint chiefs of staff, and several high-ranking officers from the armed forces and the National Intelligence and Security Service, along with leaders of the Islamic Movement and the National Congress Party”, SUNA said on Wednesday.
“They have been detained and investigations with them are going on so that they can be tried.”
Talks between the military and Sudan’s pro-democracy movement have dragged out over the final and crucial part of a power-sharing deal for the nation’s transitional period.
“The failed coup attempt’s goal was to abort the people’s glorious revolution and to return the former National Congress regime to power, and to disrupt the path before the expected political solution that aims to establish a civilian state,” SUNA cited the military as saying.
Since April, Ahmed had appeared loyal to General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the ruling military council, and only last week visited Egypt with a top-level Sudanese delegation.
Ahmed was appointed chief of staff just days after Bashir’s removal following months of street protests against the president’s 30-year rule.
Sudan’s ruling generals and pro-democracy factions have yet to sign the second and final part of the power-sharing deal.
They signed a political declaration that outlines the deal last week, after agreeing on a joint sovereign council that will rule for a little over three years while elections are organised.
Both sides say a diplomatic push by the United States and its Arab allies was key to ending the weeks-long standoff between the military and the protesters that raised fears of an all-out civil war.
The second, more contentious part of the power-sharing deal, the so-called “constitutional agreement”, is meant to specify the division of powers during the transitional period. But that part has now stalled.
Leaders of the pro-democracy movement, known as the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, have been meeting in Ethiopia with leaders of the Revolutionary Front, an alliance of Sudanese rebel groups who are also part of the movement.
The Revolutionary Front had rejected the power-sharing deal, arguing it fails to meet their demands for peace.
KHARTOUM — A Sudanese civilian detained and allegedly tortured by security agents in a central town has died in custody, a doctors committee linked to the country’s protest movement said Sunday.
The man died on Saturday in the town of Dilling in the state of South Kordofan after he was detained by agents of the feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the doctors committee said in a statement.
The detainee “passed away on July 20, 2019, from torture while in detention at the NISS office in Dilling,” the statement said without elaborating on the circumstances of his arrest.
“NISS continues to torture and claim innocent civilian lives illegally without facing any consequences.”
Officers of NISS were not immediately available for comment.
Rights groups and activists had regularly accused NISS agents of cracking down on dissidents and restricting freedoms during the regime of veteran leader Omar Al Bashir who was ousted in April.
It was NISS that led a sweeping crackdown on protests against Bashir’s rule that first erupted in December.
Dozens were killed and hundreds of protesters, activists and opposition leaders were arrested during the months-long campaign that led to Bashir’s overthrow and subsequent demonstrations calling for civilian rule.
Last week a power-sharing deal was inked between the protest leaders and the ruling generals who seized power after ousting Bashir.
More talks between the two sides to thrash out some pending issues have been suspended following differences within the protest movement itself over the power-sharing deal.
A Christian leader was released last week in Aweil State after six months of imprisonment without trial.
South Sudan’s transitional constitution requires detainees to be produced before a court within 24 hours.
Rev. Malong Baak Malong of Jenina Christians’ Tabernacle (JTC) was arrested on 4 January after his church members opposed a government decision to demolish the church buildings in Aweil town over a land row.
During independence celebrations on 9 July, Aweil state governor Tong Akeen Ngor announced the release of the detained pastor as part of activities marking the country’s 8th independence anniversary.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Sunday, the director for criminal investigation department, David Dut said the pastor had been released after several months in jail.
On his part, Pastor Malong Baak applauded Aweil state governor for ordering his release from prison.
“I am now free after my release from prison on 11 July. I thank the governor and I call upon all South Sudanese to embrace forgiveness,” said Malong. The religious leader has called on authorities to guarantee freedom of worship across the country.
The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have many comments on and objections to the draft text of the Constitutional Declaration that was handed over on Friday to the parties negotiating an agreement on a transitional period.
In a statement, the FFC (formerly known as Alliance for Freedom and Change/AFC) said the document is being studied by its members.
The Sudanese Professionals Association said the draft text is not final and is not ready to be signed in its current form. In a press release the SPA said that it had started to study the document on Friday evening, in order to make amendments and formulate objections to parts of the draft.
On Sunday, the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of leftist opposition parties) announced fundamental reservations about the Constitutional Declaration submitted by the African Union and Ethiopian mediators.
The statement said that the proposed Constitutional Declaration does not establish a real transitional civilian authority and is not in line with the Declaration for Freedom and Change.
The NCF confirmed its full commitment to the previous agreement with the military junta, which was included in the resolution of the African Peace and Security Council No. 854. It said both parties must commit itself to what has been agreed in earlier negotiations.
The Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS) rejected the draft agreement, saying it does not meet the aspirations of the people, nor does it help to dismantle the totalitarian regime.
The party said in a statement that the agreement would mean that all laws restricting freedoms would stay in place, just as the repressive institutions that played a major role in the dismantling of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3. The draft agreement would not help to find solutions for the civil wars in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile either. It may even aggravate the wars and provoke separatist tendencies since the former regime would in fact continue and that regime committed many crimes in those regions, the Communist Party of Sudan fears.
The CPoS said the draft agreement would not change anything concerning the international and regional agreements made by the previous regime, like staying in the Arab alliance that is fighting in the war in Yemen.
Darfur Bar Association
The Darfur Bar Association commented that “the emergence of self-ambitions” characterises the way the FFC negotiates with the TMC. It denounced the failure of the FFC to restore constitutional rule of law.
The lawyers said in a statement that the negotiations about the division of power between the TMC and the FFC swept the FFC away from searching for justice for the victims of the violent disbanding of the sit-in at the army command on June 3 by the military junta. The lawyers affirmed they were fully committed to support the FFC.
Sudan’s military and civilian leaders announced on Friday that they had reached an agreement to share power until elections, promising an end to the standoff that has paralyzed the African country since the ouster of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April.
The two sides, which resumed talks this week after a monthlong hiatus that included a bloody crackdown by the military, have agreed to form a joint military-civilian authority to run Sudan during an interim period of just over three years, a senior protest leader said.
Power will rotate between military and civilian leaders during the transitional period, a mediator from the African Union, Mohamed Hassan Lebatt, told a news conference in Khartoum. Then, elections are to be held and the military is to return to its barracks, ushering in democratic rule.
“We hope that this is the beginning of a new era,” said Omar al-Degair, a leader of the coalition negotiating with the military.
Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, deputy head of the Transitional Military Council, said, “This agreement is comprehensive and does not exclude anyone.”
A military general will lead the joint council for the first 21 months, then a civilian leader will lead for 18 months, said Amjad Farid, a leader of the Sudanese Professionals Association.
The streets of Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city across the Nile River, erupted in celebration when the news broke, according to Reuters. Thousands of people of all ages took to the streets, chanting “Civilian! Civilian! Civilian!”
Young men banged drums, people honked their car horns, and women carrying Sudanese flags chanted in jubilation.
The deal appeared to be the culmination of a popular uprising that started in December with a demonstration against the soaring price of bread, then morphed into a movement that led to the removal of Mr. al-Bashir after 30 years of turbulent and often brutal rule.
The two sides also agreed to open what they said was an independent investigation into the violence that began on June 3 when military forces cracked down on protesters, which has led to at least 128 deaths, according to the protesters. General Hamdan, known as Hemeti, has been widely seen as the most powerful figure in Sudan since his Rapid Support Forces led that bloody crackdown.
Under the new agreement, both sides will nominate five members to the council. The 11th member is to be jointly nominated, according to Mr. Farid.
It was agreed that the first leader would be Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the transitional military council, Mr. Farid said.
Mr. al-Bashir — who was wanted by the International Criminal Court, which accused him of playing “an essential role” in a genocidal purge in the Darfur region — was toppled after peaceful protesters massed for days at the gates of the sprawling military headquarters in Khartoum. They refused to leave even as rival factions of the security forces fought gun battles around them.
Some soldiers deserted their posts to defend the protesters from armed al-Bashir loyalists, who opened fire on them. Gun battles erupted at the protest site, and several people were killed.
During negotiations led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, military leaders had presented themselves as supporters of democracy and had taken steps to meet demands for change. The generals moved Mr. al-Bashir into the notorious Kober prison in Khartoum, seized millions of dollars in foreign currency from his home and arrested several of his most senior aides.
But the military refused to hand over power immediately to the protesters.
Mr. al-Burhan moved into Mr. al-Bashir’s old presidential office, and his officers sought to exploit apparent divisions in the ranks of the inexperienced protest leaders, a coalition of professional groups, leftists and small political parties that were marginalized during Mr. al-Bashir’s rule.
Thousands of protesters remained camped out at the gates of the military headquarters in Khartoum, refusing to budge until the military acceded to their demand for a swift transition to civilian rule.
On June 3, soldiers with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces swept through the protest site, raping women, shooting protesters and throwing bodies in the Nile. At least 128 people were killed over several days of violence, doctors said, and hundreds were wounded. The government admitted 61 deaths.
Ethiopia and the African Union, fearing the vast country could slide into chaos, deployed mediators to Khartoum in an effort to bring the sides together.
The preliminary deal, which was reached Friday, would put Sudan under the control of a joint sovereign council, with power shifting between military and civilian leadership over about three years.
The authority will be led by a military leader for the first 21 months, and then a civilian leader would take over for 18 months. After that, the country would hold democratic elections. The sovereign council will consist of five military officials and five civilian leaders, along with one additional civilian, selected and agreed to by both groups.
Talks resumed this week after a month-long standoff between the military and civilian leaders following a June 3 massacre of protesters by Sudan’s security forces, known as the Rapid Support Forces, that left about 100 dead and hundreds more injured. Witnesses also said the forces raped women and robbed protesters during the violence.
An independent investigation on the June 3 crackdown is also included as part of the power-sharing agreement, though there’s little doubt Sudan’s paramilitary carried out the bloody campaign, leading to questions of whether such an inquiry will actually hold the military accountable.
And that’s just one of the many concerns regarding this preliminary deal between the Transitional Military Council — the armed forces controlling Sudan since al-Bashir was deposed — and the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the civilian leadership that’s supposed to be representing the protesters.
There’s a preliminary deal in Sudan. But what comes next?
On Friday, the African Union — which helped mediate negotiations over the past two days— said the Transitional Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change had reached a “consensual and balanced peace agreement towards a democratic transition and civilian rule in Sudan.”
Some in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, cheered the deal — but that jubilation might prove short-lived, as there’s still a lot of skepticism about the agreement that keeps elements of the Transitional Military Council in power.
Niemat Ahmadi, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur and president of Darfur Women Action Group, an advocacy organization in Washington, DC, told me that “giving the military a lead in the first interim period is the most dangerous” part, one that has her and other activists extremely worried.
“There’s no guarantee by the end of the three years that they will surrender the power completely to civilians,” Ahmadi said.
Those who negotiated the agreement said they believed in the deal, despite some of those concerns. “It is a difficult path, but we’ve tried to convince our people that it’s a success, and we think that it will pave the way to an end of any military rule in Sudan,” Siddig Yousif, one of the main negotiators, told the BBC.
But that will probably do little to assure many in Sudan. Ahmadi told me that, in a “country torn apart by the military, there will not be trust between the people and the government.”
As the Washington Post points out, the agreement doesn’t appear to keep him out of power. Hemeti himself said Friday that “this agreement will be comprehensive and will not exclude anyone.”
There are also concerns about representation in this new transitional government, specifically whether women and marginalized groups, particularly in those regions scarred by conflict, including Darfur — where the Sudanese government carried out a genocide in the 2000s — will be represented in government.
“We are the ones bearing the brunt of the violence, facing sexual harassment and rape, to organize and propel the movement on the street level,” Tahani Abbas, co-founder of the No to Women’s Oppression group who joined the protests, told Channel 4’s Yousra Elbagir. “Why then exclude us when it comes to decision-making?”
These disagreements and the dissatisfaction among civilian groups risk fracturing the protest movement that’s been largely led by middle-class professionals and students, particularly in the capital of Khartoum. That distrust is dangerous — and fomenting it was the “prime method” of the al-Bashir regime, Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert, told me.
“Divide and conquer, divide and conquer, that is how they work,” Reeves said. “This junta may have a new name, it may be called the Transitional Military Council, but it is in its methods, and its ruthlessness, and its capability of violence, it’s every bit as nasty as the al-Bashir regime.”
Another complicating factor to this deal: The internet is still mostly blacked out in Sudan, allowing the state-run media to control the narrative and making it hard to gauge reaction to the agreement. That’s a troubling sign if this is to be a transparent and accountable transitional government.
Freedom, peace, and justice were both the chants and the goals of the Sudan uprising. Doubts persist on whether those aims have been achieved by this deal. Many remain wary that the Sudanese government will commit to its promise to honor civilian leadership — and instead use this agreement to weaken the opposition and consolidate power. A deal in name only, in other words.
“This is not the best agreement possible,” Ahmadi said. “There can always be a better agreement because the people of Sudan have paid the highest price for change.”
“This is not change,” she added. “This is just the status quo.”
Written by Sue O’Connor, Communications Officer – 3 July 2019
The rattle of pebbles in a dusty soda bottle serves as background noise in the courtyard of Kuajok Hospital in South Sudan as Amel holds her son. She tries to distract one-year-old Agiu with the improvised toy, but he doesn’t seem interested; his body is fighting malnutrition and measles. Agiu is feverish and listless; painful sores around his mouth leave him uninterested in breastfeeding. Amel and at least a dozen other mothers sit outside an isolation tent set up by the staff in the local hospital. The tent is intended for children with measles.
Agiu’s condition is exactly what Medair aimed to prevent as the Emergency Response Team launched a mass measles vaccination campaign that reached nearly 250,000 children ages six months to 15 years. Agiu contracted the disease before Medair arrived in his community; thankfully his mother was able to walk the three hours from their home to access treatment at Kuajok Hospital.
Measles began spreading in early 2019; by May there would be 11 active outbreaks in a country characterised by one of the world’s lowest measles vaccination rates. High rates of malnutrition make South Sudan’s children more vulnerable to infection and complications can be life-threatening. Medair was asked to deliver emergency measles vaccination campaigns in two counties. Gogrial West and Gogrial East are home to nearly 600,000 people living in small villages scattered across hundreds of kilometres. Only a few areas are accessible by roadways; four-wheel-drive vehicles were used to deliver vaccines and supplies, and teams of staff walked hours to reach isolated settlements.
“It doesn’t have to be this way; measles is entirely preventable,” said Natalie Page, Health Advisor for Medair South Sudan. “The children of this country deserve better and should have the opportunity to be protected.”
James Ngor has led the routine immunisation programme for the Ministry of Health in this area for many years. Because of crisis in South Sudan, it has not been possible to implement routine immunisations on large scale. James has seen first-hand how measles spreads quickly.
“Measles always starts in the far areas where people don’t always know about this disease,” said James. “They are a long way from the hospital and many children become infected. For many years people have been on the move and have missed receiving vaccinations.
“Medair’s response is the best I have seen in 20 years,” said James. “You have gone to the very remote villages where people are always suffering. You have stayed to make sure there is full coverage, and you included the older group of children.”
Families like Akon’s were gravely affected by the low rate of measles vaccination coverage in South Sudan. In March, at the beginning of an outbreak in their home area, two of her young grandsons died from the complications of measles. “Every time I see their graves I feel like crying,” Akon said. “They are not here to play with me or to talk to me.” When Medair met Akon and her family, the team ensured that all of the other children received the measles vaccine.
The Expanded Programme of Immunisations (EPI), which includes vaccinations against measles, is offered at Medair-supported health clinics. Medair’s Emergency Response Team in South Sudan is funded by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, UK aid from the UK government, and private donors.
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.
July 4, 2019 (NAIROBI) – Chinese contractors working on the Kenya-South Sudan highway will complete project by 2020, an official said.
The principal secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, Julius Korir told Xinhua that three Chinese contractors won the tender to upgrade about 248 km of road to bitumen standards on the road section linking South Sudan.
“So far the project is about 30 percent complete and we expect the road to be commissioned in 2020,” he said Monday.
Korir said Kenya is prioritizing the highway, which is part of the East African Community road network so as to boost intra-regional trade.
He said the poor quality of the existing roads has negatively impacted on trade between Kenyan and Africa’s youngest nation.
“Kenyan traders are forced to travel through Uganda in order reach South Sudan, a process that could take up to three days. With the new road, travel time will be cut by at least two days,” stressed Korir.
South Sudan is a strategic partner of Kenya in many areas. The two countries have cultural similarities as many South Sudanese lived in Kenya during the war before independence.
JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Days after Muslim leaders in Egypt came to his apartment to warn him to return to Islam, a Sudanese Christian in Cairo received a death threat by phone last week, he said.
Having fled Sudan after authorities tortured and threatened to kill him if he refused to return to Islam, Al Hadi Izzalden Shareef Osman said he has had to change apartments once again in the face of fresh threats.
On May 27 he received a phone call from someone speaking in Sudanese Arabic threatening to kill him, he said.
“You are infidel and fuel for hell,” the called told him, according to Osman.
It was one of several threats he received in the past month. He recognized the voice as one of the Muslim clerics, both Sudanese and Egyptian, who knocked on his apartment door the previous week, Osman said.
Living in hiding after death threats began last year by radical Muslims monitoring his movements in Egypt, Osman said he was terrified when he opened the door to find the five Muslim clerics ordering him to renounce Christ and return to Islam or face consequences.
“They kept telling me to go mosque, but I refused,” Osman told Morning Star News. “I was afraid and had to relocate from the apartment to another location.”
In a country where at least 2 million Sudanese migrants, including thousands of refugees, already face racial discrimination and resentment from Egyptians embittered by a cracked economy, Osman said his life is in danger for having become a Christian.
The 40-year-old Osman applied for asylum on grounds of religious persecution with the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees when he arrived in Egypt, without success.
“There is no response from UNHCR, and they seem to be unwilling to protect me from this danger,” Osman said. “Egypt is no longer safe for me. I want to relocate elsewhere, I am tired of these threats.”
After unknown persons on Aug. 15, 2018 raided his apartment and seized his passport, he went into hiding, he said. Osman was not at home at the time of the theft and reported it to police.
He had left Khartoum in April 2014 after police from Sudan’s Criminal Investigation Department accused him of apostasy, punishable by death in Sudan. National police arrested him from the streets of Khartoum, covered his eyes with a cloth and took him into secret detention, where they tortured him for three weeks, he said.
Osman said he was suspended from the ceiling while agents poured cold water on him, leaving his left hand permanently damaged.
Ordered to report to their offices daily, Osman said he was repeatedly arrested and tortured in efforts to get him to return to Islam but refused, telling agents he would rather die as a Christian then live as a Muslim. He fled after he was threatened with death if he did not return to Islam, he said.
Osman had begun to examine the Koran in 2005, at the age of 27, after reading about Jesus in the Bible. After studying the Bible, he put his faith in Christ, and by 2007, his family and friends began abandoning him after noting he had stopped fasting during Ramadan and saying Islamic prayers, he said.
Osman worked odd jobs living with Sudanese friends, but when they discovered that he was a Christian, they ordered him to leave, he said. In December 2016, he was baptized in the Episcopal Church in Egypt.
Osman said Sudanese Muslims friends who first took him in told Egyptian Muslims that he had left Islam.
The tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees in Egypt live among the more than 2 million – possibly 4 million – Sudanese who have fled military and political conflict and economic woes in Sudan. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reports many migrants from Sudan are actually refugees but see little hope in applying for asylum.
Osman’s plight has deepened as Christians in Sudan are hopeful for a more sympathetic government following the April 11 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir as president. The military forced out Bashir, an Islamist and Arab supremacist in power for 30 years, following protests that began on Dec. 19.
Churches joined the opposition after Bashir’s departure and are hopeful for a civilian government that does away with sharia (Islamic law) as the legal framework.
Sudan ranked sixth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, while Egypt ranked 16th
Sudanese protesters write graffiti on a billboard during a demonstration against the military council in Khartoum. Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Sudan’s capital and elsewhere in the country calling for civilian rule nearly three months after the army forced out long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir. Picture: Hussein Malla/AP
Africa / 2 July 2019, 08:15am / FAY ABUELGASIM and SAMY MAGDY
Khartoum — At least 11 people were killed in clashes with Sudan’s security forces during mass demonstrations demanding a transition to civilian rule, Sudanese activists said Monday.
Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and other areas Sunday in the biggest protests since security forces cleared a sit-in last month. They called for the military to hand over power to civilians following the coup that ousted longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April.
Nazim Sirraj, a prominent activist, told The Associated Press on Monday that three bodies were found next to a school in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum. The three were shot dead in an area where security forces had barred protesters from marching toward a hospital and had fired tear gas to disperse them, he said. One wounded person died on the way to the hospital in Khartoum, he added.
Sirraj said the total death toll was 11, including one killed in the city of Atbara, a railway hub north of Khartoum and the birthplace of the December uprising that eventually led to al-Bashir’s ouster.
The Sudan Doctors Committee, the medical arm of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the demonstrations, confirmed the death toll.