Will Sudan’s Peace Deal With Rebels Work?

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C) holds up the document of the signing between the rebel groups and the government during the singing of the Sudan peace deal with the rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan, on August 31, 2020. – Akuot Chol / AFP.

 

Sudan’s government and rebel forces have agreed a landmark deal aimed at ending decades of war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

After an initialling ceremony on August 31, rebel commanders and the transitional government, which took power after the toppling of hardline ruler Omar al-Bashir last year, are set to sign a “final” deal on October 2.

– Who are the rebels? –

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) is a coalition of five rebel groups and four political movements.

They come from the vast western region of Darfur, at war since 2003, as well as South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in the country’s south.

Rebels there took up arms in 2011 following a pause in the wake of Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.

– What does the deal promise? –

The agreement deals with peace, justice, rights and the “fair distribution of authority (and) wealth.”

Sudan’s rebels are largely drawn from minority groups that chafed from marginalisation under Bashir’s regime.

The deal promises to end discrimination, including by making minority languages official.

It also protects freedom of religion, so that Christians and followers of local religions can worship in peace in the mainly Muslim nation.

– What happens first? –

Fighting stops. Both sides have agreed to a permanent cease-fire.

Rebel fighters will be slowly incorporated into joint units with government security forces.

Timelines have been set for the training and establishment of integrated forces.

– How is power shared? –

Rebels will get three seats in the sovereign council, the transitional government’s top body.

They will also get a quarter of cabinet posts and a quarter of seats in the 300-member transitional parliament.

Women must make up at least 40 percent of government posts at all levels.

Rebels will also have a role in state governments.

Local authorities will operate with autonomy from Khartoum, raising their own taxes and managing the natural resources of their regions.

– Who faces trial? –

Old government leaders, not rebels.

The deal provides for an amnesty for political leaders and rebel commanders.

But ex-officials of the former regime must stand trial — including Bashir.

The former strongman, already jailed for corruption, is on trial along with several former ministers for seizing power in a 1989 coup.

The deal calls for the formation of a special court for crimes in Darfur, where fighting killed 300,000 people.

Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the western region.

The government agreed in February that Bashir should face the ICC, but domestic hearings may come first.

– What will holdout rebels do? –

If rebels fight on, the deal could be derailed.

One wing of the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) has refused to lay down arms.

Its leader Abdelwahid Nour has lived abroad for several years, including in Paris, but he is understood to have retained support on the ground.

Another key rebel force, led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, also rejected the August deal, but days later Hilu signed a separate agreement with the government.

A veteran guerilla fighter who leads a faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), he had long fought for a secular state to replace the Islamist regime of Bashir.

Hilu’s stronghold in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan has a significant Christian community among its mainly non-Arab population.

Under the separate deal, his forces will retain their guns for “self-protection”, until Sudan’s constitution is changed to separate religion and government.

It is unclear whether Hilu will take part in the signing ceremony on October 2.

– How will it help refugees? –

Millions of Sudanese were forced from their homes by the war, either becoming refugees in neighbouring nations or living in squalid camps within Sudan.

The deal provides for their voluntary return home, with full rights like any other Sudanese citizen.

Aid groups will also get access to the areas where they are returning.

During the conflict, humanitarian agencies were often blocked from large areas with acute needs.

– Will it work? –

Analysts are hopeful, but many have seen similar deals crumble before.

Turning rebels into regular troops brings together old foes in often uneasy joint forces.

Building peace and trust after so long at war takes time.

As people return home after years away, there are fears of fresh conflict if the current occupants refuse to return the property.

Clashes have erupted in Darfur in recent weeks.

Still, the deal is “a hugely significant sign of progress,” said Jonas Horner, from the International Crisis Group think tank.

“But it is also far from comprehensive and only represents a first step towards peace,” Horner added.

“Significant hurdles remain in the way of its implementation.”

AFP

Sudan Declares Three-Month State Of Emergency After Floods Kill Almost 100

Sudanese boys make their way through a flooded street at the area of al-Qamayir in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman, on August 26, 2020. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

Sudan on Saturday declared a three-month national state of emergency after record-breaking torrential floods that cost 99 lives.

“A nationwide three-month state of emergency has been announced as Sudan is considered a natural disaster zone,” the interior ministry said on social media.

Floods caused by more than a month of heavy rains have killed 99 people, injured 46, and left 100,000 damaged properties in their wake, one of the worst natural disasters in decades, according to state news agency SUNA.

North Darfur in the country’s west and Sennar state in the south were among the hardest-hit areas.

Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan from June to October, and the country faces severe flooding every year.

“The Blue Nile has reached an all-time high since records began more than a century ago,” said the irrigation and water ministry last week.

The latest report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan said Thursday that over 380,000 people had already been “affected” by this year’s floods.

The whole flooding season in 2019 affected 400,000 people, according to an OCHA spokesperson.

AFP

Sudan Government, Rebels Meet To Implement Peace Deal

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C) holds up the document of the signing between the rebel groups and the government during the singing of the Sudan peace deal with the rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan, on August 31, 2020. – Sudanese leaders and rebel commanders agreed on August 31, 2020, on a “historic” peace deal, a crucial step towards ending 17 years of conflict in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed. Akuot Chol / AFP.

 

Sudan said Wednesday that government and rebel leaders had met to begin implementing a deal that aims to end a war in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed.

Rebel commanders from the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the transitional government met face-to-face on Tuesday, one day after striking the deal, state news agency SUNA said.

“This was the first joint meeting after the inking of the accord,” said Alhadi Idris, the head of the SRF rebel coalition, SUNA reported.

“We discussed in this meeting what will happen going forward,” Idris said, adding that there were “still issues related to the timeline to implement the deal”.

The SRF, founded in 2011, is an alliance of five armed rebel groups and four political movements from the vast western region of Darfur, and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

“Our priorities now are economic progress and humanitarian issues related to people displaced by the conflicts,” said Minni Minawi, who leads a faction of the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement.

Monday’s peace deal covers issues around security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing and the return of people who fled their homes because of fighting.

It also provides for the dismantling of rebel forces and the integration of the fighters into the national army.

Sudan’s transitional government, which took power after the April 2019 ouster of hardline leader Omar al-Bashir, has made forging peace with rebel groups a priority.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict, where fighting killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, according to the UN.

The former president, who is in jail in Khartoum convicted of corruption, is now on trial for the 1989 coup in which he grabbed power.

Sudan’s rebels are largely drawn from non-Arab minority groups that long railed against Arab domination of the government in Khartoum under Bashir.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Tuesday that the deal “creates a new Sudanese state, and remedies all injustices of the past”, as he appealed to two rebel holdout movements who refused to take part.

Previous peace accords in Sudan, including one signed in Nigeria in 2006 and another signed in Qatar in 2010, have fallen through.

AFP

Sudan Rebels Agree Key Peace Deal

West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.
West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.

 

Sudan’s main rebel alliance has agreed a peace deal with the government aimed at ending 17 years of conflict, official news agency SUNA said Sunday.

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, inked a peace agreement with the government late on Saturday.

A formal signing ceremony is planned for Monday in Juba, the capital of neighbouring South Sudan, which has hosted and helped mediate the long-running talks since late 2019.

Senior government officials and rebel leaders “signed their initials on protocols on security arrangements” and other issues late Saturday, SUNA reported.

However, two key holdout rebel forces have refused to take part in the deal.

The final agreement covers key issues around security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing, and the return of people who fled their homes due to war.

It also provides for the dismantling of rebel forces and the integration of their fighters into the national army.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several ministers flew to Juba on Sunday, the news agency said, where he met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

– ‘Start of peace-building’ –

Hamdok said that finding a deal had taken longer than first hoped after a initial agreement in September 2019.

“At the Juba declaration in September, everyone expected peace to be signed within two or three months, but …we realised that the questions were of one great complexity,” Hamdok said.

“However, we were able to accomplish this great work, and this is the start of peace-building.”

The rebel forces took up arms against what they said was the economic and political marginalisation by the government in Khartoum.

They are largely drawn from non-Arab minority groups that long railed against Arab domination of successive governments in Khartoum, including that of toppled autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

About 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since rebels took up arms there in 2003, according to the United Nations.

Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile erupted in 2011, following unresolved issues from bitter fighting there in Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.

Forging peace with rebels has been a cornerstone of Sudan’s transitional government, which came to power in the months after Bashir’s overthrow in April 2019 on the back of mass protests against his rule.

Two movements rejected part of the deal — a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Abdelwahid Nour, and a wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), headed by Abdelaziz al-Hilu.

Previous peace accords in Sudan, including one signed in Nigeria in 2006 and another signed in Qatar in 2010, have fallen through over the years.

AFP

87 Nigerians Arrive In Abuja From Sudan

The Air Sudan passenger plane conveying the Nigerian returnees arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on August 8, 2020. Credit: NIDCOM

 

Eighty-seven Nigerians have arrived in Abuja, the nation’s capital from Sudan.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this on Saturday, adding that the Air Sudan flight conveyed the returnees.

According to the agency, the flight landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 09:15 am.

“87 Stranded Nigerians arrive Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport, Abuja at about 0915HRS via Air Sudan today, Saturday 8th, 2020,” NIDCOM said.

The returnees are to undergo mandatory self-isolation in line with guidelines from the Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records 443 More COVID-19 Cases, Total Infections Now 45,687

This comes a day after 331 Nigerians were repatriated from the United Arab Emirates.

Although the evacuees had tested negative to COVID-19, NIDCOM said they will be undergoing mandatory self-isolation in line with PTF and NCDC guidelines.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travels across the world, thousands of Nigerians have been evacuated back home.

Sudan To Send Troops Into Darfur After Fresh Killings

File photo of Sudanese members of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force backed by the Sudanese government to fight rebels in 2017. AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF SHAZLY

 

UN officials reported a fresh massacre of more than 60 people in Sudan’s West Darfur, as the country’s prime minister promised fresh troops for the conflict-stricken region.

Attackers targeted members of the local Masalit community, looting and burning houses and part of the local market, a statement said.

Around 500 armed men attacked Masteri Town, north of Beida, in Darfur on Saturday afternoon, said the Sunday statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“This was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged,” said the statement, from the OCHA’s Khartoum office.

Following Saturday’s attack on Masteri, around 500 local people staged a protest demanding more protection from the authorities.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the government would send security forces to conflict-stricken Darfur to “protect citizens and the farming season.”

The force will include army and police, he said in a statement after he met a delegation of women from the region.

Land conflict

On Friday, armed men drove into a village and killed 20 civilians returning to their fields for the first time in years, an eyewitness and a tribal chief told AFP.

Darfur has been devastated since 2003 by a conflict between ethnic minority rebels and forces loyal to now ousted president Omar al-Bashir, including the feared Janjaweed militia, mainly recruited from Arab pastoralist tribes.

West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.
West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.

 

A government scorched-earth campaign to crush the rebels left 300,000 people dead and displaced 2.5 million.

Violence in Darfur has eased since Bashir’s ouster by the army amid mass protests against his rule last year.

The government and a coalition of nine rebel groups, including factions from the region, signed a preliminary peace deal in January.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the conflict.

Farmers displaced by the fighting had since started to return to their land under a government-sponsored deal reached two months ago, in time for the July-November planting season.

But the bloodshed has continued, particularly over land rights, according to expert Adam Mohammad.

“The question of land is one cause of the conflict,” he said.

“During the war, peasants fled their lands and villages to camps, and nomads replaced them and settled there.”

Harvests threatened

The recent killings have targeted the African farming communities in conflict with the nomadic Arab tribes over the land.

In late June and early July, hundreds of protesters camped for days outside a government building in the Central Darfur town of Nertiti to demand that the government beef up security after multiple killings and looting incidents on farmland and properties.

After Saturday’s attack on Masteri, around 500 local people staged their own protest demanding more protection.

“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” said the OCHA statement.

Sudan Says To Devalue Currency Amid Huge Budget Deficit

Trainee soldiers for a new unified army sit on the ground with their wooden rifles while attending a reconciliation programme run by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) at a makeshift barracks in Mapel on January 31, 2020. TONY KARUMBA / AFP
Trainee soldiers for a new unified army sit on the ground with their wooden rifles while attending a reconciliation programme run by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) at a makeshift barracks in Mapel on January 31, 2020. TONY KARUMBA / AFP

 

Sudan’s government on Wednesday said it will devalue its currency and cut fuel subsidies due to a huge budget deficit and an economic crisis aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“State revenues have dropped by 40 percent and this has created a huge deficit in the budget,” acting Finance Minister Hiba Mohammed said in a statement released by the government.

“The government must take urgent measures and change the official rate of the (Sudanese) pound,” she added.

The pound’s official rate is 55 to the US dollar, compared to 140 on the black market.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok later announced at a news conference that the government would “gradually cut subsidies on petrol and diesel”.

But he said that subsidies on medicine, electricity, bread and cooking gas would remain in place.

Sudan’s transitional government has grappled with an acute economic crisis since its formation last year following the army’s ouster of veteran dictator Omar al-Bashir amid huge street protests.

Annual inflation reached 136 percent in June and that same month tens of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Khartoum and other cities to demand economic reform.

The country’s economic woes have seen citizens queue for hours to buy essential foods and fuel.

“The government must take the necessary measures to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus pandemic” on the economy, Mohammed said.

On Sunday the UN made an urgent appeal for $283 million to help Sudan tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences, warning that millions could face hunger.

“COVID-19 arrived in Sudan at a time when an increasing part of the population was already struggling to meet their basic needs and the health system was already under extreme stress,” the UN’s Sudan humanitarian coordinator Gwi-Yeop Son said on Sunday.

“Unless we act now, we should be prepared for a series of human tragedies,” she said.

Sudan has officially registered more than 11,000 cases of the COVID-19 illness and 706 deaths.

Sudan To Prosecute Ex-President, al-Bashir, For 1989 Coup

Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses members of the Popular Defence Force (PDF), a paramilitary group, in the capital Khartoum on February 12, 2019.  ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

Sudan’s former autocratic president Omar al-Bashir, ousted amid a popular pro-democracy uprising last year, faces trial from Tuesday over the military coup that brought him to power more than three decades ago. 

Bashir, 76, who is already behind bars for corruption, could face the death penalty if convicted over his 1989 coup against the democratically elected government of prime minister Sadek al-Mahdi.

The Khartoum trial starting at 0800 GMT against him and 16 co-accused comes as Sudan’s post-revolution transitional government has launched a series of reforms in hopes of fully rejoining the international community.

Sudan has also pledged to hand over Bashir to the International Criminal Court to face trial on war crimes and genocide charges related to the Darfur conflict, which left 300,000 people dead and millions displaced in a scorched earth campaign against a 2003 insurgency.

It is the first time in the modern history of the Arab world that the architect of a coup goes on trial, although the man dubbed the true brain behind the military overthrow, Hassan Turabi of the National Islamic Front, died in 2016.

“This trial will be a warning to anyone who tries to destroy the constitutional system,” said Moaz Hadra, one of the lawyers who led the push to bring the case to court.

“This will safeguard Sudanese democracy. In this way, we hope to bring an end to the era of putsches in Sudan.”

Bashir will be in the dock with 10 military personnel and six civilians, including his former vice presidents Ali Osman Taha and Bakri Hassan Saleh, as well as former ministers and governors.

They are all accused of having plotted the June 30, 1989 coup when the army arrested Sudan’s political leaders, suspended parliament and other state bodies, closed the airport and announced the putsch on the radio.

Bashir, who was later elevated to the rank of general, stayed in power for 30 years before being overthrown on April 11 last year after several months of unprecedented, youth-led street demonstrations.

First coup trial

Hadra told AFP that Bashir and Saleh “have totally refused to cooperate with the commission of enquiry, but they will be present at the court”.

The lawyer said the accused are charged under crimes including Chapter 96 of the 1983 Penal Code, which had been abolished by Bashir, and which carries the death penalty for attempting to destroy the constitutional order.

A file photo of former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.
A file photo of former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

 

Hadra said that “this is the first time someone who launches a coup will be brought to justice” in Sudan, which has seen three coups d’etat since its 1956 independence from Britain.

One of the 150 defence lawyers, Hashem al-Gali, charged that Bashir and the others would face “a political trial” being held “in a hostile environment on the part of the judicial system against the defendants”.

“In fact, this trial is aimed at the Islamic movement and its sole purpose is to present it as a terrorist movement, but we have prepared our defence and we will prove the contrary,” Gali stressed.

He argued Bashir’s overthrow of Mahdi took place so long ago that it was beyond the statute of limitations and should therefore no longer be dealt with by a court.

Former police general Salah Mattar, who was head of internal security in 1989, welcomed the trial, recounting how he had anticipated the overthrow.

“I had observed movements and meetings of the National Islamic Front six months before the coup and made a report to interior minister Mubarak al-Mahdi, but he ignored it,” Mattar recounted to AFP.

“After the coup I was chased out with six high-ranking police officers.”

The trial takes place at a time when Sudan’s joint civilian-military transitional government is introducing a host of reforms and has relaunched peace talks with rebel groups.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s administration has recently abolished rules restricting women’s movements, outlawed the practice of female genital mutilation, scrapped a law against apostasy and relaxed a ban on alcohol.

Khartoum hopes to soon be taken off the US State Department’s list of countries that sponsor terrorism, a significant hurdle to receiving foreign aid and investment.

 

AFP

134 Nigerians Stranded In Sudan Arrive In Abuja

 

134 Nigerians who had been stranded in Sudan have returned to the country.

They arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 10:00 am on Sunday via Air Sudan.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet, noting that all 134 evacuees had tested Negative to the coronavirus before they departed Khartoum today.

According to NIDCOM, they will, however, proceed on 14 day- self-isolation as mandated by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, more Nigerians stranded in France and some European countries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected back home today.

The evacuees will depart Paris with Air France flight to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The exercise was coordinated by the Nigerian mission in France and monitored by NIDCOM.


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Thousands of Nigerians have been evacuated back home from across the world since the pandemic disrupted world travel.

In early June, the Federal Government said it has spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians returning from overseas.

Since then, hundreds more have been returned to the country.

Ethiopia Says Rising Waters At Mega-Dam A ‘Natural’ Part Of Construction

In this file photo taken on December 26, 2019, a general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia. EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 26, 2019, a general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia. EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP

 

 

Ethiopia on Wednesday acknowledged that water levels behind its mega-dam on the Blue Nile River were increasing, though officials said this was a natural part of the construction process. 

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it in 2011, with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan worried it will restrict vital water supplies.

Addis Ababa has long intended to begin filling the dam’s reservoir this month, in the middle of its rainy season, though it has not said exactly when.

Cairo and Khartoum are pushing for the three countries to first reach an agreement on how it will be operated.

The latest round of tripartite talks overseen by the African Union has so far failed to resolve the dispute.

“The GERD water filling is being done in line with the dam’s natural construction process,” Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water minister, was quoted by state media as saying Wednesday.

He did not, however, say whether Ethiopia had taken steps to store the water in the reservoir, which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic metres.

Ethiopia is in the middle of its rainy season, and an official at the dam site told AFP this week that heavy rains meant the flow of the Blue Nile was exceeding the capacity of the dam’s culverts to push water downstream.

“We didn’t close and nothing is done. It looks like, when you see some photos, it looks like the river is getting higher and higher because of the amount of water coming from upstream, which is above the charging capacity of the culverts,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A separate official, an adviser at the water ministry who also insisted on anonymity, stressed that water continued to flow downstream.

“As the construction progresses, the water level behind the dam also will rise, so that’s what’s happening, nothing more,” said the adviser.

Ethiopia has long insisted it must start filling the dam’s reservoir this year as part of the construction process, though filling will occur in stages.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reiterated the point in an address to parliament earlier this month.

“If Ethiopia doesn’t fill the dam, it means Ethiopia has agreed to demolish the dam,” he said.

“On other points we can reach an agreement slowly over time, but for the filling of the dam we can reach and sign an agreement this year.”

UN Condemns Violence In North Darfur

In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

The joint United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) condemned Tuesday “violent incidents” in North Darfur state which left nine dead and 20 wounded.

“UNAMID is deeply concerned about the violent incidents that erupted in Kutum town on 12 July and the attack by unidentified armed men on the Fata Borno IDP (internally displaced people) camp on the morning of 13 July 2020 which left 9 IDPs dead and 20 injured,” the peacekeeping mission said in a statement.

“It is regrettable that these incidents have taken place while the transitional government of Sudan and the armed movements are close to concluding negotiations expected to bring peace and stability… to the Darfur region and the whole of Sudan,” it added.

Darfur has long been plagued by poor security and armed groups.

North Darfur (Shamal Darfur is the largest of the five states that make up Sudan’s Darfur region

 

 

In 2003, a deadly ethnic conflict broke out in Darfur between African minority rebels and forces backed by the government of ex-president Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019.

Bashir is wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court over charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

The United Nations says the conflict killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million.

Sudan’s current transitional government, comprised of military and civilian figures led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok since last year, has engaged in talks with three key rebel groups to reach a peace deal to end the wars in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

A signing ceremony with various rebel factions slated for Tuesday was delayed once again.

In the wake of the recent unrest, North Darfur’s governor announced a state of emergency on Monday.

AFP

Sudan Criminalises Female Genital Mutilation

An image of the Sudanse flag.
An image of the Sudanese flag.

 

Sudan’s sovereign council, the highest authority in the country, on Friday ratified a law criminalising female genital mutilation, the justice ministry announced.

The council, comprising military and civilian authorities, approved a series of laws including one “criminalising” the age-old practice known as FGM or genital cutting that “undermines the dignity of women,” a statement said.

Earlier this year, Sudan’s cabinet approved amendments to the criminal code that would punish those who perform the operation with up to three years in prison and a fine.

Nearly nine out of 10 girls in Sudan fall victim to FGM, according to the United Nations.

In its most brutal form, it involves the removal of the labia and clitoris, often in unsanitary conditions and without anaesthesia.

Rights groups have for years decried as barbaric the practice, which can lead to myriad physical, psychological and sexual complications and, in the most tragic cases, death.

The justice ministry’s statement said doctors or health workers who carry out genital cutting would be penalised under the new law, and hospitals, clinics or other places where the operation was conducted would be shut.

 

AFP