Al-Bashir’s Visit To Nigeria Angers Rights Group

Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir arrived in Nigeria on Sunday for an African Union summit on HIV/AIDS as his hosts chose to ignore an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against him.

Bashir, accused of masterminding genocide and other atrocities during Sudan’s Darfur conflict, which has left some 200,000 people dead, in theory risks arrest if he travels to one of the more than 120 states including Nigeria that have signed up to the ICC.

He has been refused trips to Uganda, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia in the past because of his indictment. This is his first trip to West Africa since the warrant was issued.

The African Union (AU) voted in 2009 not to cooperate with the ICC indictments, saying they would hamper efforts to end Sudan’s multiple conflicts. Bashir rejects the ICC charges.

“The Sudanese president came for an AU event and the AU has taken a position on the ICC arrest order, so Nigeria has not taken action different from the AU stand,” presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said.

Human Rights Watch International Justice Program director, Elise Keppler said Nigeria had “the shameful distinction of being the first West African country to welcome ICC fugitive Sudanese President Sudan al-Bashir”.

“Al-Bashir is sought on the gravest crimes … and Nigeria’s hosting is an affront to victims – he belongs in custody,” she said.

The main African Union summit this month had to be moved to Ethiopia, which has not signed the ICC statute, after Malawi, heavily dependent on Western aid, refused to host Bashir.

Though initially welcomed by African leaders, the ICC has been accused of exclusively targeting African war criminals and failing to indict anyone from other continents, a charge the ICC and its backers says is unfair.

Bashir threatens again to stop oil exports from South Sudan

Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Friday threatened again to stop oil flows across its border with arch-rival South Sudan unless the south stops supporting rebels operating across the shared frontier.

Khartoum said two weeks ago it would close within 60 days two pipelines carrying oil exports from landlocked South Sudan to Port Sudan unless Juba cut ties with Sudanese rebels. The south denies doing so, and accuses Sudan in turn of backing insurgents on its soil.

The two neighbors agreed in March to restart oil flows and end hostilities plaguing them since South Sudan became an independent state in 2011.

“They (South Sudan) only want to implement the oil deal,” Bashir told a congress of his National Congress Party. “As long as these people do not execute all agreements by 100 percent no barrel of oil will be piped to Port Sudan.”

Under the March deal, both sides were meant to boost bilateral trade, improve border security and set up a buffer zone along their disputed boundary to defuse tensions, after coming close to war in April 2012.

But both armies still maintain troops and tanks inside the zone in violation of the deals, the Satellite Sentinel Project, a U.S. activist group, said in a report.

Showing satellite images, the group said South Sudan’s army had still checkpoints or camps in at least nine locations near the southern side of the border. Sudan’s forces had positions in at least five places where tanks or artillery could be seen.

Sudan has said that it will allow the export of oil already piped to Port Sudan, part of which is owned by Asian firms China National Petroleum Corp, India’s ONCG Videsh and Malaysia’s Petronas.

Diplomats doubt Sudan will actually close the pipelines because its economy has been suffering without South Sudan’s pipeline fees. Juba also depends on oil

Sudan rebels resume shelling around oil state capital

Sudanese rebels said they had shelled the main city in the oil-producing South Kordofan state near the border with South Sudan after coming under artillery fire from government troops, the third bout of shelling in the past two weeks.

Sudan’s army has been fighting SPLM-North rebels in the state since June last year, shortly before South Sudan seceded from Sudan, but the South Kordofan capital Kadugli has been mostly isolated from the fighting.

“The government and our troops have been shelling each other since this morning,” SPLM-North spokesman Arnu Lodi said. “They have been shelling our forces based outside Kadugli from inside the town and we are shooting back in self-defence.”

Sudanese army spokesman al-Sawarmi Khalid could not immediately be reached for comment.

Events in Sudan’s border states are hard to verify as the government bans foreign media from travelling there.

Khartoum accuses South Sudan of backing the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, who fought as part of the southern rebel army during Sudan’s civil war, which ended in 2005. South Sudan denies the accusation.

Fighting in South Kordofan and nearby Blue Nile state has displaced or severely affected 900,000 people, the United Nations said on Friday. Sudan agreed in August to let aid into rebel-held areas but the United Nations has been unable to win government approval to go ahead with distributing food.

Under international pressure, Sudan and South Sudan agreed last month to establish a buffer zone along their border after clashing along it several times in the past year. Indirect talks between Khartoum and the rebels, however, have made scant progress.






Four Nigerian peacekeepers killed in Sudan’s Darfur

Four Nigerian peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded in an ambush in Sudan’s western Darfur region, the international peacekeeper force UNAMID said on Wednesday.

“They were killed last night some 2 km (1.2 miles) from our regional headquarters in El Geneina. They came under fire from all sides,” a spokesman for UNAMID said.

UNAMID, the world’s largest peacekeeping mission, was deployed by the United Nations and the African Union in the arid western territory after fierce fighting in 2003 which forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

A total of 42 peacekeepers have been killed since UNAMID was set up, according to the force.

Violence in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, has ebbed from a 2003-04 peak but international efforts to broker peace have failed to end the conflict.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other officials to face charges of masterminding atrocities in the region where Sudanese troops and allied Arab militias have sought to crush the rebellion.

Estimates of the death count vary widely.

Sudan’s government signed a Qatar-sponsored peace deal with an umbrella organisation of smaller rebel groups last year, but the major factions refused to join.

Tribal clashes kill 58 in Sudan’s Darfur region

Clashes between two Arab tribes in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region earlier this week killed 58 people and wounded 24, the state news agency SUNA said on Thursday.

Displaced Sudanese women walk past an armoured personnel carrier (APC) of United Nations-African Union Mission in Nyala, southern Darfur

The fighting involved the Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes and took place in the Jebara area at the border between East Darfur and South Kordofan state, SUNA said after a meeting of tribal leaders and government officials in East Darfur.

It did not say what had started the violence. Tribes in Darfur, a vast arid region in western Sudan, and in the south of the country often clash over land or water rights.

Darfur is the scene of a rebellion by non-Arab tribes against the Arab government in Khartoum, which they accuse of political and economic marginalisation.

The rebels took up arms in 2003, and a year later the government sent troops and allied Arab tribes to quell the insurgency, unleashing a wave of violence which the United Nations estimates has killed hundreds of thousands of people. Khartoum puts the number of dead at 10,000.

The level of violence has subsided, but continuing fighting and widespread banditry have hampered peace efforts.

Sudan police disperse student protest with teargas

Sudanese riot police on Sunday used tear gas and batons to disperse a student protest in Khartoum against the government and high prices, witnesses said.

Such protests are rare in Sudan but anger has been rising over high food prices and government plans to cut fuel subsidies to plug a ballooning deficit – a move that would hit the poor. Inflation is running at 30 percent.

Around 200 students staged a protest at noon outside the main university campus in the centre of the capital shouting “The people want lower prices” and “The people want to overthrow the regime,” witnesses said.

Riot police fired tear gas and used batons when the crowd tried to spread out on the main street outside the campus, they said. Some students threw stones at the police.

The police were not immediately available to comment.

A Reuters reporter who arrived after the protest ended saw police and security agents armed with iron rods detaining some students and driving them away in trucks. There was a heavy security presence all over the city centre.

Sudan has been in economic crisis since it lost three-quarters of its oil production – its main source of state income and hard currency – when South Sudan became independent a year ago. The government wants to remove fuel subsidies to plug a $2.4 billion deficit.

Khartoum and other cities have seen some small protests against rising inflation recently, but opposition parties have failed to capitalise on them. Authorities temporarily closed Khartoum University in December after more than a week of protests against the government.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will address parliament on Monday morning, the state news agency SUNA said late on Saturday.

It gave no details but a diplomat said Bashir was likely to announce details of the fuel subsidies and austerity measures.


W. Cup Qualifying Games: Sudan and Ghana joint leaders of Group D

The Black Stars of Ghana are now ahead with superior goal difference as Sudan defeated African champions; Zambia 2-0 to become group leaders with Ghana in group D of the 2014 World Cup  qualifying games after the opening day matches were played.

Sudan now at par with the former Gold Coast, Ghana still achieved a feat as they got the biggest victories on home soil.

The best of the two teams will however be known soonest as both teams are having away matches next.

Zambia will be fighting back to retain its recent glory as it was the Copper Bullets that knocked out Ghana in the semi-finals of the African Nations Cup which the Zambia eventually won and they will be meeting Ghana on the 9th of June in continuation of the 2014 World Cup qualifying games.

Sudan to keep police in disputed Abyei region

Sudan will keep police forces in the disputed Abyei region bordering South Sudan for now, the state news agency SUNA said on Thursday, defying a call by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to withdraw.

Abyei has been a main bone of contention between the African neighbors, which came close to all-out war last month when border fighting escalated, the worst violence since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July.

Last year, Sudan seized Abyei, a region with fertile grazing land and small oil reserves, after an attack on a military convoy blamed by the United Nations on the southern army.

Ban confirmed on Wednesday that the Sudanese army had withdrawn from Abyei as announced by the government but demanded at the same time that police also leave.

Sudanese army spokesman al-Sawarmi Khalid told SUNA that 169 armed policemen would stay until a planned Abyei police force staffed by both countries had been formed.

“There are 169 policemen staying who are equipped with regular arms and can perform duties until the (Abyei) police force agreed by the joint committee has been set up,” he said, according to SUNA.

He said Sudan had also left behind police to protect an oil field inside Abyei.

Some 3,800 Ethiopian U.N. peacekeepers are currently deployed in Abyei, which is meant to be demilitarised with a civilian administration under a U.N. peace plan.

South Sudan has already withdrawn its troops from Abyei but has kept 20 unarmed security personal in the area, an official told


Sudan bombs S.Sudan border area, kills 3

Sudanese warplanes carried out air strikes on South Sudan on Monday, killing three people near a southern oil town, residents and military officials said, three days after South Sudan pulled out of a disputed oil field.

Soldiers of South Sudan's SPLA army shout at a military base in Bentiu

A Reuters reporter at the scene, outside the oil town of Bentiu, said he saw a fighter aircraft drop two bombs near a river bridge between Bentiu and the neighbouring town of Rubkona.

“I can see market stalls burning in Rubkona in the background and the body of a small child burning,” he said.

Mac Paul, deputy head of South Sudan’s military intelligence, said two Sudanese MiG-29s had dropped four bombs in the area. “This is a serious escalation and violation of the territory of South Sudan. It’s a clear provocation,” Paul said.

Sudan’s armed forces spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

Weeks of border fighting between the two neighbours have brought the former civil war foes closer to a full-blown war than at any time since the South seceded in July.

Immediate tensions eased after the South said on Friday it would withdraw from Heglig, a disputed oil region which is central to Sudan’s economy, but the South has accused Khartoum of bombing its territory since then.

On Sunday Sudan denied the charges and said instead it had repulsed a “major” attack on a strategic border state town by rebels it says are backed by South Sudan.

The countries are still at loggerheads over the demarcation of their shared border and other disputes have halted nearly all the oil production that underpins both economies.

South Sudan won its independence in a referendum that was promised in a 2005 peace accord that ended decades of civil war between Khartoum and the south. Religion, ethnicity and oil fuelled that conflict, which killed about 2 million people.

Recent tensions between Sudan and South Sudan have been fuelled by a dispute over how much the landlocked South should pay to export oil via Sudan.

South Sudan attack: 5 die, several injured

Five people lost their lives while several others were wounded after an airplane dropped bombs in Rubkona, South Sudan on Saturday.

According to a military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer, the bombs hit a market area in the town at one pm, while another town  in the state, Abiemnom County, as well as two other counties, were also attacked.

But Al-Sawarmi Khalid, a spokesman for the Sudanese Armed Forces, says, “We have not carried out attacks into South Sudan.”

South Sudan gained independence from the north in July, the result of a referendum overwhelmingly approved by voters last year.

The referendum was part of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war between the two sides that killed about 2 million people.

When they separated, South Sudan acquired three-quarters of Sudan’s oil reserves. The two countries have been locked in negotiations over how much the landlocked South Sudan should pay to use a pipeline and processing facilities in the north.

In late July, South Sudan halted oil production after accusing Sudan of “stealing” $815 million worth of its crude. Sudan said it confiscated the oil to make up for unpaid fees.

Sudan rebels hold 29 Chinese workers

Sudanese rebel in the oil-rich border state of South Kordofan confirmed on Sunday that they were holding 29 Chinese workers hostage to ensure their safety following a battle with the Sundanes army.

Sudan rebels hold 29 Chinese workers

Both sides have been embroiled in a long standing battle in South Kordan, a town which sits on the border between Sudan and the newly independent South Sudan.

“We are holding 29 Chinese workers after a battle with the army yesterday,” a spokesman for the SPLM-N said. “They are in good health. We are holding them for their own safety because the army was trying to strike again.”

The army said rebels had attacked the compound of a Chinese construction company and captured 70 civilians. “Most of them are Chinese. They are targeting civilians,” said army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad.

The spokesman assured that the army was working to rescue the captured civilians.