Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sudan News Bulletin: 8 Killed on Israeli Border With Egypt; Govt. Demands EU Compensation; France Condemns Nation

EL-ARISH, Egypt 10 March 2008 Sapa-AP


Egyptian authorities shot and killed a Sudanese man trying to cross into Israel for work and detained eight other Africans early Monday, a security and hospital officials said.

Border guards opened fire at a group of nine people south of the Rafah crossing point, killing Adam Othman Mohammed, 29, while he was trying to cut through the barbed wire after they ignored warning shots fired into the air, said a security official, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity.

Mohammed was shot in the head and arrived dead at the Rafah central hospital, said Imad Kharboush, head of the North Sinai's emergency unit.

One of the detained eight is Abraha Taha, 19, from Ethiopia and the rest are Eritreans including two women, Huda Barakat, 28, and Mariam Sadiq, 26.

In a separate incident, border guards shot and critically wounded Ibrahim Afwerki, 32, Eritrean, while he was trying to get into Israel from the central Sinai border area. He was taken to El-Arish general hospital, Kharboush said.

Dozens of African migrants have been detained over the past year as they have tried to cross into Israel from the Sinai desert, and seven have been killed this year by Egyptian border guards.

The Africans began trickling into Israel in 2005, after neighboring Egypt quashed a demonstration by a group of Sudanese refugees and in recent months, the number has surged as word spread of job opportunities in Israel.

Israel last year asked Egypt to do more to stem the tide.

More than 7,000 African migrants have entered the Jewish state illegally in just over a year, including at least 2,000 since January, according to U.N. officials in Israel.

KHARTOUM 10 March 2008 Sapa-AFP


Sudan has asked EU peacekeepers to pay tens of thousands of dollars in compensation for four nomads killed in the recovery of a dead French soldier, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

"Whenever there is somebody who has been a casualty unintentionally, his relatives and family should be compensated," ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadiq told AFP.

"We have asked for that on behalf of the families of the deceased. Usually it is about 10,000 dollars (each)," said Sadiq.

The request was made on behalf of the families of four Arab nomads who died trying to carry the dead French peacekeeper, found in remote western Sudan after a small contingent of EU soldiers from Chad strayed across the border.

The Sudanese military said the nomads died when a grenade on the corpse exploded as they attempted to carry the body.

Sadiq said he expected the request, made during consultations with a delegation from the EU peacekeeping mission that assisted with Sudan's repatriation of Sergeant Gilles Polin, 28, would be resolved amicably.

Polin, a special forces commando, went missing when at least one vehicle from the EUFOR mission in Chad crossed into Sudan last Monday, sparking a deadly shootout with Sudanese troops.

Although the details are sketchy, another French soldier was also wounded and up to five Sudanese civilians killed.

On Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Sudanese troops of using "deliberate and disproportionate" force against the EUFOR troops.

The commander of the EU mission to Chad, Lieutenant General Patrick Nash, expressed regret for the troops "accidentally" crossing the unmarked border.

The group has a UN mandate to protect refugees from western Sudan's strife-wracked Darfur region as well as people internally displaced by insurgencies in Chad and the northern Central African Republic.

NAIROBI/KHARTOUM 10 March 2008 Sapa-dpa


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said Monday it is facing an "unprecedented" situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, with carjackings hindering food deliveries to some 2 million people.

WFP said some 37 of its trucks are missing and 23 drivers are
unaccounted for as attacks by bandits against humanitarian workers have stepped up in the lawless province.

Beyond the carjackings, WFP said donations for its air operations have yet to come through, meaning it may have to suspend its flight service at a time when using Darfur's roads has become more volatile.

"This is an unprecedented situation," said Kenro Oshidari, WFP's representative in Sudan.

"With a recent upsurge in insecurity in West Darfur and increased banditry on the roads throughout the region, the air operation is more important than ever. If it shut down, even for a brief period, vital relief would be denied to vulnerable civilians in Darfur," Oshidari said.

An average of 8,000 aid workers use WFP's flights per month, which cost 77 million dollars per year to operate.

The past few months has seen a flare-up of violence in parts of Darfur, where government-backed militias have battled rebels who have demanded development for the impoverished region, leaving more than 200,000 people dead in five years of fighting.

Humanitarian workers have often complained they struggle to reach those in need because of the ongoing violence which sometimes directly affects the organizations.

UN chief off to Senegal next week for Chad-Sudan mediation

UNITED NATIONS, March 7, 2008 (AFP) - UN boss Ban Ki-moon is to travel to Senegal next week to attend a mediation meeting between the leaders of Chad and Sudan as well as a summit of the Organization of the Islamic conference (OIC), his press office said Friday.

Ban will make the visit to Dakar at the invitation of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who is to chair the reconciliation meeting between Chadian President Idriss Deby and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir.

That meeting, which aims to mend strained relations between Ndjamena and Khartoum, is to take place on the eve of the OIC summit.

On Friday Wade announced in Paris that neighbors Chad and Sudan would sign an agreement to end their long-running conflict in Dakar next week.

Previous Chadian-Sudanese accords, sponsored in particular by Libya, have failed to be implemented.

Chad and Sudan routinely accuse each other of aggression and of supporting each other's rebel movements.

Sudanese official: country estimates Darfur deaths at 10,000, fraction of 200,000

TOKYO (AP) -- A Sudanese senior official said Friday the death toll in the country's conflict Darfur is estimated at 10,000, far fewer than 200,000 as widely reported and lashed out at the West for distorting the reality.

Sudanese presidential adviser Nafie Ali Nafie, in Japan for
talks with officials, also said that the country is happy with its ties with China, which has invested in Sudan heavily, and solicited investment from Japan, another Asian power.

The death toll in Darfur is estimated at 200,000, with up to 2.5 million displaced in five years of the violence there since ethnic African rebels took up arms against militia supported by the Arab-dominated central government.

But Nafie said the 200,000 deaths was an exaggeration. "Our
estimate is no more than 10,000, quite a different number from 200,000," Nafie said at a press conference.

Bulgarians jailed for exporting howitzers to Sudan: report

SOFIA, March 7, 2008 (AFP) - Two former directors of a Bulgarian arms company and an accomplice were jailed for up to 12 years on Friday for exporting howitzers to Sudan, a news agency said.

The sentences were handed down after the court in Pleven, northern Bulgaria, heard that the un-named figures had organised the despatch via Bourgas, a Black Sea port, of 71 containers filled with munitions parts in November 2001.

They were also ordered to pay 572,000 euros (or 880,000 dollars, the value of the materials) to the state as well as individual fines of 77,000 euros each, Bulgaria's BTA news agency reported.

The company, Beta, had its licence to sell arms revoked in 2003, the agency added.

A European Union embargo on the sale of arms, munitions and military equipment to Sudan has been in force since 1994, although Bulgaria was not yet a member at the time of the crime.

The United Nations imposed an embargo on the sale and delivery of arms to Darfur in July 2004 which was extended in March 2005.

Sarkozy blames soldier death on Sudan's use of `disproportionate force' against peacekeepers

PARIS (AP) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned Sudan on Friday, saying it used "disproportionate force" against a French peacekeeper who was fatally shot by Sudanese troops this week.

The peacekeeper, Sgt. Gilles Polin, went missing Monday after he and another member of France's special forces were shot at when they strayed across the Sudanese border from Chad. The second soldier escaped with light injuries.

In a statement, Sarkozy spokesman David Martinon said the French leader "condemned with the utmost firmness the use of deliberate and disproportionate force against soldiers ... who were fulfilling their mission of humanitarian protection."

The two peacekeepers were part of a European peacekeeping force deployed in Chad and the neighboring Central African Republic to protect uprooted people and aid workers on the borders of Sudan's war-torn Darfur province.

The statement said Sarkozy "has requested Sudanese authorities take all necessary measures so that this does not happen again."

Polin's remains were formally identified Friday and flown to
Paris from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

In a statement, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said the two soldiers had stopped at a Sudanese checkpoint after inadvertently crossing the border when they were fired on.

"At no point did the two French soldiers show hostility or
aggressiveness," Morin said.

Sudan has been hostile to the peacekeeping mission being
deployed near Darfur. The mission now includes about 700 soldiers, mostly French, Irish and Swedes, and is planned to increase to 3,800 from at least 14 countries.

The mission has been delayed by logistical problems and recent fighting in Chad.

1 comment:

Pan-African News Wire said...

Sudan questions use of fresh peace deal with Chad

Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:55pm GMT
By Daniel Flynn and Lamine Ghanmi

DAKAR, March 11 (Reuters) - Sudan wants peace with its neighbour Chad but doubts the value of signing a fresh reconciliation pact after a string of previous accords failed, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Tuesday.

His remarks, at a news conference at the end of an official visit to Dubai, raised questions over Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade's invitation to Bashir and Chadian President Idriss Deby to initial a new accord in Dakar on Wednesday.

Wade hopes the agreement will end the hostility that has often brought the two nations close to all-out war.

Their common border has become a battleground for Sudanese and Chadian rebel groups fighting both in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region and over the border in eastern Chad. Khartoum and N'Djamena accuse each other of supporting hostile insurgents.

"We want to confirm that we want peace. We have no claims in Chad," Bashir said in Dubai. "Our country is big and we do not need an extra country because any addition will mean additional problems before additional territories or resources," he added.

Bashir said he and Deby made a solemn peace commitment last year during a pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam's holiest shrine, under the auspices of Saudi King Abdullah. They shook hands on the deal inside the Kaaba, an ancient stone shrine in Mecca.

"If that agreeement happened inside the Kaaba and the Chadian president did not implement it, can we expect him to implement an agreement in Dakar?" Bashir said.

Wade has announced the signing of a Chad-Sudan peace pact for Wednesday in Dakar on the eve of a summit of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which groups the world's Muslim community. Both Chad and Sudan are members.

Sudanese Minister of State for Foreign Relations Al-Samani al-Wasiyla told Reuters in Dakar that Bashir was coming "with an open mind". But neither he nor a foreign ministry spokesman in Khartoum would confirm that Bashir would sign a deal with Deby.


Bashir said five previous agreements had been signed with Chad, brokered either by Libya or Saudi Arabia, but they had all failed to reconcile the two sides.

The hostility between the two neighbours flared again in early February when Deby said that rebels who attacked his capital N'Djamena were backed by Sudan which wanted to topple him. Khartoum denies this.

Senegal's Wade had said the peace deal would be signed on Wednesday morning in Dakar, but Sudanese officials said Bashir was expected to arrive much later in the day. Deby was expected to arrive in Dakar on Tuesday.

Sudan's al-Wasiyla said his country wanted to see the full implementation of a bilateral peace agreement signed in Libya in 2006, in which the neighbours agreed to joint patrols on their common border.

"What we expect is to agree on a vision over guarantees and a commitment to implement past agreements," he added.

Chadian Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-Mi said after meeting Wade that Chad would respect any engagements made in Dakar. "We hope that after Dakar we'll reach a definitive accord to solve the Chad-Sudan conflict," he said.

Wade has said that establishing a lasting peace between Chad and Sudan is an essential first step towards disentangling the interlocking conflicts enveloping Darfur, where 200,000 people have been killed in political and ethnic fighting since 2003.

More than 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes by the violence, which has spilled over into both Chad and Central African Republic.

For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com

(Additional reporting by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum and Lin Noueihed; writing by Pascal Fletcher; editing by Tim Pearce)