Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sudan's Neglected North

Public Radio International - "The World"
1 October 2008

Correspondent Heba Aly reports on a village at the edge of the Nubian Desert in northern Sudan. Sudanese people there say they're being marginalized by their government.

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Women in Al-Taitti village, Sudan (photo: Heba Aly)

Sudan: Mounting criticism against govt for crackdown after rebel attack

UN Humanitarian News Service (IRIN - East Africa)
23 September 2008

KHARTOUM - Fresh accusations of large-scale summary executions and arbitrary arrest have been levelled against Sudan’s government over its reaction to an attack by Darfur rebels on Khartoum in May - charges the government has rejected.

“It is estimated that at least 500 individuals from Darfur, both civilians and presumed JEM [Justice and Equality Movement] combatants, were summarily executed or extra-judicially killed in the three days that followed JEM’s attack against Omdurman on 10 May 2008,” the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC), an NGO based in Geneva, said in a report released mid-September.

The report also said that more than 4,000 people – mostly civilians with no ties to the rebel movement – were arbitrarily arrested after the attack on Omdurman, a city lying across the Nile from Khartoum...

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Sudan: South Kordofan the next flashpoint?

UN Humanitarian News Service (IRIN - East Africa)
29 August 2008

KHARTOUM - Long overshadowed by conflict in Darfur and a recent outbreak of fighting in oil-rich Abyei, Southern Kordofan is likely to be the next flashpoint in Sudan, said a new report by a Geneva-based independent research project.

The Nuba Mountains region in the central Sudan's South Kordofan State is home to a minority of Arab nomads and a majority of settled communities of various indigenous African Nuba tribes. It lies near the contested north-south border and has long been embroiled in the north-south civil war that consumed Sudan for close to two decades, until the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

"The Nuba Mountains region is a microcosm of the tensions surrounding CPA implementation. Many local residents feel ignored - with good reason - by the international community and neglected by the UN system," said the August 2008 Small Arms Survey report, The Drift back to War. "Growing ethnic insecurity in the region has the potential to deteriorate significantly over the coming months and needs urgent attention to prevent it from spiralling out of control."...

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Sudan: Volatile IDP site needs a lasting solution, UN

UN Humanitarian News Service (IRIN - East Africa)
26 August 2008

KHARTOUM - Sudanese police continued to surround one of the largest sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Darfur on 26 August, a day after gunfire caused dozens of injuries and, according to some sources, numerous fatalities.

"As I speak with you now, there are 30 dead bodies in front of me," Salah Abdullah Hassan, an official inside Kalma camp, told IRIN by telephone. Hassan read out a list of names of people he said had been killed the previous day by police. They ranged in age from 11 to 60, he said.

Sudanese authorities said nobody was killed in Kalma and the police had entered the camp to confiscate illegal arms and had only used their own weapons when they had come under fire from camp residents...

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Sudanese: ‘What Arab-African Rift?’

Christian Science Monitor newspaper (US)
22 August 2008

DONGOLA - Ask Abbas Adam Ibrahim whether he is Arab or African, and he does not quite know how to respond. "Both," the Sudanese man says, after slight hesitation.

Mr. Adam comes from the Fur tribe, of Darfur – commonly understood to be an African tribe, under persecution by Sudan's Arab-dominated government.

Last month, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, saying "evidence shows that al-Bashir masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa groups, on account of their ethnicity."

But for Sudanese Arabs and Africans coexisting peacefully outside Darfur, these racial distinctions are not so clear...

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Ottawan in Sudan

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - "Ottawa Morning"
18 August 2008
No longer available online

When Canadian RCMP officer Wayne Hanniman arrived in southern Sudan as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, what he found was not quite what he expected.

Sudan: From Rebels to Soldiers - the SPLA's transformation

UN Humanitarian News Service (IRIN - East Africa)
6 August 2008

JUBA - At the new headquarters of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), some 10km north of Juba town, signs mark the finance, administration and operations directorates.

Laminated name plates with Southern Sudan's official colours line the desks in the new air-conditioned offices. Laptops and internet service are coming soon.

It is a new look, and a new way, for the former rebel movement that fought for liberation in the forests of Southern Sudan for two decades.

"When we started as guerillas, we walked from Sudan to Ethiopia, carrying food and ammunition on our heads," said Col Kamilo Tafeng of the SPLA's new directorate for political and moral orientation. "Now, with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the SPLA has been transformed into a conventional army ... There is a tremendous change." ...

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Sudan: Cattle raids still plague Jonglei

UN Humanitarian News Service (IRIN - East Africa)
5 August 2008

BOR - Forced by civil war to flee her village in Southern Sudan, Rebeka James Galwak found her way to the northern capital of Khartoum and lived there until the conflict formally ended.

With a peace agreement signed in Nairobi in January 2005, Galwak thought her Nuer village in Jonglei state would be safe enough for her to return but within a year of returning, she said, fighters from the Murle community attacked her home.

"They abducted six children, killed six men in my family and stole cattle," Galwak told IRIN. "We haven't seen those children since. It was a very sad day."

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Genocide in Darfur? What genocide?

Globe and Mail newspaper (Canada)
19 July 2008 (locked)
Also available at:

KHARTOUM -- In an upper-class neighbourhood of the Sudanese capital, three men sit on a rooftop patio, talking politics between spoonfuls of ice cream and sips of espresso. "I see the government as good - among the best governments we've had," one says...

Sudan's capital reacts to genocide charges

Public Radio International - "The World" (US/UK)
14 July 2008

Heba Aly reports on the mixed reaction in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum to news that Sudan's president now faces genocide charges.

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Canadian languishes in embassy in Sudan

Globe and Mail newspaper (Canada)
1 July 2008

KHARTOUM — Abousfian Abdelrazik takes the picture frame into his hands. His eyes open wide.

“Kouteyba,” he says, gently, longingly, as he looks at the picture of the son he hasn't seen in five years. “He's a big boy now.”

He puts the frame aside; then he picks it up again.

“He's a big boy now,” he repeats, shaking his head.

Mr. Abdelrazik has not seen his son since the boy was less than a year old. While Kouteyba was growing up in Montreal, his father was marooned in Sudan, fingered by Canada of terrorist links – imprisoned, according to Canadian government documents, “at our request” – in foul Sudanese jails, and then, when eventually released, denied a passport to return to his home in Canada....

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Abousfian Abdelrazik has been granted 'temporary safe haven' in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.Abousfian Abdelrazik has been granted 'temporary safe haven' in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum. (Passport Photo)

Intro / Bio

Heba Aly is a Khartoum-based freelance journalist and a recipient of a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for journalists who go to under-reported areas. As a freelancer in Sudan, she has contributed news and features to various outlets, including Bloomberg News, the Globe and Mail newspaper (Canada), the Christian Science Monitor newspaper (US), Public Radio International and the United Nations humanitarian news service, IRIN. Previously, she worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), in both radio and television, as well as many of Canada's largest daily newspapers: the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette and the Ottawa Citizen. She also worked for IRIN in Senegal and Chad (West and Central Africa respectively). She graduated with highest honours from Ottawa's Carleton University and, as first in her class, was awarded the university medal in journalism. She speaks fluent English and French, and conversational Arabic and Spanish. This is a sampling of her work - radio, print and wire - while in Sudan. Please be patient while she tries to update it!

Note: Heba has since been expelled from Sudan by national security and is now based in Cairo, Egypt.