November 18, 2014 (SSNA) — The head of the African Union panel that brokers the peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and the rebel SPLM-N, disclosed on Monday that the parties are close to concluding an agreement on the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. He further revealed that these peace negotiations will be “synchronised” with negotiations on the Darfur region with the armed rebel movements.
The negotiations with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North are adjourned for ‘a few days’ because the delegations need to consult on some additional documents, Thabo Mbeki, chairman of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) said in the capital of Ethiopia. “We adjourn with really a lot of confidence that we are not too far from concluding an agreement.” The parallel meeting on the Darfur region, between the Sudanese government and Darfur’s rebel movements, will resume on 23 November. “There is one process, but two tracks,” Mbeki said, explaining that “the contents of the underlying documents [for South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and for Darfur] will be shared, to prove that there is a comprehensive peace agreement”. Peace negotiations between the government and the SPLM-N resumed on 12 November, after a previous round in April stalled. Both sides stuck to their divergent positions on the cessation of hostilities and security arrangements.
UN agencies do not have access to areas held by the SPLM-N. According to the regional coordination unit SKBNCU, however, there are an estimated 650,000 people who are displaced by fighting between the government and the rebels in the SPLM-N areas of South Kordofan. Another 65,000 are displaced in Blue Nile’s rebel-held areas, as of October this year.
Sudan again blocks Unamid’s mass rape investigation
The United Nations’ Secretary-General urged the Sudanese government on Monday to grant the UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur “unfettered access” to Tabit, North Darfur, to investigate the serious allegations of a mass rape by Sudanese soldiers on 31 October. On Sunday, Khartoum announced it does not permit the Unamid to visit Tabit a second time. The Foreign Ministry said the claims of a mass rape have raised anger amongst the villagers. “They are very hostile against Unamid, which stained the reputations and chastity of the women in the area”. The government has tasked the special prosecutor of Darfur crimes to investigate the reports too. During the past week, the European Union, the United States, Norway, Sudanese opposition parties and women activist groups have called for unrestricted access for Unamid to Tabit and its population. Unamid stated it did not find any evidence for the mass rape after its first and only visit to Tabit, 50 km south-west of El Fasher, on 9 November. The mission did not mention that its investigators were heavily accompanied by Sudanese military and police forces, who filmed the interviews. Aicha Elbasri, the former spokesman of Unamid, criticised the peacekeepers for allowing their presence during the interaction with villagers, in an interview with APA. “The [forensic] evidence has disappeared, the population was intimidated by soldiers, and the government was in full control of the place,” she stressed, two weeks after the rape happened.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the military arrested 26 men in Tabit last week, and that about 150 soldiers were transferred from the garrison to El Fasher in trucks last Wednesday. They said that military officers had asked which people in Tabit had spoken to Radio Dabanga, which reported about the mass rape on 2 November. Witnesses and victims described how Sudanese soldiers from a nearby garrison entered Tabit two days before, beat and dispersed all the men, and collectively raped "about 200 women and girls" for several hours.
More news from Radio Dabanga:
‘Heavy air raids’ in North Darfur
EL FASHER (18 Nov.) – The Sudanese Air Force has carried out intensive air raids on villages in North Darfur targeting civilians, utilities, water sources, livestock and farms. Speaking to Radio… FULL STORY
Displaced ‘arrested, whipped, tortured’ in South Darfur
KASS LOCALITY (18 Nov.) – Security authorities arrested eight displaced people in the area of Saboun El Fagur, east of Kass locality in South Darfur on Sunday. According to the women’s coordinator of the… FULL STORY
Firewood collectors raped, beaten in South Darfur
KALMA CAMP (18 Nov.) – Four women from Kalma camp in Bielel locality, South Darfur, were raped on Saturday, while other members of their group were beaten by militiamen. Saleh Issa, the Secretary-… FULL STORY
Reporter to face charges in West Kordofan
EN NAHUD (18 Nov.) – Journalist Aisha El Samani is to appear in court in En Nahud in West Kordofan next week to face charges related to entering and photographing military areas. El Samani, who works… FULL STORY
North Darfur’s Tawila market closed since abductions
TAWILA (17 Nov.) – The local market in Tawila town, North Darfur, has been closed for almost a week as a result of the abduction of three men from inside the market. Militant members of the Abbala… FULL STORY
Two killings, abductions in Central Darfur spark protest
NIERTETI/TAWILA (16 Nov.) – Pro-government militiamen shot dead two people in Nierteti locality, Central Darfur, on Wednesday. The militiamen also abducted seven persons. A 45-year-old farmer in East Jebel… FULL STORY
Food relief for Darfuris displaced or affected by tribal conflict
ADILA/ABU KARINKA/UM DAFUG (16 Nov.) – Aid organisations managed to send food supplements to more than 2,000 children in East Darfur localities, after the supplies were stuck in the state’s capital for the past three… FULL STORY
African Centre concerned about Sudanese stranded in Libya
BENGHAZI/TRIPOLI (15 Nov.) – The African Centre for Human Rights Studies expressed its deep concern over the sufferings of thousands of Sudanese stranded in the Libyan city Benghazi, because of the poor… FULL STORY
Health Ministry registers hemorrhagic fever in North Darfur
EL FASHER (14 Nov.) – The North Darfur Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) have reported that 81 cases of hemorrhagic fever were registered between 28 August and 5 November in El… FULL STORY
Sudan launches demobilisation for ex-rebels in Darfur
EL FASHER (14 Nov.) – The Sudan Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission launched the demobilisation exercise for combatants belonging to different former rebel groups in Darfur on… FULL STORY
Inflation eases in Sudan: statistics office
KHARTOUM (14 Nov.) – Sudan’s inflation rate declined for a third consecutive month in October, slowing to 28.2 percent from 39.2 percent in September, the Central Statistics Office said on Wednesday,… FULL STORY
Visit to Sudan’s detainees stopped by Presidency
KHARTOUM (13 Nov.) – A scheduled visit by members of Sudan’s National Dialogue Committee (NDC) to political detainees in Khartoum’s Kober Prison on Thursday was called-off by the Presidency at the… FULL STORY