This twenty-second installment of Darfur: Radio Dabanga News Digest focuses on events of the past two weeks, including violence and insecurity in North Darfur and the continuing deterioration in humanitarian conditions throughout Darfur and indeed much of Sudan. There are an unusually large number of revealing and important dispatches.
Further, the most recent report from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) presents a truly terrifying portrait of malnutrition throughout Sudan, but especially in Darfur, where most of region is indicated as suffering from Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates above the emergency humanitarian threshold; large excerpts from the report and commentary may be found here. Huge swathes of eastern Sudan, Blue Nile, and other areas also have GAM rates above the emergency threshold.
Several dispatches give further evidence of the accelerating collapse of the Sudanese economy, kept afloat by rumor, repression, corruption, and outright mendacity. Claims of trillions of dollars in gold reserves and unverified claims of billions of dollars of concessionary loans from other Arab states are the new elements in the Sudanese version of “The Emperor [the Economy] is Wearing No Clothes!”
In all this the Khartoum regime is assisted by an absurdly uncritical International Monetary Fund, which should long ago have ceased giving credence, and thus credibility, to the “data” promulgated by the regime’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Khartoum’s increasingly untenable, indeed often self-contradictory reporting on key figures for the economy are simply preposterous claims made by officials desperate to convince the world that they really do have foreign exchange currency. Paradoxically, these claims have as their backdrop Sudan’s inability to import sufficient wheat for bread production or refined petroleum products (cooking fuel and more recently diesel). For reasons that are finally political, the IMF has decided that it will not criticize the Khartoum regime in any meaningful way. Indeed, in a statement breathtaking in its misrepresentation, Edward Gemayel, the IMF’s Mission Chief for Sudan declared in a press release of October 2013 that “Sudan has a long track record of implementing sustainable economic policies.”
This is perniciously, destructively false—and demonstrably so.
[Because the News Digest now appears on a biweekly basis, dispatches will often be reduced further in editing—many appearing with only the title, the URL (always embedded in the title), and perhaps a key sentence—and commentary will typically be briefer, although not on the present occasion.]
 Humanitarian indicators and concerns, focusing particularly on the consequences of recent rains and increasing child morality (this is the very height of the rainy season in Darfur);
 Continuing violence against civilians, taking all forms in all areas of Darfur;
 Political failure of the “Darfur Regional Authority” (DRA) created by the worthless Doha (Qatar) Document for Peace in Darfur; increasing dissent within the DRA and evidence of massive corruption are reported; Thabo Mbeki continues to intrude himself as AU diplomat for Darfur despite nothing but failure to show for his efforts of the past six years
 Broader political issues, economic developments, as well as reports of growing and spreading corruption produced by the collapse of the economy.
[For previous Radio Dabanga Digests, see:
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 1 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1CD
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 2 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1De
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 3 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Dt
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 4 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ei
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 5 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1EL
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 6 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Fp
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 7 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1FL
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 8 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-6452
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 9 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gi
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 10 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gt
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 11 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Hq
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 12 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1HY
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 13 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ia
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 14 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1II
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 15 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ji
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 16 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1JU
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 17 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Kp
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 18 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1L7
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 19 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Lm
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 20 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1LM
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 21 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Mv
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 22 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1MX — and below
Sudan Tribune has again been the source of several key reports on Darfur and the growing political crisis.
[All emphases in all quoted material (in bold) have been added; all editorial comments are in italics, in blue, with my initials following; a useful and quite recent administrative map of Darfur appears here.
 Humanitarian indicators and concerns, focusing particularly on the consequences of recent rains, critical humanitarian shortages and deficiencies, malnutrition, particularly among children increasing child morality (this is the very height of the rainy season in Darfur):
• “Darfur displaced prefer aid to development”: Sudanese official | August 5, 2015 | Khartoum / El Fasher
The Sudanese government is determined to reduce the provision of food aid to the displaced people in Darfur, according to the head of the national Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam accused the displaced living in the 133 Darfur camps of rejecting development in the region by insisting on the continuation of food distribution. “For 11 years, the displaced in the camps have been enjoying three free meals daily instead of exerting efforts to realise development in the region,” he told the press in Khartoum on Monday, following a meeting with the parliamentary Social Affairs Committee.
People newly displaced on the outskirts of Kalma camp, near Nyala; when and whether they will receive humanitarian assistance is uncertain
[The suggestion here by Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Adam that Darfuris in camps for the displaced stay on for the sake of free food is so preposterous, so complete in its refusal to acknowledge the suffering and deprivation that define life for the more than 2.5 million displaced persons—many without access to camp resources even though displaced—that it becomes the perfect emblem of Khartoum’s attitude toward the people of Darfur: callous, cruel, and contemptuous of truths that are all too readily available. If we want to know why Darfur remains so desperately in need, so riven by violence, so dangerous to those who would indeed try to farm their lands, Mr. Adam has provided it. There are no words adequate to describe the viciousness of Khartoum’s Darfur policy as represented by HAC—ER]
• Children starve in Darfur’s Jebel Marra | August 9, 2015 | Khartoum
Mortality rates owing to severe malnutrition among children in western Jebel Marra, Central Darfur, are rising rapidly. Nierteti Hospital is crowded with young patients from the areas of Guldo, Tor, and Golo, an activist told Radio Dabanga. “From 18 July until Thursday more than 15 children at Nierteti hospital died as a result of undernourishment,” he said. “Seven of them died last week: Ishag Hassan Ali (17 months), Abdallah Omar Abdallah, Sumeiya Hussein Abakar, Maryam Bilal Hassan, and Hikmah Ibrahim Abakar, all 18-months-old, and Hosni Hussein Ibrahim and Mutaz El Nur Abdelaziz, both 23-months-old.”
Malnourished Darfuri child
• Four die in childbirth at North Darfur hospital | August 10, 2015 | Saraf Umra
On Friday four women died in childbirth at Saraf Umra Hospital in North Darfur, which is suffering from a severe shortage of resources. A relative of one of the women told Radio Dabanga that the “dire situation at the hospital led to the death of Khadija Ibrahim Abdallah, Hawa Mohamed Yousef, Magboula Hussein Suleiman, and Mashayir Adam Ahmed Suleiman.
[There has been a steady decline in the quality of medical available in Darfur since the mass expulsion of international humanitarian organizations in March 2009—ER]
• Health services fail in North Darfur’s Ein Siro | August 13, 2015 | Kutum
The population of Ein Siro, west of Kutum in North Darfur, complain about the dire humanitarian and health situation they are living in and request urgent intervention. Activist Adam Babiker Suleiman told Radio Dabanga from Kutum that the four health centres in the area of Ein Siro are entirely devoid of medicines. “There are no qualified medics available because health organisations have not been allowed access for more than a year.” Suleiman added that after the expulsion of Save the Children[-USA] in 2009, more than 20 children’s’ centres were closed. “At least 200 pre-school pupils were affected in the area.” [Save the Children USA was expelled in 2009 and replaced by the much small Save the Children/Sweden, which continues, but chiefly in West Darfur—ER]
• Stagnant water spreads disease in Kabkabiya, North Darfur | August 13, 2015 | Kabkabiya
Flash floods that hit Kabkabiya in North Darfur during the last week have polluted the water wells and caused the flooding of streets and markets. “The stagnant water in the area and the polluted water in the wells has resulted in the spread of diarrhoea, typhoid, and malaria,” a listener reported to Radio Dabanga from Kabkabiya town.
[The full consequences for morbidity of this year’s rainy season—following the continuing deterioration of international humanitarian assistance for water and sanitation needs in Darfur—have yet to be felt—ER]
Amidst such camp flooding, HAC Commissioner Adam would have us believe that the people of Kalma camp are living a life of ease
• Medics strike at Central Darfur’s Zalingei Hospital | August 10, 2015 | Zalingei
The doctors working at Zalingei Hospital in Central Darfur embarked on an open-ended strike today, in protest against the non-payment of their bonuses and the deterioration of the work environment. “We have been waiting for our bonuses to be paid for several months,” one of the striking medics told Radio Dabanga this afternoon. “The state Ministry of Health keeps postponing the payment,” he said.
[Funding for medical facilities and health care in general in Darfur is among the very lowest of Khartoum’s spending priorities, even as the regime continues to diminish international humanitarian presence, and restrict access for those relief organizations that remain—ER]
• Sudan’s measles outbreak update: 43 deaths | August 14, 2015 | Khartoum
[See the detailed discussion of measles outbreak in Sudan in the OCHA report cited above—ER]
• Poor electronic network halts hundreds of lorries in South Darfur | August 6, 2015 | Nyala
Hundreds of commercial lorries from Khartoum have been congesting the streets and squares of Nyala, capital of South Darfur, since Tuesday. One of the lorry drivers told Radio Dabanga that most of the vehicles are on their way to Central and West Darfur. Others are destined to deliver their goods to customers in eastern Chad. The drivers are waiting for their loads to be processed at the Nyala Stock Market. “The federal Ministry of Finance recently replaced the passage fees paperwork by an electronic system that went down because of the poor network,” he explained. He added that many drivers ran out of money, which forced some of them to sell their fuel quota to cover their expenses.
[This captures perfectly the utter lack of urgency felt by Khartoum’s génocidaires in facilitating the transport of urgently needed commodities in the western regions of Darfur—ER]
Darfur flooding brings sanitation fears | August 9, 2015 | Kabkabiya, North Darfur / West Darfur
The people of Kabkabiya, North Darfur, are concerned about the deterioration of the sanitation in the town. The displaced in West Darfur demand the authorities take provisional measures against flooding of the camps. “Kabkabiya town has turned into one large pond after the heavy rains,” a resident reported to radio Dabanga. “This will certainly lead to the outbreak of diseases and the spread of malaria.” She said that many children are already suffering from diarrhoea, and appealed via Radio Dabanga to the North Darfur authorities to intervene and drain the pools “as soon as possible.”
[These urgent pleas will fall on deaf ears—ER]
Flooding in El Fasher
South Darfur displaced lose homes after heavy rain | August 4, 2015 | South Darfur
A downpour has destroyed more than 100 houses in a camp for the displaced near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, on Sunday. El Salam camp Sheikh Mahjoub Adam Tabeldiya said that the rains were accompanied by severe winds that lasted for more than four hours. The storm has destroyed houses and left the affected families out in the open without shelter.
In Kalma camp, torrential rains, also accompanied by strong winds, destroyed four classrooms of a mixed basic school… Sheikh Ali Abdelrahman El Taher, the head of the camp, added that the heavy rainfall has destroyed four houses in Square 5 and four cottages that belong to the World Food Programme.
On Thursday, Radio Dabanga reported that many of the more than 163,000 displaced people in Kalma camp suffer from a shortage of food and poor sanitary provisions. On 16 July, heavy rains destroyed 761 homes in the camp. The flash floods filled the pits and pools at the camp to the brim. Two days later, two children drowned in one of the pits.
[Figures such as “163,000” become numbing in their size when repeated so often. But for some Western readers, this figure might be given a clear context: it represents a displaced population greater than the population of Dayton, Ohio or Ravenna, Italy, or Dijon, France, or Uppsalla, Sweden—ER]
• Darfur’s Nyala hospital “not worthy of name” | August 8, 2015 | Nyala
The citizens of Nyala now have to depend on the main hospital in the state capital, which is witnessing a serious deterioration in healthcare and working environment. “It is incapable of allowing doctors to operate on patients properly… It does not deserve to be called a hospital,” according to one of the frustrated doctors. There is a shortage of medicines equipment, which compels patients to bring their own, a doctor in the main hospital of the South Darfur capital told Radio Dabanga.
Recently, the state government reassigned the Specialist Hospital in Nyala from treating civilians to treating paramilitary troops of the Rapid Support Forces only.
Bring own bandages
Patients have to bring materiel that usually is provided by the hospital, he explained, regardless of the condition of the patient. He mentioned that equipment such as bandages and anaesthetics are in short supply or lacking completely. “The price of an operation rose to SDG1,700 ($277). The hospital has turned from a humanitarian service to a place that only collects money.” For this reason, patients prefer to sleep outside the expensive wards, the doctor said….
The quality of the healthcare is “not valid to work with. The intensive care unit has no windows, just curtains, and is simply equipped with mechanical ventilation.” About 14 specialist physicians, including paediatricians, gynaecologists, and midwives, all work in three rooms in the same ICU, resulting in a cramped workspace. To make matters worse, there is often no electricity, so employees are forced to use batteries.
“All hospitals that fail to provide medical service to a patient who needs to see a doctor within 24 hours, should not be called a hospital,” [the doctors said].
[This is an unspeakably grim, if seldom reported, crisis in Darfur: the relentless deterioration of medical services. And that a specialty hospital should be commandeered to treat only the militia forces know as the Rapid Response Forces (the “new Janjaweed”) is entirely in keeping with Khartoum’s priorities—ER]
• Poor health services in West and North Darfur | August 3, 2015 | Sirba / El Fasher
The people of Kendebe camp for the displaced in Sirba locality, West Darfur, suffer from a severe shortage of health services in the area. “The 27,000 displaced living in the camp and the population of the seven surrounding villages depend on one health centre in the area of Kendebe,” the spokesman for the Sirba camps told Radio Dabanga on Sunday.
“Since the NGO MedAir left Kendebe two years ago, the centre is run by employees whose qualifications are not known. They write prescriptions for medicines without a proper examination of the patient,” he said.
El Fasher Teaching Hospital
People in North Darfur complain about the deterioration of health services in El Fasher Teaching Hospital. “Most of the time there are no doctors and nurses available,” a relative of a patient told Radio Dabanga. “Power outages are the order of the day, and there is also a major shortage of beds.”
[More evidence that the health care system in Darfur, always inadequate, is collapsing—ER]
There has been a serious outbreak of measles in Darfur (see the most recent OCHA report, cited above); a great many children are not vaccinated, in too many cases because Khartoum denies access to those who would vaccinate children in parts of Jebel Marra and elsewhere in Darfur, as well as rebel-held regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
• Employees in South Darfur’s Gireida docked to cover expenses | August 3, 2015 | Gireida, South Darfur
Authorities in Gireida, South Darfur, have decided to deduct SDG17 ($2.80) from their employees’ salaries this month to cover some of the locality’s expenses. Speaking to Radio Dabanga from Gireida, a listener reported that the executive director of the locality, El Hadi Hamed Suleiman, and the head of the Gireida security apparatus announced the SDG17 deduction on Sunday.
• More than 450 homes collapse in South Darfur camps | August 6, 2015 | Nyala
Downpours destroyed 416 shelters in El Salam camp for the displaced, near South Darfur’s capital of Nyala, earlier this week. The rains also destroyed dozens of homes at Dereig camp in Nyala locality. Camp sheikh Mahjoub Adam Tabaldiya said that the heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday caused severe damage to the camp. “Large parts of the camp are flooded and have become impassable.” He … called on the South Darfur health authorities to spray pesticides to prevent the spread of diseases among the more than 80,000 camp residents.
Flooding in camps for displaced persons has been especially severe this year, dramatically increasing the chances of serious outbreaks of disease; much of the population is already weakened and vulnerable because of malnutrition—especially younger children. Measles, for example, becomes a much more deadly threat to such children.
Dereig, South Darfur
A member of the Dereig camp youth group told Radio Dabanga that downpours “which lasted for hours” led to the destruction of more than 40 shelters and flooded most of the roads in the camp on Tuesday.
• 38,000 displaced in Central Darfur’s Jebel Marra need aid | August 6, 2015 | Khartoum
The humanitarian situation of thousands of newly displaced people in northern Jebel Marra’s Fanga Suk, Abunga and Niscam villages, as well as in Rokoro town is dire…. An estimated 38,000 displaced are in need of humanitarian aid, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in its latest weekly bulletin. The people fled their homes between February and May following fighting in the area, and have yet to receive assistance. The ongoing rainy season has further deteriorated the already precarious living conditions.
Newly displaced persons; it is unclear whether they will reach a camp, and if they do, whether they will receive timely humanitarian assistance
• Rains damage more than 1,500 homes in Central, West Darfur camps | August 5, 2015 | Zalingei / Sirba
Darfur was hit by heavy rainfall on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. On Monday, heavy downpours that lasted two and a half hours destroyed more than 500 shelters and damaged about 1,000 others at the camps for the displaced in Zalingei locality. In the Sirba camps in West Darfur at least 150 homes collapsed. “Also more than 200 latrines were flooded in the Hamidiya, Khamsa Degaig, Teiba, Hassahissa, and El Salam camps,” the coordinator of the Central Darfur camps told Radio Dabanga. “The people would have had difficulty to go to the latrines anyhow, as most of the streets in the camps are cut by the floods,” he said.
[The health risks posed by flooded latrines can hardly be overstated—ER]
• Unregistered displaced still await aid in North Darfur | August 5, 2015 | El Fasher / ZamZam camp
Thousands of displaced people in Zamzam camp, North Darfur, still await the adjustment of their status and provision of food and shelter. “They have not been provided with food for eight months.”
[These are people characterized by Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam as “freeloaders,” who seek out camps for an easy life and free food—ER]
Humanitarians on the ground stated that they have registered all newly displaced people in the camp, although a number of community leaders refuse to be registered. The coordinator of Zamzam told Radio Dabanga this week that about 24,000 displaced people in the camp failed to adjust their status and have therefore not received any aid since they arrived in 2014-2015.
[Tensions between displaced persons on the one hand, and relief organizations, the World Food Program, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the other hand, have been chronic, with much mutual suspicion; there are legitimate claims and concerns on both sides. But the reality is that many displaced persons are not provide humanitarian assistance—ER]
The newest inhabitants of Zamzam camp became displaced as a result of the fighting between Sudanese paramilitary forces and rebels, and aerial bombardments in North Darfur. Some of them were registered by humanitarian organisations in Zamzam, while others were not. An activist in the camp claimed that a number of displaced people have begun to beg for food in the neighbourhoods and markets of El Fasher.
Perhaps it is appropriate to end this section by recalling the words with which it began:
Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam accused the displaced living in the 133 Darfur camps of rejecting development in the region by insisting on the continuation of food distribution. “For 11 years, the displaced in the camps have been enjoying three free meals daily instead of exerting efforts to realise development in the region.”
There would seem to be much reporting that Adam has chosen not to credit.
 Violence against civilians continues, relentlessly; during the past two weeks it has taken many forms in all areas of Darfur:
Four raped by new settlers in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra | August 10, 2015 | East Jebel Marra
Two women and two girls were raped in two separate incidents in East Jebel Marra today, allegedly by new settlers. Speaking to Radio Dabanga from El Aradeib El Ashara, a listener reported that “the newcomers who settled in the abandoned villages in the area assault displaced people returning from the camps to cultivate their lands. Many of these settlers are militiamen, backed by the Sudanese government,” she explained.
“This afternoon, a group of seven settlers riding on camels ambushed three girls, aged 17, 14, and 12, in the area of El Aradeib El Ashara. They seized them at gunpoint, and raped them alternately for about two hours.” The girls arrived with their families from Zamzam camp to work on their fields near their original villages, which they fled during the attacks by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) earlier this year. She added that another group raped a woman (22) in the area of Jin Nag, south of Dolma, this afternoon.
Thousands of new settlers have reportedly occupied abandoned villages in East Jebel Marra during the last few months. The newcomers were identified by local pastoralists as members of Arab militias and migrants from Chad, Mali and Niger. Several witnesses told Radio Dabanga that they have spotted RSF troops roaming around to protect the new inhabitants.
[This is a recurring and grim motif in reports from the Jebel Marra region in particular; continuing land seizures, particularly by Arab “settlers” not from Darfur, make the prospects for meaningful peace all the more bleak—ER]
Rape remains a terrible weapon of war in Darfur, and girls and women are too often forced by necessity into extremely dangerous situations in the quest for firewood, forage, and water.
Since early January, the Sudanese Air Force and ground forces, most of them RSF paramilitaries, attacked villages in East Jebel Marra and neighbouring Tawila locality during the second “dry season campaign” launched by the Sudanese government to “crush the insurgency in Darfur.” Radio Dabanga reported on 28 May that about 120 villages were abandoned in East Jebel Marra, and Tawila locality in North Darfur. Most of the inhabitants sought refuge in the camps for the displaced in North Darfur.
[Khartoum’s counter-insurgency strategy in North Darfur remains genocidal in character: these are virtually all villages of African tribal groups—ER]
Khartoum’s Rapid Response Forces (RSF) are the “new Janjaweed,” and their predations, especially in North Darfur, are as brutal as those of the “old Janjaweed”
• Boy (14) shot dead in Bielel, South Darfur | August 14, 2015 | Bielel
A displaced child was shot dead in Bielel locality, South Darfur, on Wednesday. The Sheikh of El Salam camp in Bielel informed Radio Dabanga that an armed herder opened fire on the 14-year-old Nasr Haroun Ishag Khareef and killed him on the spot, when he was taking livestock out for grazing.
• Boy dies in bomb blast in North Darfur | August 4, 2015 | Tabit
A boy died and his brother was injured when an unexploded remnant of war detonated at a farm near Tabit in North Darfur on Sunday. A family member told Radio Dabanga that the explosion in Hillet Ahmed, 6 km south of Tabit, occurred while the children were working the farm with a plough drawn by a donkey. It collided with an item of ordnance which exploded. The 14-year-old boy and the donkey were killed.
[Death and injury from Khartoum’s unexploded ordnance (UXO) are terrifyingly common occurrences throughout Darfur—ER]
• Soldier shot attempting to stop Central Darfur rape | August 3, 2015 | Bindisi
A soldier of the Sudanese army was wounded in a gunfight with two policemen when he attempted to stop the rape of a girl in Bindisi, Central Darfur, on Sunday evening. A neighbour reported to Radio Dabanga that “two policemen wearing official police uniforms” stormed a house of a woman and her 16-year-old daughter in the town’s Northern District. “They threatened the mother and began to rape the daughter,” the mother told us later.
• Militiamen threaten and extort displaced in Saraf Umra, North Darfur | August 14, 2015 | Saraf Umra
In another retaliation case in a camp in Saraf Umra locality, militiamen threatened to kill a displaced man unless he pays a ransom for an incident with a militia member that happened years ago. The coordinator of Dankoj camp in North Darfur state, Sheikh Abdelrazeg Yousef Suleiman, told Radio Dabanga on Thursday that the man has to pay the remaining SDG10,000 ($1,630) of the demanded SDG15,000 ($2,445) to the group of militiamen in the coming week.
“Khamis Ali Nouredin paid SDG5,000 ($815) to the militiamen when they confronted him last week, and threatened to kill or abduct him, if he did not pay a ransom for beating a militia member fifteen years ago,” the coordinator explained.
[No pretext is too thin or implausible in the ransom and extortion schemes that are proliferating wildly in Darfur, with no effort by UNAMID to halt the practice—ER]
Currently, a group of militiamen demands ransoms and compensations for their causes from the people living in camps in Saraf Umra. They abducted three sheikhs from Dankoj camp in the beginning of this month, and extorted a farmer from El Jebel camp on 11 July.
• Military intelligence beat health centre workers in Central Darfur | August 7, 2015 | Guldo
Two centres working in the field of children’s health and nutrition in Guldo area, Central Darfur, were closed after military intelligence members beat and detained several employees. A government official declared that the centres have started working again. A witness in the area told Radio Dabanga that military intelligence personnel beat four persons and detained one of them for a full day before releasing him again. The four had brought items with them for children who suffer from malnutrition, the witness explained, after obtaining a permit from the military intelligence in Nierteti. Upon arrival in Guldo, the intelligence forces refused to accept the permit and demanded the employees to get a new local permit. This resulted in the closure of the two centres and the beatings of the four men. Their names, the witness said, are Abraham Adam Abakar Ibrahim, Abdel Gader Eisa, and Saber Suleiman Adam, and the detained employee was Abdel Gader.
[We see in this dispatch both the detail with which Radio Dabanga characteristically reports on events in Darfur—and the utter ruthlessness of Khartoum’s security services as they operate in Darfur. International failure to credit fully Radio Dabanga reports is one reason it has proved so easy for the world to turn away from the vast human suffering and destruction that have defined Darfur for the past twelve years, and continue to do so—ER]
• Farmer shot in West Darfur | August 6, 2015 | Kendebe, West Darfur
A farmer of Kendebe camp for the displaced in Sirba locality, West Darfur, was shot by gunmen not far from the camp on Tuesday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, the coordinator of the Sirba camps reported that two militia members wearing military uniforms and riding a motorcycle intercepted El Sadig Bakheet in Um El Ghura, near Kendebe camp on Tuesday evening. “They claimed that the farmlands in the area belonged to them, as they had liberated them,” he said. “They then shot him and robbed him of his belongings.”
[The continuing appropriation of African farmland by Arab militias—from Darfur and from other African countries to the west—is creating an insuperable obstacle to peace—ER]
• Darfur lorries roll after “tolls” paid | August 6, 2015 | Kabkabiya
The 13 lorries that were seized by members of the paramilitary Border Guards at Ed El Nabag in North Darfur earlier this week arrived at Kabkabiya today, after the owners paid the sum of SDG44,000 ($7,140). A trader told Radio Dabanga from Kabkabiya that the drivers were released this morning. The paramilitaries seized the lorries on Sunday and Monday at their “toll gate” in the area of Ed El Nabag, some 13 kilometres east of Kabkabiya. They demanded ‘passage fees’ of SDG10,000 ($1,640) from each lorry.
When the owners refused to pay, the militiamen detained nine of the drivers within their family homes. The source said that the money was paid to a trader in Kabkabiya who is cooperating with the Border Guards. He added that the people of Kabkabiya strongly denounce the incident and criticise the non-intervention of the authorities.
“They say that the Sudanese government behaved like an accomplice who was watching only. The incident has created fear among the people, especially because the perpetrators belong to a government-backed militia. They and their leaders are well-known in the area.”
[This also continues what is now a long history of extortion schemes by militia forces that fear no consequences from Khartoum-backed authorities in the region—ER]
• Poor security leads to rampant crime in Darfur’s Otash camp | August 4, 2015 | Nyala, South Darfur
Deteriorating security conditions in and around Otash camp, South Darfur, have led to complaints by displaced people. An activist in the camp near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that bandits robbed two displaced women who were returning from their farm after a workday. “The gunmen stripped them off their mobile phones and fled. “In another incident in Otash on Friday night, three armed men stormed the camp, threatened three residents, and took their phones.” He appealed to UNAMID to resume its patrols, which have stopped both within and around Otash, to maintain security.
In the beginning of May, a camp leader in Otash also reported a series of robberies and assaults over a period of a few days. Later that month, the newly appointed UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, visited the camp. Nononsi stressed that the displaced live in a state of insecurity owing to the presence of various armed elements and criminality that occur within the region.
[Honest words from the UN about Darfur: unusual but welcome…ER]
• Armed robberies in North Darfur | August 13, 2015 | Saraf Umra
Two people were robbed last week in Saraf Umra, North Darfur. Sheikh Abdelrazeg Yousef Suleiman, the coordinator of the Saraf Umra camps told Radio Dabanga that armed men broke into the house of Abdallah Hassan Ibrahim in Saraf Umra town last Friday… The camp coordinator added that on Saturday, Khalid Mohamed Hussein was robbed while he was on his way from Dankoj camp to the Saraf Umra market.
[Such robberies shave become extraordinarily frequent occurrences in Darfur, and especially North Darfur—ER]
• East Darfur tribal tension halts nomads | August 5, 2015 | East Darfur
The ongoing tensions between the Ma’aliya and Rizeigat tribes in East Darfur are preventing the movement of nomads with their cattle to the north. “The violence in the area has stopped the eastern movement to the north,” Dafallah El Haj Jiddi, omda of Abu Jabra locality told Radio Dabanga. “It is the biggest nomad migration in the region that always takes place in July and August,” he explained.
The omda said that in the south of East Darfur, an estimated 120,000 nomads with more than 1.5 million head of livestock are waiting for the track to open. He appealed to the leaders of both parties to exert their efforts to facilitate the opening of the nomadic tracks. “The land is huge enough to accommodate all, if only the people in the area would listen to the voice of reason.” In April and May fierce fighting erupted between the warring tribes in Adila and Abu Karinka localities. More than hundred people were reportedly killed, and dozens were injured. Though the authorities sent buffer troops to East Darfur, the tension remains high.
[Tensions are not merely high, but hold the potential for further violent explosions; the impatience of the nomadic herders only makes the situation more dangerous—ER]
• Man slain, cattle theft in [formerly West] Darfur | August 4, 2015 | Mukjar, formerly West Darfur
A man was shot dead in [formerly West] Darfur on Monday, leading to a protest by locals against his death. In the same area, a woman beat a herder who drove his cattle onto her farm, and bandits made off with livestock.
Abakr Abdallah Suleiman was killed when he returned to a camp for the displaced from his work at the mill in Mukjar area on Monday. “Two gunmen blocked the road and demanded he hand over his mobile phone,” an activist in the area reported. “When he refused, they shot the displaced man him dead.”
Borgi, a village near Mukjar, witnessed an assault by an armed gang on Monday, during which several villagers were wounded. The assault followed a scuffle between a woman farmer and a herder. She defended her farm from herders who drove their cattle onto the farmlands. One of the herders was injured. Afterwards, the woman turned herself in to the police. A resident from the area told Radio Dabanga that the herders made an attempt to attack the police station in order to kidnap the farmer, but the police managed to move her to another police department in Mukjar. Herders then rallied and attacked the villagers of Borgi. Some villagers were beaten severely, the witness reported. In another incident in Mukjar last week, bandits attacked a displaced man for his cattle.
[Mukjar locality, which is now “officially” part of “Central Darfur,” is so far west that it borders eastern Chad. The artificial creation of a “Central Darfur” out of parts of West Darfur, and an “East Darfur” out of parts of mainly South Darfur, was transparently a political maneuver by Khartoum, with no basis in history or the interest of the Darfuri people; the changes in designation make a great deal of referencing from years prior to the factitious geographic changes less than fully clear. Moreover, when the re-authorization of UNAMID was discussed earlier this year, present West Darfur was cited as an area from which UNAMID forces might safely be withdrawn, given the improvement of security. This was a dangerously shortsighted assessment, and one made all the more confusing by virtue of uncertainty about whether it was the present or the older “West Darfur” that was being discussed, which included what is now “Central Darfur.” Again, much of what is now “Central Darfur” is well west of much of what is now “West Darfur.” The illogical creation of a “Central Darfur”—containing a locality such as Mukjar, bordering Chad—made clear discussion impossible—ER]
• One killed, others wounded in Darfur attacks | August 11, 2015 | Gireida / Sirba
A displaced man dies and several others, including a child, were wounded in separate attacks by armed men near camps in Darfur on Sunday and Monday. A farmer in East Jebel Marra died when a remnant of war exploded on his farm. An activist in Gireida camp, South Darfur, reported to Radio Dabanga that a group of bandits ambushed a vehicle on its way from Um Alkura to the camp. They opened fire and killed Hadja Jibril Adam on the spot. Four other passengers sustained injuries, including 9-year-old Mohamed Hassan. The activist said that ten of the passengers have disappeared after the attack.
[The ten missing passengers are almost certainly being held for ransom—ER]
In Sirba locality, West Darfur, a displaced man and woman were injured by armed herders on their farm on Sunday. The coordinator of camp Joghana, near Sirba, told Radio Dabanga that herders let their cattle graze on the fields of Mohamed Ali and Kultum Abaker, by force of arms. When the farmers tried to stop them, the herders broke the hands of both Ali and Abaker, so the animals could continue grazing on the farm. The coordinator stressed that as long as the government does not interfere to protect the farms and deal with the violent shepherds, there will be a serious food shortage in the area.
In East Jebel Marra, a farmer was killed in a grenade explosion on Tuesday afternoon. He was working on his farm, 5km south of Jauwa. The farmer, named Suleiman Awad Saleh, was ploughing when he hit an item of unexploded ordnance.
• Abducted North Darfuri student released | August 11, 2015 | Kabkabiya
Militiamen have released a student kidnapped in Kabkabiya, North Darfur, on Monday, after his family paid a ransom. 16-year-old Mohamed Suleiman Sharif was in the hands of the kidnappers for four days, from Friday to Monday.
On Friday, the militiamen stormed the house where the secondary school student Mohamed lives, grabbed him, and took him in their Land Cruiser to an area called Jebali Jelli, 32km north of Kabkabiya. “Brokers” who appeared in Mohamed’s neighbourhood after the abduction demanded the relatives to pay SDG25,000 ($4,100) for his release. The kidnappers settled for a payment of SDG22,000 ($3,590) on Monday and released Mohamed from Jebali Jelli.
[There will be more and more kidnappings for ransom as long as the Khartoum regime does nothing to restore justice and legal order in Darfur; right now, to borrow a phrase from Human Rights Watch, they are content with their “Chaos by Design,” no matter what the human cost to Darfuris—ER]
• Passenger shot in North Darfur robbery attempt | August 11, 2015 | Tawila, North Darfur
A passenger was seriously injured on Monday when bandits opened fire on a vehicle on the road between Tawila and Zamzam camp, North Darfur. The incident occurred near Rahad Sosua, north of Tabit. One of the passengers in the vehicle, that was carrying millet [a prized grain in Darfur—ER] to the displaced people in Zamzam, told Radio Dabanga that three armed men ambushed them on the road.
People living near Tawila say they are “terrorised” by a group of militiamen. In three weeks of the last Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, 41 people were abducted and 22 vehicles hijacked by the group, stationed near Tawila.
• Fighting breaks out between South Darfur tribes | August 14, 2015 | Buram
A clash broke out between the Fellata and Salamat tribes in Buram locality, South Darfur, and reportedly resulted in a number of dead and wounded on Thursday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, witnesses said that the fighting at Amoud El Aradeb area, located 90km from the state capital Nyala, was fierce. They could not yet ascertain the reason of the clash.
[These clashes augur further violence and destabilizing of Darfur; ethnic and tribal tensions continue to grow as the region remains awash in weapons, Khartoum-supported militias, and chaotic lands claims by various parties, including non-Darfuris—ER]
• Seven people killed in fresh tribal clashes in South Darfur | Sudan Tribune August 13, 2015 | Nyala
Seven people were killed in clashes between Falata and Salamat tribes in South Darfur state on Thursday, the latest in a series of bloody tribal conflicts in the western …
August 3, 2015 | El Fasher / Nyala / El Geneina | The governor of North Darfur announced plans to set up an internal dialogue to restore the social fabric in the state. Security forces in South Darfur are continuing their campaign against violators of the law. In West Darfur, a forum started on Saturday to discuss the “challenges in the development of the state.”
[This is merely propagandistic blather: so long as Khartoum gives free rein to the Rapid Support Forces and continues a genocidal counter-insurgency against the ethnic groups perceived as supporters of rebel groups, “violations of the law” will be rampant and no security can come to any region of Darfur, least of all North Darfur—ER]
“Unprecedented high degree of stability”
Adam El Faki, governor of South Darfur, said in a press conference on Saturday that “dozens of outlaws and criminals” were arrested lately. El Faki said that “the stringent security measures his government has taken, have contributed to an unprecedented high degree of stability” in South Darfur.
[Khartoum’s minions in Darfur have acquired the habit of spewing preposterous and shameless lies—ER]
• Head of South Darfur Employers’ Union shot in Nyala | August 9, 2015 | Nyala
Gunmen attacked the head of the South Darfur Employers’ Union in the state capital of Nyala on Saturday afternoon.
• UNHCR, UNICEF reinforce refugee partnership in Sudan | August 9, 2015 | Khartoum
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU) and a Joint Action Plan that further cement the partnership between the two agencies in response to the needs of refugees and host communities in Sudan. In a joint press release today, both UN agencies state that they will ensure complementarity and mutually supportive actions to protect and assist particularly vulnerable populations, especially refugee children and women. [UNICEF’s] Geert Cappelaere stated “This agreement provides an effective roadmap for efficient delivery of critical services to vulnerable groups, especially children who constitute some 70 percent of the refugee population in Sudan.”
[This is a truly staggering statistic—ER]
East Darfur Governor says security “stable” | August 7, 2015 | Ed Daein / Nyala
On Thursday, Anas Omar Mohamed, the Governor of East Darfur state, said that the situation in the state has been stable after the security committee’s enforced a number of deterrent decisions.
[More absurd propaganda that flies in the face of massive evidence of continuing instability and insecurity—ER]
[Outside Darfur, Khartoum continues to wage a brutal war on civilians, detailed in two recent reports:
Sudan’s attacks in South Kordofan “constitute war crimes” | August 4, 2015 | Nairobi
Government forces in Sudan have committed war crimes against the civilian population of South Kordofan, according to international human rights body Amnesty International.
In a report published today, Amnesty International confirmed for the first time that the Sudanese Air Forces deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure and that ground troops attacked civilians in South Kordofan state. The report—“Don’t we matter? Four years of unrelenting attacks against Civilians of Sudan’s South Kordofan State”—emerges from the results of a field mission Amnesty carried out in May 2015.
The civilian infrastructure targeted includes schools and hospitals. The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Farandallah, the Nuba Mountains, was bombed on 20 January this year, and a hospital in the same village on 16 June 2014. MSF said that this attack took place despite the Sudanese government’s knowledge of the hospital location and its activities.
Mass displacement has affected around one third of South Kordofan’s population of approximately 1.4 million. Many live in precarious and insecure conditions. Close to 100,000 people have fled to refugee camps in neighbouring South Sudan, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The Sudanese government has refused to allow humanitarian relief into the areas controlled by the SPLA-N, leaving the population without access to vaccinations or essential medicines.
[Former U.S. special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman responded in June 2011 to a question about whether the Nuba Mountains might become a “new Darfur”:
“I don’t think so for two reasons. One because the Nuba Mountain people are fighting back and I don’t think the North is capable of dislodging large numbers of people on an ethnic basis from the Nuba Mountains. That’s the reality on the ground. Second, I’m not sure that’s the objective of the government though local commanders may have a different point of view.”
[Whether ignorance or, more likely, expedient disingenuousness, such statements—completely belied by the facts of the time and the facts as they would become apparent in the following years—are entirely characteristic—ER]
[See also an important report from SUDO-UK on human rights abuses during July 2015 in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, based on information received from a wide range of Sudanese on the ground in these regions—ER]
 Political failure of the “Darfur Regional Authority” (DRA) created by the worthless Doha (Qatar) Document for Peace in Darfur; increasing dissent within the DRA and evidence of massive corruption are reported; Thabo Mbeki continues to intrude himself as AU diplomat despite nothing but failure to show for his efforts of the past six years:
• AUHIP chairman concludes Sudan visit | August 5, 2015 | Khartoum
The chairman of the AU High-level Implementation Panel Thabo Mbeki will meet with the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance later in August to discuss the peace negotiations as well as the national dialogue called for by President Al Bashir in January last year. The former South African President is currently visiting the Sudanese government in Khartoum, where he discussed the proposal of merging the peace negotiations on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) and Darfur with a broad national dialogue, to be convened in Addis Ababa.
[Mbeki know that such a proposal is a non-starter with the regime, which has repeatedly declared as much, publicly and privately. Either Mbeki is too stupid to have figured this out or he is simply disingenuously stringing out his diplomatic role, raising serious questions about how he is being compensated. That Mbeki hopes to receive funding of one sort or another for his efforts is clear from a groveling letter to the Qataris, leaked earlier this year:
In a press conference held in the Sudanese capital on Tuesday, Mbeki stated that the government adheres to its rejection of the merger as well as to hold the dialogue abroad. [Message to Thabo Mbeki: “This is not news!”—ER]
The government is willing to agree on a ceasefire for the Two Areas, where war broke out in 2011, [Mbeki] said.
[There is not a shred of evidence to support this supposed “willingness” by the Khartoum regime; on the contrary, there is very substantial evidence that only military victory in South Kordofan and Blue Nile will satisfy the generals who do so much to determine policies of war and peace. This acceptance of Khartoum’s claim of “willingness” by Khartoum is Mbeki at his most shameless—ER]
As for Darfur, Khartoum keeps to its stance that the remaining rebel movements should join the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
[If Mbeki were to perform his job properly, he would declare openly what everyone well knows: the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur is a dead letter, and has no support among Darfuri civil society or the significant rebel groups. To remain agnostic on this issue is not tactful diplomacy but a tacit confession of failure—ER]
• “AUHIP role in Sudan’s pre-dialogue meeting played out”: media expert | August 11, 2015 | Khartoum
The latest announcement by the Sudanese government to reject preparatory peace negotiations abroad, a proposal which was made by the chairman of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki, will mean “the end of the road for Mbeki.” [Those wishing well for the people of Darfur must certainly hope that this assessment is correct—ER]
The “end of the road for Mbeki”? Darfuris certainly hope so (Mbeki is seen here with the tyrant Robert Mugabe, whom Mbeki did so much to assist politically)
Media expert and editor for El Ayam newspaper, Mahjoub Mohamed Saleh, told Radio Dabanga on Monday that the rejection of Mbeki’s proposal depreciates the African Union’s possible role as a mediator in a preparatory meeting attended by the Sudanese government. Mbeki visited Khartoum last week where he discussed the proposal of merging the peace negotiations on the conflict states South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the Darfur region, with a broad national dialogue to be convened in Addis Ababa. Mohamed Saleh said that the AUHIP chairman was surprised to hear that the government does not accept holding a dialogue abroad and re-affirmed that all national dialogues must take place inside Sudan.
[Evidently, Mbeki doesn’t bother to read the news, or take seriously emphatic public pronouncements by senior regime officials, including President al-Bashir, who has become much more wary of traveling abroad after his narrow escape from South Africa (he is of course charged with multiple counts of genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court).]
“Mbeki will not rush into submitting a report to the Security Council, but will enter into a second negotiation round with the armed and civil opposition, and will try to act as the government suggested,” Saleh said. [Of this we may be sure—ER]
• Mbeki is not mediating Darfur conflict: Sudanese official | Sudan Tribune: August 12, 2015 | Khartoum,
The head of Darfur peace implementation follow-up office state minister, Amin Hassan Omer, said that the former South African president Thabo Mbeki is not tasked with peace process in Darfur region.
[This blunt statement by the NIF/NCP regime makes emphatically clear that Mbeki is not part of the Darfur peace process. Notably, Mbeki’s title—“Chair of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel”—derives from his diplomatic stint, beginning in 2009, during which he was (disastrously) given the Darfur negotiating portfolio by the African Union Peace and Security Council. His initial title the was “Chair of the African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur.” Mbeki duly produced a 100-page derivative report on conditions in Darfur that had the distinction of being entirely without footnotes, references, or citations; it was called a “Roadmap for Peace in Darfur,” and having produced this foolish document, Mbeki was then in charge of implementing the “roadmap,” hence his successor title—“Chair of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel.” There was of course no “implementation” of peace in Darfur; the “roadmap” led nowhere. But to this day, Mbeki carries what should be a title of disgrace as a form of diplomatic self-celebration—ER]
• “Third way” proposed for peace in Darfur | August 12, 2015 | Khartoum
The temporary Popular Committee for the Follow-up of the Implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) has proposed “a third way” to realise peace and stability in the war-torn region. The Committee of 300 Darfuri leaders and academics, presented a document on Monday, entitled “A Comprehensive and Just Peace.” Head of the Committee, Dr Faroug Ahmed Adam, stressed at the press conference …that the document presents “the opinions and views of the silent Darfuri majority, as the DDPD partners have become adversaries.” He said that the Sudanese government will not be able to impose peace in Darfur by force, as it is currently doing. He warned that this will lead to negative developments. “We strongly deny that there is peace and stability in Darfur, as officials say, while there are more than three million people living in camps for the displaced, people are daily subjected to assaults, murders and rapes … ” [The] committee is adamant to complete the peace process, “even if that would mean calling for a new peace agreement.” Adam explained that the Committee is composed of 300 academic experts, who spent 18 months preparing the document “that is based on principles of unity, justice, freedom, and equality.”
[Unfortunately, these are the wrong principles with which to win over the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime after 26 years of unbroken tyranny and gross self-enrichment—ER]
The document explicitly criticises the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) for performing “less than 50 percent of its duties. “DRA President Dr El Tijani Sese has clearly lost his way,” Adam said.
[“50 percent” is a very generous assessment, and few Darfuris would give Sese nearly that much credit—he has failed, abjectly, as head of the Darfur Regional Authority—ER]
• AU calls on Sudan government for UNAMID exit plan and new peace talks | August 13, 2015 | Addis Ababa
The African Union Peace and Security Council in its 529th meeting on the situation in Darfur on 31 July, called on the AU, the UN and the Sudanese government to continue the process of formulating an appropriate exit strategy for UNAMID.
[This is clearly an exercise that will not be undertaken with anything like an appropriate consideration of civilian and humanitarian security. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations considers UNAMID a disaster and is eager to shut it down, but fears the consequences of withdrawal, which are all too predictable. The African Union is variously motivated, though with few motives that will bear scrutiny—ER]
In its report, the AUPSC “notes with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of UNAMID’s mandate, particularly with respect to the protection of civilians.”
[This obscene self-congratulation by the AU PSC is of a piece with the performance of its various appointments to head UNAMID: Rodolphe Adada, Ibrahim Gambari, Mohamed Ibn Chambas—men who on leaving their posts made a practice of overlooking their failures by means of gross lies and misrepresentations of realities on the ground. There has been no significant progress by UNAMID, not in terms that matter for the critical issues of civilian and humanitarian protection. The members of the AU PSC also clearly do not read the news—ER]
Yet, the Council also condemned “the continuing intermittent fighting between the Government of Sudan and the Darfur armed movements.”
[“Intermittent” is a perversely inaccurate word choice. Moreover, the implicit moral equivalence, here between the Darfur rebel groups—which it must be said have all too much to answer for—and the Khartoum regime that continues to conduct a genocidal counter-insurgency in Darfur, is simply despicable and a major obstacle to any possible peace—ER]
• El Bushra mooted to succeed Sese in Darfur Regional Authority | August 4, 2015 | El Fasher
The Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) led by Bahar Idris Abu Garda has nominated Osman El Bushra as a replacement for the chairmanship of Dr El Tijani Sese of the Darfur Regional Authority. Sharafeldin Mahmoud Mohamed Saleh, media secretary and spokesman for the LJM, told Radio Dabanga on Monday that Osman El Bushra has been nominated to succeed Sese because of what he called “Sese’s failure in the implementation of the basic things.”
[Sese has indeed failed badly; but his successor will inevitably inherit the problems that lie at the core of the Darfur Document for Peace in Darfur (Qatar, July 2011—more than four years ago). Preeminent, and conspicuously demonstrated over the past four years, is Khartoum’s refusal to honor the terms of the agreement. As it has with every agreement it has ever signed with a Sudanese party, the regime finds reneging easy and cost-free with the international community, which is much more interested in the signing of agreements than seeing that they are upheld—ER]
Chairman of the Darfur Rehabilitation Authority (DRA), a now fully discredited el-Tigani Sese
• “Self-interest behind DRA conflicts”: Darfur displaced | August 13, 2015 | Darfur
The recent disputes about the performance of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) concerning the implementation of development projects and the Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) programme are not surprising, according to displaced leaders in Darfur. The coordinator of the Central Darfur camps told Radio Dabanga that conflicts were to be expected “as the DDPD signatories have stolen the will of the people of Darfur. They presented themselves as representatives of the Darfuri people for the sake of power and money only. If they really care, why did not they exert efforts to halt the aerial bombardments, the killing and raping, and the torching of villages?”
[One learns all too much about Sese, the DRA, and the DDPD in this dispatch. These are the opinions of the vast majority of Darfuris—ER]
• New corruption allegations against Darfur Regional Authority head |August 12, 2015 | Khartoum
[In fact, the evidence of large-scale corruption on the part of Sese and his appointees is overwhelming—ER]
 Political developments and announcements, as well as reports of growing and spreading corruption appear first, followed by dispatches focusing on economy and the increasing desperation evident in regime claims about access to foreign exchange currency:
• Growing number of Sudanese want to emigrate | August 9, 2015 |Khartoum
Last week, more than 12,000 Sudanese applied for an exit visa, according to the secretary-general of the Expatriates’ Affairs Secretariat in Khartoum. Suwar Majed Haj told the press on Thursday that the number of Sudanese who want to immigrate is showing a significant increase. He said that some 4,500 electronic passports were issued “during the past three days.” Statistics show that between 1975 and 2009 about 11 million Sudanese left the country. 85 percent of them emigrated after President Omar Al Bashir took power in a military coup in 1989. Sudan ranks first among Arab countries whose citizens emigrate, according to a survey conducted by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies in Doha in 2013.
[This is an extraordinary dispatch, and could hardly be more telling: Sudanese voting with their feet have spoken loudly and clearly about their sense of Sudan’s future under the current regime—ER]
Sudan says 12,000 of its citizens migrated abroad this week | Sudan Tribune: August 6, 2015 | Khartoum
Secretary-General of the Organization of Sudanese Expatriates Affairs (OSEA) in Sudan Haj Magid Siwar disclosed that 12,000 people sought exit visas this week…
• Sudan plans restrictive broadcast law | August 12, 2015 | Khartoum
The State Minister of Information has announced the government’s intention to draft a new law that will prohibit the Sudanese states from broadcasting local television programmes via satellite channels. At a press conference at the Corinthia Hotel in Khartoum on Tuesday, State Minister Yasir Yousef said that his Ministry is working on a law that will restrict the selection of television broadcasts to the central authorities.
[The last thing that Khartoum wants is for any of the news reported by Radio Dabanga to be readily available to citizens in the various states of Sudan—ER]
• Sudanese Congress Party official detained in Khartoum | August 6, 2015 | Khartoum
Security agents detained a prominent member of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) in Khartoum on Wednesday. The party reported in a press statement that agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service raided the home of Khaled Omar Yousef, foreign affairs assistant to the SCP chairman, in El Jireif district early on Wednesday.
[Yet more evidence of growing political repression even as al-Bashir and his regime speak of a “National Dialogue”—ER]
• More Sudanese Congress Party members held in Khartoum | August 10, 2015 | Khartoum
The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) have detained two more leading members of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) in Khartoum state.
[Severe political repression is alive and growing in Khartoum—ER]
• Christian women sentenced to fines in Khartoum, others acquitted | August 12, 2015 | Khartoum North
Three young Christian women have been convicted in a Khartoum court for wearing “obscene outfits” [dresses, slacks—ER]. They were each sentenced to a fine of SDG50 ($8.20) each or one month’s imprisonment… They wore trousers and skirts. They were released the next day, after ten were charged under Article 152 of the 1990 Penal Code, which states: “Whoever does in a public place an indecent act or an act contrary to public morals, or wears an obscene outfit, or contrary to public morals, or causing an annoyance to public feelings shall be punished with flogging, which may not exceed forty lashes or with fine or with both.” [Administered in a harsh way, forty lashes can be fatal—ER]
One of the women, a minor of 17, was transferred to a juvenile court. Two others were convicted and sentenced to larger fines in July. One of them, Ferdous El Tom (19), was also sentenced to 20 lashes, according to Amnesty International.
[A sentence of lashing—a serious physical punishment—for wearing a dress, or slacks…the face of shari’a in Khartoum—ER]
• Libya accused of harbouring Darfur rebels | August 12, 2015 |Khartoum
The Sudan Armed Forces have summoned the Libyan military attaché about allegation that Libya is harbouring and arming Darfur rebels. The authorities of Tobruk, a port town in eastern Libya, are reportedly arming rebel combatants of the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), to support the Libyan Maj. Gen. Heftar in his fight against the Muslim extremists in his country.
On 21 July, the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper reported that Islamic State (IS) fighters are entering Libya and Egypt via the tri-border area with Sudan. [This could not be done without the knowledge of the National Intelligence and Security Services and/or Military Intelligence—ER]
The newspaper quoted Eisa Abdelmajid, advisor to the head of the Libyan parliament, who said that [a daily] average of 50 vehicles carrying extremist Muslim fighters and arms cross the Sudanese-Egyptian border at Jebel El Oweinat near El Kufra… [This also could not be done without the knowledge of the National Intelligence and Security Services and/or Military Intelligence; and given this knowledge, we may surmise acquiescence—ER]
This happens in addition to the transport of fighters and weapons by air, from Khartoum to Mitiga airport in Tripoli, which is controlled by extremists, he said. Last year, Libya repeatedly accused Sudan of smuggling militant extremists into the country. Gen. Khalifa Heftar, the leader of Operation Dignity fighting Islamist militias in Libya called Sudan’s position on fighting terrorism in Libya “ambiguous.”
[Leaked minutes of the August 31, 2014 meeting of the most senior military and security officials in Khartoum reveal decisive support for Libyan radical Islamists—ER]
In late September, Libyan border guards intercepted a convoy of vehicles carrying Yemeni fighters into the country via the area of El Kufra on the Sudan-Libya border. The authorities of El Kufra airport earlier that month grounded a Sudanese military aircraft bound for Tripoli, that was reportedly laden with weapons.
• Sudan’s president orders compensation for September protest victims | August 11, 2015 | Khartoum
The president of Sudan directed the Ministry of Justice to compensate the families of the victims of the protests that broke out in Khartoum in September 2013. He also resolved to “punish the aggressors” for the demonstrations, in which he claims about 80 people were killed…
[This is a cynically preemptive move by al-Bashir as we approach the second anniversary of the September 2013 civilian uprising, in which hundreds of civilians were killed in many cities and towns across Sudan: he is simultaneously threatening instigators while offering compensation for those his regime decides were caught innocently in the violence created by “shoot to kill” orders that came from his own security forces. We should not forget that the uprising was caused the precipitous price hikes that came with the lifting of “subsidies” for cooking fuel. Note the multiple large price hikes that are reported below and in previous Darfur News Digests—ER]
• “Gulf War protesters” detained in Khartoum | August 12, 2015 | Khartoum
Security forces detained ten demonstrators in front of the UN headquarters in Khartoum on Monday. The protesters demanded disbursement of the money the UN reportedly sent to Khartoum to compensate the Sudanese affected by the second Gulf War. Sudanese newspapers reported on Tuesday that ten demonstrators were held, including the chairman of the Committee of the Affected People by the Second Gulf War, Anwar Abdeljabar. According to the Committee, some 42,800 Sudanese have not received their due compensations so far. The members accuse “certain government bodies of manipulating the money sent by the UN.”
[In light of the previous dispatch, we can see here Khartoum’s penchant for giving with one hand while taking with the other. We may be morally certain that restitutions monies have indeed been illegally diverted from those who were to have received them. A regime in the desperate financial shape of the NIF/NCP will take money from anyone and by any means—ER]
• Sudan’s national dialogue conference starts in October | August 7, 2015 | Khartoum
The conference of the national dialogue in Sudan, chaired by President Omar Al Bashir, is scheduled to start on Saturday 10 October this year. Sudanese opposition parties still refuse to join the national dialogue.
[A recent U.S. envoy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Steven Feldstein, made a point of declaring U.S. support for Sudan’s “National Dialogue.” It’s unclear whether he was supporting al-Bashir’s version of a “National Dialogue”—frankly described by senior regime officials as mere political ploy in the leaked minutes of a meeting in which al-Bashir participated (July 1 2014), as well as two others (June 4, 2014 and August 31, 2014)—or a national dialogue that is actually a “dialogue.” The NIF/NCP regime has no history of “dialogue,” only negotiations as they are deemed expedient or serving the regime’s interests—ER]
• Sudan’s Al Bashir “plans to speak at UN summit” | August 4, 2015 | Khartoum
Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir is planning to travel to New York in September to speak at the United Nations, Sudan’s deputy UN envoy said on Monday … When contacted by Reuters, a spokesman for the US State Department was not immediately available for comment on Al Bashir’s plans to visit New York next month.
[But eventually the Obama administration will have to decide whether to grant an indicted génocidaire a U.S. visa. The issue was simply ignored last year, and the deadline passed relatively quietly. That’s not likely to be the case this year—ER]
President of Sudan and indicted génocidaire, Omar al-Bashir: will the Obama administration grant him a visa to attend the UN in September?
• Wood, charcoal seized by Sudan authorities | August 13, 2015 | Khartoum
The National Forestry Corporation confiscated large quantities of firewood and charcoal in six Sudan states during the past weeks, enforcing a ministerial decision to ban tree felling. Many people in Sudan depend on charcoal to cook their daily meals. Gas is often scarce, and in many parts of the country not available at all.
While the use of gas is ultimately cheaper, many Sudanese cannot afford to buy a gas cylinder, if available, of which the prices range between SDG80 ($13) and SDG200 ($33). Currently, cooking gas is scarce, and people in various parts of Sudan queue for hours to refill their cylinders for SDG20 ($3.30) to SDG30 ($4.90) each.
[More evidence that neglect of the economy has produced intolerable conditions for many poorer Sudanese—ER]
•Prices of consumer goods double in Sudan’s capital | August 13, 2015 | Khartoum
The prices of vegetables and other consumer goods in Khartoum increased considerably last month. A basic school teacher told Radio Dabanga from Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, that the prices of some vegetables have almost doubled. “During the rainy season, vegetables are always scarce, which leads to temporary price increases,” he said. “Yet, because of the monthly price rises during the last couple of years, and the absence of sufficient salary raises, basic commodity goods are becoming unaffordable.
“I do not know how to feed my children anymore on my salary, including bonuses, of SDG700 ($114) a month. “On Wednesday vendors in Khartoum asked SDG400 ($65) for a 100kg sack of onions, instead of SDG220 ($36) last week,” he said. “We now pay SDG40 ($6.50) for a kilogramme of tomatoes that cost less than SDG20 ($3.25) last month, while the price of cucumbers has risen from SDG12 ($1.95) to 20 SDG per kilogramme.” He added that the prices of locally produced cooking oil and spices are also soaring, “as well as goods imported from Arab countries.”
• Barrel of water in Port Sudan soars to SDG45 | August 2, 2015 Port Sudan
The commercial price for a barrel of water in Port Sudan jumped from SDG7 ($1.15) to SDG45 ($7.40) following the news early last week of a possible rise in the water tariff.
• “Sudan’s tariff hikes will increase poverty” | July 30, 2015 | Cairo / Khartoum
• Water, electricity tariffs double in Sudan’s capital | July 27, 2015 | Khartoum
• Sudan’s Popular Congress Party rejects doubling of water and electricity tariffs | July 29, 2015 | Khartoum
[In the face of all evidence to the contrary, the regime’s Central Bureau of Statistics feels free to promulgate whatever inflation figure it wants, knowing that that figure will not be challenged by the IMF, which accepts at face value the figures the CBS provides. No matter that we hear repeatedly of a doubling (100 percent increase) of prices, from water to electricity, from bread to cooking fuel and the diesel that runs the buses that must then charge more, increasing transportation costs. This inflation figure is of a piece with various other absurd claims by the regime, desperately trying to deny what is all too conspicuous to ordinary Sudanese: real inflation, the inflation felt by the vast majority of Sudanese, is running at over 50 percent annually; the value of the Sudanese Pound, whatever the “official rate,” is about 10 Pounds to the dollar—a huge drop in its value. And most consequentially, the regime has no foreign exchange currency (Forex): this is why it can’t import the wheat for the bread that is a food staple, can’t import adequate quantities of refined petroleum products, and a host of other products, equipment and parts, services, and critical commodities—ER]
• Sudan inflation eases to 14% in July | August 11, 2015 | Khartoum
(Via Reuters) Sudan’s inflation rate slowed to 14.1 percent in July from 18.3 percent in June, the Central Statistics Office said on Monday.
• Sudan’s inflation rate on track to meet IMF projections | Sudan Tribune: August 11, 2015 | Khartoum
Sudan announced that inflation rate dropped to 14.1% in July from 18.3% a month earlier making it likely that the east African nation would meet or even beat projections of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The 2015 budget has a target inflation rate of 25% while the IMF projected 12.4% by year end. The inflation rate stood at 19.8% in May.
[IMF “projections” are based on data provided by the completely unreliable Central Bureau of Statistics, which simply churns out numbers as the regime dictates. Nor is the regime capable of keeping even its own lies straight: in an April 17, 2015 interview with Time Magazine, minister of finance and national economy Bader Eldin Mahmmoud Abbas Mukhtar claimed that “the Central Bank of Sudan has approximately $21 – 24 billion.” But on July 15, 2015 Abdelrahman Dirar, State Minister for Finance, declared that the regime’s “foreign-exchange reserves currently stand at $1.4 billion.”—ER]
• “Sudan received $1 billion in deposits from Saudi Arabia”: official | August 12, 2015 | Khartoum
Abdelrahman Dirar, State Minister of Finance, told the press in Khartoum this morning that the Central Bank of Sudan received an investment deposit from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of $500 million in July, and the second part this month. Gulf Business said that there was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia.
[There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia because it is highly unlikely that the kingdom made such a large deposit. We have seen many such claims made by Khartoum in the past few years, and yet they never seem to materialize. Saudi Arabia made clear to Khartoum that despite the small role the Sudanese air force played in attacking the Houthis in Yemen, this would not earn a cash reward.
Such claims as reported must always be regarded with great skepticism, and caution must take many forms in assessing their credibility: Qatar is notorious for making commitments to lend or contribute money to the Central Bank of Sudan, but then quietly reneging. This does have a benefit for Khartoum, even if only a “ghost deposit”: it gets the attention of the currency black market and prevents, at least temporarily, excessive betting against the Sudanese Pound. The same is true of the claim made on July 15, 2011, as reported by Radio Dabanga (“Sudan received $2 billion in loans from Gulf states”: official): “Abdelrahman Dirar, State Minister for Finance said in an interview in Khartoum on 15 July [that “Sudan received $2 billion in loans from Gulf States”]. He did not identify which countries provided the funds, saying they would be repaid in ‘coming years.’” Such lack of specification is the hallmark of Khartoum’s mendacity—ER]
• South Darfur signs for gold exploration | August 7, 2015 | Nyala / Khartoum
South Darfur state has signed an agreement for exploration and mining of gold and other minerals with a company. Meanwhile, Sudan’s Minister of Minerals has unveiled details of its agreement with the Russian mining company to explore gold in the country. Sidki Group has agreed with South Darfur state to explore gold and other minerals in about seventeen surveyed areas.
[Sudanese minister of minerals Ahmed Sadiq al-Karuri] announced in the beginning of July that the quantity of gold produced this year so far, amounting to 43 tonnes, is unprecedented, as the production during the same period last year was about 31 tonnes. Sudan earned more than $1 billion from gold exports last year. El Karori said the government is using its turnovers from gold exports to fill the deficit in its GDP caused by the loss of oil revenues, after South Sudan declared its independence Sudan in July 2011.
[Such figures simply cannot be taken at face value, given the clear interest the regime has in convincing potential creditors, as well as the currency black market, that it really does have the means to generate Forex. The reports below from the Sudan Tribune highlight a host of contradictions in and doubts about the claim—ER]
• Sudan says unearthed gold reserves surpass $1.7 trillion as questions rise on Russian contract | Sudan Tribune: August 5, 2015 | Khartoum
The Sudanese minister of minerals Ahmed Sadiq al-Karuri dismissed views which questioned the existence of a Russian company that was recently awarded gold mining contract that was described as “unprecedented” by officials in Khartoum. The contract was signed last Wednesday with “Siberian” gold exploration firm for mining concessions in the Red Sea and River Nile states. The highly publicized signing ceremony was attended by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir. But several websites doubted the company’s existence and reputation as well as government assertions on the discovery of mammoth reserves of gold without garnering the attention of world media. [We might wonder as well about the truly extraordinary convenience of the timing of this announcement: it comes as the Sudanese economy is imploding, the Central Bank of Sudan has no substantial Forex, real inflation is racing, and few see any point in lending to a country that has racked up $47 billion in external debt, the vast majority under the NIF/NCP regime—ER]
The minister did not address the company’s capabilities or nationality. He pointed out that the agreement stipulated that the production would start in six months and that the Russian company would provide funding to Khartoum using gold as a collateral. Karuri said the value of gold discovered in the two sites has a combined value of $1.70 trillion, adding that Sudan is abound in many metals which will exploited “at the right time.”
[We simply have now way of knowing what Sudan’s real gold reserves are; the claims by al-Karuri are guided primarily by the perceptions the regime hopes to create about its ability to generate foreign exchange currency. The amount claimed initially is equal to 25 percent of all gold mined in human history—ER]
• Sudanese official admits figures by Russian company on gold deposits “may not be 100% accurate” | Sudan Tribune: August 11, 2015 | Khartoum
The Sudanese presidential assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid brushed aside the fierce skepticism surrounding the government’s recently signed contract with a Russian mining company but acknowledged that the figures announced on gold reserves could well be exaggerated.
[See if the announcement gains traction, and if the criticism and skepticism are too great, backtrack as necessary—the regime has become increasingly easy to read—ER]
The contract was signed in late July with a company named as “Siberian” for mining concessions in the Red Sea and River Nile states. President Omer Hassan al-Bashir reportedly attended the signing ceremony, which was not made public. Sudan’s minerals minister Ahmed Sadiq al-Karuri announced at the time that the company discovered 46,000 tonnes of gold reserves in these two sites with a combined market value of $1.70 trillion. [Again, as context, this amount of gold is approximately 25 percent of all gold mined in human history—ER]
On top of the mammoth figure, skepticism grew deeper after a Sudanese consultant working for the ministry out of Moscow named Mohamed Ahmed Saboon tendered his resignation because of the contract with the company which he described as “unknown.”
[A bold and potentially dangerous move by Mr. Saboon—but some have clearly ceased to be able to live with the appalling lies on which the Khartoum regime depends—ER]
Saboon also described the $1.70 trillion figure as “science fiction.” Hamid, who is also the ruling party vice chairman…admitted that the gold reserves figures may have been inflated. “The figures put forward by the company about gold reserves may be 100% or 50% accurate,” Hamid said.
[Or they may be “5% accurate”—we have no independent verification of any of what certainly appear to be preposterous claims, “science fiction,” as former consultant Saboon would have it—ER]
The Sudanese official recalled that there were also skeptics when Sudan announced the discovery of oil in the late 90’s.
[In fact, commercially viable oil reserves were discovered by Chevron in the 1970s, and there was never any skepticism about the significance of the oil find, even if it was not immediately quantifiable. This carelessness with historical fact by regime spokesmen is of a piece with a general carelessness with the truth—ER]
The chairman of Siberian mining company Vladimir Jakov said in an interview with al-Sudani newspaper on Monday that he personally has a 99% stake in the company along with a Sudanese partner whom he declined to name. Jakov pointed out that he suffered “irreparable” damage from the skeptical talk about the company in terms of his bank dealings and reputation in Russia and abroad. [A “google search” using as search terms gold + mining + Vladimir Jakov yields no relevant entries…this stinks to high heaven—ER]
• “Privatisation of Sudanese ports a disaster”: Beja Congress | August 5, 2015 | Port Sudan
The Beja Congress strongly condemns plans to privatise the Red Sea ports and other government policies that aggravate the huge unemployment figures in the eastern Sudanese state. Abdallah Musa, member of the Beja Congress Central Committee told Radio Dabanga that there have been serious attempts to privatise all Red Sea ports. “The authorities have already sold the Sudan Shipping Lines’ Corporation, which has definitely damaged Sudan’s economy. Also large numbers of stores are leased to cement companies, flour mills, and other enterprises,” he said. The Beja official stressed that the biggest threat for the people in the state is the dismissal of large numbers of port workers as a result of the privatisation, “as already happened with the Southern Port.”
[The Sudanese economy is collapsing for many reasons—rampant cronyism (“privatization” is the euphemism) is hugely to blame—ER]