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June 15 – July 15, 2002


Part I – Sudan

1. Chronology

2. Government extends oil pipeline to Port Sudan, reluctant to extend water pipes to the seaport Part II- Northern Uganda

1. Briefs

2. Rebels set northern Uganda ablaze as Museveni refuses to negotiate
Part III- Horn of Africa briefs

Part 1 – Sudan

1. Chronology

June 15: Sudanese security forces arrested eight members of a social organisation, a member of the opposition Popular National Congress (PNC) party told AFP. The secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Organisation (IDO), Al-Amin Mohamed Osman and seven other IDO officials, all PNC members, were arrested by for unclear reasons, said lawyer and PNC member Abdul Salam al-Jizuli.

15: India's state-owned oil company appeared close to a deal to buy Talisman Energy Inc.'s stake in a controversial Sudanese oil project, but India's energy minister, Ram Naik, cautioned that the investment still required government approval. India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is set to buy Talisman's 25-percent interest in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company valued at US$750 million and which runs the 230,000 barrels a day.

15: Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir confirmed the appointment of al-Zubeir Ahmed al-Hassan as the country's new finance and national economy minister, the state-owned al-Anbaa newspaper reported. Hassan, a former State Minister in the finance ministry and central bank deputy governor, had been acting minister of finance since last month, when his predecessor Abdel Rahim Hamdi resigned for health reasons.

15: Peace talks on the Sudanese civil war are scheduled to be held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi from June 17, an official with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) disclosed. Mohammed Guyo told Xinhua news agency by phone that all arrangements have been made to resume the peace talks as all parties concerned have agreed to attend the meeting.

15: Sudan decided to extend the Nuba Mountains ceasefire agreement due to expire on June 19, said a high-ranking government official. A mini-cabinet meeting, chaired by President Bashir, renewed the ceasefire agreement for another six months, presidential peace advisor Ghazi Salah Eddin told reporters.

15: Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Taha has urged the US to put pressure on the rebel Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) at the next round of peace talks, due in Nairobi. "If the United States places its weight behind the peace negotiations, the hopes of a successful IGAD initiative will be renewed," Taha told the London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat.

16: The SPLA vowed to fight the Khartoum government until there is peace in the southern Sudan, Uganda’s Sunday Vision newspaper reported. SPLA commander Edward Abyel Lino, a director in the office of SPLA leader John Garang, was quoted by the paper as saying that the SPLA forces had stepped up their operations against government forces to protect areas under their control.

16: Sudan said it had extradited to Saudi Arabia an alleged al-Qaeda member accused of last month firing a surface-to-air missile at a US aircraft at an American airbase in the Saudi kingdom. The country's interior ministry said in a statement that the Sudanese man was arrested and interrogated after it received an extradition request from Riyadh on May 18. The extradition request alleged the suspect fired the missile at an aircraft near the US Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia, and had managed to flee back to his home country, it said.

17: The Sudanese government will begin moving food aid to alleviate shortages in southern Unity State, a government official was quoted as saying. Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Sulaf Eddin Salih was quoted by the daily Al Anbaa newspaper as saying that 10,000 tonnes of grain would be dispatched from Kosti, on the Nile in central Sudan, to Unity State's capital Bentiu. In addition, "considerable quantities" of food would be flown from El Obeid in central Sudan's Kordofan region, to five locations in Unity State from June 21-25.

17: Khartoum was to insist that Sudan remains united during talks that were due to open in Kenya between the government and SPLA, the head of the government's delegation said. Presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Eddin told a news conference ahead of the meeting that Khartoum had a "vision" of a "unity of Sudan based on justice, equality of different regions and the sharing of power and resources."

18: The SPLA claimed that their anti-aircraft gunners downed a Sudanese army helicopter gunship killing all its occupants. The chopper was hit in the Mankein-Mayom area south of the oil town of Bentiu, 750 kilometres south of Khartoum in the western Upper Nile state. According to the rebel’s spokesman in Egypt, Yasser Arman, the helicopter gunship crashed in the SPLA’s-controlled Sheing-Torbol village and was completely burnt out.

18: Talisman’s Chief Executive Officer, Jim Buckee said he fully understood India's keen interest in buying his firm's stake in Sudan, but he would not comment directly on the talks. "It's very clear why a country like India is interested in an asset such as this. It's an extremely good asset, it has got a long, long life," Buckee told reporters in Canada.

18: Government and SPLA delegations to Sudanese peace talks retreated to the Kenyan town of Machakos to continue negotiations. Representatives of Khartoum and the SPLA travelled to the town 50 kilometres southeast of Nairobi after agreeing to negotiate behind closed doors.

18: India's cabinet has approved a state-owned oil company's US$750-million bid for Talisman’s stake in Sudan’s oil industry. "Today the cabinet has cleared it. All legal formalities will be completed by July 31," India’s energy minister, Ram Naik told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

18: A Sudan rebel relief aid agency warned of looming famine in areas under its control as a result of failed seasonal rains, and appealed for international aid to avert a disaster. "We are in the middle of June and still there have been no adequate rains in most areas in southern Sudan," the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA) said in a statement. The affected areas were the Southern Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and Southern Sudan, all under its control.

19: Khartoum agreed to an extension of the ceasefire agreement in the Nuba Mountains. The National Congress (NC) government committed itself to extending the ceasefire agreement for another six months, starting from June 20, Republic of Sudan Radio reported. SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje confirmed to IRIN that the rebels would also agree to an extension of the ceasefire, though he said he did not know the duration or other details because the full results of an SPLM/A-Nuba congress on the matter were still not known.

19: Sudanese security sources denied as baseless a claim by the SPLA that it had downed an army helicopter in southern Sudan. "The report by the rebel movement that it shot down an army helicopter gunship in Unity State is absolutely untrue," independent Akhbar Al Youm daily quoted unnamed security sources as saying. The paper quoted its security sources as saying the report was "part of a psychological warfare being launched by the rebel movement".

19: India's energy minister said he was confident that a state-run oil firm will acquire Talisman’s stake in Sudan without any obstruction from other partners in the venture. He said India's good relations with Sudan would clinch the deal even though other partners had the right of first refusal for Talisman's 25 percent stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co.

19: The East African Assembly MPs want the region to petition the International Court of Justice to revoke the 1949-50 Anglo-Egyptian agreement that imposes restriction on the use of the River Nile waters, reported a Uganda paper, New Vision. Legislator Wandera Ogalo from Uganda told the assembly in Nairobi that the region should seek compensation for agreements that prevent East African countries from utilising the River Nile for irrigation and other development projects without prior consent of its northern neighbours.

19: Delegations of the Sudanese government and the SPLA agreed on the agenda they are going to discuss under the auspices of IGAD, said the Sudanese foreign minister, Mustafa Ismail. However, he did not elaborate on the agenda but it was earlier declared that the two sides would discuss issues of unity, distribution of power and resources and the place of religion in state affairs in the negotiations, which are to last for more than a month.

20: The Sudanese army said it had captured the main SPLA base in southern Sudan's Unity State, eliminating a threat to the oilfields there. Armed forces spokesman General Mohamed Beshir Suleiman said that government troops assisted by militia, police and "friendly forces" captured Mankien town from the rebels after more than two weeks of fierce fighting in the area.

20: The SPLA admitted it had lost a "small village" in Unity State to government forces, but described the defeat as unimportant. "It was just a small village in the oil fields," Samson Kwaje, SPLA spokesman told AFP, referring to the town of Mankien. "We shall take it back," he added.

20: A senior Sudanese official said that his country's civil war could spread if peace talks that resumed in Kenya produced no breakthrough. "We have the best chance in nearly a quarter of a decade to end this tragic civil war," presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Eddin wrote in Kenya's Daily Nation. "But all Africa must be warned ... Without a breakthrough, the conflict could degenerate rapidly, spilling over Sudan's borders and threatening the whole region with an ever-widening cycle of death and destruction."

20: More than 50 foreign ministers were due to take part in a meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Khartoum on June 25-27. The OIC ministerial council, meeting for the first time in Sudan, is to discuss terrorism, the Middle East situation, economic cooperation among Islamic states, the fight against poverty, and development in Africa.

20: Government officials in western Ethiopia accused Sudanese refugees of destroying almost 6,000 hectares of woodland every year. The agricultural office of Gambella State, which borders Sudan, said in a report that trees were destroyed to clear land for cultivation and for construction materials. "Many species of wild animals have already left the area," said Mamo Amshaw of the office's forest development and protection department.

20: A prominent opposition figure and human rights activist from southern Sudan was arrested in Khartoum "for no obvious reason," his lawyer told AFP. Tobe Madot, a physician, was taken into custody by security authorities from his private clinic, said Ngor Kolong Ngor Madot, a member of the opposition Sudan African National Union (SANU) and of the Sudanese Group for Human Rights (SGHR), was two days before his arrest summoned by the security authorities. But he refused to go because they refused to provide him with a copy of the arrest warrant.

20: US President George W. Bush pressed Sudan to put an end to its civil war and to end the practice of slavery while recognizing Khartoum's assistance in the fight against terrorism. "Sudan's government must understand that ending its sponsorship of terror outside Sudan is no substitute for efforts to stop war inside Sudan," Bush told a group of diplomats and leaders. "Sudan's government cannot continue to talk peace but make war, must not continue to block and manipulate UN food deliveries and must not allow slavery to persist," he said.

21: Sudan is successfully developing its oil industry in spite of a long-running civil war, Sudan's mines and energy minister said, adding that he expected the country to double its crude output to 500,000 barrels a day within three years. "From the start, up to this moment, the oil exports are going smoothly," Awad Ahmed al-Jaz told reporters in London. "Hopefully, Sudan will be one of the biggest oil exporters in the future."

21: Khartoum has not yet been officially notified by Canada's Talisman that it plans to offload its stake to India’s state oil and gas utility, the country's mining and energy minister said. "Up to this moment we have not heard officially from Talisman that they want to leave the project," minister Awad-Ahmed Al Jaz told journalists in London.

19: Canada’s SR Telecom signed a contract with the Sudan Telecommunication Company (Sudatel) worth US$ 14.23 million to extend the country’s telecom network into rural areas in central Sudan. Equipment deliveries are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year.

22: The Undersecretary in Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mutrif Siddiq said that the country’s warring parties should boost the recent call for peace in the country by President Bush. He said the call by Bush was not strange because it was based on a report presented to the US president by his Special envoy for peace in Sudan, Sen. John Danforth.

22: Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni met an envoy from President Bashir with whom they discussed peace-building measures in southern Sudan, reported a Ugandan daily, New Vision. Museveni met presidential adviser on peace, Ghazi Salah Eddin at State House, Nakasero in Kampala.

22: Authorities of the State of Khartoum banned fashion shows for what they called "moral and religious" reasons. In a circular addressed to hotels in the city, the director of the state government's tourism administration, Aladdin Khawwad, says "fashion shows by girls will no longer be permissible." Khawwad has warned managers of the hotels that

they would "face punishment under the tourism law" if they organised such shows.

23: Four people were killed and seven were seriously wounded when a Sudanese military plane bombed the town of Malwal kon in northern Bahr el Ghazal region, the SPLA claimed. SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje told AFP by telephone that the victims were caught in the bombing as they were passing through the Medecins sans Frontiere (MSF - Doctors without Borders) compound to reach a nearby church.

24: Sudan hopes to show off its credentials as an Islamic nation as well as bury its reputation for extremism as it hosts a meeting this week of foreign ministers and senior officials from 57 Muslim nations, reported AP. Senior Sudanese officials have warned in recent days against what they called attempts by extremists to drag the Muslim world into conflict and of their wish to see the OIC meeting produce resolutions that are acceptable to most member nations.

24: An alleged "unfair" campaign against Islam in the wake of the September 11 attacks and the Middle East crisis will top the agenda of an Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Khartoum reported AFP. Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said the first regular OIC ministerial meeting will deal with "unjust campaign against Islam" since the September 11 attacks on the US.

24: Twenty-four illegal immigrants heading for Saudi Arabia drowned when a storm destroyed their small boat in the Red Sea near the Sudanese port of Sawakin.

25: International donors must provide a swift $6.5 million to ensure the ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains doesn't crumble, the head of an international monitoring mission told Reuters. Norwegian Brigadier-General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen said the government and the SPLA were serious about preserving the U.S.-proposed ceasefire, which brought peace to the war-torn area for the first time in 20 years.

25: Church World Service (CWS), an umbrella group of Christian organisations in the US, has appealed for urgent support for relief efforts to assist thousands of families displaced in Rubkona County, southern Sudan, by government military action in the oil-rich area. CWS said in a statement that it was helping partner organisations in the area to assist some 4,000 families (comprising 3,000 internally displaced and 1,000 host families) around Chotchar and Touc.

25: The European Union (EU) said that it was deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Sudan and demanded unfettered access for aid agencies to civilians affected by the country's civil war. UN officials said at the end of last month that as many as 1.7 million people had been cut off from relief aid since fighting flared in the northeast African nation in late March.

25: President Bashir told Islamic foreign ministers in Khartoum it was the duty of Muslims to back Palestinians in their uprising against Israeli occupation. "Allow me here on your behalf to hail the struggle of the Palestinian people under the leadership of the militant brother President Yasser Arafat, who stands steadfast, in the face of the Zionist aggression, in defence of his homeland, people and territories," Bashir told the OIC meeting of foreign ministers.

25: Sudan revealed plans to create a department to fight terrorism, the Interior Ministry said. The new department will come under the control of the director-general of the Sudanese police force, an arm of the Interior Ministry, said police spokesman Gen. Sayed Al-Hussein. A ministerial decree said a committee of senior police officers would draw up regulations and guidelines for fighting terrorism, Al-Hussein said. They will also decide on the new department's hierarchy.

25: An association of Kenyan and Sudanese church organizations is seeking observer status at the ongoing peace talks between the Khartoum government and the SPLA.

Meeting under the auspices of the newly formed Kenya-Sudan Friendship Society (KSFS), the church leaders described the ongoing peace talks as "political tourism."

26: A leading international aid agency condemned the bombing in Malual Kon by government warplanes and called for greater access to civilians in the war zone. "The IRC strongly condemns Sunday's bombing by the Government of Sudan of a peaceful village in southern Sudan," said a statement by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC said the village is far from the frontlines and is an established centre for relief operations for the UN and other humanitarian agencies including IRC.

26: Three senior members of Sudan's ruling National Congress (NC) resigned from the party complaining power was in the hands of a "small clique", and that their personal efforts to reform it had failed. Two parliament members, Mekki Ali Balayel and Amin Bannani Neo, and Transport Minister Lam Akol Ajawin charged the clique "suppressed" their ideas for reform, they said in a statement distributed at a Khartoum press conference. All three were members of the party's consultative council.

27: Sudanese government planes bombed two church compounds in rebel-held southern Sudan, injuring more than four people, a Roman Catholic group said. The Sudan Catholic Bishops Regional Conference said four bombs struck the residence of Bishop Johnson Akio Mutek, the auxiliary bishop of Torit diocese, in Ikotos, "injuring many people including four Kenyans who are construction workers at St. Joseph Youth Centre." Another 12 bombs were dropped near church schools in Isoke, the group said.

27: Police investigating possible al-Qaida links to recent attacks on Westerners in southern Pakistan arrested eight more suspects late Wednesday, including five foreigners, officials said. In two raids, police detained two Sudanese, three Palestinians and three Pakistanis in the southern city of Karachi and seized items including satellite telephones, computer laptops and computer discs, police said on condition of anonymity.

27: SPLA leader Dr John Garang was challenged to participate directly in talks between Khartoum and the rebel group. The Sudanese Minister for Animal Resources Dr Riek Gai Kok, said that Garang was "the key to ending the conflict in the Sudan and he should take direct responsibility".

27: US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reiterated the Bush administration's opposition to legislation that would bar oil companies operating in Sudan from raising money on US capital markets. "No one finds the events in Sudan more reprehensible than we do," O'Neill told members of the House International Relations Committee. "The reason I don't think (the legislation) is a good idea is that it sets a precedent," O'Neill said, adding that it would be dangerous for Congress to interfere with capital markets.

29: Sudan said 29 abducted Sudanese have been freed and sent to their homes in the civil war-ravaged southern part. Arab tribesmen had abducted the 29, all women and children, in southern Darfur state, western Sudan,, said the Sudanese Commission for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children.

29: Malaysia's state-owned Petronas, one of Talisman Energy Inc.'s joint venture partners in Sudan, said it does not want to buy the Calgary company's stake in the oil project. "We aren't interested in buying Talisman's stake in Sudan, although we hope to expand our acreage and increase production there," said Petronas chairman Hassan Marican. Petronas, along with state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, another joint venture partner, have rights of first refusal to Talisman's 25-per-cent stake in the venture.

30: Government troops have recaptured the town of Gogrial in southern Sudan after two months of fighting with the SPLA, the army said. Armed forces spokesman General Mohamed Bashir Suleiman, in a statement on state-run Omdurman radio, said troops backed by militiamen and mujahedeen volunteer Muslim fighters seized the town. The radio said the town in north Bahr el-Ghazal state had been under SPLA control for more than two years.

30: President Bashir urged the SPLA to work with the government to forge a peace deal based on equal rights for all and respect for different religions in the war-torn country. In a speech marking the 13th anniversary of a coup that brought him to power, Bashir said he hoped ongoing peace negotiations in Nairobi would help end the civil war.

July 1: Nine Sudanese civilians were killed and five seriously wounded when Khartoum bombed a strategic town captured last month by the SPLA, an aid agency official said. "At 10 a.m. (0700 GMT) the government of Sudan bombed Kapoeta," Dan Eiffe, liaison officer at Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), told Reuters in Nairobi. "No SPLA (rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army) military personnel were killed as they were said to be out of the town when the bombing happened. It was carried out by one Antonov plane," he said.

1: Negotiators in peace talks to end the 19-year civil war in Sudan face critical decisions in coming weeks, but a senior US official expressed confidence that the latest "reinvigorated" round is off to a good start. Walter Kansteiner, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, said "some tough specifics" like the nature of self-determination for southern Sudan and a potential transitional government were "a week or so away," after the talks opened June 17 in Machakos outside Nairobi. "Some good stuff has happened; there's actually rapport being built between the two negotiating parties," Kansteiner said after meeting SPLA leader, John Garang and Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi.

2: Sudan has extended for one month an agreement that allows the delivery of UN relief assistance to victims of its 19-year-old civil war in southern Sudan, the independent al-Ayam newspaper reported. The United Nations seeks the consent of the government and the SPLA on a monthly basis for the running of Operation Lifeline Sudan, a programme to deliver humanitarian assistance to both government and rebel-held areas in southern Sudan.

2: President Bashir said his army have joined Uganda's forces in the fight against a Ugandan rebel group based in southern Sudan. In an address on state-television, Bashir said Khartoum was planning and supervising joint-military operations with Uganda against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Analysts said the comments were the first time Sudan had announced it was fighting alongside Ugandans to expel the LRA, although Khartoum had in March allowed Ugandan forces onto its territory to destroy LRA bases.

2: Defence lawyers representing Sudanese opposition leader Hassan Turabi filed a lawsuit seeking his release from house arrest, Sudan's Constitutional Court said. Judge Ali Yehia Abdullah said that the court received the request, but hadn't made a decision or set a hearing date yet. Turabi, aged in his 70s, has been under house arrest in Khartoum since early 2001, when he forged a political alliance with the SPLA.

2: A senior US State Department official held talks with President Bashir and said the Bush administration was "encouraged" by efforts by Sudan and rebel groups to end their civil war. "The willingness of both parties to reach peace has encouraged the administration to carry on with its efforts towards reaching peace in Sudan," Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner told journalists after their meeting in Khartoum.

2: US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that, despite progress toward peace in the south, Sudan has "a way to go" before Washington removes it from its list of "state sponsors of terrorism". Powell was speaking in an interview with CNN after talks in Khartoum between President Bashir and US Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner.

2: India is making a "fateful mistake" by investing in oil in Sudan, warned the SPLA. Last month, the Indian Cabinet voted for the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to invest $750 million in the controversial Sudanese oil project. "No company should get involved in exploration or exploitation of oil in Sudan during this time of war, whether it is Indian, Canadian or Chinese,” said SPLA spokesperson Samson Kwaje.

2: A settlement to the Sudanese civil is unlikely to be achieved any time soon unless the US and Europe exert much stronger pressure urgently, according to a new report by an international think tank that specializes in conflict resolution. In particular, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) is calling on the US Congress to enact the long-pending Sudan Peace Act that includes penalties against foreign oil companies that invest in Sudan's booming but increasingly bloody oil sector.

4: A Sudan Airways cargo plane smashed into a residential district of the Central African Republic capital of Bangui killing around 20 people, witnesses said. The plane had been heading to Congo Republic but made a detour to Bangui because of technical problems and crashed short of the main airport, a source at regional air authority Asecna (Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa) said.

5: The SPLA agreed to an extension of a government ceasefire offer in the Nuba Mountains. An international committee overseeing a six-month renewable ceasefire between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) came into effect in Sudan's Nuba Mountain region in January. The ceasefire's first mandate period will end on July 19, 2002.

6: The head of Sudan's largest northern opposition party declared that he would not enter any separate power sharing arrangement with the government. "We will participate only in a national government or a freely and fairly elected one," UMMA chairman Sadeq al-Mahdi told reporters at a press conference, where he announced the creation of an eight-member committee, under his leadership, to negotiate with the government. Mahdi's statement comes as an implicit rejection of recent negotiations by his cousin, Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi, reportedly aimed at the party's entry into the government.

6: Sudan's army has denied reports that it bombed civilians in Kapoeta, the official SUNA news agency reported. Southern Sudanese Catholic church officials claimed that a government Antonov had bombed the town of Kapoeta killing five and injuring seven. The SPLA confirmed the bombing.

7: A team of US military experts has conducted a technical survey of landmines in different locations in the Nuba Mountains, a Sudanese independent newspaper said. The team, made up of serving US army officers, will prepare and submit to the Sudanese government a report on landmines in the region, local humanitarian aid official Ibrahim Abdel Qadir was quoted by al-Hurriya daily as saying.

8: Britain's special envoy for Sudan has arrived in Khartoum for talks with the government on ending the country's 19-year-old civil war, a senior Sudanese official said. Presidential peace advisor Ghazi Salah Eddin said that Alan Goulty had brought no specific initiative or proposal, but rather intended to acquaint himself with the government's position.

8: The World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser told the Sudanese government to end their policy of political exclusion and social injustice. He described the country’s civil war as a deceptive facade used by Khartoum's government while they actively engaged in exacerbating all kinds of inequalities.

9: More than 150 LRA rebels attacked a refugee camp in northern Uganda, killing six people, including three women and a child, the UN refugee agency said. The rebels attacked Maaji camp, which is home to thousands of Sudanese looting and burning homes, a school and a dispensary, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement. They also attacked an Ugandan army post in the camp killing one soldier.

10: A splinter of the Sudanese opposition UMMA party said it will replace party chairman Sadiq el-Mahdi and consider joining the government. The faction, headed by Mubarak el-Mahdi, Sadiq el-Mahdi's cousin, held a conference to discuss its possible participation in the government and said it will elect a new chairman. Spokesman Ibrahim el-Zahawai said the time has come to embark on the process of reforming and modernizing the party, and accused Umma leaders of failing to represent "the party's conscience" and isolating it from its members.

10: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan began a trip to Sudan with a call for humanitarian access to Sudanese caught up in the conflict. The UN needs approval from the government and the rebel SPLA on a monthly basis to deliver humanitarian aid to areas held by both sides in the south of the country. "We are always concerned and extremely disturbed when we do not have free and unfettered access to those in need," Annan told reporters on arrival at Khartoum airport.

11: Austrian oil and gas group OMV said it was awaiting the results of a independent study of the human rights situation in potentially oil-rich areas of Sudan. OMV is part of a consortium of oil companies led by Swedish oil explorer Lundin Petroleum and including Malaysia's Petronas and Sudan's Sudapet, exploring in Sudan's block 5A. OMV suspended its activities in Sudan in January 2002 after violence escalated and has said it needed assurances that reports the government was using violence to depopulate villages in block 5A in Western Upper Nile and other areas were not true.

11: The head of the International Commission to monitor the agreement signed by the Sudanese government and the SPLA to protect civilians in war zones, arrived to begin his work. Herbert Lloyd, a retired US army general, told reporters he would be heading a team of 20 former soldiers whose duty would be to verify the agreement to protect civilians in the war-ravaged southern Sudan. The team will be split into two. 10 of them would be stationed in Khartoum while the other 10 would be deployed in the rebel- controlled Rumbek town in the south.

12: The UN and Sudan have agreed to resume humanitarian aid assistance to war-torn southern Sudanese provinces, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Sudanese officials said. In a news conference following talks Thursday with President Bashir, Annan said humanitarian workers will be allowed into all but 18 locations in the country's south.

12: A breakaway faction of Sudan's opposition UMMA party said it had replaced Sadiq el-Mahdi, the party's leader, with his cousin and that it planned to join President Bashir's government. In a statement, issued at the end of a three-day conference, the group said Mubarak el-Fadel el-Mahdi was named party chairman and that it has dismissed the party's political and executive committees. Ibrahim el-Zahawi, a spokesman for the breakaway faction, said: "We have decided to join the government in accordance with a program approved by the conference."

12: Swedish oil exploration company Lundin Petroleum said any peace agreement in Sudan would not alter its decision to suspend drilling operations there until the end of this year at the earliest. Lundin said drilling could in any case not resume until December when the dry season begins.

12: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said yesterday that a peace deal between the Sudanese government and the SPLA was likely by the end of next week, given the pace of talks, which started last month in neighbouring Kenya. "Peace is coming soon," Annan said during a three-day visit to Sudan. "I expect an agreement will be reached for ending the war before July 20."

14: The SPLA said it captured a strategic crossroads in the country's war-torn south destroying two Sudanese army formations. "Our forces in a sudden attack ... today captured the strategic Lafon outpost, aborting government preparations to gather its forces in Lafon and launch an attack on the (rebel-held) town of Kapoeta," a faxed statement received by AFP said. Lafon lies at a strategic crossroads connecting Juba, the main government garrison in the south, with roads running north to Bor and east towards the garrison town of Torit, the statement said.

2. Government extends oil pipeline to Port Sudan, reluctant to extend water pipes to the seaport

By Dominic Ladu Hussein

One of Sudan’s important cities, Port Sudan lacks adequate water for its residents. And whatever water is available is only for the rich, residents told AFRICANEWS.

“Port Sudan has been known as an international port that handles both imports and exports. All the governments since independence paid little attention to the problem of drinking water in Port Sudan,” says Albert Ohide, a resident.

The problem of drinking water or lack of clean drinking water in the town usually occurs during the months of July and August, which are hottest months in the country. “These are dangerous months for Port Sudan citizens,” said Ohide. A religious worker who declined to be named, concurs by stripping and showing his back covered with tiny swellings due to too much heat and lack of water for drinking and for taking bath. He said a barrel of water now costs one US dollar.

“But the majority of the people are poor. Most of them earn less than fifty dollars a month. If they spend four dollars a day, in a month they will have spent about 120 US dollars for water alone. That means they will always live beyond their financial capacities,” said the worker.

By the time we went to press, at least three people are reported to have died due to the rising temperatures in the town. Port Sudan’s State Health Minister, Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Abdul Hafez, who ironically lamented, “this year’s heat stroke casualties are less compared to last year’s”, confirmed the deaths. The most affected are the labourers and street vendors.

Located about 1,000 km north east of Khartoum, Port Sudan Sudan’s only seaport with Juba and Kosti as harbours along the Nile River. It boats of a population of more than a million people, plus another half a million internally displaced people residing there having fled various parts of the war-torn southern Sudan. With its location in northern Sudan, it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach as high as 42 degrees centigrade.

Water for the port comes from streams south of the city, but the amounts are insufficient. Matters have been made worse by poor infrastructure, which has translated, to thousands of residents having no access to the precious liquid.

The water is collected during the rainy season and stored in a reservoir before being supplied to the people for sale by tankers. For the reservoir to be filled, it must have rained nine times the previous rainy season. But last year, it rained only twice, less seven rains. “The reservoir is now empty. Many people have resorted to drinking and bathing using the salty Red Sea water,” said one worker.

But what galls the residents is the fact that the government has been able to extend oil pipes right from southern Sudan, some one thousand five hundred kilometres, up to Port Sudan but has failed to extend water pipes from the Nile to the seaport. “The Nile water is nearer to Port Sudan than the crude oil,” observes Ohide.

Part II- Northern Uganda

1. Briefs

June 15: The military offensive by the Ugandan army against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in southern Sudan is forcing its leader, Joseph Kony, to release and allow his non-combatant captives to return to northern Uganda, a senior army official told IRIN. According to Maj. Shaban Bantariza, the director of information in the country’s Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), the pressure of the offensive was forcing Kony to "get rid of his excess baggage", mainly comprising young children and weaker women.

19: The government of Uganda and the rebel Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF-II) signed a formal ceasefire agreement in Yumbe District, northwestern Uganda, with the aim of paving the way for political dialogue in the West Nile region. Minister for Internal Affairs Eriya Kategaya, for the government, and the UNRF-II chairman, Maj-Gen Ali Bamuze, signed the peace agreement in which the parties said they would "mutually and unequivocally" to stop all forms of hostility and belligerence. The agreement followed dialogue between the two sides since 1998 and the announcement in January 2001 of a general amnesty for those rebels who renounced rebellion and surrendered to the Ugandan authorities.

26: A new spate of attacks over the past week by the LRA in northern Uganda on villages, burning huts and abducting people, is producing a new wave of internal displacement and putting a strain on ongoing relief and development work in the region, according humanitarian sources. A humanitarian worker based in the northern town of Gulu told IRIN that "virtually all" NGOs had halted their operations in northern Uganda due to the rise in insecurity. According to this source, all roads linking the northern districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira and Pakwac have become unsafe due to increased rebel activity in the area.

July 3: Twenty-five civil society organisations in Uganda announced the formation of a new coalition aimed at ending insecurity in northern Uganda. The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Peace in Northern Uganda (CSOPNU), as it is known, was formed after members met to express growing concern over the escalating "cycle of violence" in the north. In a statement, the coalition said its mandate was to stimulate debate on some of the causes of the long-running conflict in the north and search for solutions.

5: Calm is steadily returning to northern Uganda where LRA rebels have in recent weeks, stepped up attacks on villages, army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza told IRIN. "For the past four to five days, the mayhem has gone almost to zero. We have now deployed our mobile forces to track them down individually," Bantariza said. He said the attacks - which constitute violence, abductions and the torching of huts, shops and vehicles in parts of northern Uganda - was the LRA's way of causing "mayhem" and creating a "climate of crisis" in the region.

8: The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has said that food security prospects in northern Uganda for this year remain unstable due to continued attacks by LRA rebels.

"The ongoing brutal attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels have grounded all economic activities in outlying areas in the Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts," Edward Kallon, Deputy Country Director for WFP in Uganda, told IRIN. "The residents in outlying areas and IDPs [internally displaced persons] in protected camps in the three districts have very limited or no access to their gardens. People are currently abandoning their homes for big displacement camps or nearby towns," he said.

9: The Ugandan army denied it was "running away" from rebel attacks in the north of the country. Army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza told IRIN the army was still in charge in northern Uganda, where LRA rebels have stepped up attacks on villages and camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). "If we were running away from the camps, thousands of displaced people would have been kidnapped already and there would be no camps," he said. "The rebels would have burnt them all," he said.

10: LRA rebels attacked a refugee settlement in north-western Uganda, killing five refugees and a government soldier, the UN refugee agency reported. "According to available details, a group of LRA rebels, numbering 150 to 200, raided sites 9 and 11 of the Maaji Settlement [in Adjumani District]," UNHCR said in a statement. During the attack on the two camps, the rebels also burned down some 127 houses, five classrooms in a refugee school, and looted the dispensary, UNHCR added.

12: President Yoweri Museveni has agreed to talks with the LRA rebels, but stressed his government was keen to continue to pursue the group and root it out of its bases in southern Sudan, the Ugandan media reported. "I have authorised bishops to talk to them, but in the meantime, I will pursue them," the government-owned 'New Vision' newspaper quoted Museveni as saying.

2. Rebels set northern Uganda ablaze as Museveni refuses to negotiate

By Linda Frommer

The Ugandan army's Operation Iron Fist into southern Sudan to eliminate the rebel child soldiers of the Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has produced a ferocious escalation of the war by the LRA into northern Uganda.

The attacks are concentrated on parish missions and the so-called protected villages, where half a million Acholi people of northern Uganda have been forced to live by the Ugandan government. In the latest attack, on July 8, the LRA burned 312 huts in the protected villages of Wiyanono and Pagak in Gulu district of northern Uganda and killed four soldiers. Another group of seven rebels abducted two local officials and 11 children from Aswa County.

Earlier, on July 1, the rebels struck the Purongo camp, setting huts afire and abducting 11 people. And the week before, 16 rebels, soldiers, and civilians were killed when the LRA struck the town of Patongo in Pader District. In the same district on June 25, the rebels struck a village burning down 45 shops and abducting 45 people. Days before we went to press, an LRA ambush killed a major of the army and three of his escorts in Pader district.

Against such, observers are asking: Where is the UPDF? It is a question heard throughout northern Uganda. The level of insecurity in northern Uganda is now at its highest since the war between the LRA and the Ugandan government of President Museveni began in 1988. According to local leaders, at nightfall local residents leave their homes hoping to find some kind of protection, and often soldiers of the UPDF leave with them. As one leader put it, "The UPDF went into Sudan to hunt for Kony, but the rebels crossed into Uganda. So the UPDF have replaced the LRA in Sudan and the LRA have replaced them in Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader districts."

This is the precise outcome of an operation that Acholi leaders who have been trying to bring about negotiations to bring the LRA out of the bush had predicted. But that is not how Museveni’s military mandarins in Kampala saw the operation when it kicked off in March with the permission of the Sudan government, which had formerly supplied the LRA beginning in 1994.

In the first phase of the operation, which was slated to last only six weeks, the heavily equipped UPDF soldiers engaged in some battles with the LRA, which caused heavy damage to civilians in the area of southern Sudan. Then the UPDF reportedly diverted its operation to aid the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) in its taking of Kapoeta, a key town in southern Sudan. This raises the obvious question: Was this the real intent of Operation Iron Fist?

UPDF military operations had the approval of US Ambassador to Uganda Martin Brennan, who won "approval with conditions" for it from Washington. Reportedly, events have discredited the military operation among high-level officials in the US State Department.

Meanwhile, in northern Uganda, the situation continues to worsen. All roads linking the northern districts have become unsafe and are effectively shut down due to the rebel activity. The World Food Programme reported July 8 that food relief operations of WFP and other NGOs to the northern districts have been virtually shut down by the LRA attacks of the last three weeks. At the same time, residents are leaving their gardens at home and fleeing to the IDP camps. This is no solution as Kony vowed in a letter sent to a local official that he would continue attacking the camps.

It is against such background that the Acholi Parliamentary Group has called on the Museveni government to declare the three northern districts a disaster area. "Acholiland should be declared a disaster area and there should be a massive humanitarian intervention to provide the necessities of life to the displaced people," said the Acholi MPs' statement. "We appeal to the Government and humanitarian agencies like Red Cross, UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF to come to the aid of the people." The legislators point that the operation has utterly failed not only to arrest Kony, but also protect civilians of northern Uganda.

But these legislators are not alone. One July 3, the parliament called upon President Museveni-who has personally rejected a non-military solution to the LRA-to forgive Kony for the sake of the people in the north. A week later, Roman Catholic Archbishop John Baptist Odama and former Anglican Bishop Macleord Ochola met with President Museveni and urged him to declare an amnesty, guarantee the safety of returning rebels, and seek a non-violent end to the war. But so far nothing has come out of these appeals and the LRA, which has no political programme and does not seek political power remains unscathed.

With time seeming not to be on Museveni's side, now could be the time his government ceased any pretence of protecting its territory or people, it must seek negotiations to end the war in northern Uganda.

Part III- Horn of Africa briefs

June 17: Col Abdirazzaq Isaq Bihi, the Somali faction leader who was captured in the border town of Bulo Hawa, southwestern Somalia, has been released, local sources across the border in northeastern Kenya told IRIN. Bihi was captured by forces loyal to the pro-Ethiopian Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) when they overran Bulo Hawa on 15 May. The SRRC is a grouping of southern factions opposed to the Mogadishu-based Transitional National Government (TNG). Bihi was brought to the Kenyan border town of Mandera where he was handed over to local elders. A Somali elder said that the Kenyan authorities in Mandera had participated in facilitating Bihi's release.

17: Ethiopia is determined to strengthen its ties with the Arab world, the government said. A statement issued by the information ministry said there were numerous economic opportunities that could be exploited by investors and the governments of Ethiopia and the Arab world. “These relations are no doubt essential to promote our national interest of peace, democratisation and rapid sustainable development,” the statement said.

18: Twenty people were killed in inter-clan fighting in the Middle Shabelle Region of south-central Somalia, sources in the regional capital Jowhar told IRIN. The fighting broke out after forces of the self-styled governor of Middle Shabelle, Muhammad Umar Habeb, who belongs to the Warsangeli sub-clan, attacked positions of forces loyal to Dahir Dayah, the interior minister of the Transitional National Government (TNG). The minister is a member of the Agon Yar sub-clan, which like the Warsengeli, belongs to the main Abgal clan that dominates the Middle Shabelle region. 19: The United Nations Security Council expressed deep concern over the humanitarian situation in Somalia following fighting in the south of the country. In a press statement, the Council called on all Somali parties to fulfil their obligation to guarantee safe access to relief agencies and their personnel. The Council made the call after a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Somalia by the UN's Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Carolyn McAskie. The Council’s statement noted that members were particularly worried about the situation in northern parts of the Gedo Region, southwestern Somalia.

24: At a press conference in Addis Ababa on Monday Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin and his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi pledged to cooperate in trying and achieve peace in war-ravaged Somalia and southern Sudan. Both said peace in the two countries was vital to ensure stability in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin said Ethiopia and Iran were committed to "cooperate and consult" to bring about stability in the region.

24: Relations between Djibouti and the self- declared independent state of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia, are set to improve following a three-day visit to Djibouti by the Somaliland interim president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, a Djibouti official told IRIN on Monday. The official said the two sides had reached agreement to iron out any differences between "the two brotherly peoples". The provisions of the agreement include ending hostile propaganda by both sides, reopening the common border and "allowing traders from both sides to freely conduct their businesses", according to the official.

24: The Transitional National Government (TNG) in Somalia will attend the proposed Nairobi Somali reconciliation conference, to be held under the auspices of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a senior TNG official told IRIN on Monday. Abdirahman Ibbi, the TNG's Minister of Information, denied reports that the TNG was reluctant to participate in the conference. "We are ready to attend the conference whenever and wherever it is held," he said.

25: Ethiopia backed the Arab League in its move to attend the forthcoming Somali peace talks. Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin expressed support for the League's wish to participate in the reconciliation conference, due to be held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. This transpired after Amr Musa, Secretary- General of the Arab League, called on Somali warlords to lay down their weapons and fight for peace during a one-day visit to Ethiopia. "The well-being and stability of the Horn of Africa is an important element in the stability and security of the rest of Africa and the Middle East, and the Arab world in particular," Musa told a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

26: The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has claimed responsibility for a bomb blast in the eastern Ethiopian town of Dire Dawa, an OLF spokesman told IRIN. The small bomb had exploded in a building in the town belonging to the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, AFP reported on Tuesday. Quoting the national radio, AFP said the building had been slightly damaged, but there were no injuries.

26: The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has transferred up to 1,043 Somali refugees, who have been stranded for weeks in the northeastern Kenyan border town of Mandera, to the Dadaab refugee camp 500 km to the south. The refugees are part of a group of 10,000 who fled inter-clan fighting in the Somali town of Bulo Hawa near the border with Kenya starting in April, and have been camped in and around Mandera under difficult conditions.

July 1: Ethiopia and Eritrea are to meet at a key summit which should “set the pace” for the peace process, the United Nations said. The two countries, which fought a bitter two-year war, are due to meet in The Hague later this month where the crucial border ruling over their disputed boundary was first announced. The conference at the Ethio-Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC) will aim to thrash out the complex physical demarcation of the 1,000-kilometre border. It is the second time Ethiopia and Eritrea have met in The Hague since the border decision was announced on 13 April.

1: The Transitional National Government (TNG) of Somalia has called for the deployment of foreign troops to disarm and demobilise armed militias, TNG Information Minister Abdirahman Ibbi told IRIN. The decision to call for foreign troops was reached by the Council of Ministers, and was ratified by the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), he said. "Somalia is asking for the same kind of assistance, in both military and financial terms, that countries with similar problems, such as Sierra Leone and Bosnia, received from the international community."

1: Fighting broke out in the town of Baidoa between different members of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA), which controls the area, local sources told IRIN. Tension has been rising in the town as a result of a deepening split within the senior ranks of the RRA, which controls much of the Bay and Bakol regions of southwestern Somalia. The split originates from differences between the RRA chairman, Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud, and his two deputies, Shaykh Adan Madobe and Muhammad Ibrahim Habsade, the sources said. The fighting started when forces loyal to Shaykh Adan and Habsade tried to forcibly take possession of the main police station, which is also the customs compound where taxes and customs duties are collected, from Shatigadud loyalists.

2: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged the various sides in Somalia not to let their differences prevent the attainment of a peace settlement. In a report to the Security Council, he noted that the regional peace effort for Somalia was currently at an impasse because of differences on how to proceed with national reconciliation. "Such differences will only complicate the already difficult task of peacemaking," Annan said in his report.

4: Fresh fighting erupted in the town of Baidoa in which at least 20 people were killed, local sources told IRIN. The fighting between two factions of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA), which controls much of the Bay and Bakol regions of southwestern Somalia.

4: The Ethiopian government claims it has crushed Oromo rebels "trying to launch a guerrilla war" in the west of the country, allegations rejected by the rebels as "false propaganda". In a statement, the Ethiopian information ministry said a battalion of the rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was wiped out around Dembi Dolo, near Gambela, with the help of area residents and militias.

5: The rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) denied claims by the Ethiopian army that it had "completely annihilated" separatist forces in the west of the country. "This is not the first time the Ethiopians have claimed total victory against our forces," OLF spokesman Lencho Bati told IRIN. "Our forces are intact." He admitted that OLF troops had sustained casualties in the fighting which has been raging in the Gambela region for the past two months when the OLF launched an offensive in the area.

8: After days of heavy fighting, a ceasefire was announced in the southern town of Baidoa appears to be holding with no violations reported, local sources told IRIN. A mediation committee led by a prominent businessman, Ali Margus, and former minister, Ambassador Sharif Salah, who is an influential Rahanweyn personality, reportedly arranged the ceasefire.

10: The UN Security Council confirmed that the planned Somali peace talks to be held under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, are now scheduled to take place in September. The Council's current president, Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, said the Council, which is to consider a draft resolution on Somalia this week, "has discussed the prospects of the conference in Nairobi". 10: The warring sides in the southern town of Baidoa have officially signed a ceasefire document, local sources told IRIN. They said both sides have observed the ceasefire, which was arranged by a mediation committee and announced over the weekend,, even before it was officially signed.

15: Tension is rising in the disputed Sool region of the self-declared republic of Somaliland as forces of Somaliland and those of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland deploy in the area, a local journalist told IRIN. Abdinasir Mire Adan of the Bosaso-based Radio Midnimo (Puntland) said the Somaliland authorities had deployed a force of 450 men at the village of Yagori, some 60km north of the Sool regional capital, Las Anood.The region which falls geographically within the borders of the former British Somaliland, but where most of the clans are associated with Puntland, is claimed by both Puntland and Somaliland.

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