Sudan’s Bashir Seeks Women’s Help in Arms Collection Campaign

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir

Khartoum– Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir warned against refusing to voluntarily surrendering weapons, in a campaign to collect arms from tribes in war-torn Darfur.

Bashir also urged women in Darfur to help in the campaign, asking them to prevent their husbands and children from hiding the weapons they have.

Speaking at a rally in Niyala, South Darfur, Bahsir said: “Enough is enough. We will implement the rule of law in the region and weapons will only be carried by regular forces.”

Earlier in July, the president pressed on with a government campaign to collect arms from tribes and combat arms proliferation in Darfur.

The campaign was mocked by the central government in Khartoum, however, observers believe the campaign overlooked the real reasons behind collecting the weapons. They see that the situation now is not suitable for citizens to relinquish weapons they attained from the government or following conflicts in nearby countries.

Conflicts in Sudan have killed about 300,000 people and displaced more than 2,5 million, most of which are stuck in large camps, according to the United Nations. However, the Sudanese government believes the reasons behind the displacement had ceasedto be and the security situation in the country improved.

Bashir is touring the region ahead of a United States’ decision on October 12 on whether to permanently lift a decades-old trade embargo on Sudan.

Before arriving in South Darfur, Bashir told rally attendees in West Darfur: “We are asking people to surrender their arms voluntarily. Some are giving up their weapons but others are keeping them.”

He warned that the government will take the arms that had not been surrendered.

“By the end of this year, no civilians will be permitted to carry arms throughout the entire Darfur region,” he said.

Bashir pledged to restore and maintain security in the region. He said the government is capable of reinstating stability in the region, adding that the rebels are responsible for halting reconstruction works.

“Security is the starting point of any development. You, the people of Darfur, give us security; we will give you development,” he said.

He pledged imposition of state authority legalizing the unlicensed cars and completion of development and service projects, announcing providing the State with three excavators as part of Zero Thirst Program to solve problem of water in the West Darfur State.

In related news, Sudanese foreign ministry stated that the Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour led the country’s delegation to the UN General Assembly. The statement issued mentioned that the minister participated in a special session on immigration and refugees organized by the Italian delegation to UN.

The statement also said that the minister spoke at that session along with the foreign ministers of Italy, Tunisia, Niger, and Uganda as well as members of the civil society. They discussed means to help refugees and displaced citizens.

The head of the Sudanese delegation presented the role of the government to contain the problem and cooperate with the regional and international community to overcome this crisis. He also lauded the role of Italy in this matter, pointing that Sudan continues to follow an open door policy to contain the refugees.

Sudan, Egypt Agree to Resolve Pending Matters

Sisi

Khartoum – Egypt and Sudan agreed on Thursday not to support opposition groups working against their respective governments, during a meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers.

Relations between neighbors Cairo and Khartoum have seen some tension over the past few months, which led Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to threaten to refer the issue of the disputed “Halayeb triangle” to the United Nations, accusing Egypt of supporting Sudanese opposition figures.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry: “We will not allow any Egyptian opposition group to carry out negative activities from Sudanese territory.”

The two ministers also agreed to refer the issue of “Halayeb triangle” to their countries’ presidents, and underlined the importance of boosting bilateral ties.

“It is important… to prevent opposition groups from our countries, especially armed groups, from carrying out negative activities against both countries,” Ghandour said.

Shoukry, for his part, vowed that Cairo would work “hand in hand” to boost relations between the two countries.

“The rise in regional and international terrorist activities has increased the importance of cooperation with our Sudanese brothers to face these challenges,” Shoukry said.

He reiterated Egypt’s keenness to develop its relations with Sudan, underlining the importance to hold political consultations in order to exchange viewpoints and maintain coordination on regional and international matters.

Shoukry also said that he transmitted a verbal letter from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the Sudanese president, stressing the leader’s commitment to a strategic relationship between the two countries.

The Egyptian foreign minister acknowledged the presence of some tension between the neighboring countries, noting in this regard: “Sometimes, some issues require communication to resolve any problem or misunderstanding, because this relation should always be based on mutual respect and appreciation.”

Sudan: SPLM Releases 125 Prisoners of War

People who fled fighting in South Sudan are seen walking at sunset on arrival at Bidi Bidi refugee resettlement camp near the border with South Sudan, in Yumbe district, northern Uganda December 7, 2016.

Khartoum, London – Sudan People’s Liberation Movement announced it has freed 132 prisoners of war it had captured while fighting with government forces in Blue Nile and South Kordofan in 2011. Sudanese army said that only 125 persons have been freed, but it didn’t announce anything concerning the remaining seven.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the transport and release operations.

Museveni conducted the necessary contacts with Sudan and South Sudan to enable the ICRC transfer prisoners to Uganda via external crossings.

Reform and Renaissance Initiative (Saehoon) welcomed the progress describing it as a brave step. The group hoped this will continue until all captives have been released.

The released prisoners are expected to arrive in Khartoum soon after their transfer from Blue Nile and South Kordofan where they met with president Museveni.

ICRC is expected to release a statement later on to explain the process that led to the release.

SPLM Sudan Spokesperson of Peace File Mubarak Ardol issued a statement, of which Asharq al-Awsat obtained a copy, saying that the leadership of SPLM wanted to show good faith in releasing the 132 prisoners.

He announced that the movement decided to liberate the men after deliberation between its chairman Malik Agar, vice chairman Abdulaziz el-Hillu, sec-gen Yasir Arman, and Commander Mekwar Jagoud.

Ardol praised the role of Ugandan President in effectively making the necessary calls between Sudan and South Sudan to ensure the release is done with approval of all parties.

Also, Ardol renewed his movement’s readiness to respond to any invitation from the African Union High Implementation Panel (UNHIP) to resolve the humanitarian crisis.

He reiterated the movement’s position to give priority to resolving the humanitarian issue and separate it from any political agenda.

Speaking to AFP, SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman described the prisoners’ release as a humanitarian gesture of goodwill, “to bring happiness to their families”.

Sudanese army recognized this as a positive step towards achieving peace in the country.

While the ICRC said 125 people had been freed, Sudanese military spokesman Brigadier Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami put the number at 127, including 109 soldiers and 18 civilians.

Mohamed Saied Hassan of the Sudanese foreign ministry thanked the Ugandan president and government for mediating the release saying: “This operation paves the way for more cooperation between the two countries.”

Reform and Renaissance Initiative issued a statement welcoming the step and thanking all parties that ensured the successful completion of the release.

The group hoped this would rebuild trust and peace in the country where everyone can exist freely and peacefully.

In 2014, SPLM agreed to release 20 prisoners who were all gathered in South Kordofan as a good gesture for Saehoon, but the process failed.

ICRC postponed the operation because it wasn’t able to attain approval for landing and takeoff in Asosa, Ethiopia.