December 23, 2010

Kuwait signs agreements with Sudan

As a follow-up to the recent Donor and Investment Conference, government officials met in Khartoum on Tuesday December 21, 2010, and 11 agreements were signed between Kuwait and Sudan.

The Kuwaiti deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs launched the Joint Sudanese Kuwaiti Ministerial Committee when they met with Sudanese President Bashir, and the Sudan foreign minister, Ali Karti.

Agreements included an $80 million contribution toward the construction of the Atbara Sitate River Dam. Additional agreements were signed in areas of youth and sport, culture and arts, investment, education, security, mutual accreditation of national maritime certificates, commercial cooperation, animal and fish resources, information  and agricultural cooperation.>

Here's the article.

also located here

UPDATE: Dec 24. Comments by Ali Karti noted: 

UPDATE: April 30, 2011 Agreement approved by Sudan government for $175 million
"The cabinet also approved a 175 million dollars agreement to fund the establishment of Upper Atbara and Setite Dams.

December 19, 2010

Sharia law in the north?

President Bashir was reported by the BBC as planning to increase the Islamic role in society in Northern Sudan, should the south choose to separate in the upcoming referendum.

"Mr Bashir said the constitution would then be changed, making Islam the only religion, Sharia the only law and Arabic the only official language."

Read the whole article.

Beja style sticks

A discussion active on a weapons forum looks at various Beja sticks.

December 15, 2010

Smuggling people through Beja territory

In this interesting article, the author outlines a disturbing story. Young women are kidnapped in Eritrea and perhaps Ethiopia, transported north through Sudan, to Egypt, and across the Sinai peninsula to Suadi Arabia where they are sold for $2000 to work as housemaids.

The Rashaida tribe are implicated as the perpetrators of these activities. A number of links provide circumstantial evidence.

December 14, 2010

US Envoy Scott Gration interviewed

"A greater share of the pie."

The United States of America has a Department of State, responsible for international affairs. One of the people assigned to Sudan is a special envoy, Mr. Scott Gration. He is currently visiting Sudan, and he held a press conference over the telephone, the transcript of the questions and answers is on the internet. (The photo above is from another event.)

Mr Gration answered a question about possible future of Sudan. If the south separates, perhaps the east and the west will also separate?

MR. GRATION: "We are working hard with other members of the international community to ensure that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is implemented fully. And when that happens, it gives the people of the South an opportunity to choose their future, whether they’ll be united with the North or a separate country. There is no other process in Sudan that would – that I know of that would result in separate countries or a federalized system.

"The fact is I believe that the Sudanese Government here in Khartoum needs to work very hard to ensure that the people of Darfur are integrated fully into the North and that the Beja people and the people of Port Sudan in that region, the eastern peaks of Sudan, are integrated fully. And this is why the negotiations in Darfur – I mean, and in Doha are so important, because they lay out a future that includes power sharing, that includes well sharing, so that these regions get a greater share of the pie, and they include other issues that will actually unite the north in a way that listens to the needs of the people and does what a responsible government should do, which is to provide those public sector services, build infrastructure, and that will allow people to continue their lives with prosperity and dignity and human rights."

No mention was made in this interview of the recent Donors and Investment Conference in Kuwait.

December 7, 2010

Joint oversight commission formed

On December 21, officials from Kuwait and Sudan will sign agreements at the first joint technical ministerial commission meeting. Deals in investment on land transport, fine arts, culture and information, animal resources and trade will be signed, as a follow-up to the Donor and Investment Conference.

UPDATE: President Bashir gets on board with this coordinating effort after a briefing by his assistant, the (former?) Beja Congress leader Musa Mohamed Ahmed.

More reviews of the conference

News sources are picking up the story, but the articles are mostly reprints...


The Daily Star in Lebanon.

International development news agency Devex .

The cabinet is briefed on the conference

President Bashir calls Kuwait to say thank you for hosting the conference, reported in SudanVision.

A journalist based in Saudi Arabia uses a Koranic verse to encourage the giving of thanks. He then expresses gratitude to two of the key donors at the conference.

A Sudanese site reporting government activities describes the conference results.

BUT the United Nations Development Programme has a good press release worth reading for a full picture.

Presidential assistant and conference organizer Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail likes Germany.

The Arab Times identifies various amounts of pledges.

Egypt's leading newspaper Al-Ahram is now on the internet - from November 26, 2010. Ahram Online published a review of the conference.

Qatar Tribune

December 3, 2010

Christians pray for Sudan on December 5

From around the world, thousands of Christians will be praying for Sudan on Sunday. December 5 has been designated the "International Day of Prayer for Sudan." It's oriented toward praying for the referendum coming up in January.
Read the short prayer promotional page.

Also, south Sudan leaders have called for 40 days of prayer beginning on December 1. This will lead up and end on the day of voting on January 9, 2011.
President Kiir attended the opening session. Read more about the "season of prayer".

More conference reviews

Sudan's presidential assistant Musa Mohammad Ahmed addresses the opening session of the international donors and investors meeting for the development of east Sudan, in Kuwait City, on December 1, 2010.

 In Kuwait, an article covers the main points. Worth reading, since it's longer than most of the others linked below.

A few notes about the content of Musa Ahmed's speech to the conference.

A cynical review by a Beja man on his blog.  The English looks like an automatic translation from Arabic.

From China. They say they attach importance to the traditional friendship with Sudan, but the reality is often that they don't bother to hire local labour to help them with their projects.

From England. The BBC writes up an article full of generalities, and short on facts.

The excellent review article by James Calderwood, published in the National, out of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Just three sentences from Bikyamasr, based in Egypt. And the developing online paper [it's in beta testing], the Daily News Egypt dot com has a bigger write up.

KippReport is an online Middle East business magazine. They had a little item.

In Sudan, the United Nations Mission in Sudan [UNMIS] noted Kuwait's $500 million gift on their media source /

MORE: Qatar media offers a wrap-up, with a view on expected returns on investment.

Iran news had a lead-up article.

An Iranian students news service notes that additional political connections were enhanced at the conference, in this case, between Iran and Syria. Tunisia connected with Kuwait.

Sudan Vision posts a review online on Saturday, December 4. And an editorial that is gushy in its happy review.

The United Nations has an Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The OCHA has a news website. A small article was written at Relief Web; the site is worth exploring for information on aid efforts after worldwide disasters and such.

The United Arab Emirates News Service published a bulletin.

Haris Silajdzic, the outgoing chairman of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina offers Bosnian help to Kuwait for their work in east Sudan.

Reuters Africa. The Voice of AmericaBloomberg News.

Google News references 24 articles.

Excellent review of conference

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (R) sit together during the opening session of the international donors and investors meeting for the development of east Sudan, in Kuwait City, on December 1, 2010, as reported in the IndiaTimes.

A conference in Kuwait aimed at raising money for the impoverished region of East Sudan secured more than US$3.5 billion (Dh12.9bn) in pledges, officials said yesterday, while some [Beja] participants raised concerns that the money would be misspent.

James Calderwood captures the main themes of the conference in this short article.

December 2, 2010


Good morning

Mr Chairman, excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Like others I would like to congratulate the government of Kuwait and the Government of Sudan for organizing this very important conference.

As this conference has highlighted, eastern Sudan has high potential but is a neglected area with extremely poor   development indicators.

Regional development will enhance the livelihoods of the local population, diversify and increase the national economy, and strengthen regional trade.

USAID has provided almost $10 million annually for the east through the UN international organizations as well as Sudanese NGOs, providing food security, water, sanitation and also demining assistance.

Agriculture is clearly a key driver for development in the east.

Once Sudan's granary, much of the east has strong potential to improve subsistence agriculture and
export oriented agriculture.

We believe that agriculture in the east could serve as one of the most important foundations for building sustainable livelihoods especially for women, for the region and potentially providing substantial agricultural
exports destined for east african and middle eastern markets.

In the 1980s USAID was the largest donor in Sudan providing assistance for the agriculture sector.

Given the right circumstances, we would look to again expand our assistance in agriculture again including in the east.

Like others we are encouraged by the recent announcement from the government lifting travel restrictions in the east and we look forward to getting out there as quickly as we can.

In conclusion USAID is pleased and honoured to be able participate with all of you in this important conference
and to hear from the many interested public- and private-sector partners especially those from the arab world.

The United States encourages Arab partners to play a leading role in assisting all parts of Sudan - including the east, in the post-CPA period.

The USA charges d'affair in Sudan visited eastern Sudan just a few weeks ago, as we heard from his Canadian colleague, and USAid plans to send technical teams soon with our government colleagues.

Like others we would  encourage the government of Sudan to organize an ongoing coordinating form in Khartoum  for recovery and development programs in the east as follow up to this important conference.

We look forward to engaging in this process to the fullest extent possible

Thank you.

Closing Session - Part 1. Starting 4:30 mark.

December 1, 2010

What Canada said

Mr. President, thank you very much.

I want also to express our appreciation for the organization of this conference by the Government of Kuwait and also to give our congratulations to all participants because a good conference is also the conference of the participants.

Canada also welcomes strongly the new policy established by the Government of Sudan to allow visiting the east Sudan without requiring any permits.

I had the pleasure to visit two states last week, and congratulate personally two of the Governors, and to  congratulate also the third governor, the governor of Port Sudan this morning.

That will a great advantage for any of us to increase our contributions in the east Sudan.

Canada has an approach of all of Sudan in cooperations since the first conference of 2005 in Olso.

Canada has a full commitment to $100 million a year in cooperation with Sudan and that will continue with the same level of commitment over the next few years.

We have already projects in the east of Sudan in the order of $6 million a year.

Projects in the [areas] of DDR,  (for the demobilization) and also land mines, education, health and water.

We work also very closely with many of our sisters trying to focus on the development of women in the east Sudan.

In the next future we expect then we will be able to invest a maybe a litttle bit more again. In the east Sudan we have a new project, but the average is $6 million a year, with a strong commitment to eventually do more for east Sudan.

Transcribed from Session 1, 74 minute mark.

Conference Pledges

Kuwait: $500 million dollars
Iran: $200 million dollars.
European Union: 24 million euros
Italy: 30 million euros
Spain: 15 million euros "this year alone"
Qatar: huge investment [amount not given]
Sudan: $1.572 billion, includes about $500 million already promised.
Norway: $5 million new money
South Africa: $150,000
Turkey: rehabilitation of Ottoman Customs House at Suakin
China: $23 million dollars
Britain: $70 million [£45m]
Canada: $6 million "a year", as usual
Sweden, Brazil, Belgium, Turkey: Already active, no new money.

Arab Investment Guarantee Organization: $ 300 million
UNHCR: $45 million over 3 years (new money)
Islamic Development Bank: $200 million ($250 million?)
Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development: $210 million
Abu Dhabi Investment Fund: [donation amount not yet determined]
Turkish State Fund: [donatiaon amount not yet determined]

More than 600 representatives of 39 countries, 28 international organisations and 73 non-governmental organisations are attending the two-day Donor Conference hosted by Kuwait.

Partially sourced from google news:

November 30, 2010

Conference Details

The International Donors and Investors Conference for East Sudan, takes place in Kuwait.

Visit the conference site.

Download the agenda. One page

Get the project list. 119 pages, 644 kb.

UPDATE: December 1. Some video has been uploaded at the site.

November 28, 2010

Khartoum celebration before Donor Conference

Khartoum, Nov. 27 (SUNA)ali osman - suna 

Vice-President of the Republic Ali Osman Mohamed Taha in the presence of Mr. Musa Mohamed Ahmed, Assistant of the President of the Republic, Dr. Mustafa Osman adviser of the President , Engineer Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid Minister of Interior and the leaders and citizens from eastern Sudan in the national capital attended the evening celebration of heritage and development

The celebration was organized by the members from eastern Sudan in the national theater in Omdurman in anticipation for the convention of the Donors Conference in Kuwait scheduled for the first and second of December. Assistant of the President of the Republic Ustaz Musa Mohamed Ahmed has described the Eastern Sudan PeaceAgreement as an example of the Sudanese Sudanese dialogue, praising in the same time the close follow-up by the President of the Republic beside Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha presiding the high committee for the implementation of the agreement. 

The Assistant of the President of the Republic commended the internal and external efforts exerted by Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Advisor of the President and the official of Eastern Sudan file in order to prepare for this conference in addition to the Eritrean leadership and people cooperation , he added that the Eastern Sudan Development and Construction Fund made a great effort since its inception, particularly in the field of service delivery and infrastructure, which helped to meet the needs of the people of eastern Sudan. He said that the agreement has created chances for international cooperation with countries, organizations and partnerships in the field of investment which lead to the donor conference for Eastern Sudan to be held in Kuwait next December. 

Ustaz Musa Mohamed Ahmed called upon the investors and donors to respond to the aspirations of the people of Eastern Sudan in progress and development, stressing that Kuwait's hosting of the Conference had not been surprising where their contributions to the ongoing development of the East did not stop. He also praised distinctive role played by the United Nations Development Programme for the preparations made for the donor conference.

Sourced  from: SUNA

November 22, 2010

Donor Conference - coming up

A Netherlands based media source has a small article about the coming conference in Kuwait. They note that over 50 countries and agencies will be there, and that projects valued at 4.2 billion dollars are to be looked at.

UPDATE: November 25. Preparatory meetings between the various nations attending have been held in Khartoum. Representatives from the Governments of United States, Great Britain, European Union, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Turkey, France, Canada, Sweden, Japan and South Korea attended today’s consultation. Additionally, travel restrictions in the eastern region of the country have been removed.

UPDATE: November 28. Hopes are up that many organizations will participate.
UPDATE: November 30. The Conference begins tomorrow. Kuwait will be hosting the donors and investors conference for East Sudan on December first with the event held under the auspices of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

UPDATE: November 30. A French News agency provides a good description of the conference.

UPDATE: December 1. Info from a Sudanese media source. The conference seeks to focus on the need of the area of eastern Sudan for investment opportunities , and aims to attract funds and investments that will contribute to the common interest of all parties in reconstruction, rehabilitation and development of eastern Sudan. A conference organizer, Dr. Mustafa Osman Isamil, spoke at a press conference last week.

UPDATE: Found on January 1, but written December 2, describing the hopes of various Kuwait officials before the conference.

November 20, 2010

Training Pastoralists in Kassala State

A pilot project was held in October 2008 by PENHA, the FAO, the United Nations and Oxfam Netherlands.

About 30 pastoralists were introduced to new feeding techniques. By closely chopping mesquite pods, sorghum and sesame cake, along with urea and molasses, the animal's diets could be improved. Results showed increased milk yields and better animal health and weight. Participants were given hand operated table size choppers.

November 1, 2010

Donor Conference a month away

Various Arab-based organizations and Middle Eastern nations will gather in Kuwait in early December to examine ways and means to support Sudan's efforts to implement the Eastern Peace Agreement. This will enable development programs in health and education to move ahead.

Some Beja fear being marginalized again because the donor groups are not Beja. The Rashaida tribe lives in the same region, but without rights to land. They have Arabic roots, having migrated into Egypt in the mid 1800's, and south into Bejaland through the 1900's. The Beja fear is that Arab- based donors will assist their distant cousins the Rashaida, at the expense of the Beja. will search out results from the Donor Conference and publish them here as they become available.

UPDATE: For a discussion and comments about the conference, look at

October 24, 2010

Sudan makes donation for Eritrean nomads

Under an agreement about education between Sudan and Eritrea, Sudan has given resources to help Eritrean nomads.

Items included "a full set of educational material to 1,000 students, 50 mobile solar energy devices and 30 tents for conducting classes in areas inhabited by nationals leading a nomadic pattern of life."


October 14, 2010

Anniversary of ESPA signing

The Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement was signed on October 14, 2006, four years ago.

UN Food group report - selections

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently released their "Plan of Action for North Sudan - August 2010 - 2012."

The 122 page report analyses and estimates near future conditions for food security, climate and economic conditions. It offers response plans and programs, some risk analysis and ideas for evaluating the UN efforts to provide help for farmers and the food industry.

Here are a few selections that highlight East Sudan.

OVERVIEW. In Eastern Sudan, ecological, political and economic factors have contributed to the recurrence of food security crises and, therefore, the vulnerability of rural families. Drought, floods and the aftermath of conflicts have decimated pastures, livestock herds, and crop production systems. Consecutive natural disasters (particularly poor and unreliable rainfall), declining agricultural production, limited economic opportunities and reduced livestock production and productivity have all contributed to chronic vulnerability. the continued presence of about 66 500 refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the ongoing disarmament and demobilization process for ex-combatants have further exacerbated the situation in the region. FAO has implemented interventions mainly in two states (Kassala and Red Sea), with Gedaref recently receiving assistance owing to the DDR process and livestock migrations from Kassala that are linked to fodder shortages.

UNDERNUTRITION The Sudan has some of the highest prevalence rates of under-nutrition. According to national estimates, 31 percent of children under five are underweight, 14 percent are wasted and 32.5 percent are stunted. These figures hide significant regional and seasonal variations. The prevalence of moderately underweight children is estimated at 38.4 percent in Kassala, 39.6 percent in North Darfur and 19 percent in Red Sea state. In Eastern Sudan, wasting among children ranged from 19.7 to 30.8 percent in different localities. Localized surveys on micro-nutrient status report that night blindness caused by Vitamin A deficiency ranges from less than 1 to 4.8 percent. Under-nutrition not only increases vulnerability to disease and death, it diminishes learning capacity and productivity, locking vulnerable households into a cycle of poverty and undermining sustainable livelihoods.

SEEDS. The lessons learned during the implementation of the DDR project in Eastern Sudan (Kassala state) are being applied in the implementation of DDR projects in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. In these, community participation (committees) for seed collection and distribution were vital to improve seed distribution mechanisms. The FAO hs patnered with the World Food Program to ensure that seeds for planting next year are not eaten this year. A monitoring program has been designed ofr East Sudan.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY In Eastern Sudan, there has been a significant drop in the number of traditional healers since the training of Community Animal Health Workers started in 2007. This is attributed to the effectiveness of treatment being provided by CAHWs as well as the growing awareness of their importance among livestock keepers. Herders have increased their herd size and started diversifying the types of animals they raise.

FAO ACTIVITIES In Eastern Sudan, FAO has been involved in the implementation of environment-related activities such as the production, distribution and planting of tree seedlings, production and distribution of fuel-efficient stoves, construction/rehabilitation of water points and pastures along migratory routes, and fencing of rehabilitated rangeland to restore and protect the degraded environment.

Other activities will include promoting water harvesting, rain roof catchment and shallow well construction and development. In addition, activities will support rangeland management and improvement practices, working with the nomadic and pastoralist communities, and will involve pasture development, awareness and sensitization of these communities on destocking and diversification of livestock management in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and resource depletion to support the existing livestock population. [Darfur only?]

The overall FAO budget is about $45 million US.

Download the pdf from here

September 29, 2010

Cross-border highway near Kassala upgraded

Kassala - SUNA
The Presidential Advisor, Dr.Mustafa Osman Ismail, will inspect Wednesday, during his two-day visit to Kassala State, the progress of work on the 26-kilometer Kassala-Al-Lafa highway linking Sudan with Eritrea, which will be inaugurated by the President of the Republic, Omer Al Bashir during his expected visit to Kassala State in the presence of the Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki.

Dr. Ismail will also visit Al-Lafa model village which is established with the support of the Qatari government for maintaining stability in the area and providing housing for the war-affected people. 

September 22, 2010

Sudan Arab Ministerial Cte meets

Eastern Sudan was a key topic at a meeting where members addressed other items such as the state of Somalia, and the need for development in the south to ensure Sudanese unity.

The Arab Ministerial Committee on the Sudan has welcomed the initiative of Kuwait for hosting an international conference for the reconstruction and development of eastern Sudan, on the first and second of December and the efforts exerted by the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Social and Economic Development. 

Convening at the Arab League (AL) Premises under the chairmanship of the league Secretary-General, Amr Moussa the country welcomes the “the efforts of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and United Nations Development Programme in this regard.”

In the statement it issued after its meeting of the day before, the committee praised the efforts devoted by the Islamic Bank for Development, Jeddah and the UNDP in cooperation and coordination with the Government of the Sudan for the perfect preparation for the conference. It further urged the Arab States,  financial funds, commerce chambers and non-governmental organizations for positive participation in the conference and contribution to economic, reconstruction, development, poverty control, and provision of basic services in Eastern Sudan.

The committee stressed the importance of the AL positive and constructive contribution to these efforts through international and recently established mechanisms in whose activities it participates.

The entire article is here

September 6, 2010

Tokar flooded - July

tFollowing serious July flooding in the Tokar region of Red Sea State in north eastern Sudan, the Minister of Social Affairs requested support from a number of different NGO agencies, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

MSF already had teams providing healthcare in the Red Sea State. Altogether they have over 2400 staff  in Sudan.

Many families in the Tokar region were affected by heavy flooding in mid-July which destroyed homes and water sources. In the immediate aftermath the Ministry of Health addressed the most urgent medical needs and distributed relief items. However, with flood-affected people still in need of further assistance, help was requested from various agencies.

MSF donated 200 emergency kits to a special shipment of supplies that was sent by boat to the affected area at the end of August.

September 2, 2010

Kuwait Donor Conference plans

Khartoum - Zuleikha Abdul Raziq
The Presidential Advisor, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, has affirmed that east Sudan obtains tremendous wealth and potentialities that can make a change and a qualitative shift if they are exploited.

Addressing a meeting for briefing on the ongoing preparations for the Donors' conference for East Sudan, scheduled for next November in Kuwait, Dr. Ismail lauded East Sudan Agreement which focused on the development and stability of east Sudan.

He said that all the arrangements were finalized for establishment of the projects through funding from the donors in the fields of services development.

The Director General of East Sudan Development Fund, Engineer Abu-Obieda Duj, affirmed completion of the arrangements for implementing development and investment projects at a cost of three billion US dollars for the three states of east Sudan. 

As reported in Sudan Vision

August 18, 2010

Khartoum's next jihad

Khartoum’s Next Jihad
Posted By Faith J. H. McDonnell
Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir is under indictment by the International Criminal Court on three charges of genocide, as well as war crimes, in Sudan’s western region of Darfur. But in every other part of Sudan – north, south, and east, Bashir’s National Islamic Front regime has also committed genocidal-level crimes against humanity that demonstrate the regime’s absolute contempt for Sudan’s black, African people. When it is not committing outright genocide as in South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains [1] where over 2.5 million died and over 5 million were displaced, or as in Darfur’s genocide by attrition [2], the regime perpetrates its racist agenda of total Islamization and Arabization in Sudan through a multitude of devious maneuvers whose significance never seems to be fully comprehended by the U.S. government.

One such maneuver may occur this November 2010, when Kuwait will host the International Donors Conference for the Development of East Sudan. Eastern Sudan, actually the northeast corner of the country, consists of Red Sea, Gedaref, and Kassala states, and borders Egypt and Eritrea. The Beja, the indigenous people of the region, fear that the conference is just one more of Khartoum’s schemes for displacing them from their traditional homeland. The Beja believe that Khartoum and its Arab allies intend that all financial and political support raised in the donors conference will benefit not the Beja, but the Rashaida Arabs.

The Rashaida are Bedouins originally from Saudi Arabia, who moved into eastern Sudan about one hundred years ago. They have strong familial ties to Kuwait, which, “coincidentally” is hosting the conference. Khartoum has been importing more and more Rashaida into Beja land in recent years. A further empowered Rashaida, taking more and more of eastern Sudan, with easy access to the Egyptian border, would not only be injurious to the Beja, but would be a further terrorist threat in the region. The Rashaida are already notorious for smuggling Iranian weapons to Hamas (when they aren’t blown to Kingdom Come [3] by the Israelis, that is!). The U.S. government should heed the warnings of the Beja and ensure that the aid coming from the donor conference is distributed equally to all of the people of eastern Sudan.

The Beja are one more African people group that inconveniences the National Islamic Front government by existing and giving the lie to the idea that Sudan is an Arab country. They have survived a hardscrabble life in Sudan’s Red Sea Hills for some 6,000 years. Originally worshippers of Isis at Philae, an island in the Nile, the Beja became Christians in the 6th century, due to the influence of the Nubian Christian kingdoms that ruled the Nile Valley. Then in the 13th century, when Nubia was conquered by Muslim invaders, the Beja, along with the Nubians, were forcibly converted to Islam. They survived, and continued their customary, nomadic life as camel herders and traders, as well as farmers. They even survived fighting on behalf of the Sudanese Mahdi against the British. The Beja, also known then as “Blemmyes,” were honored for their valiant military prowess in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Fuzzy-Wuzzy.” Kipling calls the adversary Beja “first-class fighting men” because against all odds they “broke the British square,” the four-sided defensive infantry formation considered impregnable.

Only time, and the response of the international community, particularly the U.S. government, will tell if the Beja are able to survive Khartoum’s devices. Although they constitute fifteen percent of the entire population of Sudan, and number upwards of two million people, they have been marginalized by the Islamists. Eastern Sudan contains gold mines [4], oil, natural gas, and other resources. Sudan’s main port city of Port Sudan also lies in the region. It is a strategic harbor location on the Red Sea. But the Khartoum regime does not want to share this great wealth of resources and revenue with black, African Sudanese. Since Sudan’s independence in 1956, successive Sudanese governments have completely neglected the Beja and attempted to suppress their culture and identity. They prohibited the Beja language in favor of Arabic and viciously they have cracked down on dissenters and protestors [5]. In addition, Khartoum has prohibited humanitarian relief and development organizations from entering the area to help the Beja. As a result, the Beja suffer [6] severe rates of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, and high infancy and maternal mortality, as well as anemia, tuberculosis, meningitis, dengue fever, and other diseases engendered by Khartoum’s “jihad of neglect.” There is actually less access to potable water for the Beja than there is in Darfur.

By neglecting the needs of the Beja and increasing the number of Rashaida and other supporters of radical Islam in the region, Khartoum has slated the Beja for extinction. The regime is colonizing eastern Sudan with outsiders from the Islamic world that support its efforts to Islamize and Arabize Sudan, as well as its aspirations for a thoroughly Islamized African continent. In October 2006, the Beja and the Rashaida came together as The Eastern Front and signed the Eastern Peace Agreement with the governments of Sudan and Eritrea. Although purported to be an equitable settlement, the peace agreement gave all of the positions of political power to the Rashaida. The agreement also enabled Khartoum to sell the Beja’s land – or at least the resources found therein – to foreign investors. In a January 2009 appeal [7] to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the Congress of Beja Intellectuals wrote that “the racist policy of the ruling Arab elites in the Central and Regional Governments is destroying the life of the indigenous populations of the eastern Sudan.” The peace agreement, they said, “deprived the Beja of the right of self determination, denied them their land and its resources and a proper share of power as well.”

One of Khartoum’s greatest advantages in its genocidal jihad to Islamize and Arabize all of Sudan is that the West in general and the United States in particular have never paid close enough attention to Khartoum’s overall agenda regarding its marginalized peoples. The world community had a very important, but very myopic focus on western Sudan ever since the first “Save Darfur” ads began to appear circa 2005. Its attention was finally forced upon South Sudan when it appeared that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was being torpedoed by Khartoum. But most of the government’s available Sudan energy is expended in these two regions. And when the U.S. government has expressed concern about the people of eastern Sudan, it has failed to make any distinction between the Beja and the imported Rashaida Arab allies of Khartoum.

It would appear that this is the kind of lack of attention that Khartoum is banking on for the upcoming International Donors Conference for the Development of East Sudan. On July 28, 2010, Relief Web [8] reported that the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) agreed to participate in the conference after Sudanese Presidential Advisor Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail met with the IDB director in Saudi Arabia. Ismail, who is considered a war criminal along with President Bashir by Sudan’s marginalized people, said that the Sudanese government was “looking forward to the role that can be played by IDB to support and make the conference a success.” Khartoum would consider the conference a success if funds secured were dedicated to bolstering their Rashaida allies and if the attention-disordered U.S. government accepted at face value that a conference report detailing the financial support given to “East Sudan” actually describes aid given to the beleaguered Beja.

As Arab nations, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Sudanese government prepare for the November donor conference, the Beja ask the U.S. government to pay attention, not only to their plight, but to the pattern of Arabization and Islamization in Sudan of which it is a part. They urge the members of Congress who have championed the causes of South Sudan and of Darfur to recognize the Beja as a like-wise marginalized people group and to plead their case to President Obama, Sudan Special Envoy Major General Scott Gration, and Secretary Clinton. They also request that the U.S. lead the global community in pressuring Khartoum to allow free and safe access to Beja areas for humanitarian relief and development organizations and to ensure that the funds from the donor conference will not be used to prosecute a war against the Beja or to empower the Rashaida to take control of Beja land.

Sadly, in over ten years of U.S. government Sudan policy, it has not been the practice to even admit to the pattern of Arabization and Islamization imposed by Khartoum. Hopefully, in the months to come, Congress will renew its efforts against Islamic terrorism, concentrate more on the radix of terrorism in Africa, and pay attention to Khartoum’s war against all its marginalized people. And hopefully, it won’t be too late for the Beja.

Faith J. H. McDonnell directs The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s [9] Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan, and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).

First published in on August 17, 2010.

August 8, 2010

Helping the children - new projects

Here are some details of the UNICEF agreement with the government and a network of NGOs working in Northern State, Sudan. The signing ceremony was on August 3.

Though few Beja live in this state, the link gives more details of the kind of projects that are being created to provide development services that Sudan itself is not providing...

[Northern State is just west of the Red Sea State, and is mostly populated by people living near the Nile River.]

UNICEF shall provide the following to WES Project in State Water Corporation, Northern State to contribute to improve access to safe water supply, improved sanitation and hygiene information.
- support two training chlorination and water quality monitoring at water facility level and at home level ($20,000)
- Support one training on CATS approach in Dongola to introduce the concept and strategy and provide moulds to promote latrine construction in rural and semi-urban areas. Train masons in this process on construction of proper VIP household and school latrines using vent pipe, which will reduce e smell and flies ($15,000)

UNICEF shall provide the following to Ministry of Education Northern State to improved access to quality basic education:
- Train 100 teachers on child centred learning methods and core subject (Math and languages) including peace building and HIV/AIDS awareness ($14,000)
- Support formation and establishment of child clubs/girls clubs in 20 schools to promote child participation in education process and extra-curriculum activities ($10,000)
- Provide recreation materials (40 recreation kits) for 20 schools that formed child clubs ($7,000)

August 1, 2010

Red Sea State officials [Sudan] visit Eritrea

Reporting from Asmara, All said that a Sudanese delegation headed by the Administrator of the Sudanese Red Sea region, Dr. Mohammad Tahir Ela, which also includes the region's legislative Assembly and the National Congress Party, as well as representative of associations and organizations arrived in Asmara yesterday [July 28].
Dr. Mohammad Tahir Ela told ERINA that the purpose of the visit of the delegation at the invitation of the Administration of the Northern Red Sea region is to participate in the Eritrea National Festival. He further stated that the visit of both sides would enhance relations and cooperation between Eritrea and Sudan in general and the two regions in particular.
The Administrator of the Northern Red Sea region, Ms. Tsigereda Woldegergis, said that meetings would be held with a view to further developing and deepening the agreements reached earlier between the two regions.

UPDATE: August 4. This article describes further developments, such as road construction and improvements that will link Sudan and Eritrea.

July 28, 2010

Get that water pipeline built!

From Sudan Vision newspaper

President Al-Bashir directs speeding up implementation of the pipeline that carries water from River Nile to Port Sudan

President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, Sunday gave directives to speed up the necessary procedures in order to begin the work in the pipeline that carries water from the River Nile to Port Sudan

This came when the President received at the Republican Palace the Wali (Governor) of Red Sea State Dr. Mohammed Tahir Aila, who briefed him on the practical procedures so far taken to implement the pipeline, including the advanced payment of 47 million dollars and issuance of a letter of guarantee from the Central Bank of Sudan.
Meanwhile, the Wali of Red Sea State told SUNA that he briefed the President on the progress of development and services in the State, top of which are the water, electricity, education and health services.
He also reviewed the preparations of his state for the tourism season, which begins in winter, with regard to the establishment of tourist villages and restaurants in collaboration with some Sudanese banks. He further explained that the Red Sea State has gone too far in implementing popular housing project.

July 22, 2010

Hala'ib Triangle still under dispute

 Egypt is attempting to strengthen its hold on the region just north of the 22° Egypt/Sudan border. Tribal movements are being limited, and efforts are underway to move the camel market in Shalayatan (just north of the disputed territory) into Hala'ib town (inside the disputed territory).

An extended discussion brings the reader up to date with many of the issues involved. Interviews with local inhabitants reveal that many Ababda and "Beja" [Bisharin?] think of themselves as Egyptian.

UPDATE: July 27. The National, a newspaper published out of Abu Dhabi, describes the troubles between Egypt and Sudan in the region of the disputed Halaib Triangle. In English.

July 18, 2010

Over 1100 students graduate

A graduation ceremony for 1101 graduates of the training courses in the administrative and technical fields was held recently. The ceremony was organized by the East Sudan Development Fund in cooperation with the National Institution for Development and Rehabilitation.
The Assistant of the President of the Republic, Musa Mohamed Ahmed, addressed the graduates. He noted various political concerns such as the International Criminal Court's warrant to arrest the President Bashir, and the coming referendum for south Sudan. He called on all citizens of Sudan to participate in the development and re-building of the country.

July 17, 2010

Summer rain

Government officials are warning citizens to check drainage around their homes and neighbourhood because heavy rain is expected in Khartoum and regions north. Rainfall amounted to 15 mm in Kassala last week.

The meteorologists noted that next weeks rains will cover all states of the Sudan. 

UPDATE Tuesday, July20. Thunderstorms are forecast for Port Sudan this week.

July 16, 2010

Donor Conference postponed to November

Presidential Advisor and NCP Foreign Relations Secretary, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail announced that the Donors International Development and Reconstruction Conference for Eastern Sudan will be hosted by Kuwait next November.

He was briefing the diplomatic corps in Sudan at the UNDP premises yesterday and revealed that the paper to be presented to the conference will be discussed on August 16th including the high preparatory committee.
He added that the high committee of the Conference includes each of the Kuwaiti Funds, Arab Fund for Investment, Islamic Development Bank (Jeddah), UNDP and Eastern Sudan Development Fund.
Ismail announced the completion of the establishment of the High Council of Investment chaired by President Al Bashir pointing out that the Council will work in removing all the obstacles facing the investors.
He considered that the conference has joint interest between Sudan and the international community as it concentrates on the investment and not services.

The Presidential Advisor revealed the completion of the projects, plans, and feasibility studies to be presented to the conference with the participation of all concerned sectors.
He called on the diplomatic corps representatives to urge their companies and organizations to commit to the projects presented through investors. Ismail enlightened the ambassadors and diplomatic corp representatives on the investment, tourism, and economic capabilities of eastern Sudan.

This conference was announced in November 2009, and was originally planned for March 2010. news has previously identified a variety of  infrastructure projects for East Sudan.
Tourist bases
Fish canning
Schools and health clinics
maybe some roads to get to gold discovery sites.

Skyscraper City forum has details on dams, and oil drilling

The Sudan government has a list of various projects that need funding.
Gum Arabic processing (Kassala)
Chlorine manufacturing from salt from Red Sea
Expansion of Port Sudan Airport
Suwakin Port expansion, specialized exports - fish, cattle, containers.
Iron ore ship loading wharf. Osaif Iron Ore Export Port
Green Docks in Port Sudan

July 5, 2010

Animals for Ramadan

Swakin Veterinarian Quarantine Posted on Monday, July 05 @ 00:10:00 BST by Port Sudan- Omer Mohammed Fadallah The President of the Republic, Omer Al Bashir inaugurated Swakin Veterinary Quarantine that marks the transition of the said work from Port Sudan to Swakin.

Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Dr. Faisal Hassan Ibrahim said, during the opening ceremony the quarantine which has a capacity of 3,750,000 heads will help in increasing the Sudan's export of livestock affirming the provision of all the health requirements required by the World Organization for Animal Health and importing countries. The head of the General Administration of Veterinary Quarantines at the Ministry of Animal Resources, Dr. Suleiman Jaber explained that they have worked to solve the problem of water by establishing desalination plant besides drilling three wells. Livestock Exporters Division announced its readiness to start the season of sacrifice at the beginning of the next Ramadan.  The head of the Division, Ahmad Idris said that the new quarantine will reduce the cost whereas all the operations will be through the port of Swakin.

June 30, 2010

Border crossing freedom

An agreement signed June 29 allows people to travel freely between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. This has good benefits for pastoralists, as they may travel to find pastures for their animals, or take them to markets.

Augustine Lotodo, a member of parliament in the East African Legislative Assembly, told IRIN on 30 June.: "This Security in Mobility initiative is one of the best things to happen to pastoralists in a long time. During colonial times, pastoralism was respected and they were allowed to move around freely but after independence, border restrictions hampered their way of life."

Basketball player Manute Bol dies

Sudanese tall man Manute Bol died on June 19, 2010.
He was 7'7" tall and had played in the US based basketball league, the NBA, for the Washington Bullets. A Dinka man, his heart was for Sudan, where he helped build hospitals. He had been there to help with the elections in April, 2010. Manute contracted health problems, and delayed some of his health needs, which later lead to his death in Virginia, USA.

Read an article that describes his career, and  character.

Another article describes his motivation for helping in Sudan.

June 15, 2010

Economy- Is oil creating a spree?

A World Bank report challenges Sudan's spending over the past decade. Has the country gone on a spending spree that is wise?

Sudan must use its oil production, which has helped to quintuple the size of its economy in the past decade, to create more balanced and sustainable growth, the World Bank said.

With an independence referendum due in January in Southern Sudan, the source of most of the country’s oil, the government in Khartoum needs to invest in agriculture and other non-oil industries, and reduce the dominant role of the state, the bank said yesterday.

“While oil-led growth over the past 10 years has greatly improved the Sudanese economy, its sustainability is under threat,” the bank said in a statement announcing its latest Country Economic
Memorandum on Sudan.

Sudan’s rapid economic development has also created tensions that threaten to spark instability, the bank said. War has raged in the western region of Darfur for the past seven years after rebels took up arms, accusing the Khartoum government of neglecting the region.

“The unbalanced development of the country, with a large disparity between the center and periphery, remains a potential source for conflict and political instability,” the bank said.

President Umar Al Bashir’s government needs to allow a greater role for private companies and start “developing the agriculture sector as the next big alternative source of growth to the oil sector in the medium-term,” it said.

Economic Expansion
Sudan’s gross domestic product expanded to $53 billion in 2008 from $10 billion in 1999, the year oil exports started, the bank said. Annual per capita income increased to $532 in 2008 from $334 in 1999, it said.

“Oil wealth has enabled Sudan to roll-out a massive expansion of its physical and social infrastructure including a doubling of the road network and electricity generation,” the bank said.
About 70 percent of Sudan’s crude is pumped in the semi-autonomous region of Southern Sudan, central bank Governor Sabir Hassan said in a June 9 lecture in Khartoum.

Companies including China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Natural Gas Corp. pump the bulk of daily output of about 490,000 barrels. Sudan is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest oil producer, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

“If Southern Sudan secedes, it could affect the economy negatively unless the government takes measures to counter it,” Hassan said.

Keep peace: Church in Sudan

Rumbek — The Church has challenged the government to ensure that peace is maintained among Sudanese people.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a three-day regional peace conference for the people of Western Equatorial and Greater Bahr al Ghazal regions and organized by the Episcopal Church of Sudan, delegates said that they were deeply grieved that violent conflicts among the southern peoples continue to tear apart our communities and threaten our future.

"We have gathered together in Rumbek, the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the government, the chiefs, and the people of Western Equatoria and Greater Bahr al Ghazal, because of our deep desire to find a way to move forward in peace. Let us unite ourselves, and move forward hand in hand," the conference delegates further pointed out. And they observed that the Churches in Sudan have been vital to the peace process, both during and following the war. "We are called by Christ to be peacemakers, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called Children of God," (Matthew 5:9)."

"The Church does not belong to one tribe or one clan, the Church is universal, and will continue in its role as a light to the people, pointing the way to peace," added the Church communiqué.
During the three-day regional conference delegates were treated to lectures on peace and conflict resolution and received reports from the governors, archbishop and bishops.

June 2, 2010

Donors conference coming in December

Donors' Conference for East to Implement Projects at Cost of Three Billion Dollars

Khartoum — The first technical meeting for the Donors Conference for Rehabilitation and Development of Eastern Sudan Monday endorsed implementation of development and Investment projects that would be presented for the Donors Conference in Kuwait in next November, at the cost of three billion US dollars.

The rapporeur of the preparatory committee, Engineer Abu-Obaida Mohamed Duj, said in a press conference he held at Fateh Tower Hotel Monday that the Donors Conference aims to attracting international assistance for the people of east Sudan.

Duj said that the meeting was attended by representatives of the government of Sudan and delegations from Kuwait Economic Development Fund, Arab Socio-Economic Development Fund, the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) He said that the conference reviewed the projects put forward by the committee and affirmed convocation of the conference on 31 November 2010 in Kuwait with the participation of the government with East Sudan Development Fund, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of International cooperation.

Representative of the UNDP affirmed its commitment to provide all the requirements for the conference, which will provide a a good opportunity to exchange ideas and to develop east Sudan which needs rehabilitation of infrastructure. MF/MO Donors' Conference for East Sudan to Implement Projects at Cost of Three Billion Dollars.

May 20, 2010

Hamishkoreb voting rerun

 Officials announced that voting in the area where a ballot box stuffing was taped on video will be redone.

The video can be seen online. We linked to it in an earlier post here on

Small dam near Keren

A micro-dam with a capacity of holding over 100,000 cubic meters of water is under construction in the Derequ administrative area, Keren sub-zone.

The Administrator of the area, Mr. Samuel Niguse, indicated that 70% of the project has been finalized and that it would make major contribution in easing potable water supply problem in the locality. He further explained that the micro-dam is expected to irrigate the nearby 5 hectares.

May 12, 2010

Needed: Cash for demining

United Nations programme to demine areas near Kassala (and elsewhere in Sudan) are threatened because $12 million is needed for funding.

May 11, 2010

Musa Ahmed on ESPA

Home News: Presidential Advisor Briefs Eritrean Delegation on East Sudan Peace Posted on Tuesday, May 11 @ 10:13:58 BST by admin SUNA

The Assistant of the President of the Republic, Musa Mohammed Ahmed, Sunday briefed the visiting Eritrean delegation, headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Osman Salih, on the latest developments in Sudan and the implementation of East Sudan Peace Agreement.

Musa affirmed in a statement to SUNA after the meeting the important role being played by Eritrea as a mediator of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement. Ahmed said that the meeting reviewed outcome of the elections in Sudan as well as Eritrea's contribution to the unity of Sudan and the plans for the coming period. He said that the meeting touched on the progress of the relations between Sudan and Eritrea and means of consolidating them further.

May 8, 2010

Beja Congress accepts election results

Khartoum, May. 4 (SUNA) - The Beja Congress has expressed its full support to the elected President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, In a statement it issued Tuesday in Haya town, the Red Sea State, the Beja Congress congratulated the President of the Republic and the President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir Mayardit, as well as the members of the Legislative Authority on their election.

April 28, 2010

Voting in east Sudan.

A short film captures the voting action in different towns in east Sudan. Silent for the first 20 seconds. A complete description accompanies the video on the you tube site.

April 22, 2010

Election- International Commentary

Here's a collection of articles reporting on the Sudan election. They describe the general sense of how well the elections went.

April 20, 2010

Election- stuffing votes caught on video?

UPDATE- Friday, April 23. Sudan has blocked from Sudan, and these videos below are no longer available to be viewed in Sudan.

Original post.
Reuter news agency reported on a video that showed the stuffing of ballot boxes in the Red Sea State.

Examples were given of situations where there was no overnight control of the ballot boxes. Counts were then very high for the NCP, even exceeding the number of votes cast.

The video has been seen 13,000 times in the first day.

A second video shows the process more clearly.

A third video also shows what is going on.

Reposted here:

KHARTOUM, April 20 (Reuters) - A video appearing to show elections officials stuffing ballot boxes in Sudan has been posted on the Internet and the opposition said on Tuesday it proved their case that the ruling party had rigged the polls.

The National Elections Commission dismissed the video as a fake and said it had received no complaints.

The video, entitled "Sudan's elections debacle in the Red Sea state" appears to show elections officials, in regulation orange vests and traditional eastern Sudanese clothes, stuffing ballots into boxes locked with distinctive orange seals.

Read it all.

Election- Al Mirghani speaks out

 The DUP has considerable strength in regions across Sudan. One regional base is in Kassala.

The DUP failed to make any gains in areas considered to be its strongholds with large
populations of the Al-Khatmiya religious sect who are followers of Al-Mirghani, fuelling
suspicions that the votes were rigged.

"The fears of the party were confirmed over the non-readiness and partiality of the NEC and its
branches in the different states.... the electoral commission is not neutral," Al-Mirghani said.

DUP leader Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani today issued a
strong statement calling for holding of new elections at all levels saying that the current process
"is exposed to fraud and rigging".

Al-Mirghani said that the elections held in the country "did not reflect the [will of] the Sudanese
people, and it is far from being free and fair elections".

In his statement today, Al-Mirghani said that the DUP was aware of the difficulties and
impediments facing the elections but that it believed that its participation would be a step
towards democratic transformation and peaceful exchange of power.

As monitored in UNMIS media monitoring reports, April 19, 2010, from a Sudan Tribune article.

Election(?) - Shooting in Kassala

Al-Intibaha reports that a NCP agent for constituency (4) in Kassala Murtada Salah survived an
attempt on his life when unknown gunmen fired at him. The incident is reported to Kassala
police and is being investigated.

UNMIS media monitoring report - March 19, 2010

Election- Beja Congress candidates

Bashir and the National Congress Party have been reelected to govern Sudan.

There seem to be numerous irregularities in the voting.

Taher Ali, a candidate from the Democratic Congress for East Sudan, told Reuters he had traveled to Khartoum to complain about numerous irregularities.

"In one voting center, the box with my votes had 600 ballot papers less than the other boxes and of those 485 were spoiled ... only 17 of the NCP's were spoiled," said Ali who was beaten to a seat in the national assembly by the NCP's current interior minister."

"Our people are furious - they want to go out onto the streets," he said. "We are trying to calm them."

Where's the tribal solidarity?
According to official results in one Red Sea state constituency, the NCP candidate won almost 18,000 votes compared to just 839 for the eastern party.

One seat in a local assembly
East Sudan's Beja Congress party, which is formally allied with the NCP, told Reuters it had only managed to win one seat in a local assembly in Red Sea state, but none in the national parliament.

"We caught them (the NCP) emptying ballot boxes and they expelled our monitors from the voting centres during voting and counting," Abdullah Moussa, a senior Beja Congress official in Port Sudan, told Reuters.

"We won this one (state assembly seat) only because it is a small area -- one family and the young boys managed to guard many voting centres with small weapons at night," he said.

The story was published in the Washington Post.

The original Reuters article

April 14, 2010

Election news blackout in Eritrea

[Ballot for selecting the president of Sudan]

Eritrea is not allowing Sudan election news to be published. This news blackout keeps the Eritrean people from knowing about democracy and elections in Sudan.

If President Afwerki allows news, then the people may call for elections in Eritrea. Afwerki has been in power since Eritrea declared independence in 1993, and there have been no elections since then.

Afwerki could try to tell the people that the elections in Sudan are corrupt, or misguided. But there are observers from many sources like the UN, the European Union, and the USA that are trying to ensure that the elections are free and fair.

Read the whole analysis.

April 13, 2010

Election: Beja supporters kidnapped

Khartoum, Sudan - A Sudanese political party, the Beja Congress, said Monday its supporters and party agents were kidnapped at gunpoint hours after elections kicked off in Sudan’s presidential, parliamentary and state governorship elections.

Ibrahim Al Dab, the candidate for the Beja Congress, said the party agents were kidnapped at a polling station in Dalgeik polling centre, in the Red Sea State.

The parliamentary candidate said in an interview with the UN-funded Radio Miraya, that unknown gunmen stormed the Dalgeik polling station and kidnapped representatives of the opposition party.

The incident forced some independent candidates running for various posts to withdraw from the elections last-minute.

The credibility of the elections has been smeared by the boycott of the major political parties, although about 56 political parties were initially expected to vie for posts.

The Sudanese elections have been marred by reports of vote fraud.

The Sudanese voters have gone to the polls to elect a president for the country, 25 state governors and several members of parliament, to sit at the national parliament and state and regional parliaments, including the 271 members for the Southern Sudan assembly.

The country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) admitted that it had been overwhelmed with the electoral process in Sudan, due to lack of experience.

The Beja Congress Party said its candidates also experienced widespread fraud and duplication of ballot papers.

It also alleged that some voters were unable to vote properly due to the complex process involved in having each voter cast their votes.

It is estimated that the 14 million voters registered to vote in the elections would require more time to cast their votes.

The elections were due to last three days but a campaign is underway to have the voting period extended by at least four more days.

Election observers said it took more than 30 minutes for each voter to cast his vote due to the complexity of the process.

The elections have recorded a higher voter turnout in areas dominated by the supporters of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), the party sponsoring incumbent President Omar el-Bashir.

Khartoum - Pana 13/04/2010

April 12, 2010

Election- Violence in Red Sea State

Violence in Red Sea state on first day of polling
Radio Miraya 12/4/10 - the first polling day in the Red Sea State witnessed several irregularities, procedural problems and disputes. According to Beja Congress candidate for the Haya constituency, Ibrahim Al Dab, unknown men with light arms stormed into the polling center in Dalgeik area and kidnapped representatives of opposition party members stationed at the center. The Red Sea State High Elections Committee has also decided to withdraw and suspend the candidates list for the NCP in constituency five Port Sudan East, because two candidates had conflicting symbols in ballot papers. Moreover, several party representatives alleged to Radio Miraya that the NCP is using forged residency certificates. There were also allegations of ballot papers being swapped between Port Sudan constituencies eight and nine and that the papers of NCP's independent candidate for constituency nine, were duplicated. Generally, the turnout of citizens at the polling centers differed from one area to another. Centers in Al Diom East and areas dominated by NCP supporters recorded a high turnout, while fewer voters turned out at the centers in Al Diom South area, an area where many residents support pro-boycotting political parties like the SPLM and the Umma party. Logistic hiccups
plagued the first day of elections in Red Sea State with many voters confused by the complicated procedures and duplication in ballot papers taking an estimated 30 minutes to complete the voting process, leading to congestion in most polling centers.

source: UNMIS media monitoring report - April 12, 2010

April 6, 2010

New dam for Kassala District

President Al Bashir to Attend Signing of Contract for Establishment of Upper Atbara and Setet Bridges
Khartoum - SUNA
President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al Bashir, is due to attend Tuesday at the Friendship Hall a ceremony for the signing of a contract for implementing the projects of Upper Atbara and Setet bridges, in the presence of ministers,

Walis (Governors) of states and officials of Gedarif and Kassala States

The Minister and Executive Director of the Dams Implementation Unit, Usama Abdalla, said that establishment of the two bridges are aimed to enhance the citizens' living conditions, settlement of the nomads and increasing the water quantity at Atbara River, providing water for irrigating New Halfa Agricultural Scheme and Upper Atbara Scheme which extends to 500,000 feddans and producing 135 megawatts of electricity power. He said that the cost of implementing the two dams is 868 million dollars. 

Grasshoppers expected in western USA

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found an unusually high number of grasshoppers in its annual survey of the flying grass-eaters last fall. If the weather is warm in the coming weeks, the countless eggs laid by the grasshopper could turn into an epic infestation across Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Idaho, and South Dakota.

source - Christian Science Monitor. Read it all.

April 2, 2010

Aid agencies in Kassala state

Get this chart [pdf] and discover what agencies are at work in Kassala state.

Quick look at the chart at the bottom of the OCHA document. Click to enlarge.

March 25, 2010

Eritrean Education officials visit Sudan

Asmara — A delegation from the Ministry of Education comprising senior officials headed by Minister Semere Russom conducted a working visit to Sudan from March 7 to 21. During its stay, the delegation held talks with various senior officials of the Sudanese Education Ministry on enhancing the existing relations in the domains of education and culture, besides sharing experience on the provision of educational opportunities to youths who failed to attend classes at the right age due to nomadic pattern of living.

Also in a meeting with the Sudanese Education Minister, Dr. Hamid Ibrahim, the delegation pointed out that the Eritrean government is giving top priority to the task of ensuring educational opportunities in remote areas of the country. It further indicated that 64 schools have been constructed with a special aim of providing educational opportunities to youths who failed to enroll in school at the right age due to nomadic life style.

Following discussion on the tasks that need to be accomplished on a priority basis, the Sudanese Ministry of Education expressed readiness to foster cooperation in the development of the Arabic and English languages, as well as upgrading curriculum.

The delegation that began its tour in Kassala zone visited a number of schools in various Sudanese towns, as well as the curriculum development institute, Beket A'Ruda.

Also in the course of the tour, the delegation visited historical places in Al-Ubeid town in morthern Sudan, besides exchanging views with the heads of the country's teachers association.

Meanwhile, the delegation from the Eritrean Education Ministry conducted discussion with the respective Sudanese officials on the objective situation in the Homeland. The Sudanese officials lauded the Eritrean government's role in promoting peace and stability in the region in general and the Sudan in particular.

March 23, 2010

To Bedawie radio adverts not allowed in Kassala

Kassala State bans campaigning in local dialects
Salah Barkin, the Beja Congress’ candidate for Governor of Kassala State, has slammed as “unconstitutional” a Kassala State ban on campaigning in local dialects, Ajras Al-Hurriya reports. The local state radio had turned down requests to air his campaign message in the local dialect saying it had to be recorded in Arabic.
Barkin maintained that this was a show of disrespect for the local dialects of eastern Sudan and a continuation of “policies of cultural hegemony” meted out on them and on others by the central government.

UNMIS media report. March 23, 2010.

March 18, 2010

Darfur cease fire - peace at last?

 -- The Sudanese government signed a framework cease-fire agreement Thursday with a rebel group from the country's war-torn Darfur region, according to state-run media

read the CNN report here

Eritreans visit Kassala region to talk

Asmara — An Eritrean government delegation headed by the Administrator of Gash-Barka region, Mr. Mussa Rab'a, is currently on a working visit in the Sudanese Kassala zone.
During its stay, the delegation would visit a number of institutions in the zone, in addition to holding talks with pertinent officials.
It would also observe endeavors being made to connect the two countries through electricity and road. Moreover, the delegation is expected to conclude agreement with the Kassala Zonal Administration regarding agricultural development and public transportation.

UPDATE. March 20: Agreement signed

Asmara — In line with the growing relations between Eritrea and Sudan, the Administrative regions of Gash-Barka and Anseba concluded co-operation protocol agreement with the Sudanese Kassala region.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Kassala town on March 17, Eng. Ali Awad Mohammed Mussa pointed out that Eritrean-Sudanese relations are both historical and people-based. He further stated that the Administration and people of Kassala region would exert the necessary effort to ensure the realization of the objectives envisaged by the leadership of the two counties.

Also speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mussa Rab'a, who headed of the Eritrean delegation in the visit to the Sudanese Kassala region, pointed out on his part that the Sudanese people in general and East Sudan in particular stood on the side of the Eritrean people since the days of the armed struggle for independence. He went to say that the visit is aimed at putting into effect the goal of closer ties in accordance with the agreement reached between Presidents Isaias Afwerki and Omar Hassen Al-Beshir. Mr. Mussa Rab'a also underlined the need to further enhance the strategic Eritrean-Sudanese relations for mutual benefit.

The Eritrean delegation which includes Mr. Mussa Rab'a, Administrator of Gash-Barka region, Mr. Gergis Girmay, Administrator of Anseba region, Ms. Tsgereda Woldegergis, Administrator of Northern Red Sea region, and Brig. General Tekle Kiflai, conducted a visit to the Sudanese Kassala region from March 15 to 17. During its stay, the delegation visited the Kassala fruits processing plant, printing and publishing corporation, Kheshmelgirba Dam, Jedida halfa agricultural project and a sugar factory, as well as tourism and cultural centers, among others.

Reports indicated that the Eritrean delegation was accorded warm welcome on the part of the Administration and people of Kassala region.