♦ This week’s news in brief ♦

A compact weekly digest of Dabanga Sudan’s highlights of the news from Darfur and Sudan

A compact weekly digest of Dabanga Sudan's highlights of the news from Darfur and Sudan


♦ Russia blocks UN report on Darfur gold trade

April 5 – 2016 NEW YORK A UN Security Council (UNSC) panel report that links Sudanese militia leader Musa Hilal to vast gold sales in Darfur, has been put on hold by Russia, thereby temporarily blocking the extension of contracts for the experts in the UN Monitoring Panel for Sudan.

As a Permanent Member of the UNSC with the power of veto, Russia seeks to redact key details on the Sudanese gold trade in the United Nations Security Council’s Panel of Experts’ report. Musa Hilal, a key leader of the Janjaweed, the large numbers of militiamen on horseback who terrorised civilians in Darfur at the start of the conflict in 2003, earns about $54 million a year in profits from North Darfur’s Jebel ‘Amer. It is one of the largest unregulated gold mines in the conflict region.

The panel’s report claims that the gold trade has put more than $123 million into the pockets of armed groups throughout Darfur, in addition to Hilal’s earnings. Russia’s demand to edit these paragraphs was met with rejection from the US and Western allies.
“Once these sections are edited, Russia will approve the publication,” a well-informed source in the UN told Radio Dabanga. “But taking out paragraphs nullifies the report’s credibility. Once this is allowed, other member states will want to edit sections to their advantage, too.”

Foreign Policy magazine obtained the Panel of Expert’s report, which also documented a 225 percent increase in attacks against Unamid in the last year. The experts found that in general, violence was continuing in Darfur, and that Sudanese paramilitary forces committed widespread atrocities.

The Sudanese government refused the panel’s request to interview a suspect in an attack in May 2014 on the peacekeeping mission in North Darfur’s Kabkabiya, where militant Arab tribesmen opened fire on four Rwandan peacekeepers, killing one.

Along with putting the report's publication on hold, Russia blocked the appointment of the panel’s five members for the latest mandate. The panel should have taken office on 13 March, as the mandate in Resolution 1591 was extended in February. A well-informed source told Radio Dabanga that “starting that day, the mandate kicked-off; however no expert on Sudan has been appointed so far. It is a distressing fact that there is no active panel now that keeps track of the situation in Darfur."

Continue reading here


♦ Civilians killed in heavy shelling, bombing in South Kordofan

April 5 – 2016 KADUGLI / NUBA MOUNTAINS Four civilians were reportedly killed in a clash between the rebel SPLM-N and the Sudanese Air Force in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. Sieges between the warring parties are ongoing in several areas around Kadugli since 31 March.

In Kadugli, the capital of the southern Sudanese state, three people were killed on Sunday and Monday in shelling by the rebel forces, residents reported. SPLM-N forces shelled Kadugli on Sunday, using 18 Katyusha rockets. A nomadic settlement was hit east of Kadugli, where one woman was killed in the explosion. The other missiles hit eastern Kadugli and caused the death of one person and wounded two others. The spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) denied that the rebels targeted civilians in the city.

Military spokesman Arnu Ngutulu Lodi appealed to the citizens of Kadugli to stay away from the military sites for their own safety. Starting last week, the SPLM-N has released several statements about the bloody clashes with the Sudan Armed Forces in the Nuba Mountain's Heiban and Um Dorain localities.

Lodi reported that aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Air Force in the Nuba Mountains resulted in the killing of a 16-year-old girl in upper Komo. Six others were wounded. One of the bombs landed in the Hakima institute for medical training. On Monday, sites in Um Dorain were bombed, and rebel forces continued their siege on the army in El Azrag in Heiban.

The Sudanese army claims that is has managed to “liberate several sites from the grip of the SPLM-N in South Kordofan”, during operations it launched last week. El Shami accused the SPLM-N of rejecting all efforts to achieve peace in South Kordofan, such as the movement’s refusal to sign the roadmap that was forwarded by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in March.

Other highlights from Dabanga Sudan:

Former Sudanese President cited as ‘Power Player’ in Panama Papers

April 4 – 2016 WASHINGTON D.C. The name of former Sudanese President Ahmed Ali Al Mirghani, who died in November 2008, has been cited as one of the ‘Power Players’ in the breaking Panama Papers scandal, implicating…

Rallies, protests as President Al Bashir tours Darfur states

April 3 – 2016 EL FASHER Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has addressed public rallies in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher on Friday, and the West Darfur capital of El Geneina on Saturday, as part of a tour of all five Darfur…

Nearly $68 million additional US humanitarian assistance for Sudan

April 3 – 2016 WASHINGTON, D.C. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it is providing nearly $68 million for emergency food assistance, to reach approximately 2.5 million Sudanese as well as refugees…

More than 130,000 Darfuris now displaced from Jebel Marra’: UN OCHA

April 3 – 2016 DARFUR People continue to flee the Jebel Marra area in Darfur due to fighting between government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – Abdel Wahid (SPLA-AW), according to the UN Office for the Coordination of…

South Darfur releases 41 tribesmen in investigations

April 1 – 2016 NYALA The Governor of South Darfur announced that a number of tribesmen of the Fellata and Salamat tribes will be standing trial for their suspected involvement in provoking tribal clashes in February…

Rising tensions in North Darfur's Sortony camp

April 1 – 2016 SORTONY Tensions in Sortony, a camp for nearly 70,000 displaced people from Jebel Marra, continue to rise between militiamen and the displaced. Groups of militiamen have reportedly gathered outside the camp…

Challenges for theatre in Darfur

March 31 – 2016 EL FASHER / NYALA Ongoing war in Darfur since 2003 has impacted on all aspects of life. Yet the various forms of culture still effectively present productions. But the sound of guns and aerial bombardments…

Sudan continues to violate Libya arms embargo ’: UN Panel

March 30 – 2016 NEW YORK According to a recent report by the UN Panel of Experts on Libya on the arms embargo imposed on the country, Sudan has continued to violate the embargo and transferred materiel to Libya, some by…

'Mass rape in Guldo in Darfur’s Jebel Marra'

March 30 – 2016 GULDO According to multiple sources in Jebel Marra, government troops reportedly raped 'a large number of women' in Guldo on Monday evening. “Army and militia troops in about 30 vehicles arrived at Guldo on Monday…

Another Sudanese activist prevented from travel to Geneva

March 30 – 2016 KHARTOUM On Monday evening, the security authorities at Khartoum International Airport prevented human rights lawyer Saleh Mahmoud from boarding an aircraft to Geneva…


This digest is an excerpt from the weekly Darfur & Sudan News Update. Subscribe to the newsletter here