US invites Sudan official, drawing criticism

(Global Post) The United States is ready to receive a senior envoy from Sudan in a bid to push forward the country’s peace process, an official said Wednesday, in a move criticized by human rights advocates.  The United States invited a delegation led by an aide to President Omar al-Beshir, Nafie Ali Nafie, after he voiced an interest in traveling to Washington, said Larry Andre, the top State Department official on Sudan.  Andre said that the exact date has not been scheduled and that the United States has told Sudan that it would use the trip for a “candid discussion” on conflicts within the country and on human rights and other concerns.  “We do not view this visit as a reward, but as a continuation of a dialogue on issues of concern to the US government,” Andre told AFP.    Andre, the State Department official, said that the United States refused to deal with Beshir and other Sudanese indicted by the International Criminal Court.

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Washington: Sudanese Opposition Weak

(Sudan Vision) A US diplomat said his country informed Sudanese opposition in Kampala that Washington is not for change of regime in Sudan by force.   The source said the US Embassy in Kampala informed representatives of the Sudan Revolutionary Front that the US is not for regime change by military force and even an uprising is unwelcome because the Sudanese opposition is weak and will not be able to control the situation, citing spread of arms in the Sudan which may constitute a real threat to regional security in the region.   The source said Washington told the SRF, Malik Agar and Yasir Arman that they should opt for political settlement through negotiations because Washington will not support regime change by military force.

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Sudan government declares no new licenses for churches

(Ghana Web) Sudan’s Minister of Guidance and Endowments has stated that no new licences for building churches will be issued, according to a report by Christian Today.  Making the announcement last week, Al-Fatih Taj El-sir said there was a lack of worshippers in the country and a rise in the number of abandoned church buildings.  According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), he claimed there was no need for new churches whilst maintaining that there was still freedom to worship in Sudan.  Despite his claims, CSW said there had been a “campaign of repression” against Christians in northern Sudan since last December. This includes arrests, detentions and the deportation of Christians, particularly in Sudan’s two largest cities, Khartoum and Omodorum.  CSW also reports the “systematic targeting” of members of African ethnic groups, particularly the Nuba, giving rise to concerns about the Islamisation and Arabisation of Sudan.  In February, at least 55 Christians linked to the EvangelicalChurch in Khartoum are reported to have been detained without charge.

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Sudanese parliament vows to deal swiftly renegade policemen

(Sudan Tribune) The Sudanese parliament today vowed to punish a renegade group from the Central Reserve Police (CRP) unit that has staged a mutiny last week in West Darfur state and looted government property.  According to Sudan official news agency (SUNA), a “limited” number of officers broke away from their CRP unit in the capital of West Darfur state, El-Geneina on Saturday, after stealing four Land Cruisers vehicles, weapons and other supplies.  The head of the parliamentary Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defense, Mohammad Hassan al-Amin, disclosed that the government is consulting with some tribes to mediate with the defecting unit, describing the incident as “unprecedented and warned that the renegades will bear serious consequences for their act.  Al-Amin attributed the incident to tribal affiliations of the policemen saying it has serious implications on Darfur security. He pointed out that government soldiers were involved in their own capacity at Jabal Amer clashes last month which erupted as a result of a dispute over a gold mine.

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300 people fleeing South Darfur’s battles ‘attacked’ by militias

(Radio Dabanga) Pro-government militias reportedly attacked 300 civilians who were fleeing battles between government forces and rebels in South Darfur on Monday. The displaced were heading to El Salam camp near the state’s capital which has received “7,000 families” since March.  Darfur rebel forces SLA-MM and the Sudanese military, with the alleged support of militias, engaged in violent clashes on Monday in Marla, south of Nyala. Both sides are making competing claims over who won the combat.  The head of El Salam said the 300 displaced were attacked inside the camp at 4:00pm on Monday by gunmen “wearing military uniforms”. Some of the militants arrived in six vehicles while others were riding camels or horses.

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Sudanese minister complains about underfunding of agriculture

(Sudan Tribune) Sudan’s minister of agriculture and forestry, Abdel Halim al-Mutafi, acknowledged that there is a serious shortage in agricultural finance, saying that last year’s allocated funds did not exceed 2.5 billion pounds (SDG) which represents only 2% of the total loans extended by the banks nationwide.  Al-Mutafi criticized the government’s monetary policies saying that it is making agriculture the least fund-receiving sector in the economy, even though it contributes more than one-third of the gross Domestic product (GDP).  MPs blamed the government for the deterioration of the agricultural sector since the beginning of the 90’s and until today, stressing that farmers are working in difficult conditions and resorting to selling their livestock and jewelry in order to finance their farms.

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