19 May 2007 04:17

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  • Title: [SW Country] Nairobi (UN Integrated Regional Information Networ)  IRIN Horn of Africa
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  • Date :[Wednesday, June 28, 2000 5:19 PM EST ]

 

IRIN Horn of Africa

Story Filed: Wednesday, June 28, 2000 5:19 PM EST

Nairobi (UN Integrated Regional Information Network, June 28, 2000) - SUDAN: Turabi launches new political party - Hassan al- Turabi, the former parliamentary speaker and ex-secretary general of Sudan's ruling National Congress (NC) party, announced the launching of a new political party on Tuesday, the Sudanese news agency (SUNA) reported.

Turabi told a press conference at his Khartoum residence that the new party, the People's National Congress, would be a "comprehensive shura organisation", indicating that it would be outside the government. He accused President Omar al-Bashir of betraying the NC's Islamist tenets and said two cabinet ministers were defecting with him, according to Agence France Presse (AFP). Turabi, a former close ally of Bashir, was dismissed as parliamentary speaker last December after a power struggle between the two men. Bashir moved further to consolidate his position in May, when he suspended Turabi from the NC. The dismissal was confirmed at a meeting of the NC Consultative Council on Monday.

SUDAN: SPLA says it captured southern town of Gogrial

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) announced on Monday that its forces had captured the garrison town of Gogrial in Bahr el-Ghazal province. Spokesman Samson Kwaje said the town was taken on 24 June and that government forces were fleeing in disarray towards Wau and Aweil, which he said were the only major towns controlled by the government in the region. Aid workers last week confirmed fighting between the two sides near Gogrial, where a ceasefire had been in effect for several months. Kwaje reiterated the SPLA's commitment to the ceasefire and said that the action in Gogrial had been forced on the SPLA by attacks on their positions and raids on the civilian population by government troops. He gave no details of casualties on either side. There has been no comment from Khartoum on the SPLA claim.

SUDAN: International aid agencies resuming operations in south

A spokesman for Oxfam confirmed on Wednesday that the organisation would be resuming operations in southern Sudan. He told IRIN that Oxfam had not yet signed the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) Memorandum of Understanding - which outlines conditions for aid agencies to work in rebel-held areas - but that it anticipated doing so. He said that Oxfam was co-coordinating its move with other agencies, including Save the Children Fund (SCF). A statement issued by Care International also announced the resumption of operations. SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje announced on Monday that four international agencies - Oxfam, SCF, Care International and the German and Belgian branches of Veterinaires sans Frontieres (VSF) had agreed to return to southern Sudan after signing the Memorandum of Understanding. Humanitarian sources said the agencies had received assurances of co- operation by the rebels' humanitarian arm, the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA). A number of international agencies suspended operations in southern Sudan earlier this year, after refusing to sign the Memorandum, saying that it was too restrictive. They also objected to financial stipulations and a clause requiring them to leave behind project assets in the event of an "interruption" of activities, which the SRRA reserved the right to order.

ERITREA: UNHCR says refugees trickling back from Sudan

UNHCR said on Tuesday that Eritrean refugees had been trickling back across the border from Sudan over the past few days, despite very difficult conditions in western Eritrea. Spokesman Kris Janowski said it was hard to give an accurate estimate of how many refugees were returning out of a total of 94,000 registered in Sudan's Kassala state since the outbreak of fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia last month. Many of the returnees were using unofficial crossing points. Conditions for those going back were hampered by a serious lack of food and other relief supplies in western Eritrea, although the areas of Tesseney and Talatashar were reported to have electricity and running water, Janowski said. But the start of the rains meant that many roads were turning into mud, further complicating the relief operation. On Monday, the UNHCR handed over 11 heavy trucks to the Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission (ERREC) to deliver emergency relief supplies to displaced people and returning refugees.

ERITREA: ICRC arranging voluntary repatriation of Ethiopians

A spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told IRIN on Wednesday that the voluntary repatriation of a group of 3, 500 Ethiopian nationals displaced in Eritrea had been completed under ICRC auspices. The first group of 500 were taken across the border near Adi Quala on 20 June, where they were handed over to an ICRC team from Addis Ababa. Another 1,500 went over on 22 June and the final 1,500 on 24 June. ICRC delegates in Asmara conducted individual interviews with all the returnees to ensure that they were leaving of their own free will. The operation was carried out with the agreement and cooperation of the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments. The 3,500 people were all gathered around Asmara, some of them in camps for the displaced. Most had been displaced by the recent fighting; others had left their homes even before the latest fighting started. ICRC delegates had also begun visiting Ethiopians interned in camps in Eritrea and providing them with aid. The next step was to provide these internees with safe passage to Ethiopia, again on a voluntary basis. This operation was expected to start on Thursday, the spokesperson said.

SOMALIA: Somaliland says Djibouti talks misguided

In a statement issued on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the independence of former British Somaliland, the government of Somaliland said that the "independence of Somaliland and its success does not see the Djibouti conference as being pertinent to its affairs or destiny". It said the decisions and recommendations made at the Arta talks were irrelevant to Somaliland. "Although Somaliland encourages and supports anyone working for peace and order in Somalia, it sees the Djibouti meeting as a misguided one... We see this as blatant interference in the affairs of a people who have agreed on their destiny," the statement said. Participants in the two-month talks in Djibouti agreed on Monday on a two-week schedule to set up a new provisional government for Somalia, with the election of a Transitional National Assembly anticipated by 10 July and the election of a president and prime minister by 13 July. The authorities in Somaliland and Puntland have declined to take part in the talks.

SOMALIA: CORRECTION

In IRIN's item of 26 June headlined: "Djibouti delegates secure two more weeks for debate", please read in third paragraph "...the chairman, Hassan Abshire Farah - previous Minister of the Interior in Puntland..." instead of "...the chairman, Hassan Abshire Farah - previous Minister of the Interior in the self-declared republic of Puntland..." deleting words "self-declared republic".

KENYA: Government official denies OLF bases in north-eastern Kenya

A Kenyan government official on Wednesday denied allegations that Kenya was harbouring rebels of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) in bases in the north-east of the country. Area Provincial Commissioner Maurice Makhanu told Kenyan television that Kenya respected Ethiopian sovereignty. He said provincial security committees would maintain cross-border meetings to avert hostilities and tensions arising among the communities living in the border region. Makhanu accused Ethiopia of capitalising on OLF claims in order to divert international attention from the ravages of war.

Africa News Online.

Copyright 2000 UN Integrated Regional Information Network. Distributed via

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