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November 2010 - Posts

JEM rebels want to include Kordofan in Darfur peace process

November 27, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) asked to extend the mandate of the peace process in Doha to cover the situation in Kordofan region.

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Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the rebel JEM (file/Reuters)

The two states of Southern and northern Kordofan are located between the three sates of Darfur on the west and the Upper Nile, White Nile and Khartoum states on the east. Rebels from Southern Kordofan fought besides the former rebel SPLM. Also after failing to establish their own movement some rebels from northern Kordofan joined JEM rebels in 2008.

The demand was part of a ten-point letter delivered to the Joint Chief Mediator and Qatar’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs in a meeting held on 13 November in Doha to discuss the resumption of the peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel group.

JEM rebels walked out of the peace process in Doha last May accusing the Sudanese army of violating a cessation of hostilities they had signed in February. They also blamed the host country and the mediator saying they were favoring Khartoum particularly when they organized parallel talks between the government and another rebel group.

In its letter to the mediation, JEM reaffirmed the national character of the rebel movement stressing they have "presence in a number of Sudanese regions particularly in Darfur and Kordofan".

Earlier this month and before to send a delegation led by JEM Secretary for Kordofan Mohamed Bahr Ali Hamadein, a Massalit, the rebel group clashed twice with the Sudanese army in Kordofan besides other clashes in Darfur.

In its letter, JEM referred to a report written by the head of the African Union Panel on Sudan Thabo Mbeki saying that Sudan’s problem lies in the way of running the country from the center.

The group further said Darfur problem "cannot be solved without addressing its causes at the Center".

JEM delegation and the mediation concluded a second round of talks in Doha just before the departure of the chief mediator Djirbil Bassole and the Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud to Sudan and Chad.

The two parties will meet after the return of the mediators to Doha.

The ten-point letter expressed the group’s positions on the need to neutrality and to involve Sudan’s neighbors like, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea and Libya in the process as facilitators.

The group also reminded the need to secure a freedom of movement for its leader Khalil Ibrahim and requested a serious solution to his situation.

Khalil resides in Tripoli, Libya, after being barred by the Chadian authorities from crossing to Darfur as he had used in the past. Khartoum and Ndjamena agreed last January to implement security arrangements and to prevent border crossing by rebels from both sides.

Al-Mahmoud and Bassole discussed today with the Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir the peace agreement they are working on to be signed next December with the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) but also tackled with him ways to include JEM and Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur in the peace process.

The Sudanese government said it wants to close the door of the peace talks with the rebel groups after the peace agreement with the LJM. Recently Amin Hassan Omer, head of government delegation to the peace process said they will accept to hold talks in future with rebel groups only inside the country.

However, the Qatari minister Al-Mahmoud hinted on Friday after their arrival to Khartoum they might ask Khartoum to extend the deadline.

"We are in a race against time to solve (Darfur) problem as soon as possible," said the Qatari minister when he was asked if a lasting peace deal will be signed before the end of the year as the Sudanese government requests.

"We recommend what we think is appropriate and it is up to the parties to decide," Al-Mahmoud further said.

Earlier this year, Sudan said it wants to end international interferences in its efforts to achieve peace and stability in the troubled region of Darfur.

Attempting to surf on the international contradictions and rivalries between the different actors and organizations Sudan seemingly wants to favor an initiative launched by the former South African president Thabo Mbeki calling for the domestication of the peace process.

In 2006 after the signing of Darfur Peace Agreement with Minni Minawi group, Sudanese government said it would not resume talks with the rebel groups who refused to sign it. However under international pressures and efforts exerted by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Sudan accepted to reopen negotiations with the rebel groups.

Mediators discuss peace process in Khartoum before to travel to Darfur

November 28, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole and the Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud held today a series of meetings in Khartoum before to commence a three day tour in Darfur.

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President Omer Al-Bashir (R) meets joint UN-AU mediator Djibril Bassole (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud (2nd L) in Khartoum November 27, 2010. (Reuters)

Sudanese government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement concluded direct talks and submitted the outstanding issues to the mediation. The latter has to propose a peace agreement that should be signed by the two parties next month.

However, the mediation intends to carry out a large consultation with the different parties including the civil society in Darfur, and the different Sudanese political forces. It also seeks to bring to the negotiating table the two main rebel groups who are not part of the talks.

Today, minister Al-Mahmoud and chief mediator Bassole held a long meeting with President Omer Ahmed Al-Bashir attended by the head of the government delegation to the peace talks Amin Hassan Omer.

The mediators discussed with Bashir their ideas about the expected peace deal as they seek to get some concessions from the government on the power sharing issue. Khartoum refuses to establish one region in Darfur. It also says would not encourage regions to claim positions at the presidency while the rebels ask a vice-president position for Darfur.

The mediation spoke about its vision and ideas about how to approach the final stage of the negotiation process and the efforts exerted to bring to the negotiating table the rebel movements that reject the peace process, Amin told reporters after the meeting.

For his part, Al-Mahmoud stated "We asked (Al-Bashir) to help us to reach the desired just peace for the people of Darfur". He further added they explained their point of view on the peace process describing the meeting as "positive and productive".

He also stressed they are "assured of the government’s seriousness to reach peace in Darfur" without elaborating on the details of their discussions with the Sudanese president.

The visiting delegation also met with the leaders of political forces including the former prime minister, Sadiq Al-Mahdi, how suggested to hold a national conference on Darfur. They also met with Hassan Al-Turabi the leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party and Mubarak Al-Mahdi leader of Umma Reform and Renewal party.

They met with the head of the hybrid peacekeeping mission UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari who discussed the peace process with the two mediators.

Al-Mahmoud and Bassole will travel to El-Fashir on Sunday starting a tour in the three states to meet with local authorities and civil society representatives before to head to Ndjamena.

In El-Fasher, The joint mediation will discuss the peace process with the state government, the state legislature, representatives of the civil society and displaced people and the leadership of the UNAMID

Mbeki says Sudan’s Bashir will participate in Africa-EU summit

November 28, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir will attend the 3rd Africa-European Union (EU) summit that will start next Monday in Libya, the former South African Thabo Mbeki said on Saturday.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (Reuters)

"There is the summit meeting of the African Union and the European Union in Libya ... President Bashir has to go there for that summit which will be followed immediately by the summit meeting of the peace and security council of the African Union," Mbeki told reporters according to Reuters after meeting Bashir and his Vice President Salva Kiir for discussions on the disputed region of Abyei.

Bashir’s attendance will be an embarrassment to the EU which has been the major backer of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which charged the Sudanese leader with war crimes and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur.

This month, an unnamed African diplomat told the Qatar-based Al-Sharq newspaper that the EU has expressed reservations over the attendance of Bashir and was pressing the Libyans to convince him to have another official lead Sudan’s delegation.

The diplomat said that the EU alluded to Tripoli that Bashir’s participation could impact their representation level at the summit.

There was no official confirmation from the Khartoum on the level of Sudan’s participation.

A similar incident occurred this year when Paris decided to change the venue of the France-EU summit after Egypt, the original host, insisted on inviting Bashir.

African Union heads of state last year voted not to cooperate with the ICC indictments and Bashir has visited Kenya and Chad, both of them court members.

This year, the EU has blasted Kenya and Chad, both members of the ICC, after they allowed Bashir to visit despite their obligation to apprehend him. It has managed to convince Turkey last year to have the Sudanese leader cancel his participation in a summit by the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).

Presidency of the Republic Issues Statement on Sudan Withdrawal from Third African - European Summit in Libya

 Khartoum, Nov. 28 (SUNA)- The Presidency of the Republic Sunday evening issued a statement by which it has declared Sudan withdrawal from the third African - European summit and Sudan affirmed the country's reservation to its right to adopt the measures and stance to maintain its rights and sovereignty


The Presidency of the Republic has issued a statement on the withdrawal of Sudan from participation at the third African - European summit in Libya


The statement explained that the President of the Republic has received an invitation from the Libyan Leader, Muammar Al-Qaddafi, to take part in the Third African - European Summit during 29 - 30 in Libya, but a senior Libyan official phoned the President of the Republic three days before the conference informing about reservations expressed by the European party on the participation of the President of the President of the Republic in the summit


The statement stated that the President of the Republic conveyed to the Libyan senior official the decision of the government of Sudan to take part at this summit at the level of the President of the Republic as long as the invitation was officially extended to Sudan, and also because this participation comes as part of Sudan membership in the African Union, and that Sudan is not concerned with any stance adopted by the European party


According to the statement, the President of the Republic received another phone call from the same Libyan senior official, in same day in which the President was planning to Libya, informing that Libya has decided to welcome the President of the Republic on November 30, which means after the conclusion of the conference to its sessions


The statement of the Presidency of the Republic has declared Sudan decision to withdraw from the third African - European summit and to participate in it at any level, adding that Sudan will not be concerned with the outcome of this summit and reserves for itself the right to adopt the measures and stances for protecting its rights and sovereignty


Meanwhile, the statement considered the European Union position regarding the participation of Sudan President in the African - European summits as based on disrespect to the legitimacy of the African Union and the independence of its decision-making. The statement described the European party's stance as based on political hypocrisy on ground that the European Union countries calls on the President of the Republic to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and in the same time attempts to impede his legitimacy which was offered to him by the Sudanese people through fair, honest and internationally-monitored elections


The statement stressed that Sudan is proud over its leading role in Africa and highly appreciating the African stance and solidarity with Sudan against the attempts to impose hegemony on Africa through suspicious colonialist institutions like the International Criminal Court


Dr. Al-Jaz reviews cooperation between Sudan and UNIDO

Khartoum, Nov. 28 (SUNA) - The Minister of Industry, Dr. Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz, has urged the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to speed up the industrial development programme according to the set priorities in the sectors of textile, hides, oil and food industries


This came when the minister met in Vienna with the Director General of UNDO, Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, affirming Sudan keenness to develop its industrial sector as well as making use of the available resources


Dr. Al-Jaz briefed the Director general of UNIDO about the efforts of his ministry to reactivate the industrial sectors and products according to certain timetable, inviting Dr. Yumkella to visit Sudan in the near future to get acquainted with the efforts exerted to implement the industry development programme in Sudan


Meanwhile, The Director General of UNDO, Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, appreciated Sudan capabilities andvast resources, saying that Sudan is qualified to produce industrial commodities


The two sides also agreed to establish an action group to follow up the proposed programmes


The Director General of UNDO proposed dispatching a UNIDO experts' delegation to Sudan to study implementation og industrial projects for agricultural products

Minerals to contribute by 3 Billions dollars to the NGP next year, says Minister of Mining

Khartoum, Nov. 28 (SUNA) - The Minister of Mining, Dr. Abdul-Bagi Al-Jailani, said that minerals will contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Sudan by 3 billion dollars by the advent of the year 2011


At the press forum of Sudan News Agency (SUNA), Sunday the minister said that the mining sector witnesses a real revolution and that the Ministry of Mining is ready to absorb any one who is willing to invest in this sector


He also explained that his ministry is working to reduce the risks and to contribute to the conservation of environment and to the rights of the coming generations, besides establishing good relations with the local communities


The minister asserted that Sudan is bestowed with strategic minerals, declaring the strong endeavour of his Ministry to organize the traditional mining activity


He revealed that this activity has realized one billion dollars in the last nine months, expecting the production of the traditional mining sector to produce around 60 tons of gold in the year 2011


He said that there are many evidences that show existence of minerals in Khartoum, Darfur, Gedarif, Sennar, Kassala and Gezira States


The minister announced that some 47 mining agreements were signed in the year 2010 and that other 50 agreements will be signed in 2011


He also revealed existence of serious contacts with the Bank of Sudan to provide funding for the investors in the mining sector through the micro-finance, referring to the intention to establish a Mining Bank

South Sudan: Registered voters nears 1 million mark in first week

By Julius N. Uma

November 23, 2010 (JUBA) - A total of 997, 121 voters, representing about 34 percent of the estimated southern population, have so far registered for the regions vote on independence in January, according to the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB).

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Justice Chan Reec Madut, SSRB’s boss addressing the media in Juba upon receiving voters registration materials recently. The number of registered voters in South Sudan has hit 1million in a period of one week. (ST)

The figure releases is based on reports obtained from 891 registration centers, mainly the larger urban areas. South Sudan has a total of 2,623 registration center spread across the region.

Registration for the secession vote, agreed as part of a 2005 north-south peace deal, began on November 15 and ends on December 1. The referendum bureau said that the turnout was encouraging.

“Having close to a million people registered within just a period of one week from commencement of official voter’s registration is commendable. We encourage this kind of spirit and urge those who have not yet registered to do so within the remaining days,” Achier Deng, SSRB’s Commissioner for operations told journalists Tuesday.

The southern-based body acknowledged the challenges face in accessing some rural locations. It said it had identified centers, which were in dire need of additional materials and ensured they were delivered immediately.

Deng said, “More than 50 centers have been re-supplied and over 1,690 books and 169 kits have been sent out to aid in the re-supplying of centers where the turn-out has been high in the first week of registration.”

The SSRB Commissioner urged voters to seek alternative registration centers within their vicinity, in the event that they encounter long queues or shortage of materials at the first center they visit.

He specifically appealed to women in the semi-autonomous region to turn out in large numbers and register during the process. Deng urged men to support their wives, mothers and children who are eligible for registration.

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Achier Deng, SSRB’s Commissioner for operations (L) flanked by Samuel Maccar, his counterpart for public outreach addressing the media in Juba on November 19, 2010 (ST)

On the status of the Diaspora situation, Deng said registration is progressing as planned with the exception of Egypt. A delegation from Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) is expected in Egypt, before voting begins in Sudan’s northern neighbor.

The other countries registering voters are: Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, UK, and US.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited accreditation of the media, initially earmarked to begin prior to the registration process has begun. Accreditation will, according to SSRB, ensure that journalists have unhindered access to referendum centers and people involved in the process.

The referendum, a key part of the 2005 Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is scheduled for January 9, 2011.

UN happy for peaceful voter registration in southern Sudan

November 22, 2010 (BOR) – The Special Representative for the United Nations Secretary (SRSG) to Sudan, Haille Menkerios, says he has “very high regard” for the people of southern Sudan to peacefully resolve differences and conduct a smooth self determination referendum.

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UN SRSG Haille Menkerios chat with an UNMIS official in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan. Nov. 19, 2010 (ST)

Menkerios, who is touring south Sudan to see how voter registration is progressing, visited Jonglei state capital Bor early on Friday and proceed to Pibor.

The Special Representative said that he hoped the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) would be able to make peace with rebels in the area.

“I have a very high regard for the people of this [Jonglei] province who played a critical role in assisting reconciliation within the SPLA in trying to get those who where rebelling against the government to peacefully resolved their differences and come in support of the referendum,” said Menkerios to reporters at Bor airstrip while heading to Pibor with Jonglei state governor Kuol Manyang.

Pibor county is where failed electoral candidate David Yauyau, launched an armed rebellion against the southern Sudan government after April’s elections. His forces have attacked and killed several SPLA soldiers.

After visiting the area, Menkerios told Miraya FM, sponsored by the United Nations Mission in Sudan that the situation is calm.

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Jonglei state governor Kuol Manyang Juuk (left) and UN SRSG Haille Menkerios at a UNMIS camp in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan. Nov. 19, 2010 (ST)

The UN Representative to Sudan also said he saw good stability in Western Equatoria state despite presence of Uganda’s fugitive rebels, the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) that has been terrorizing the population there.

The UN is helping to deliver some registration materials by helicopter in Jonglei state due to flooding and a poor road networks.

“The referendum is a priority … and we are doing everything we will be able to” to assist in transportation of materials, Menkerios said in Bor.

Voter-registration for the politically tense vote on south Sudan’s full independence from the north started on November 15 amid reports of high-turnout in the south and low a turnout in the north.

The registration is due to end on December 1, a few weeks before the start of the vote on 9 January 2011.

Salva Kiir says the South is Open to Observers to Witness the Freedom to call for Unity or Separation

Addis Ababa, Nov. 23 (SUNA) First Vice President of the Republic Chairman of the Government of Southern Sudan(GoSS) Salva kiir Mayrdit said that the Government of Southern Sudan has opened the door wide for anyone who wants to call to unity or secession. He told the special meeting of Heads of States and Governments of IGAD on Sudan, that the opportunity is available to any local or international observers to come and see that freedom is available for all to speak and advocate for those who want unity or separation. Gen. Salva Kiir pointed out that he confirm his commitment that all opinions on the referendum will find the chance to be expressed and that his government is seeking to conduct a referendum in smooth and peaceful manner to achief credible results representing the will of the people


He said that the support of IGAD and the international community is required for the conduction of this referendum and its results. He, also , confirmed that he was committed to cooperate with brothers in the north of Sudan "and that he is committed to the spirit of partnership to create good relations and sustainable development between North and South Sudan, regardless of the outcome of the referendum". He said it's of the interest of the South that the North be stable and secure as it is in favor of the North that the South to be stable and secure, adding that the safety and security of citizens from the North of Sudan will be his first priority and he hoped that the safety of the citizens of South Sudan in the North enjoy the same support


Salva kiir said that whatever the outcome of the referendum his government will be committed to sustainable peace and stability.We have achieved much since the signing of the Comperhensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and a lot is a waiting ahead to improve the lives of our citizens , Salva kiir said

President Al-Bashir Returns Home after Participation at Extraordinary IGAD Summit in Addis Ababa

Khartoum, Nov. 23 (SUNA)- President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, Tuesday evening returned home after his participation at the Extraordinary Summit of the IGAD which was held in Addis Ababa


He was received upon return at Khartoum Airport by the Vice - President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and a number of ministers


In a press statement at Khartoum Airport, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kamal Hassan Ali, said that the outcome of the IGAD represents a strong boost to Sudan in the coming stage which will witness holding of the referendum, adding that the IGAD leaders pledged to help the two partners surpass this stage


Ali said that the final communiqué issued by the IGAD summit has appreciated the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the efforts of the two partners to implement all the agreement clauses, besides their keenness to avoid return to war


The summit also praised the role played by the African Union Panel on Sudan, which is headed by Thabo Mbeki, for realizing accord between the two partners and solving the pending issues


The State Minister for Foreign Affairs said that the IGAD leaders called on the two parties to abide by the economic and social ties between the North and the South in the case of the separation, and to keep the border between the North and the South flexible


He indicated that the IGAD leaders hoped that the two partners will be able to overcome the pending issues, including Abyei issue, and to respect the result of the referendum, whatever it is, if the referendum was fair and honest


Meanwhile, Ali disclosed that the Presidency will hold a meeting in the coming days during which chairman of the AU Panel on Sudan, Thabo Mbeki, will expose his vision to the two parties


He said that the outcome of the IGAD summit would be presented at the meeting of the Peace and Security Council that will be held on the sidelines of the European - African summit. The State Minister for Foreign Affairs referred to a meeting which was held between the President of the Republic, the First Vice - President, Salva Kiir, and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, on the sidelines of the IGAD summit in Addis Ababa

Minister of National Defence Addresses Celebration Marking Golden Jubilee of Military Industry Corporation

Khartoum, Nov. 23 (SUNA)- The Minister of National Defence, Gen. Abdul-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, has announced the increase of the ammunition produced by the Military Industry Corporation to more than 40 million, besides production of 10 kinds of arms, in addition to the production of ammunitions for mortar guns and plane bombs


Addressing a celebration marking the Golden Jubilee of the Military Industry Corporation Tuesday, the Minister of National Defence said that the corporation was able to cope with the international technological progress in the field of military production


Meanwhile, the minister honoured the families of the former President and founder of the Military Industry Corporation, Gen. Ibrahim Abboud, Major Gen. Hussein Sharfi, Col. Salah-Eddin Mohamed Saeed and Col. Ahmed Osman and Mustafa Ortashi for their role in the development of the military industry in Sudan

Foreign Minister: Peace for Darfur is Top Priority and Urgent Strategic Goal

New York, Nov. 17 (SUNA)- The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Ahmed Karti, pointed out that realization of peace for Darfur is a top priority and urgent strategic goal of the government of Sudan in the current stage


In his address at a sitting of the Security Council to follow up the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the situation in Darfur, Kari stressed that achievement of peace and the signing of a lasting peace deal necessitates existence of a party that negotiates with honesty, seriousness and clear vision


The minister called on the Security Council to direct a serious and decisive message to the parties refusing to sit at the negotiation table in Doha for reaching peace in Darfur


He referred to the unwise violations and military acts being done by elements of the rebel movements in Darfur as well as their aggressions against the humanitarian aid convoys, abduction of aid and peace-keeping employees, looting of vehicles and other subversive acts


Karti pointed to the new strategy on Darfur for realizing security, stability and development in Darfur, indicating that the government is adopting this strategy in coordination with the UN and African Union Mission for Darfur (UNAMID)


He announced that the government has assigned a budget of 1.9 billion dollars for the purpose of implementing development projects throughout the coming four years, referring to the current stability and security at 90% of Darfur area


He explained that concentration will be given for implementing infrastructural projects in Darfur such as roads, bridges and public utilities, calling on the international donors to contribute to the implementation of the development projects in Darfur


Karti said that the government, in collaboration with the international community, is preparing to hold the International Donors Conference for Development of East Sudan in Kuwait in next December, calling on the member states in the Security Council and the international funding organizations to make this conference a success

ICC prosecutor says he will seek indictments against six Kenyan officials this year

November 17, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced this week that his office is close to finalizing cases against six unnamed Kenyan officials considered to be the most responsible for post-election violence that took place in 2007-2008.

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FILE - International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo addresses the media after meeting Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki (R) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga (L) in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, November 5, 2009 (Reuters)

The revelation will likely heighten tensions that already exists among members of President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). This month, Kenya’s suspended higher education minister William Ruto travelled to the Hague out of his own will to give his version of the events to investigators there.

The state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has said senior ministers were architects of the violence, including Ruto.

Ocampo was given the green light by Nairobi to investigate after the Kenyan parliament failed to agree on establishing a local tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators of the violence. Moreover, the respected local pollster Steadman said last year that 68 percent of Kenyans wanted perpetrators tried at the ICC while only 14 percent desired local courts and 13 percent favored an amnesty. The data was almost identical when broken down by political parties.

The ICC investigations is a daily topic on the Kenyan media and moves of the court staff in the country is closely monitored to the dislike of the prosecutor’s office which prefers to maintain a low-profile.

Speaking through a video link at an ongoing two week media workshop in Nairobi, Ocampo said that he has collected enough evidence to bring cases before the Pre-Trial Chamber judges.

"We have identified six individuals against whom I will be seeking the court’s permission to prosecute before the end of the year," said Ocampo.

The suspects belong to both the PNU and ODM parties. The PM Odinga had said in an interview that if indicted he will willingly surrender himself to the court.

"We have credible evidence against the six individuals. There is evidence also that communities were incited to fight each other by some leaders drawn from the two parties", Ocampo said in the video message.

The government in August signed an agreement with the ICC allowing it to set up offices in the country to enable it pursue investigations into the chaos. A team of ICC investigators has already visited the post election violence hotspots and another group will begin receiving statements from top security bosses and provincial commissioners next week, according to local media.

It also reluctantly agreed to release sensitive minutes of security meetings held before and during the 2007 post-election violence that led to the killing of 1,133 people.

The ICC believe the minutes of the security meetings preceding the disputed presidential election results and during the post- election violence would help establish whether "shoot-to-kill" orders were issued to security officers in various hot spots.

The Kenyan Crisis mediator and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan handed over a sealed envelope last year with the names of top suspects to the ICC prosecutor. The latter however said he is carrying out his own investigations to come up with suspects names.

Ocampo wants to bring cases to trial before the upcoming elections in Kenya scheduled for 2012.

"It is our desire to see Kenyans conduct the next elections peacefully," he said and added that Kenyans need to set up compensation mechanisms for the victims.

It is not clear what method to bring the suspects will be chosen by the court given the high profile nature of the investigation. However, judging by previous cases it is likely that the ICC prosecutor will ask the judges to issue a summons to appear for the individuals given the level of cooperation he received from Nairobi.

The judges are not bound by the prosecutor’s recommendations and may instead opt for issuing arrest warrants that would be transmitted to Kenyan authorities for execution.

The process of issuing a decision on the prosecutor’s request could take up to six month particularly if the judges request more evidence and clarifications.

Foreign donors, Kenyans and local markets will be closely watching the reaction of the government to the upcoming indictments. While some analysts see justice for the 2008 violence as crucial to future stability in east Africa’s largest economy — which faces its next poll in 2012 — others warn a judicial process may destabilize Kenya by stirring up old hatreds.

Kenyan officials have vowed full cooperation with the ICC though doubts were cast after Nairobi allowed Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to visit last August despite being charged by the court for war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

The Sudanese government which has won strong African backing against the ICC will probably feel intimated by appearance of Kenyan officials in the Hague.

The website of the Sudan Media Centre (SMC), which is widely believed to be run by intelligence services, has been highlighting setbacks relating to ICC investigations in Kenya including the initial refusal by the government to grant the prosecutor access to security minutes and interrogate security officials.

Besides Bashir, the ICC has outstanding warrants also for Ahmed Haroun who was the state minister for humanitarian affairs at the time and is now the governor of South Kordofan and militia commander Ali Mohamed Ali Abdel-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb.

Three other suspects appeared voluntarily from the Darfur rebels including leader of the United Resistance Front (URF) Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, former Chief of Staff of Sudan Liberation Army (SLA-Unity) Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus and Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain described as the Commander-in-Chief of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM Collective-Leadership).

Abu Garda was cleared of the charges later while the other two will appear at a hearing later this year to determine whether there is enough evidence to try them.

South Sudan president says Abyei belongs to Dinka Ngok

November 17, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the semi autonomous regional Government of South Sudan on Wednesday said that the oil producing region of Abyei belongs to the nine Dinka Ngok chiefdoms.

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FILE - Sudan’s First vice president Salva Kiir (L) gestures to leaders of the Elders Group in Juba (Reuters)

Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) which governs the south and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have so far failed to agree on who is eligible to vote in Abyei’s referendum to decide whether the region will remain in the north or join what could be a newly independent south Sudan.

The south, also an oil producing region, expected to vote to become independent from the north in a simultaneous referendum scheduled to take place in next January.

The last round of talks sponsored by the United States in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in October stalled over the composition of Abyei’s Referendum Commission and voter eligibility.

Addressing the closing session of a two day conference on the ‘urgent popular demand for implementation of the Abyei referendum’ in the south’s capital Juba Salva Kiir said that "Abyei belongs to the Ngok Dinka". He further said the SPLM would not ink an agreement on outstanding issues related to Sudan’s assets, water or oil without concluding a deal on Abyei with the National Congress Party (NCP).

The former South African president Thabo Mbeki and Chairman of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the President Omer Al-Bashir and his first deputy will meet during next week of 22 November to discuss Abyei referendum.

Mebeki further stressed that both parties have agreed to "do everything possible to reach an agreement on this issue as a matter of urgency".

Regarding the future of the cattle herder nomads in the area, Kiir said that South Sudan would be able to provide services to members of the Misseriya tribe in Abyei but would not give them the right to own the land.

Tensions are running high in the region as the referendum is all but certain will be delayed given the impasse. Voter registration for the south Sudan referendum is underway, with voter lists to be finished only days before the vote begins January 9, 2011.

The NCP insists that the Misseriya, most of whom do not live permanently in the region but reside during the rainy season to find grazing for their cattle for a few months each year, should be allowed to vote.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune from Juba, Charles Abyei Jok, speaker of the Abyei Area legislative council described the Dinka Nogk conference as very successful and helped bring together both traditional and political leaders from Abyei to consult over the future the region.

"The conference ended successfully today. It brought different leaders from the area. It also saw attendance of our neighboring community leaders. We consulted widely with them," said Jok.

Six government accountants killed and five injured by bandits in Sudan’s Unity state

By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

November 17, 2010 (BENTIU) – Six accountants from the State Ministry of Education Science and Technology were killed attacked by a group of bandits in on their way back to Unity state’s capital Bentui from a trip to from Koch county on Tuesday. Five others were injured.

One of those injured, Lumba Mut Guong, told Sudan Tribune at Bentiu Hospital on Tuesday night that the bandits fired bullets indiscriminately.

Lumba said that before they took off from the Koch county headquarter on Tuesday about one kilometer from the town, the group attacked them and killed six and seriously wounded five including him shot on his hand, he said.

On Wednesday the state authorities organized commemorative prayer service to bury the six accountants in Bentiu town.

It is feared that the violence will hinder voter registration in Koch county for the south’s referendum on independence.

Unity state’s government expressed its deep condolences to the families and friends of the officials and called for calm.

Banditry is common in Unity state. In August two people were killed and five seriously wounded when travelling at night from Koch county to Dadok payam (ward).

State Minister of Information and Communication Gideon Gatpan told Sudan Tribune that the accountants had travelled to Koch county to deliver teachers’ salaries. They were one kilometer from Koch town centre, when they were attacked.

The bandits stole money, which the administrations were due to deliver to Mayiendit, Leer and Payinjiar counties.

The amount stolen is not yet known and investigations are under way, according to the state Minister of Information and Communication in Unity State.

The state authorities are calling for immediate increased security in the area following the assassinations of it staff in the area and have called upon citizens to continue with the voter registration process which runs from November 15 to December 1.

South Sudan is widely expected to vote to separate from the north in January. There are fears that insecurity could put the referendum in jeopardy.

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