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April 2013 - Posts

Sudanese president pardons NISS officers convicted in coup attempt

April 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) –The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has pardoned six officers from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) who were sentenced to jail last week over their alleged role in last November’s foiled coup attempt.

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) said that the decision was made in light of the plea made by those officers to Bashir.

Last Thursday, the court slapped a four years jail term on Lieutenant Colonel Hashim Omar, six years for Lieutenant Colonel Amin Zaki, two years for Lieutenant Colonel Jamal al-Din-Fageeri, four years for Major Ahmed Hassan, four years for Major Busairi Ali al-Amin and eight years for Captain Alaa El-Din Mohamed Abdullah. All convicts were also ordered expelled from the NISS. The court acquitted Captain Ibrahim Obaid-Allah.

This month another military court sentenced seven army officers to prison terms of up to five years and dismissed them from service in connection with the same coup attempt.

But Sudanese president later commuted the sentences and had them released from prison immediately.

Today’s pardon does not include former NISS director Salah Gosh who remains detained without charges and has yet to stand trial.

Sources say that authorities are reluctant to release him given the secrets he hold on the regime during his time as soy chief.

Sudan says SPLM-N is the ‘biggest threat ’ to peace and security

April 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s foreign ministry has accused the rebel Sudan People Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) and its allies in the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) of posing the biggest threat to peace, security and humanitarian situation in the restive states of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.

In a statement carried by Sudan official news agency, the ministry described SRF’s attack on Um Rawaba as a “terrorist act”.

Sudan’s top diplomatic body said that the attack on Um Rawaba has exposed SPLM-N and its allies’ approach of using civilians as human shields and exploiting human suffering resulting from their "criminal activities" to achieve narrow political gains.

SRF rebels swept through the major town of Umm Rawaba in North Kordofan state on Saturday morning before withdrawing in the afternoon. Further attacks were claimed by the SPLM-N on four towns near South Kordofan capital city of Kadugli.

The foreign ministry called on the international community to compel the rebels to immediately cease all military operations in preparation for launching a new round of negotiations between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N.

Last week, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N held the first round of talks since 2011 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. However, the negotiations were adjourned till next month without success in bridging the wide gap between the two sides.

The foreign ministry appealed to the international community to implement the decision adopted by International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in December 2011 in which it designated the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and all factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) as “negative forces threatening security of the region”.

SRF is an alliance between Sudanese factions opposed to the government led by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir. It was declared on 12 November 2011, following several months of support by Darfuri rebel groups for the SPLM-N in its conflict with Khartoum.

The alliance brings together the two main factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, as well as the other major rebel group in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the SPLM-N.

Sudanese MP calls for the resignation of the defense minister

April 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein should immediately tender his resignation in the wake of the rebels’ brief occupation of Umm Rawaba in North Kordofan state this weekend, a Sudanese lawmaker said today.

MP Mohamed Ahmed Al-Zein Hamid asserted that the minister’s ouster is necessary because despite the availability of information on the attack the army’s response was lacking. He went on to say that issues of national security are being dealt with naively.

In 2012, following the fall of Heglig at the hands of South Sudan’s army, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) bloc at the parliament called on the presidency to relieve the defense minister of his duties after his failure in protecting the oil-rich area which produces half of Sudan’s crude output.

Many are questioning president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s insistence to keep Hussein despite his poor performance. They note the attack on the capital by Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in 2008 which rattled the army at the time despite quickly repulsing it.

It was reported that Bashir swiftly rejected calls that he sack Hussein telling members of his party that it is a "red line". Like Bashir, Hussein has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

However, the deputy speaker of parliament Samia Ahmed Mohamed, dismissed MP Hamid position as “political talk”.

“I don’t talk in politics” she added.

The deputy speaker defended the army saying that it has taken on many tasks and duties beyond its main responsibilities of defending the borders. She pointed out that the army is involved in resolving tribal conflicts besides securing commercial convoys in Darfur.

Earlier this month, the defense minister said in his testimony before the parliament that the army suspended military operations in Darfur and stepped up its efforts to secure commercial trucks going to the capital city of South Darfur because police forces were no longer able to protect commercial convoys on their own.

“We were able to secure 700 trucks loaded with fuel and food and when we got ready to resume military operations, we were asked by state authorities in South Darfur to secure other convoys so we stopped military operations for the second time”, he said suggesting that his forces in South Darfur were stretched thin as a result.

Samia downplayed the impact of the Um Rawaba attack on negotiations between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese people Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N), describing the SPLM-N north sector as a “Dead movement” specially after its disengagement with South Sudan after implementing the cooperation agreements between Khartoum and Juba.

Sudanese Armed Forces announced Liberate Um Ganja in South Darfur Area from Menawi Movement

Khartoum, April 28 - The spokesman of the Armed Forces, Col. Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, announced that the Armed Forces has continued its victories in South Darfur State and liberated Um-Gonja area from Menawi movement.

In a statement issued Sunday evening on SUNA and SudanTV, Col. Al-Sawarmi said that the Armed Forces was able to destroy rebels of Menawi movement at Gonja area and inflicted heavy losses in lives and ammunitions on their side, indicating that Um-Gonja was the major base of Menawi movement.

He said that the Armed Forces is currently chasing remnants of Menawi forces who fled to neighboring towns and villages..

Sudan rebels widen offensive, move into major town

Saturday, 27 April 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese opposition forces have moved into a major town in North Kordofan state, residents said on Saturday, widening their anti-government offensive in one of their most audacious acts in years.

North Kordofan has been largely free from the rebel activity taking place in the Darfur region to its west, and South Kordofan to its south.

Residents of Umm Ruwaba, the second-largest town in North Kordofan, said an unidentified rebel group arrived Saturday morning on at least 20 vehicles.

They fired their weapons into the air, causing panic in the town but met no initial resistance from security forces, townspeople said.

"We just saw some drones in the air," one resident said.

"They started looting the market and are still here but we don't know which group they are from."

Other residents said the town's inhabitants cowered in their homes as the rebels shot up government buildings before withdrawing.

Sudan's main rebel movements from Darfur are grouped in the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) with insurgents from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) claimed on Saturday that SRF forces were in control of the eastern part of North Kordofan and the government was responding with air strikes around Umm Rawaba.

Sudan court sentences NISS officers to up to 8 years in prison over coup attempt

April 26, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – A special tribunal in Sudan has sentenced six officers from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) to various jail terms in connection with their alleged role in a coup attempt thwarted by authorities last year.

On Thursday, the court slapped a four years jail term on Lieutenant Colonel Hashim Omar, six years for Lieutenant Colonel Amin Zaki, two years for Lieutenant Colonel Jamal al-Din-Fageeri, four years for Major Ahmed Hassan, four years for Major Busairi Ali al-Amin and eight years for Captain Alaa El-Din Mohamed Abdullah. All convicts were also ordered expelled from the NISS.

The court acquitted Captain Ibrahim Obaid-Allah.

This month another military court sentenced seven army officers to prison terms of up to five years and dismissed them from service in connection with the same coup attempt.

But Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir later commuted the sentences and had them released from prison immediately.

A source speaking to Sudan Tribune said he expects Bashir to do the same to the indicted NISS officers.

But the fate of former NISS director Salah Gosh remain mysterious as he has yet to be tried. The source said that since Gosh was not part of the NISS at the time of his arrest he has to face a civilian court.

Authorities have reportedly found no evidence linking Gosh to the coup attempt and were seeking to charge him on unrelated counts of "unlawful enrichment".

The source said that Khartoum is wary of setting the once-powerful figure free fearing that he might disclose the regime secrets. He added that authorities claim that Gosh had created a CD containing classified information that he is keeping abroad.

The ex-spy chief would only be released if he pledges not to leave the country and refrain from discussing the coup attempt, the source said.

SPLM-N proposes talks on framework agreement about inclusive process for Sudan’s constitution

April 25, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on Wednesday said it is "ready and prepared" to hold direct talks with Khartoum to resolve the humanitarian crisis and reach a framework agreement on an inclusive process on the country’s new constitution.

Negotiating teams from the Sudanese government and the rebel SPLM-N on Tuesday held separate consultations with the African Union mediation to prepare the agenda of the negotiations for a political solution to the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Sudanese government accepted to engage direct talks with the SPLM-N as it finalized talks with the South Sudan over security issues and oil exportation. Khartoum in the past stipulated that Juba had to disengage with the rebels before sitting at the negotiating table with the rebel movement per the African Union and UN Security Council resolutions.

In a statement released from Addis Ababa, Yasir Arman, SPLM-N Secretary General and top negotiator, said his 15-member delegation is "ready and prepared to reach a just and honorable comprehensive peace" in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and the African Union decisions.

Arman said they expect that the process will deal with three issues particularly the humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile which affects nearly one million people, according to the UN agencies.

He further said the talks have to set up "a national framework as it came in the agreement of June 28, 2011 to provide for an inclusive constitutional process to address the historical question, how Sudan is going to be governed, with the participation of all stakeholders, political parties and civil society organizations in a national constitutional conference".

The June 28 framework was swiftly denounced by the Sudanese president few days later under the apparent pressure from the army as it calls to establish political partnership with the rebels. The generals blamed the government for neglecting the disarmament of the SPLM-N fighters before.

Also the framework deal, which was brokered by the African mediation, refers to Machakos Protocol and the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and stresses that the two parties need to work together to implement democratic principles, rule of law, respect of diversity and human rights in Sudan.

The SPLM- N Secretary general also pointed out the need to seal new political and security arrangements in the two states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Arman, also, expressed hope that Khartoum would release over 600 political prisoners form the SPLM-N and Darfur groups saying that such measures can create a suitable atmosphere for the process.

The SPLM-N formed an alliance with Darfur movements since November 2011 and inked with the opposition parties an agreement on a strategy to bring political change in Sudan in January of this year.

Arman in a statement released on Tuesday in Arabic language said the SPLM-N negotiating delegation is coordinating with the other rebels and briefed the opposition parties on their strategy for the peace process.

Presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie who signed the framework agreement with SPLM-N leader Malik Agar in June 2011 refused Tuesday to comment on the positions of his government or on the appointment of Arman as chief negotiator by his group.

He however said that the peace process will reach its goals if the two parties start with an open heart and mind and focus their discussions on the issues of the two states.

"If the talks deviate from this path they will not succeed", he added.

Sudanese officials said they are willing to negotiate a solution for the conflict in the Two Areas in accordance with a protocol related to the Blue Nile and South Kordofan and refused to include any national agenda in the talks.

The SPLM-N in the past proposed to hold an inclusive process where Darfur crisis be discussed in the talks but the government and the mediation declined this idea as the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur is agreed to be the framework for the resolution of this conflict.

US consults with Sudan and rebels to bring peace in Darfur

April 22, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Washington is in contact with the Sudanese government, Darfur rebels and the joint mediation to find a common ground in order to promote peaceful settlement of Darfur conflict, US Ambassador in Khartoum disclosed on Sunday.

"The U.S. Government maintains a dialogue with the non-signatories as well as the other stake holders as part of its efforts to promote peace in Darfur”, said US Chargé d’affaires, Joseph D. Stafford, in a press conference he held on Sunday.

The announcement comes days before the start of direct talks to end South Kordofan and Blue Nile conflict under the auspices of the African Union mediation between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

The diplomat underlined that US administration is supportive to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), a framework text signed by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) on 14 July 2011 and the Justice and Equality Movement – Mohamed Bashar (JEM Bashar) on 6 April 2013.

Stafford further said that his government cannot impose a strategy for peace in Sudan without the willingness of the Government and the people of Sudan, stressing that Washington respects what Sudanese decide to reach a final peace agreement.

Sudanese officials used to accuse the American administration of supporting rebel groups and their New Down Charter aiming to topple Bashir’s régime. On the other hand, rebels were disappointed by the position of the former US envoy Princeton Lyman who publicly resisted pressure groups which sought to influence the White House to support them.

The Chargé d’affaires said that Washington is committed to continue dialogue with the Sudanese government in spite of the challenges facing bilateral relationship.

He added that a new special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan will be soon appointed.

Sudan has been under the U.S. blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 on allegations of harboring Islamist militants despite credible reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the "war on terror".

Sudan is also subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges as well as human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.

They also express disappointment at what they describe the US failure to keep its promises to improve ties with Khartoum after the latter signed the US-brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with South Sudan in 2005 and later recognized its independence under the deal.

The American Administration on the other hand demands that Khartoum settles the outstanding issues with the South Sudan, reaches a deal with the SPLM-N rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan and fully implements the DDPD in order to bring peace in western Sudan.

Turkish company to explore oil in South Kordofan

April 21, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Ministry of Oil signed on Saturday a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Turkish company Soma Group by which it will grant the latter a concession to begin oil exploration and production in block 23 in the state of South Kordofan.

Following the signing of the MOU, Sudan’s oil minister, Awad Ahmed al-Jaz, called upon Soma’s delegation to engage in his ministry’s program which aims at increasing oil production in all blocks, pointing out that his ministry is currently aiming at bringing on all new blocks into production cycle.

The director of Soma, Salim Bora, for his part, reiterated his company’s pledge to apply new approaches and bring advanced technological expertise which would contribute to developing Sudan’s oil industry, adding that his company made many success stories in Africa and Europe.

Sudan, which currently pumps 136,000-140,000 barrels per day (bpd), lost three-quarters of its output when South Sudan seceded. The drop in oil, its main source of budget and trade revenues, has thrown its economy into turmoil.

The country had originally planned to reach 180,000 bpd by the end of the 2012, but its major Heglig oilfield was damaged during a brief occupation by South Sudan’s army and border fighting between the two countries last April.

Several oilfields were inaugurated over the last few months in Sudan which added around 20,000 barrels to the daily production.

The state of South Kordofan where block 23 is located has been a war zone since more than a year between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the rebel Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/ North (SPLM-N).

In a related issue, Al-Jaz announced that an Italian company will begin the rehabilitation and development of Port Sudan refinery in the next few days, saying that this would help Sudan meet the growing demand for petroleum derivatives, stressing that the refinery will be developed to accommodate incoming and outgoing oil products in the near future.

Sudan’s Bashir commutes jail sentences of coup planners

April 18, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir issued a decree commuting the sentences of nine army officers convicted over their role in an alleged coup attempt thwarted last November.

The widely anticipated decision carried by state media on Wednesday stated that the officers, who were sentenced to jail sentences of up to five years by a military tribunal this month, are to be released immediately.

Bashir’s order further declared that the officers’ punishment of being expelled from the army is to be changed to a discharge which theoretically means that they could return to military service.

The president’s order referenced a recommendation by the defense minister and a plea from the convicts themselves in making this decision.

Last week the Sudanese army spokesperson Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad made an announcement declaring that the convicts made a formal appeal to president Bashir to issue a pardon and have them freed from prison.

But Col. Sa’ad’s revelation was met with wide skepticism among observers who assert that the officers confessed to their role in the coup attempt making it implausible that they would turn around and ask for reprieve.

Brigadier-General Mohammed Abdul-Jalil Ibrahim, who spoke in a press conference at his home following his release, thanked Sudanese people who stood by him and called for his release, extending his thanks to the media and leaders of Sufi orders.

Ibrahim deflected a question by reporters on whether he made a plea to president Bashir and instead declared that he will continue to serve Sudanese people while praising Sudan Armed forces (SAF), the Islamist Sa’ihoon initiative group and families of detainees.

But people close to him told that he never made any plea to Bashir as was announced by the government.

The National Congress Party (NCP) leading figure who was recently sacked from his position as NCP’s majority leader at Sudan’s national assembly, Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani, was among those who came to congratulate Ibrahim on his release.

Al-Attabani, who was met with cheers urging him to move forward in demanding reforms and restoring unity of Islamists, said that Bashir’s decree was the right move and would contribute to the unity of the Sudanese people.

“I have a lot to say later” he said without elaborating.

Al-Attabani’s name has been also been linked to the 13 Islamist military and security officers arrested accused of plotting to overthrow the regime. This included former head of National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Salah Gosh and Brigadier General Ibrahim who is better known as ’Wad Ibrahim’.

Wad Ibrahim in particular enjoys tremendous popularity among Islamists and in 2011 he gathered around 1,000 Islamists at his home including Al-Attabani. He is believed to be the leader of the Sa’ihoon group.

The deputy chairman of Sa’ihoon initiative group, Mohamed Daffa-allah, welcomed today’s move by Bashir, calling upon the government to release the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) members and other civilians who were detained in connection with the same coup attempt.

Daffa-allah, touted the release as a beginning for the path of reforms calling on president Bashir to undertake an immediate and comprehensive political, economic, and social reform along with stopping civil war and drafting a new constitution with the participation of all political forces.

Osama Tawfig, member of the mediation team between the government and Sa’ihoon group, revealed in a press statement that they are working on the release of the remaining detainees, including the seven NISS officers who are reportedly just being tried and the other six civilians,

The Sa’ihoon group, which means ‘God-seeking wanderers’ in Arabic, is a loose association of committed Islamists and former Popular Defense Forces (PDF) combatants.

They staged a demonstration in Khartoum on Tuesday calling for the release of all those held over the failed coup plot. Several officials rushed to the scene to calm the protestors and inform them that the release of the officers is imminent.

Islamist group protest in Khartoum for release of coup attempt convicts

April 17, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese police dispersed dozens of the Islamist Sa’ihoon initiative group who were engaged in demonstrations near University of Khartoum’s tunnel yesterday to protest the non-release of the coup attempt convicts despite reports of a presidential pardon.

Earlier this month, a military court sentenced seven army officers to prison terms of up to five years and dismissed them from service for their role in an alleged coup attempt against President Omer Hassan al-Bashir that was thwarted last November.

At the time however, multiple sources predicted that Bashir will pardon them when he receives the ruling for endorsement per the law.

Last week the Sudanese army spokesperson Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad made an announcement declaring that the convicts made a plea to president Bashir to issue a pardon and have them freed from prison.

But Col. Sa’ad’s revelation was met with wide skepticism among observers who assert that the officers confessed to their role in the coup attempt making it implausible that they would turn around and ask for reprieve.

A source with knowledge of the investigation into the coup attempt scoffed at the spokesperson’s statement saying that the government was looking for a way out from the case which threatened to widen an increasing rift within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its Islamic base.

The Sa’ihoon group, which means ‘God-seeking wanderers’ in Arabic, is a loose association of committed Islamists and former Popular Defense Forces (PDF) combatants.

The demonstration which lasted for approximately 30 minutes saw the arrival of the Secretary General of the Sudanese Islamic movement (IM), Al-Zubier Ahmed Al-Hassan, who assured demonstrators that detainees will be freed in the coming hours.

Osama Tawfig, member of the mediation team between the government and Sa’ihoon, told protesters that the president has already issued the decree to release the detainees on Monday afternoon and that the release will most likely take place on Wednesday.

“They [the convicts] will be in their homes on Wednesday afternoon, I promise you; I have a copy of the presidential decree signed by Bashir” Tawfig was quoted as saying.

But a spokesman for Sa’ihoon stressed that they would resume demonstrations, if detainees were not freed as promised.

"We demand the release of all civilian and military detainees including those of the opposition and the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N)….. If our demands for radical reform were not met, then all options are open” he said.

Sudan’s Bashir will probably seek a new term, opposition leader says

April 16, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The secretary-general of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi, said that Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will likely run in the upcoming elections despite his assertions to the contrary.

Last month, Bashir reiterated his past intentions to step down at the end of his term in 2015, saying Sudan is in need of “fresh blood”.

But Turabi dismissed the president’s remarks, saying that Bashir will seek a new presidential term either by amending the constitution or responding to demonstrations by his party loyalists urging him to backtrack on his decision to step down.

Several senior officials, including Bashir’s two vice presidents, suggested that a decision on the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) presidential candidate rests with the party and not Bashir.

Speaking on Tuesday on the occasion of the release of his party’s detainees, Turabi scoffed at the idea of any president in a third world country abandoning his post voluntarily.

“We always hear rulers in Africa say that they are ascetic in retaining their posts, however, they end up running again”, he said.

“[Even] if the president is sincere about his decision to step down, his party members could go in demonstrations to discourage him from his decision”, Turabi added.

The PCP leader stressed that the opposition won’t participate in the next general elections slated for 2015 unless the current regime is dismantled, warning that the country is being torn apart,

“We won’t run in elections which allows them [NCP] to win 90% of the seats in the parliament”, Turabi said.

The Islamist figure further said that the government’s recent call for dialogue reflects its weakness, emphasising that dialogue can only be conducted between equal parties.

Turabi also said that he sees change coming to Sudan but stressed that it will not occur without sacrifices.

Earlier this month, Bashir said that his government is committed to national dialogue with all groups, regardless of their political affiliations in order to resolve outstanding issues and pave the way for an agreement on the new constitution.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit withdraws delegated executive powers from VP Machar

April 15, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s Kiir on Monday issued a republican decree withdrawing executive powers delegated to the Vice president Riek Machar, according to a broadcast by state-run South Sudan Television.

The order did not cite or state any reason for the move and no official statement from the office of the government spokesperson has been released to the public.

The decision may be linked to Machar’s intentions he made during the last SPLM politburo meeting to run for chairmanship of the ruling party at the upcoming national convention in May.

Article 105 of the transitional Constitution of South Sudan gives the Vice President powers to act on behalf of the President in the event that the head of state is out of the country to perform any function or duty conferred upon the president.

Earlier today, Kiir also issued a decree dissolving the national reconciliation committee and cancelling the entire process which was overseen by VP Machar.

First South Sudan oil reaches Sudan

April 14, 2013 10:46PM - SUDAN'S oil ministry says the first crude from South Sudan has reached its territory, bringing both impoverished countries closer to billions of dollars in revenue after a dispute over fees.

"The first batch of oil already arrived on Sudanese land yesterday," Sudan's undersecretary at the petroleum ministry, Awad Abdul Fatah said on Sunday.

"It's a small testing quantity."

Eight days ago South Sudan held a ceremony to restart oil production at the Thar Jath field in Unity state after a shutdown of more than a year.

The South halted crude production in early 2012, cutting off most of its revenue after accusing Khartoum of theft in a row over export fees.

China was the biggest buyer of the oil.

At talks in Addis Ababa last month, Sudan and South Sudan finally settled on detailed timetables to ease tensions, after months of intermittent border clashes, by resuming the oil flows and implementing eight other key pacts.

The deals had remained dormant after signing in September as Khartoum pushed for guarantees that South Sudan would no longer back rebels fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Sudanese president removes South Darfur governor from office

April 14, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir relieved the governor of South Darfur, Hamad Ismail from his position without further details about the cause of this expected decision following the increase of insecurity in the state.

On 10 January 2012, Bashir sacked his predecessor Abdel Hamid Musa Kasha and later on accused him of contributing to the mismanagement of the state affairs, corruption and insecurity.

Bashir also issued on Saturday another presidential decree appointing Abdel Karim Musa Abel Karim as governor ad interim until the designation of a new Wali.

The new governor told reporters in Nyala that he was informed of the presidential decision, saying he held an extraordinary meeting for the security committee in the state to brief them about the decree.

Abdel Karim who is member of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said he met also with the party leadership in South Darfur, the state cabinet members to inform them about the developments.

The state capital Nyala was the scene of looting and kidnappings incidents committed by armed groups. the region also witnessed tribal clashes

Abdelkarim said the state agriculture minister Gadir Ali Zakin has been chosen to lead a committee to manage tribal clashes between Salamat and Misseriya which initially started in Central Darfur state.

In Khartoum, consultations are taking place to appoint a new governor form the region. Reports says Mahmoud Jar Al-Nabi, a former general, may be picked to this position.

The president, in line with state of emergency law which is declared in Darfur since the start of the rebellion, can remove an elected governor and appoint another.

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