‘Disappointing’ stalemate as Sudan teachers’ strike continues

The Sudanese Teachers Committee (STC) decided to continue with the comprehensive strike and closure of schools for a period of three weeks, from January 8 until January 28. In a press statement on Friday, the Teachers Strike Committee also stated they met with Jibril Ibrahim*, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, to discuss their demands the day before.

“The outcome [of the meeting] was disappointing and reflects the disregard of the elites who have the opportunity to serve in decision-making positions, even if they are advocates of supporting the marginalised and the downtrodden,” the statement read.

The STC further announced that they will organise a protest march to the Ministry of Finance in Khartoum in the coming days.

In a statement following the STC’s meeting with the finance minister, the Undersecretary of the federal Ministry of Education said that “the minister rejected their request to increase the minimum wage this year”, but “referred to a nine per cent increase in spending on education in the total of the 2023 budget”.

However, the ministry sated their refusal in paying the three-month differences in allowances to the teachers, “because these differences were not paid to any staff of any government institution”.

As well as the refused three-month shortfall, the clothing allowance, which is another point of contention for the STC, is to be disbursed in all states except for Khartoum.

Ibrahim further promised to form a committee to consider and amend the fixed value allowances.

Source: Radio Dabanga

More Arrests Over Murder of Kenya LGBTQ Activist

Kenyan police have arrested more suspects over the killing of LGBTQ activist Edwin Chiloba, whose mutilated body was found on a roadside stuffed in a metal trunk, media reports said Sunday.

Rights campaigners have issued calls for heightened efforts to protect members of the LGBTQ community after Chiloba’s violent death in the Rift Valley of western Kenya.

Police on Friday said they had arrested a freelance photographer said to be a longtime friend of the 25-year-old victim, a leading activist in the LGBTQ community in Kenya as well as a model and fashion designer.

On Saturday another three suspects were detained for their alleged role in disposing of his remains, media reports said, quoting police officials.

Chiloba’s body was discovered about 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside the Rift Valley town of Eldoret after it was reportedly dumped from a moving car.

The Star newspaper reported that a post-mortem would be carried out on Monday, while the family was preparing for a burial on Saturday.

“He died a painful death,” an unidentified police officer based in Eldoret told the media last week. “They must have tortured him and then gouged out his eye. It appears he was strangled.”

U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk said on Saturday he was “shaken” by Chiloba’s death.

“Standing in solidarity with LGBTQ!+ activists around the world. Urgent need to redouble efforts for their protection,” he said on Twitter.

His call was echoed by the African Union’s human rights commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso who issued a statement Saturday condemning Chiloba’s killing and saying it appeared it was “a result of hate.”

Dersso urged Kenya to initiate a “transparent, thorough, and prompt investigation” into the murder and bring those responsible to justice.

He also called on Kenya and other AU members to take measures to ensure that “all vulnerable members of society, including those who are or are perceived to be different from the mainstream members of society including on account of their sexual or gender identity, are guaranteed to live a life free from the threat of violent attacks.”

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said Chiloba’s death followed the unsolved murders of several other rights advocates for sexual minorities, Sheila Lumumba, Erica Chandra and Joash Mosoti.

“The continued targeting of those perceived to be different is worrying,” the state-run but independent rights watchdog said.

“The National Police Service should step up efforts to ensure Kenyans feel safe and are not arbitrarily attacked or targeted for their perceived beliefs or associations,” it added.

Amnesty International called for “speedy investigations into (Chiloba’s) brutal murder,” saying “no human life is worth less than another’s.”

Source: Voice of America

Germany allocated €? 61.2m for humanitarian assistance in Sudan

The German government said it provided € 61.2 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan in 2022 alone.

Last year’s figure, it said in a statement, marked a 50% increase from 2021.

“Germany is proud having provided a total of EUR 61.2 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan in 2022. This marks a 50% increase from 2021, solidifying Germany’s commitment to supporting those most in need,” partly reads the statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Germany, the third largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Sudan after the United Stated and the European Union, pledged continued commitment to continue supporting Sudanese.

“Germany remains the largest donor to the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF), with a contribution of EUR 16, 5 million for the third consecutive year,” further noted the statement from the German embassy in Khartoum.

The SHF, according the statement, makes funding directly available to humanitarian partners working on the ground, enabling them to timely and effectively save, assist and protect the most vulnerable.

“Germany recognizes the efforts of the European Union, through which Germany delivers much of its assistance. Worldwide, Germany is the second largest donors of humanitarian assistance,” it stressed.

Also acknowledged were the efforts of the various international and Sudanese partners in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

“Germany’s support expresses its deep solidarity with the people of Sudan and underlines the close ties between the German and Sudanese people. Germany remains committed to continuing its support in 2023,” it noted.

Source: Sudan Tribune

Sudan’s military leaders reitrate pledges to hand over powr to civilians

Sudan’s military leaders on Sunday reiterated their commitment to hand over power to a civilian transitional government to be formed by the end of the ongoing political process, while the holdout groups described the launch of the second phase as a negative indication.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan head of the Sovereign Council and his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti made their pledges at the launch of the second and final phase of the political process before the civil forces signatories of the framework agreement.

“We assure everyone and the Sudanese people that we will not fail them and we will not redraw back from the path we have embarked on leading to a genuine democratic transition,” al-Burhan said.

“The military establishment will have no role in this transition,” he stressed.

He further called to keep efforts to bring the non-signatories to join what “we started with full conviction”.

The head of the military component also thanked the regional and international actors for the role they have played to end the political crisis in Sudan pinpointing to the Trilateral Mechanism which has been targeted by the Islamists during the past months.

“We thank the regional and international partners who support this process, and in particular the Trilateral Mechanism for its role in bringing together our word and unifying our vision,” he said.

The opening session was attended by the tripartite facilitation panel and foreign diplomats in Khartoum.

The commander in chief of the military component also spoke about the security reforms that are part of the second stage of the political process.

“We reaffirm that the establishment military is fully committed to its exit (from politics) and is also committed to working with our political and civilian partners to lay the foundations for the military’s work in democratic societies,” he said.

He went further to underscore they believe that the armed forces must come under the command of an elected civilian authority.

Al-Burhan has always refused to put the army under the control of the transitional government saying they are unelected.

The second phase will discuss five issues including security reforms and the unification of all the armed forces under the national army.

Hemetti committed to one army

The head of the Rapid Support Forces in his speech was keen to reaffirm his adherence to the power handover to a “full civilian government”, pointing out that the role of the armed forces is strictly to protect the nation and its borders.

“The military institution must devote itself to protect the country and engage in a comprehensive security and military reform that leads to a single, professional and national army that has nothing to do with politics,” he reiterates.

Also, he pointed to the launch of the second stage of the political process had been delayed because they were working to include some groups that did not sign the framework agreement and whose participation we agreed in advance.

“We hope that you will be involved in this agreement so that we can end this crisis that the country is going through,” he said alluding to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi.

Suspending consultations

For its part, the Democratic Bloc coalition on Sunday vowed to mobilize its supporters to protest against the framework agreement and announced the suspension of informal consultations with its signatories.

The coalition, which includes some groups signatories of the Juba peace agreement, held a press conference to renew its rejection of the two-stage process.

The block calls to keep the 2019 constitutional declaration and reject the review of the Juba peace process. Also, they refuse the idea of a technocratic government and want to be part of the transitional government.

Mubarak Ardol, the Secretary-General of the bloc, held a press conference to denounce the launch of the second stage and announced their decision to stop any negotiations and informal discussions with the parties to the framework agreement.

He added they informed the head of the Sovereign Council, al-Burhan, of their decision.

Also, he said they asked him not to consider individual positions of the bloc members as representatives of the whole bloc.

For his part, Minnawi who is outside the country posted a tweet saying that the launch of the final phase of the political process without them is a negative indication.

“The (FFC) Central Council’s inauguration of the final phase of the framework agreement at a time when the military-facilitated dialogue is taking place between us and them is undoubtedly a negative sign and a manifestation of a unilateral spirit,” Minnawi said.

Source: Sudan Tribune

New Dabanga Sudan website: only 1 day till launch

As part of our core mission to provide independent news from the heart of Sudan, the designers at Dabanga Sudan have redeveloped, updated, and renewed our website, adapted to today’s needs to be viewed dynamically across platforms and devices, and to dovetail seamlessly with social media.

We’re pleased to announce that the new-look website, which includes a range of exciting features and tools, will be launched, and go live on 9 January 2023, so be sure to watch this space!

Source: Radio Dabanga

15-year-old daughter of Sudan anti-graft politician gang-raped

The 15-year-old daughter a leading member of Sudan’s suspended Empowerment Removal Committee (ERC)*, was abducted and gang-raped by as yet unidentified assailants on Friday.

Reports from the Sudan capital allege that the perpetrators abducted the daughter from in front of her family home in El Maamoura. The assailants then gang-raped her before dumping her in the open near the Manshiya Bridge, which crosses the Blue Nile to the east of Khartoum. The incident was reported to police, however no suspects have yet been identified or arrested.

According to reports, the victim was told by her assailants to inform her father, El Tayeb Yousef Osman, of what had happened. Osman, who is the former Secretary General of the suspended ERC, is a regular participant in the preparatory workshops organised by the Sudanese Professionals Association on the future work of the ERC.

News of the incident set social media alight, sparking widespread condemnation from other leading politicians in Sudan. Fellow ERC member, Salah Manaa, tweeted from his residence in Cairo later on Friday that “the reason for the girl’s rape is her father’s work for the committee”. Manaa stated that similar intimidation tactics against the children and women of political adversaries first appeared following the 1989 coup, and was “introduced by the political Islam”.

He went on to add that this practice was especially prevalent during the genocide war in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, and again utilised during the 2018 December revolutionaries and the sit-in in front the Military command in Khartoum on June 3, 2019.

Manaa pointed the finger at affiliates of the dissolved National Congress Party, founded by ousted President Omar Al Bashir, as well as elements within the Popular Security Forces.

He said that he considers this incident “a dangerous shift in the conflict between the military and the revolutionaries”.

The ERC member’s Twitter diatribe on Saturday, called on the directors of police and intelligence in Khartoum to resign due to their failure in detecting the culprits.

He presented aspects of the incident that would have led to the perpetrators being caught, had the police “properly investigated”. Manaa stated that “descriptions of the brand and colour of the vehicle and the time of the incident” were available, “more than 15 cameras between 60th Street and the El Manshiya Bridge at the entrance and exit” are present, and “the victim’s phone was left behind in the perpetrators vehicle”.

Khalid Silik, a leading member of the Sudanese Congress Party and the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FCC-CC), also took to Twitter on Friday saying that, “What happened to this girl who did not complete 15-years-of-age and was without fault- other than that she was the daughter of one of the members of the ERC”. He added that, this “inhumane and immoral act and only indicates the baseness and low morals of the elements of the defunct regime and their dirty, poisonous methods that ravaged the bodies of the people of Sudan for 30 years.”

The Sudanese Congress Party said in a statement on Saturday that “this heinous crime is an extension of many attempts to break the thorn of the Empowerment Removal Committee, and an attempt to dissuade it from its pivotal role in uprooting the roots of corruption from within the Sudanese state”.

Source: Radio Dabanga