Sudan denies UN access to Darfur village to probe rape accusations
Sudan has refused to let United Nations and African Union peacekeepers visit a village in the western Darfur region to investigate allegations of mass rape for the second time this month, saying it was sceptical about the motives for the visit.
The United Nations said Sudanese troops initially denied members of the joint peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, access to Tabit in north Darfur earlier this month.
The force was later allowed to visit the area and said in a statement on November 10 that it had found no evidence to substantiate media reports that Sudanese soldiers had raped about 200 women and girls there. UNAMID said it intended to conduct further investigations and patrols in the area.
Sudan’s Bashir to seek re-election in 2015
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – in power since a 1989 coup – will stand for re-election in April 2015 after being retained as the leader of the ruling party, an adviser has said.
Bashir, who is the only sitting head of state wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes, was re-elected as both leader and presidential candidate of the National Congress Party (NCP) at a party convention, his chief assistant Ibrahim Ghandour said on Tuesday.
Bashir won “266 out of 522” votes, Ghandour told the AFP news agency. “We will present him to the [NCP] general congress just to approve” his candidacy.
Ghandour said Bashir had been chosen out of five candidates.
The 2015 elections for the presidency and national and state parliaments will be only the second since the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power.
The 70-year-old leader, wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes by the ICC, had previously indicated he would not run for another term.
The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for him on charges that he orchestrated atrocities during the conflict in the western region of Darfur. He dismisses the charges and Sudan refuses to deal with the Hague-based court.
Mbeki adjourns talks on Sudan’s Two Areas for more consultations
African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki announced on Monday the adjournment of peace talks on the Blue Nile and South Kordofan conflict, saying there is a need to better prepare the framework agreement. The announcement watered down hopes that transpired on Saturday when the two parties reached a compromise on all the contentious issues and tasked the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) with the writing of a new version of the draft agreement.
Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki told the press conference that the parties felt the need to conduct consultations and reflection on the elements of the draft agreement and agreed “to adjourn before to resume as quick as possible”.
Journalist to Appear Before Court for Photographing Military Areas
A Sudanese journalist by the name of Aisha el-Samani will appear in al-Nuhood court in West Kordofan state on November 26th to face charges under article (57) of the criminal law relating to entering and photographing military premises.
On July 4th, police arrested el-Samani, who works for the English language daily newspaper Citizen, near al-Nuhood prison where the leader of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), Ibrahim al-Sheikh, had been jailed for criticizing a government militia.
Al-Samani was then taken to al-Nuhood police station where she was interrogated for one hour before being released after confiscating her mobile phone. She was forced to suspend her assignment and ordered to return to her workplace in Khartoum.
If convicted, al-Samani, will be imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year and/ or fined. Al-Jareeda journalist Hassan Ishag was also detained by National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in al-Nuhood. He was released after he spent 100 days in prison and went on an open-ended hunger strike.