Monday, May 12, 2008



Dear, Arusha friends

It appears the dramatic events in Khartoum have come to an end today, although the situation is still unpredictable. The ruling party has learn the lesson the hard way and this should be a clear signal to notorious African leaders that a well organized and coordinated rebel attack can easily push them out of their seats no matter how mighty an army such leaders may have.

What is worrying is that many countries are quick to condemned the Justice and Equality Movement JEM for having attacked Khartoum, but what have they done with the Sudan armed forces which is killing Darfurians daily bombing schools and kitergartens killing innocent children?

Why are they silent about the Jagaweed militia who are categorically wiping out the Africans from Darfur?

However what has happened has also proved that future battles can be fought in Khartoum instead of where the Arabs chose to mistreat the Africans said the rebels.

I have just put the story together from Thursday, May 08, 2008 to Monday, May 12, 2008 for the benefit of those who might have missed the series.

Dramatic Events in Khartoum from Thursday May 08 to Monday, May 12, 2008.

Thursday, May 08, 2008
Special Announcement

At around midnight Sudan local time, the Sudanese nation had been alerted by a special announcement from the General Head Quarters of Sudan Armed Forces, that the Darfur Rebel group belonging to Khalil Ibrahim is crossing into Sudan through the Chadian boarders in cars to destabilize Khartoum and other towns in the country. All the citizens are therefore asked to very vigilant and report any abnormal activities.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Special Statement

The General Command of the Sudanese Armed Forces today again issued a strong statement from the military head quarters in Khartoum that the Sudanese armed forces are on maximum alert because of the threats post by the Justice and Equality Movement of Khalil Ibrahim which is threatening to carry out subversive activities in Khartoum and other towns in the country; that they are monitoring the heavy movement of the JEM rebel group that is now in northern Kordofan which share boarders with Khartoum state.

That the Sudanese armed forces on Friday, May 09, 2008 had repulse the JEM rebels and forced them to flee across the boarders with Chad where they had infiltrated into the country. There is a heavy security checks up in Khartoum particularly at the main bridges liking the three different parts of the city together; and some check points are set up in the middle of some streets and those leading to strategic position. Rumor had it that JEM rebels and their sympathizers are now at the outskirts or already in Khartoum . Many are murmuring and do not know what to do and there is already some degree of nervousness in the city.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

JEM Fighting in Khartoum State

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Rebel group of Khalil Ibrahim are now fighting in Khartoum state in the town of Omdurman one of the major three cities that forms Khartoum state. They clashed with the Sudanese armed forces from northern Darfur at the boarder with Khartoum; and were heavily bombarded by Sudanese military jet fighters but forced their way through in their heavy equipped cars into Omdurman fighting along the main streets of some of the residential areas like Shingiti, Thourat and into Muhandisin which is actually closer to the River at the confluence of Blue and White Nile River some few kilometers to the government palace (Kaa el Sadaka); one of the biggest markets of Omdurman commonly known as 'suk Libya' is affected, some of its shops are burned down said a source.

The fight parlayed Khartoum in the after noon when suddenly people began panicking on hearing the news that JEM rebels are now fighting in the streets of Omdurman so we were running too and fro trying to find our way out of the city and also because we were confused of the rumors and conflicting news. Earlier a number of citizens are said to have been arrested most of them students from Darfur .

JEM is being accused by the government for implementing a hidden foreign agenda. In a statement to Radio Omdurman and T.V the spokesman of the armed forces said they had already killed a number of rebel troops among them was their second in command with the rank of Lt. Colonel and forced some of the rebels to flee and disarray in the city. The ministry of interior also declared a curfew starting from 5:00 P.M to 6:00 A.M Sudan local time.

Citizens are asked to remain in doors and report any activities by the rebel groups should they happen to appear any where in the residential areas. A number of checks have been placed in the middle of streets throughout the city; the security situation in Khartoum is much tied no one moves in and out of the city. Soldiers, police and the popular defense forces are every where heavy armed. Many citizens have to walk over 25 to 30 kilometers on foot.

Saturday, May 10, 2008
JEM Suicide Mission

According to a reliable source from Omdurman in a telephone call, the JEM rebels are now near the parliament building facing each other with the Sudan armed forces at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile River at Omdurman side on the west bank; it appears the rebels may get a reinforcement tonight or early morning, for some of them are still crossing from northern Kordofan into Khartoum state in spite of heavy bombardment.

As I said earlier they were bombarded but forced their way through fighting along the streets and are just some few kilometers from the Republican and Presidential palaces which are on the eastern side of the River. Any miscalculations in attacking them will mean a lot of casualties from citizens who are more or less trapped in this situation and may serve one or all the two parties as human shields. There is also a heavy security build up in the area, said the source.
We are expecting a fierce battle within the next few hours tonight or early morning.

Saturday, May 10, 2008
JEM Suicide Mission

The battle is now mainly in Omdurman the fighters even did not cross the bridge into Khartoum although they have reached closer to two of the main bridges linking Omdurman to Khartoum . Thus, we do not know how the battle is progressing except for the sounds of gun fire, so as Journalist we may do nothing at the moment where no one is allowed to reach the fighting ground, in the middle of the night like this because we are made to stay indoors and the security are all over the city heavily armed.

It appears at the moment that the government troops are in a better position, Omdurman National Television is showing pictures of Rebel cars they have destroyed and some few Rebel troops they have captured. However the situation is unpredictable for the fact that there is a suspicion that some citizens and government troops may be on the side of the rebels and many others are likely to shift sides and join the rebels at zero hour or the appointed time. The rebels are spotted to closer to the parliament building, a police captain and some soldiers said to have been killed by the rebels, that the rebels are still maintaining their position some few meters from the parliament building nearer to the women prison, up to this moment the situation is tense, that the worst may happen any moment if government troops fail to push out the rebels.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

JEM Suicide Mission

The curfew which was imposed by the Interior ministry from 5:30 to 6:00 A.M last evening is extended to 10:00 this morning; citizens are strongly advised to remain indoors. There is tranquility in some parts of Khartoum now though the night was spent in panic and fear because of troops patrolling the streets; and for fear of sporadic bullets and rockets which fell in some places; however fighting was going on throughout the night in some residential areas of Omdurman .

According to the reliable source who keeps updating me with the latest, some of the rebels have dug trenches and seem to be waiting for reinforcement or to attempt another suicide attack to force their way through into their targets or out of the city. As I am writing this report the source called me at 7:23 A.M Sudan local time and said the rebels have attacked one of their military trucks with an RBG rocket propeller and their troops are now clashing with the rebels.

So the suicide attack might have begun or too early to predict yet he went on to say, he is still in one of the bridges pushing on to the front line. Earlier at 6:00 A.M Sudan National Television was broadcasting that the government and the organized troops are in full control of Omdurman; Mr. Ali Nafi the political advisor to president Omer Bashir, was speaking in a location in Omdurman city saying those who dreamt of capturing Omdurman had failed and that if Idriss Deby was responding to what his rebels did to him in N'djamena and so he chose to supporting JEM rebels to do the same in Khartoum, then Deby has made a big mistake and that Sudan is going to respond in the same manner in its own time.

That a number of mercenaries are caught while others are dead or wounded, the rest fled leaving behind their cars and weapons. According to the source nine (9) rebels are killed so far as he knows including their second in command and eleven (11) wounded. The government continues to say that they have taught JEM rebels lessons they will never forget, that the rebels are being supported by Chadian soldiers as their ID cards show. The government also condemned Israel saying it has a hand in supporting the rebels to enter Khartoum .

The commissioner of police in the locality said the organized forces are now divided into three main units to comb Omdurman from any remnants of the fleeing rebels. He said the city is now saving after pushing out the rebels particularly in the Muhandisin residential area closer to the National Assembly (parliament). What we do not know is that one of the targets of the rebels is the National Radio and Television station which is also closer to Khartoum state TV and the Blue Nile TV stations just some hundreds meters from the parliament building along the Nile River, and not far from the Republican and Presidential palaces just across the river. Citizens are again reminded to report to the organized forces in case they come across any rebel.

Most of the government official and military officers who spoke this morning condemned Israel and some foreign countries for supporting JEM rebels in their suicide attack on Khartoum . The government of south Sudan in the person of Salva Kiir issued a statement last night that the Darfurians have a political problem and must be solved through national intuitions by peaceful means. At 8:23 A.M I received a call from the source saying they have been ordered to pull back for he belongs to the Joint Integrated Unit (SPLA group), that according to his observation the rebels are determined to enter Khartoum, the streets are now empty with exception of the movements of organized forces.

That according to the rebel commanders in the front line they have no problems with the Joint Integrated Units JIU but have problems with the Sudan armed forces, militia and the popular defense forces, so early an attack in eminent. What JEM is now doing in their suicide mission is far more advanced than Ugandan president Musebeni's take over of Uganda , the advance of Loren Kabila into Kinshasa in Congo and the latest advance of Chadian rebels into N'djamena.

If they ever succeeded this will be history to the modern military warfare unique of its kind by rebels in challenging governments, and even if they failed it is a record for rebels crossing three states in Sudan in less than two days covering hundreds of miles fighting one of the mightiest power in the region into the capital city. You will agree with me based on the facts that the rebels advance was reported by the general command military head quarters on Thursday night and on Saturday morning they were already in the streets of Khartoum ; and are still a threat to the major national institutions which they may capture any moment should they continue pressing on.

Sunday, May 11, 2008.

JEM Suicide Mission

Citizens in some parts of Omdurman are saying there are remote sounds of gun fire at the out skirt of the city that is where some of the rebels might still be holding firm. The main streets and those connecting residential areas are empty but safer to move in, yet people are indoors for fear of being trapped in any possible cross fire. Main while the ministry of interior has now issued a statement lifting the curfew from Khartoum city and Khartoum north but it remained imposed in Omdurman till the rebels are flashed out of the city said the spokesman.

In another statement from the military head quarters their spokesman said any citizen who would tell the whereabouts of Khalil Ibrahim the leader of Justice and Equality Movement JEM will be offered a reward of Two Hundred Fifty Million Sudanese pounds (LS.250, 000,000.00).

Khalil himself is said to have escaped death narrowly when his car was hit buy a rocket from the Sudan armed forces without knowing he was in that cars, those who escaped later told the armed forces. A military commander in Omdurman said they had captured about 250 to 300 JEM rebels, sixty cars (60) and many different types of military weapons. The president Omer Bashir after meeting with various military commanders in a statement said few minutes ago on the National Radio and T.V addressing the Sudanese nation that the invaders are Chadian troops under the command of Khalil Ibrahim the JEM leader.

He assured the public that Khartoum state is now under the full control of the armed forces. That there is no reason to panic for the armed forces is there to protect the people and their properties. He thanked all citizens who cooperated with the armed and organized forces during this invasion. He also thanked the leaders of all the political parties which stood against the invasion in particular the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement SPLM and this is a good stand and also means the coalition partners are firm in solving the country's problems.

The 1st Vice President Salva Kiir yesterday issued a statement saying Darfur problems are political and can not be solved through the barrel of the gun but through dialogue. He ordered for the suspension of the SPLM national convention till the situation calms down in the country. A strange thing is happening in Omdurman the rebels have disappeared in brought day light leaving their clothes behind. This is a real indication that some citizens are fully cooperating with the rebels than with the government troops.

Otherwise where did the rebels get the big number of plain clothes they put on within a short time? And how could they simply disappear in thin air during the day without being notice given the fact that they are so many, with Omdurman city cordoned by the armed forces heavily armed? What next?

Monday, May 12, 2008

JEMS' Grave Yard is Khartoum

The JEM rebels grave yard is Khartoum said Khartoum authorities we shall bury all of them here should they attempt to come again. However there is total calmness today in Khartoum thus, it is pumping life back through its veins in all the three major cities ( Khartoum , Khartoum north and Omdurman ) with exception of the remote western part of Omdurman , the corridor through which most of the JEM rebels tactic fully withdrew.

On the rebel side they say what they did is a message to Khartoum and that there will be similar attacks from time to time till they topple the Khartoum regime. Dr. Khalil Ibrahim the leader of JEM said he can also rule for there is no difference between him, Bashir and Salva. Khalil also went on to say he has come to separate state from religion; how ever it remained to be seen how far true that is, because Khalil and most of his followers actually were or are still strong members of Dr. Turabi's Popular Congress Party who professes a very strict Islamic religious discipline or rather they are very conservatives to the letter (Fanatics); and in fact most of the Darfurians are devoted Moslems, no one tempers with their Islam. It is true that the main body of the rebels had pulled out of Omdurman , but there is a mystery for those in the front line simply disappeared (that means they are physically in Omdurman ) may be they would resort to gorilla tactics of hit and run.

These may also be the group the security is asking citizens to report there whereabouts; rumors had it that Khalil himself may be among those trapped or chose to remain inside Omdurman , though he is also reported to be in Darfur . In another development a number of arrests is going on of the so call fifth column, among those arrested are Dr. Turabi the prominent leader of the Popular Congress Party, and four others, some Journalist and suspected citizens. Khartoum is accusing JEM of being a terrorist movement and is asking the regional and international communities to condemn it in strong terms, it also continues strongly to attack Chad verbally and that Sudan will soon teach Chad a lesson.

A unique thing took place yesterday in the midst of all that is happening, Khartoum authorities made a dramatic public show in Khartoum Football Stadium where one of the strongest football team Merrikh played a match which it won attended by a number of senior government officials and many a good number of spectators; to prove it is in control of events in the city and in Sudan as such, this was going on while the security forces were combing Omdurman to flash out the rebels.

According to my own observation and judgment there is a strong external and internal support that paved the way for the rebels and leading them to push their way through a distance of about 700 hundred miles from Chad into the capital Khartoum under heavy bombardment and face to face clashes with the army all along this distance in less than two days. The type of equipments and weapons also indicate that the rebels alone may not have that much money to make them acquire all that they use in their suicide mission in Omdurman in terms of logistics, communication equipments, the route they took and other means for military purposed.

John Lemi Stephen
Sudan Tribune Daily