|Terrorism and Persecution|
Helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers of the Government of Sudan have launched repeated intensive aerial bombardments of civilian centres in Southern Sudan. On some occasions these aerial attacks were followed up by co-ordinated ground assaults by the National Islamic Front (NIF) armed forces and Peoples Defence Force (PDF) militias.
Reports received by our mission include testimonies of ground assaults (sometimes) at night and scorched earth campaigns by government forces burning homes and grain supplies, and looting cattle. On one occasion 4 helicopter gunships and an Antonov bomber co-ordinated with ground forces to destroy everything necessary to sustain life in the area.
TESTIMONIES OF TERROR
Traumatised survivors relate heart-rendering stories of terrible suffering and losses:
“My father was burned alive in his tukel. My aunt is missing with her children (her husband is dead) … This suffering is caused to us by this oil. There are new companies coming up and they are being established in our former villages.”
“I don’t know where my parents are. The bombing was too much on us like a rain. Some people lost their sight.”
“I was sitting under the tree with my one-year old son. Then, the gunship suddenly appeared and started to shoot us. My baby was shot and his leg was cut right from the thigh.”
Another man related how his parents were burned to death in their tukel during a helicopter gunship attack. He was severely injured and his wife and daughter are missing.
Another man described how a night attack by NIF forces was followed by an Antonov bombing their village and helicopter gunships searching for the fleeing survivors.
THE OIL CONNECTION
According to investigators commissioned by Canadian and British NGO’s, whose findings are summarised in the“Report of an Investigation into Oil Development, Conflict and Displacement in Western Upper Nile, Sudan” (October 2001):
“The new (Government of Sudan military) strategy in Western Upper Nile, is both more violent and more territorially focused (i.e. in the oil concessions), involving co-ordinated attacks on civilian settlements in which aerial bombardment and raids by helicopter gunships are followed by ground attacks from government-backed militias and government troops. These ground forces burn villages and crops, loot livestock and kill and abduct people – mainly women and children.”
The report calculates that over 200 000 people have lost their homes in the Oil regions of Western Upper Nile since the Canadian oil company, Talisman, entered in 1998.
“Since 1999, a consortium made up of Talisman of Canada, Petronas of Malaysia, the China National Petroleum Corporation and Sudapet of Sudan has been pumping oil. Production is about 220,000 barrels a day, enough to increase the government’s annual official military budget to $327 million this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.”
SUDAN’S TERRORIST CONNECTION
The London “Daily Telegraph” published an article: “Sudan hides its Regime of Terror behind a Mask of Diplomacy”(19/10/01) which claimed that “the Sudanese government remains a host to terrorists and continues to engage in the brutal ethnic cleansing of non-Arab Sudanese.”
The article includes details of “former slaves who bore scars from burning, slashing and, in some cases, amputations of fingers … gang rapes at the hands of Sudanese soldiers … executions, usually of Christians … who refused to convert to Islam.” In addition, the Daily Telegraph article deals with the on-going presence of terrorist training camps and chemical weapons in Sudan.
BIN LADEN AND SUDAN
Various reports continue to reveal an on-going pattern of co-operation and links between Osama Bin Laden, his Al-Qaeda network and the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum.
“The National Islamic Front (NIF) political and security apparatus is intact, as are the NIF’s and the international Islamicists control of the economy. Many of those running terrorist training are still in security and ministerial jobs. So, well informed Sudanese doubt that the NIF will hand much of value to US investigators. The NIF is as Islamic as its friends Osama and the Taliban. This regime believes in what it does. Any concession is intended only to protect the greater cause. Secondly, any major betrayal would be suicidal, just as dangerous as holding free elections.” (Africa Confidential, 28 September 2001).
The FBI has confirmed that Mohamed Atta, who piloted one of the commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center, “wired money to Mr Bin Laden’s former paymaster in Sudan, Shaykh Sai’iid el Masry, also know as Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad, on the eve of the terrorist attacks” (Ottawa Citizen, 12 October 2001).
The Citizen goes on to report that testimony in the trial of four men convicted for the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania reveals: “Shaykh Sai’id (Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad) controlled the Bin Laden financial network in Sudan through a company called Taba Investments, and used profits from related Sudanese banks and businesses to finance and cloak terrorist training.”
The Citizen noted that British prime minister, Tony Blair, publicly disclosed in a report tabled in the British Parliament that: “these Bin Laden companies were key assets in the Al-Qaeda terrorist campaign. Since 1989, Osama Bin Laden has established a series of (Sudanese) businesses to provide income for Al-Qaeda, and to provide cover for the procurement of explosives, weapons and chemicals, and for the travel of Al-Qaeda operatives.”
Ali Mohamed, who pleaded guilty of conspiracy in the 1998 East African embassy bombings, has said: “he (Mohamed) arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between Hezbollah’s chief and Bin Laden. Hezbollah provided explosives training for Al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad, Mohamed said, while Iran supplied Egyptian Jihad with weapons and used Hezbollah to supply explosives.” (Associated Press, 12 October 2001).
“Tens of millions of the $100 million provided by Bin Laden to the Taliban since he arrived in Afghanistan from Sudan in 1996 has been directly traced to Bin Laden entities through banking and other transfers.” These transfers would certainly have involved the Taba Investments Company and Al-Shamal Bank in Khartoum, which received $50 million in start-up capital from Bin Laden when he was in Sudan. (The Washington Post, 11 October 2001).
A unit of Islamic mujahedeen in Bosnia has been financed by Bin Laden “by means of small convoys of recruits from the Arab world through his businesses in Sudan.” (The Los Angeles Times, 7 October 2001).
Aldy el-Attar, a 53-year old surgeon in Neu-Ulm in Germany, met separately both with alleged hijacker Mohamed Atta and Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, an alleged financier for Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. El-Attar travelled frequently between Germany and Sudan. (The Washington Post, 9 October 2001).
“United States investigators believe they have found the ‘smoking gun’ linking Osama Bin Laden to the 11 September terrorist attacks, with the discovery of financial evidence showing money transfers between the hijackers and a Bin Laden aide in the United Arab Emirates.” (The Guardian, 1 October 2001). The man at the centre of the financial web is believed to be Sheikh Saeed, also known as Mustafa Mohamed Ahmad, who worked as a financial manager for Bin Laden when the Saudi exile was based in Sudan, and is still a trusted paymaster in Bin Laden’s al-Qaida.
While in Sudan, Bin Laden bought his own bank, the Al Shamal Islamic Bank, with a handful of Sudanese partners linked to the Islamic regime in Khartoum. Bin Laden and his followers built up an intricate financial network based on Islamic practices, and dozens of ‘charities’ raising money for Jihad from the rich and faithful around the Gulf.
(The Guardian, 1 October 2001).
“Sudanese leaders agreed in 1998 to use their embassy staff in New York, London and Rome to raise funds for Osama Bin Laden, according to documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The documents, filed in Federal Court, also claim the Sudanese agreed to arrange for diplomatic credentials for Bin Laden followers, allowing them unfettered travel around the world. The alleged agreement was struck between Bin Laden’s top aide, Dr. Ayman-Al-Zawahri, and ‘Sudanese Islamic leaders’ the CSIS brief said.” (The National Post, Canada, 28 September 2001).
According to a senior police official, fresh evidence gathered by them has revealed that Ismail, the first secretary in the Sudanese embassy, was not only operating as a conduit of Osama Bin Laden in the Capital (New Delhi) but was also trying to recruit more operatives for subversive activities in India. (Hindustan Times (New Delhi), 30 September 2001).
Accordingly, Freedom Quest, in its Sudaninfo, concludes: “There is overwhelming evidence that Sudan has very much continued in the business of supporting world terrorism generally, and Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda in particular. It forces the obvious question: how likely is it that this regime will be revealing of its own activities in ‘co-operating’ with the US in the sharing of intelligence on terrorism? We can be sure that revelations will continue to emerge about the role of Khartoum and the National Islamic Front regime in supporting international terrorism. Certainly the requisite callousness has long been demonstrated in their brutal conduct of the war against the South, where the terrorist bombing of innocent civilians is the standing order of the day. In turn, if the US is not willing to look honestly at the context for the ‘intelligence’ it is presently receiving from Khartoum, it will be hard to have confidence in either the acuity of our intelligence agencies, or the moral foundation of our ‘war on terrorism’.”
Frontline Fellowship and Jeremiah Films are in the process of completing a new video documentary: “Terrorism – From the Middle East to America.” This will be a sequel to the “Sudan – the Hidden Holocaust” video which was based on our book “Faith under Fire in Sudan.”