One of the world’s most wanted people smugglers, dubbed ‘The General’, has been arrested in Sudan following an international operation.

Mered Medhanie, a 35-year-old Eritrean, was apprehended by an investigation team from the Sudanese National Police on 24 May after the National Crime Agency tracked him down to an address in the El Diem area of Khartoum.

The capture of Medhanie, who was wanted by the Italian authorities, can be reported now that he has been successfully extradited to Italy. He arrived at Rome Airport tonight and will appear before a judge within 24 hours.


NCA officers from the UK Immigration Crime Taskforce, called Project Invigor, have been providing ongoing support to the Italian Operation Glauco, which commenced after 359 migrants died when a vessel sank off the coast of Lampedusa in 2013. Italian prosecutors say Medhanie, who is known as ‘The General’ because he styled himself on former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, is responsible for the Lampedusa tragedy and is the mastermind behind a major criminal organisation responsible for smuggling thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa into Europe.

Telephone interceptions gathered by the Italians confirmed Medhanie was organising regular journeys across the Mediterranean, and was also directly coordinating other people smugglers responsible for land routes. During one recorded conversation Medhanie was heard laughing about the fatal overloading of migrant ships.

Tom Dowdall, NCA Deputy Director, said:

“Medhanie is a prolific people smuggler and has absolute disregard for human life. Although he was operating thousands of miles away, his criminal activity was impacting the UK. Medhanie no doubt thought he was beyond the reach of European justice but we were able to support the Italians by tracking him down to Sudan.

"The intelligence-led operation which resulted in his capture included extensive analysis of communications data, with support from GCHQ. We were also able to use of our international network to broker strategic and operational relationships with the Sudanese authorities.

"The arrest was only possible thanks to substantial cooperation between the Sudanese National Police and the NCA, together with the Palermo Prosecutors, the Italian Police, the Sudanese and Italian Ministries of Justice, and the Italian Ministry of Interior.”

Medhanie is charged with being chief and organiser of a transnational criminal conspiracy aimed at smuggling of human beings from Africa to Italy to Northern Europe and the UK. Other charges include the smuggling of migrants related to numerous arrivals of boats in Sicily, with aggravating circumstances of the number of smuggled people, inhuman treatment and risk of the life of migrants.



Former US President Jimmy Carter and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu meet Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir during their visit to Sudan as part of Nelson Mandela's new 'elders' group (Photo credit: Flickr/Andrew Heavens)


The Secretary of State is required by law to provide the Congress with an annual “full and complete report” on terrorism. The Country Reports on Terrorismcovering 2015 was released last week and makes for some interesting reading, its conclusions eliciting reactions ranging from alarm to bemusement to, quite simply, befuddlement. An example of the latter is the country entry on page 301 of the document, which reads in part:

The United States and X worked cooperatively in countering the threat posed by al-Qa’ida and ISIL in 2015, which included their use of transit and facilitation routes within the country.

Given the affirmation by the State Department that the United States “worked cooperatively” with this country to counter the threat posed by both al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State, it may be surprising to the reader that the excerpts above are taken from the section of the report for “state sponsors of terrorism”—until, that is, it is learned that country X is the Republic of Sudan, a nation towards which US policy does not always appear consistent, much less rational.

While the US government has a number of open dossiers with its Sudanese counterpart—including legitimate concerns about ongoing violence, humanitarian access, and political space within the African country—these were not the reasons that prompted President Bill Clinton to have Sudan designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” in 1993 and to maintain it subsequently in that category. 

The original designation was because of worries at the time about Khartoum’s support for groups like the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO), Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hizballah. The terrorist Sabri Khalil al-Banna, a.k.a. Abu Nidal, was killed in Baghdad in 2002 and, according to the State Department’s own report, there are no known recent actions by the dead psychopath’s group and, if “ANO associates may still exist in Lebanon, they are likely inactive” (p. 351).  Moreover, while previously members of Hamas were allowed to raise funds, travel, and live in Sudan, by 2015 “the use of Sudan by Palestinian designated terrorist groups appeared to have declined” (p. 301).

The Clinton administration designation was further justified by the use of Sudan as a gathering point for several terrorist groups, including Usama bin Laden’s nascent al-Qaeda, thanks to the welcome extended in the mid-1990s by Hassan al-Turabi, who was speaker of the National Assembly and secretary-general of the National Islamic Front during the period. But al-Turabi lost his government posts after falling out with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 1999 and was even repeatedly in and out prison until his death earlier this year. And the State Department report notes without qualification that “Sudan’s support to al-Qa’ida has ceased.”

Elsewhere in the report (p. 45), the State Department even acknowledges that last year Sudan arrested Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, the alleged mastermind of the 2014 Boko Haram-linked Nyanya bombing in Abuja that left more than seventy people dead, and extradited him to Nigeria for trial. (Nor was Sudan’s assistance to INTERPOL in tracking down the Nigerian terrorist the only instance of the country’s ongoing cooperation with international law enforcement; just this weekBritain’s National Crime Agency credited the Sudanese National Police with helping capture and extradite to Italy one of the world’s most wanted human traffickers, Mered “The General” Medhanie, an Eritrean accused of being behind vessel that sunk off Lampedusa in 2013, killing 359 migrants.) 

It might have also added that, since last October, Sudanese troops have been part of the Sunni Arab coalition fighting in Yemen to restore the internationally-recognized government of President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi and that Khartoum broke diplomatic relations with Iran and expelled the Iranian ambassador in January of this year. 

While US-Sudanese relations have often been difficult in the more than twenty years since the African country was first designated a “state sponsor of terrorism,” it is hard nowadays to convincingly argue that the reasons that motivated that declaration still hold. In fact, last year’s State Department terrorism report even commended Khartoum’s cooperation against terrorist financing in some detail:

In general, the Government of Sudan appeared to oppose the financing of extremist elements… The Central Bank of Sudan and its financial intelligence unit, renamed the Financial Information Unit in late 2014, circulated to financial institutions a list of individuals and entities that have been included on the UN 1267 sanctions committee’s consolidated list, as well as the US government’s lists of terrorist organizations/financiers. The financing of terrorism per UN Resolution 1373 was criminalized in Sudan pursuant to Sudan’s Money Laundering Act of 2003.
The Government of Sudan continued to cooperate with the Financial Action Task Force and took steps to meet international standards in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. In 2014, Sudan adopted a new Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Finance Act and ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption. Sudan’s Central Bank officials did not freeze, seize and/or forfeit assets in 2014. Sudan continued to cooperate with the United States in investigating financial crimes related to terrorism.

Ironically, as the earlier report acknowledged in passing, the financial and other restrictions that are part of the sanctions for being a “state sponsor of terrorism” may actually hamper Sudan’s ability to cooperate against terrorism: “The Sudanese government’s ability to monitor illicit finance flows is increasingly hampered by the Sudanese banking sector’s difficulty finding correspondent banks to process international transactions, leading most Sudanese to instead move money in cash.”

America has a number of outstanding issues on which it needs, if anything, toexpand its dialogue with Sudan, looking for openings through which to engage both regime interlocutors and representatives of the political opposition, civil society, religious groups, and the private sector. Stubbornly maintaining a nearly generation-old designation whose original justifications have been rendered largely obsolete—if not altogether moot by actual counterterrorism cooperation—seems hardly the most effective way to go about achieving the goals of promoting better mutual understanding and, ultimately, of contributing practical resolutions to pressing domestic and regional conflicts. 

J. Peter Pham is Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. Follow the Africa Center on Twitter at @ACAfricaCenter.

The Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan expresses its deep regret for the latest statement issued by the Troika (USA - UK - Norway) on 27th of May 2016, on the situation in South Kurdofan. - The biased and unbalanced statement by the group has just repeated the old positions that don't help bring peace to the people of the two areas, and only send the same negative signals to the rebels to continue their barbaric behavior in attacking innocent civilians without facing any consequences.

The Government of the Republic of the Sudan while confirming its commitment to the negotiations and dialogue as the only way for peace settlement in the two areas, expects clearer position from Troika towards the Road Map by applying pressure on rebel movements who refused to sign it, sparing no efforts to impede peace process and dialogue in Sudan.

The Troika statement mentioned the Road Map but still there is a lack for strong position and firm commitment towards it.

The claims mentioned in Troika's latest statement about the expulsion of the Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan is completely inaccurate. The acting official was granted his work permission in January 2014 on the basis of transitional period, the Government has renewed his stay permit for extra period ends in June 2016 waiting for a new nomination for the position and still waiting for that.

The Government of Sudan while reiterating its keenness to work with the UN agencies in the humanitarian field has the full right to evaluate the performance of UN officials and their level of cooperation.

The Humanitarian Aid Commission in Sudan (HAC) has presented in its recent statement a brief assessment for the work period of the UN official that witnessed tension in the relations and lack cooperation.

The official concerned was requested to be issued a provisional stay permit in his capacity as ACTING head of OCHA Mission inSudan. Though the said status remained as is up to date, the Sudanese authorities fully cooperated with him and secured renewals of his tentative stay permit. However, ahead of the upcoming renewal , OCHA was advised of the situation. That step should in no way construed as rejection of the presence of this UN organ in Sudan or the appointment of a new resident head of it.

Five days full of inaugurations and shoulder to shoulder gatherings
By\ Mekki Elmograbi*
The tour reminds me of the tour of 2008 in which Western Media was extremely surprised by Al-Bashir appearance on top of a podium surrounded with tens of thousands in a region “labeled” as war-torn! 
President of the Republic of the Sudan Omar Al-Bashir has just concluded a five-day trip to Darfur ahead of the April 11 referendum that will decide whether Darfur is united as a region or remains five separate states. Bashir visited each of the five capital cities of the Darfur states, where he met people in several gatherings and public rallies, stood shoulder to shoulder with local people, and even danced with them to traditional music. All events were scheduled and announced in the media almost a week in advance, which indicates that the Sudanese government’s role in Darfur and the level of peace and stability in Darfur is mischaracterized in some media.
Al-Bashir confirmed that the government will implement the result of the referendum as it will represent the will of the people. “It is the people of Darfur who choose; we just encourage them to go to vote and participate,” he stated.
The referendum was one provision of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur signed in 2011, which received wide support from the international community and was adopted by the UN Security Council and the African Union. The chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority, Dr. Al-Tigani Al-Sessi called on the people of Darfur to practice their right to vote in the referendum on April 11. He highlighted the development projects that have been implemented in Darfur after the Doha Document was signed. He confirms that the Darfur Regional Authority has launched 622 projects in 40 localities in Darfur. According to the Darfur Peace Follow-up Office, the total external support to development projects in Darfur reached $1.2 billion.
Displaced People
President Al-Bashir declared that the state governments should give displaced people the right to settle in the refugee camps, by converting the camps and nearby areas into new cities. He also said displaced people can join the voluntary repatriation program and return to their homes. In all cases the local governments should provide basic health services, education, clean drinking water, and other services.
The right to education includes the right to free, compulsory  primary education  for all, which is enshrined in the Sudanese constitution. Education in Sudan is free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 13, but Al-Bashir made it clarified to encourage governments to protect the right to education, and to encourage families to allow their children to go to school up to the end of the primary school.
In Al-Fashir: There are three major issues in development in Darfur: transportation, trade and security. Historically, Darfur is known for its vast markets; Al-Fashir itself is named after the largest market. People bring their cattle and agricultural products and purchase what they need. The area is rich, but the best recipe for peace in Darfur is security, safe roads and organized markets.
President Omer Al-Bashir inaugurated a new marketplace in the eastern gate of Al-Fashir. The area is 104,000 square meters and cost SDG 24,519 million. The president declared that he will create a high committee for collecting arms because the trade movement could not survive with the spread of unlicensed arms. Now that Al-Bashir has organized markets and the road has been paved to Al-Fashir, but there is an urgent need to collect unlicensed arms. Al-Bashir also declared a ban on collecting tolls on the roads, saying that the imposition of fees on the roads has increased the prices of basic commodities and hindered the movement of goods.
In Nyala: President Omar Al-Bashir inaugurated some internal roads, the rehabilitated Nyala Stadium, Justice Tower, Zakat chamber buildings, new buildings at Nyala University and an electricity distributing project. He also attended the signing of a contract to implement the 95-kilometer stretch of the Western Ingaz Highway from Al-Fasher, which will connect the entire region from north to south.
In Geneina: the president inaugurated the Ministry of Education, the state police headquarters, new buildings at Geneina University and a number of infrastructures and services.
In Zalengei: Al-Bashir inaugurated Zakat Chamber, internal roads, the solar energy project and the Health Security Centre, adding that Nyala - Kas - Zalengei will be inaugurated in less than six months to contribute to the trade and people's movement between South and Central Darfur States.
In Al-Deain: Al-Bashir inaugurated several projects in Al-Deain, including the seat of the government, Al-Deain Airport and National Security and Intelligent Services building. The President also inaugurated the campaign of (zero thirsty) in Abu-Karinka locality as well as schools, banks, and health facilities in the locality.
Do you remember?
For me, this tour manifests the battle against poverty, ignorance and disease, but it reminds me of another tour. It was in July 2008, a few days after the International Criminal Court fabricate d its false indictment against President Omar Al-Bashir, in an act against the sovereignty of Sudan and the dignity of the Sudanese people. Al-Bashir’s first visit after the “ICC’s indictment” was not to Doha or Addis Ababa, not to an Arab or African ally, but it was to Darfur. He surrounded himself by Sudanese people in an open rally. All the cities and places he visited in Darfur are open to the desert and to mountains and are surrounded by displaced people camps. In some areas, people openly carry automatic guns. It was a Sudanese message that the ICC indictment was false.
Al-Bashir stood on the podium in the heart of Al-Fashir city while people were coming from the mountains and the desert, riding on camels and horses. “It is one of the strangest things has ever seen to witness Mr. Al-Bashir doing a spirited jig on top of a desk that has been set up in front of tenth of thousands people,” commented Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times in a video. “The question is; are these people driven by affection or fear”, he said. The videoclip is still on the New York Times website; I hope it will not be removed because it allows people to judge. Is the government able to control the crowds when someone accused of orchestrating genocide visits what the media call a war-torn region?
The countdown of the ICC started after that historical visit. Africa discovered that something was wrong after that, followed by the entire world, including India and Indonesia lately. The campaign was heavily politicized and manipulated by some political lobbies serving political interests, not human rights.
Facts and figures about development in Darfur in the period of the peace agreements:
·The number of Primary students increased from 83,893 to 1,139,000
·Secondary from 4,000 to 166,000.
·There are 14 FM Radio in Darfur and there are 10 coming soon
·The number of the Poor families receiving aid from 28 Mil to 272 mil 
·Darfur roads projects reached the cost of $2 bil 
·Fashir Niyala road  200 mil 
·The Railway $240 mil, just 14 klm remains
·451 well 300 pump
·Number of people who have Health insurance jumped from 451,000 to 2,272,000, and the Hospitals from 13 to 76 hospitals and 862 Clinics, nurses from 220 to 1720.
*Mekki Elmograbi
Media & Information Attaché
Embassy of the Sudan
Washington DC
+1(202)338-8565 Ex. 333
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
European Union (EU) Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica , will begin Tuesday a two day visit to Khartoum to formally announce a €100 million aid package to Sudan.
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EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica (EU Photo)

The Sudanese foreign ministry and the EU office in Khartoum announced the visit in separate statements on Monday, pointing that Mimica will inform the Sudanese government officially of the European support which aims to reduce poverty, supporting the creation of jobs and improving the delivery of basic services in peripheral and conflict-affected areas.

Sudan has been under EU sanctions since the 1989 coup d’état and didn’t receive any development aid from Europe. However, Brussels continues to provide humanitarian aid and also supports the funding of Darfur joint peacekeeping force.

However, the European body reconsidered its position following the weaves of illegal migrants from Syria, Iraq, and Horn of Africa countries. Sudan is identified as a source of migrants to Europe and a transit country for migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

’’Our new support of €100 million will essentially focus on improving the living conditions for those who call Sudan home, helping returnees to the country to reintegrate back into society, and improving security at the border,” Minica said in a statement released before his arrival.


“Mimica’s visit aims to pave the way for the identification of concrete priorities and actions” that will include improving the living conditions of refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their host communities, said the EU office in Khartoum.

The European support also will be used to enhance border controls, the fight and prevention of human trafficking and smuggling.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ambassador Ali al-Sadiq said the visiting EU official will meet the Sudanese First Vice President, interior and international cooperation ministers and the deputy foreign ministry.

“This visit comes as a result of the visit of Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour to the EU headquarters last February,” al-Sadiq said, adding “it has opened up new avenues of cooperation between Sudan and the European Union”.

Last February Ghandour was in Brussels on an invitation from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

The two officials discussed the implementation of Valletta Action Plan adopted in November 2015 which aims to support Sudan other African countries within the framework of Khartoum process to promote development and eradicate poverty.

The €100 million aid package will be implemented under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. This Trust Fund was set up last year to tackle instability and the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement.

In addition to this support, Sudan benefits from additional funding under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in particular from a €40 million programme to better manage migration in the region.


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