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SUDAN: Air Peace Offers To Evacuate Nigerians From Sudan

We are ready to evacuate Nigerians from Sudan — CEO, Air Peace.

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A Nigeria-based private airline, Air Peace Air Peace, has disclosed its readiness to evacuate stranded Nigerians in Sudan, North-East Africa for free if the Federal Government can get them to a safe and secure airport in any of the neighbouring countries bordering Sudan.

This was disclosed in a statement on Monday by the Chairman and Chief Executive Office of the airline, Allen Onyema.

He noted that Nigerian students and others stranded in the war-racked nation urgently “need our help.”

Onyema said he is compelled to help because Nigeria cannot afford to lose her citizens in that country, adding that it would be his own commitment to making sure that the stranded Nigerians in the war-torn country are safe.

People fleeing the war area in Sudan

“Again, Air Peace is willing to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Sudan free of charge if the government can get them to a safe and secure airport in any of the neighbouring countries bordering Sudan. Everything must not be left to the government and the government alone.

It added, “We are very ready to do it immediately. No time wasting. Any action that would promote national pride, national cohesion, peace and unity, we are for it.

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SUDAN CRISIS: What You May Want To Know

The Crisis in Sudan

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Sudan has witnessed many days of violence in the recent and this have resulted in the deaths of at least 180 people, with many more left wounded.

The fighting represents the latest crisis in the North African nation, which has contended with numerous coups and periods of civil strife since becoming independent in 1956.

What is going on in Sudan?
The ongoing upheaval in Sudan all revolves around infighting between two rival groups: the Sudanese army and a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)

In 2021, there was a coup d’etat in the country that ended a transitional government put in place after the fall of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir two years earlier. Since then Sudan has been run by the army, with coup leader General Abdel-Fattah Burhan as de facto ruler.

The RSF, led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo – who is generally known by the name Hemedti – has worked alongside the Sudanese army to help keep the military in power. Following Bashir’s ouster, the political transition was supposed to result in elections by the end of 2023, with Burhan promising a transition to civilian rule. But it appears that neither Burhan nor Dagalo has any intention of relinquishing power. Moreover, they are locked in a power struggle that turned violent on April 15, 2023.Since then, members of the RSF and the Sudanese army have engaged in gunfights in the capital, Khartoum, as well as elsewhere in the country. Over the course of three days, the violence has spiraled.

General Abdel-Fattah Burhan

The recent background to the violence was a disagreement over how RSF paramilitaries should be incorporated into the Sudanese army. Tensions boiled over after the RSF started deploying members around the country and in Khartoum without the expressed permission of the army. But in reality, the violence has been brewing for a while in Sudan, with concern over the RSF seeking to control more of the country’s economic assets, notably its gold mines. The developments in Sudan over the last few days are not good for the stability of the nation or its prospects for any transition to democratic rule.

General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo

The two men at the center of the dispute

Dagalo rose to power within the RSF beginning in the early 2000s when he was at the head of the militia known as Janjaweed – a group responsible for human right atrocities in the Darfur region.While then-Sudanese President Bashir was the face of the violence against people in Darfur – and was later indicted on crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court – the Janjaweed is also held responsible by the ICC for alleged acts of genocide. While they were doing so, Dagalo was rising up the ranks.As head of the RSF, Dagalo has faced accusations of overseeing the bloody crackdown of pro-democracy activists, including the massacre of 120 protesters in 2019. The actions of Burhan, similarly, have seen the military leader heavily criticized by human rights groups. As the head of the army in power and the country’s de facto head of government for the last two years, he oversaw a crackdown of pro-democracy activists.One can certainly interpret both men to be obstacles to any chance of Sudan transitioning to civilian democracy. But this is first and foremost a personal power struggle. To use an African proverb, “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.”

Is there a danger the violence will escalate?
A coalition of civilian groups in the country has called for an immediate halt to the violence – as has the U.S. and other international observers. But with both factions dug in, that seems unlikely. Similarly, the prospect of free and fair elections in Sudan seems some ways off.

The recent violence in many ways, is playing out what is the context of Sudan’s history.The army has long been at the center of political transitions in Sudan. And resistance to civilian rule has been more than less the norm since independence in 1956.

There doesn’t appears to be an easy route to a short-term solution, and what makes it tougher is that you have two powerful men, both with a military at their disposal, fighting each other for power that neither seem prepared to relinquish.

The concern is that the fighting might escalate and destabilize the region, jeopardizing Sudan’s relations with its neighbors. Chad, which borders Sudan to the west, has already closed its border with Sudan. Meanwhile, a couple of Egyptian soldiers were captured in northern Sudan while violence was happening in Khartoum. Ethiopia, Sudan’s neighbor to the east, is still reeling from a two-year war in the Tigray region. And the spread of unrest in Sudan will be a concern to those watching an uneasy peace deal in South Sudan – which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and has been beset by ethnic fighting ever since.

As such, the stakes in the current unrest could go beyond the immediate future of Burhan, Dagalo and even the Sudanese nation. The stability of the region could also be out at risk.

Source: The Conversation in an interview with Christopher Tounsel, a Sudan specialist and interim director of the University of Washington’s African Studies Program, to explain the reasons behind the violence and what it means for the chances of democracy being restored in Sudan.

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THOMAS SANKARA: The Role France Played in His Assassination?

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On Wednesday, Burka Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré was found guilty and received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara. But was Compaoré’s action inspired, orchastrated and backed by France?

Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.

The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983.

Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle.

After seizing power at the age of just 33, the Marxist revolutionary known by some as “Africa’s Che Guevara”, campaigned against corruption and oversaw huge increases in education and health spending

The prosecution said Sankara was lured to his death at a meeting of the ruling National Revolutionary Council.

He was shot in the chest at least seven times, according to ballistics experts who testified during the trial.

Blaise Compaoré

Sankara’s widow, Mariam Sankara, who attended the trial throughout, said the verdict represented “justice and truth” after a 35-year wait.

“Our goal was for the political violence we have in Burkina Faso to come to end. This verdict will give many people cause for thought.”

However, there is little prospect that Compaoré will serve his sentence any time soon. He has lived in exile in Ivory Coast since he was removed from office following mass protests in 2014, and has taken up Ivorian nationality.

He previously denounced the trial by a military court as a political sham.

Compaoré with Sankara. Your enemy is not far from you.

Ten others were also found guilty, including Compaoré’s security chief Haycinthe Kafando, who was accused of leading the hit squad that killed Sankara.

He has been on the run for several years and was also tried in absentia. He too received a life sentence.

They had both denied the charges.

Gilbert Diendéré, one of the commanders of the army during the 1987 coup and the main defendant who was actually present at the trial, was also sentenced to life. He is already serving a 20-year sentence for a coup attempt in 2015.

Mariam Sankara, widow of leader Thomas Sankara, sits in the Ougadougou courtroom in October, 2021

Meanwhile, in February, 2013, Emile Schepers, a veteran civil and immigrants rights activist wrote the following article he titled “People’s World Demand for inquiry into France’s role in assassination of African leader” published in People’s World:

On February 13, a member of the French Chamber of Deputies tabled a motion to begin a parliamentary investigation of the assassination of Captain Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, in 1987.Sankara, who himself took power in a coup d’état in 1983, was a progressive and charismatic leader who is sometimes referred to as Africa’s Che Guevara. Succeeding a regime seen as subservient to France, Sankara changed the name of his country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means land of men of integrity. He was considered incorruptible, and gained the love and support of poor Burkinabés (as the people of Burkina Faso are called) because of his programs of land reform, agricultural development, improved health care and schools and other similar things. Two very popular emphases of Sankara’s policies were the improvement in the situation of women and the curtailment of the traditional powers of tribal chiefs, who were seen by many as corrupt. He nationalized all land and subsoil wealth of Burkina Faso. But in 1987, he was overthrown and killed in a military coup organized by Blaise Compoaré, at that time a military officer also, and now president of Burkina Faso. The reason given for the coup was that Sankara’s nationalizations and anti-imperialist rhetoric were angering the French and neighboring African countries aligned with France. With Sankara out of the way, many of his progressive policies were reversed, including the nationalizations.

Jacques René Chiracis was Prime Minister of France in 1987

But Sankara’s supporters have not forgotten him in the ensuing 26 years, and have kept up a campaign to achieve justice for Sankara, and a return to his progressive socialist policies.The belief that France and perhaps the United States were involved in the overthrow and killing of Sankara did not come from nowhere. Besides the flat statement by the Compoaré group that they overthrew Sankara because he was annoying the French, many of the individuals who have carried out coups in Africa have been former French or French colonial army officers, and the involvement of French security services and business interests in such actions is well known. The CIA has also been involved in several coups, most notably in the overthrow of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1960 and of Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. In each case, the leader overthrown and/or killed was seen as a threat to French, U.S. or other western business interests because of his progressive policies.Earlier this year, the French newspaper Liberacion published a story which strongly suggests some sort of French security involvement in the incident in 1994 in which an airplane carrying the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda was shot down over the Rwandan capital of Kigali, an incident which helped trigger the Rwandan genocide and some other current conflicts in Central Africa.People in Burkina Faso cannot get at the necessary French government records under normal circumstances.So in 2011, a group of Burkinabé parliamentarians wrote to the French National Assembly calling for it to begin an inquiry into the Sankara assassination. A motion to that effect has now been tabled in the lower house of the National Assembly by Andre Chassaigne, a deputy from the French Communist Party. A guest from Burkina Faso’s left-wing Union pour la Renaissance/Parti Sankariste, Me Benewende Stanislas Sankara, attended the 36th Congress of the French Communist Party this month. On returning to Burkina Faso, he participated in a press conference in the Burkinabé capital, Ouagadougou, to advance the same demands.Mr. Chassaigne’s motion coincides with an increasing level of U.S., French and NATO involvement in African affairs, including an exponential expansion of U.S. military missions under the AFRICOM command. The latest is that the Republic of Niger is now allowing the U.S. to set up drone bases in the Southern part if its territory, near the border with Mali.It’s necessary that we in the United States also be ready to demand answers from our own government.

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