Sudan warms up to removal of sanctions

THE Sudanese government appears to be warming up to the idea of becoming part of the international community once again following America’s removal of economic sanctions against Khartoum this month after 20 years. As a start, the government has announced that it will set up special courts to try terrorists and human traffickers as well as those in possession of illegal weapons.

Attorney-General Omer Ahmed Mohamed said the courts would ‘combat crimes of terrorism and help implement the national campaign to collect [illegal] arms and ammunition.’  He made the announcement while visiting the volatile states of North and West Kurdufan, explaining that the special courts would free up the criminal and civil courts.

A government spokesman noted: ‘Sudan has been gradually warming up to international norms since being brought out from the cold after two decades. The government’s campaign coincides with increasing US and international recognition of Sudan’s role in trying to achieve peace and stability in the region.’

Last month the government launched a huge campaign to collect illegal weapons in North and West Kurdufan as well as Darfur, warning of ‘strict legal action against all those who resist the campaign or possess arms and ammunition.’ The government spokesman said: ‘The campaign is an attempt by the Sudanese authorities to consolidate peace and security in western parts of the county following massive victories by the Sudanese armed forces over rebel groups.’

A counsellor at the Ministry of Justice, Hashim Osman, was quoted by a local radio station as saying: ‘A tight strategy composed of legal military and media component has been set forth to successfully accomplish the arms collection campaign. Weapons should only be in the possession of the government in accordance with the law, which criminalises the possession of weapons by unauthorised individuals and groups.’

In North Kurdufan state, a joint security force operation netted a huge haul of narcotics. In a statement, the commander of the police force in the state, General Al-hadi Al-deheish, said: ‘We need to keep a watchful eye on those who sabotage peace and security in the state and the country.’

The actions by the Sudanese government come in the wake of the US lifting economic sanctions against the country after 20 years. The government of President Omar al-Bashir was accused by the US of sponsoring terrorism, and it was hit hard by the economic sanctions that were imposed.

Just before President Barack Obama left office in January, he gave the Sudanese government six months to show that it was not backing terrorist activities for the sanctions to be removed. President Donald Trump did not only remove Sudan from his travel ban on predominantly Muslim states, he also lifted sanctions on Sudan this month.


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