SUDAN DENYING NIGERIA’S PEACEKEEPING OFFICERS VISAS – DEFENCE MINISTER

Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir, President of The Sudan

Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir, President of The Sudan

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Written by Chris Agbambu
Abuja
Friday, 17 February 2012

THE Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant- General Azubike Ihejirika, was barred from entering war-torn Sudan, the Minister of Defence, Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed, disclosed on Thursday. He also said top peacekeeping officers were denied visa by Sudan embassy in Nigeria.

Discussing the lingering crisis in the country with the United States Senior Advisor on Darfur, Ambassador Dane Smith, the minister asked both the US and the United Nations (UN) to call the Sudanese government to order in its hostility to Nigerian troops in Dafur or compromise the impartiality of the peacekeeping force. Smith was accompanied to the minister’s office by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Terence McCulley, to discuss the Darfur crises.

Dr Mohammed said Nigerian Ambassador to Darfur, Professor Agboola Gambari, had been working to ensure adequate security and supervision of Nigerian troops but could not achieve much, due to the hostility of the Sudanese government.

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About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
This entry was posted in AFRICA, AFRICAN ARMED FORCES, ARMED CONFLICT, GLOBAL DEFENCE NEWS, MILITARY PHOTOS, NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES, NIGERIAN MILITARY HISTORY, PEACE SUPPORT OPERATIONS, SECURITY ISSUES AND CONCERNS, SUDAN and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to SUDAN DENYING NIGERIA’S PEACEKEEPING OFFICERS VISAS – DEFENCE MINISTER

  1. doziex says:

    This is one of the nightmares I have had for some time. NA has a brigade size force deployed in far away sudan. Some part of UNAMID, the darfur mission, some part of a growing buffer UN force placed between Omar Bashir’s warmongering (SAF) and the increasingly conventional T-72 possesing south sudan army. The core of the former SPLA.

    While cashing UN checks is good for a growing third world army, and peace keeping a laudable enterprise, THE INHERENT DANGERS IN THIS MISSION MUST BE SUBJECT OF DAILY CONSULTATIONS IN ASO ROCK.

    Getting caught in the middle of these wars, in darfur and in southern sudan is a very realistic proposition.
    In darfur, you have proxy forces from both sides(chad & sudan) bidding their time and rearming. And then, there is the Janjaweed militia. Both Chad and sudan have conventional forces that are growing in military prowess.
    Sudan armed forces (northern sudan) has been bulking up on chinese hardware ( UN sanctions be damned ). They are also active in emerging second hand military hardware markets such as Libya where they have snapped up BM-21 MBRLs amongst other things and Ukraine, where for a price, you can get your hearts desire.

    Chad for it’s part has gone on a used weapons spending spree. Acquiring mi-24s ,mi-17s, bmp-1 IFVs, T-55 tanks and SU-25 attack aircraft from ukraine. Eland armoured scout car ( SADF’s version of AML-90s) has also been acquired.
    A similar perhaps even more lethal array of forces are at daggers drawn in the south. Deployed around oil rich regions of abyei, south kordofan, blue nile etc.

    So when, the proverbial shit hits the fan, and war erupts, will the Stronger members of the UN come and rescue the NA and the other third world peace keepers ? These aforementioned forces are NOT ragtag armies. A nigerian contigent once had it’s base overrun by one of the darfur rebel groups, leading to the destruction of mowag APCs, living quaters and 9 lives. Other participating nations have also suffered ambushes from the janjaweed forces or the darfur rebel groups.

    Furthermore, Omar bashir’s (SAF) has little incentive to make peace. Cause on the one hand, he has already been indicted by the international criminal court for war crimes; on the other hand, he is losing control of his oil money, necessary for his regime survival to the newly minted country of south sudan.
    In conclusion, nigeria must be ready to play MILITARY and POLITICAL CHESS ON THIS LEVEL. We must be prepared to militarily bail out our peace keepers if need be. Ethiopia’s proximity to sudan and it’s impressive military acquisitions of late, gives them better leverge to influence the situation on the groung or at least bail out their forces in the case of a conflagration.

  2. GET them the h–ll out of there.

  3. Yagazie says:

    Gentlemen, please forgive me if the question I am about to ask is naive or shows ignorance….but of what strategic benefit or relevance is sudan/south-sudan to Nigeria that warrants us risking the lives of our troops in that G*d forsaken place? The two battallions out there could be better utilised dealing with the BH threat we have at home.

    We already have a good international reputation in peace-keeping operations and as such have nothing to prove.

    At this stage of our national development, before we deploy our men and women abroad and put them in harms way, it must be in our National /Strategic interest to do so-if not we should not bother. America, France, Brittain do the same. Permanent Intrests – no permanent friends.

    Nothing stops us from making a financial contribution i(like Japan does towards UN peacekeeping missions) if we feel that we must do something. The era of trying to play the big brother l(ike we did in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and South Africa )is over. In any event where did it get us?

    In any event General Omar Bashir is an indited war -criminal and the sooner he is arrested and sent to the Hague for trial, the better for all concerned.

  4. beegeagle says:

    Four battalions IN SUDAN, two battalions in Liberia.

    Ethnocultural and religious ties exist between Northern Nigeria and Northern Sudan. Descendants of Nigerian migrants and pilgrims on their way to Mecca settled there and probably number about 2 million people. Till date, the nobility in the North still send their wards for higher religious learning in Sudan. The most famous example of that being Lamido Sanusi, the CBN Governor.The Katsina State Government as of 2010 sponsored a few hundred scholars to learn Arabic, Calligraphy, Islamic Law and Theology etc. Several other northern states do so as well.

    We have Sudanese diasporan communities in Borno and Kano as well. In terms of languages, we have Hausa, Fulani, Shuwa Arabic and Kanuri common to both countries on account of the aforementioned circumstances.

    Read our thread

    HAUSA, FULANI AND KANURI IN THE SUDAN

    Even the Sultan of Sokoto has distant cousins in Sudan.

  5. Yagazie says:

    Hi Beegs, thanks for the education – quite informative.

    I also recall that in our legal system, our Penal Code (used in Northern Nigeria – the south uses the Criminal Code) was based on the Sudanese penal code.

    So we have educational/historical/distant family links with the Sudan. It still begs the question- what is the National/Strategic imperative that demands that we place our troops in harms way in the Sudan?

    General Omar Al-Bashir should know (or at least should have advisers who advise him and should know) of the historical/family/educational links that exist between Nigeria and his Country and yet he chooses to act in such a disrespectful manner.

    I believe that he has never been keen on having UN peacekeepers (or the preceeding AU peacekeepers) in his country as their presence limits his ability to carry out ethnic cleansing in the Dafour Region.

    In my humble opinion, our troops should be pulled out and brought back home and in future, before deploying our troops on any future peacekeeping mission, there should be a careful analyisis of the National/Strategic/economic benefits to be gained from such a mission.

    On the question of peacekeeping, have all our NAF C-130s been fully reactivated ? I get a bit irritated each time I go to the Nigerian Millitary entry on Wikipedia and see the picture of Nigerian Soldiers marching towards a USAF C-130. That picture should be removed and updated with a more recent one showing our troops embarking/disembarking from NAF transport planes or helicopters.

  6. beegeagle says:

    In terms of strategic economic benefit, there is nothing to be gained out there. Nothing was gained from previous expeditions anywhere beyond a few concessions to Nigerian-owned concerns. That was why I said that FOUR battalions should be pulled back from Darfur and Liberia. There are many African countries which can afford to fill the vacuum if Nigeria were to pull out therefrom on account of their own domestic circumstances, provided the AU and UN fund the operation.

    Such countries include Cameroon, Tunisia, Egypt, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia.

    Under FY 2011 and FY 2012 workplans as funded, the reactivation of two additional units of C130 and five G222s should be carried through to fruition. In our August archives, there is a photo of a NAF C130 arriving in Britain to be overhauled.

    The guy who does the Wiki writeup should know that the NA have 3 armoured brigades – 21, 22 and 23, NOT the two armoured brigades which he listed. And that photo could be replaced with another which has Nigerian troops arriving at Lungi. See our thread – FLASHBACK: ECOMOG IN SIERRA LEONE. You can use the blog’s search window or Google to pull that story back up.

  7. doziex says:

    Hey guys as I have said before, dude( Beegeagle that is), has the mind of an encyclopedia. Who needs wikipedia ??

    Anyway, AU had to act in the sudan because Omar Bashir was about to carry out his second progrom or is it genocide against BLACK AFRICAN MUSLIMS. I think once in a lifetime is enough.

    In the south, the blacks were christians and animists, but in darfur, they are all muslim.
    So while our northern nigerian brethren hold their sudanese links in high esteem, they should make sure the feeling is mutual. Historically or at present.

    Lets remember this is society that was formed from the ARAB SLAVE TRADE.

  8. peccavi says:

    4 battalions is nothing in a 4 division army. The costs are underwritten by the UN and it gives the boys valuable operational experience in an unusual theatre.
    The Bangladeshis have turned peace keeping into a virtual industry for their army, I think it is in Nigeria’s interests to keep a strong UN presence, it prevents other regional powers from deploying troops and assets near us, it prevents foreign forces from deploying in Africa, strategically we build relations in other African countries and with other African militaries which will come in useful in the future and it gives us a positive rep.
    Unless a country actually has a war, this is the best way to get operational experience and to get someone else to pay for it. To be honest Nigeria should rotate on a 6 month basis to get the maximum for the largest amount

  9. beegeagle says:

    All the points which you raised are strategically correct and in order, assuming that we had an ideal situation there. You are right about Bangladesh. Half of Ghana’s 5,000-man Army are similarly deployed outside in Lebanon, Congo and Cote d’Ivoire and PKOs are for them an industry as well, They have been in UNIFIL (Lebanon) since 1978.

    OK – the NA have 5 divisions and retain 4 battalions in Darfur, two in Liberia.

    1 Mechanised Division
    2 Mechanised Division
    3 Armoured Division
    81 Division
    82 Composite Division

    That said, Peccavi, that valuable experience has been a continuous thing since they left for Congo-Kinshasa in November 1960. UN picks up the tabs but it is time to get insular – even if momentarily so.

    The Sudanese are not trying to make peace. Nigerian troops and the Rwandese counterparts were the first to get in there in 2004 under the aegis of AMIS. We have given them AMIS Commanders – Major Generals Festus Okonkwo and Collins Ihekire. Then it became a UN-AU hybrid operation and we again sent General Agwai there. Last time I checked, a certain coursemate of General Ihejirika’s and Sultan Abubakar’s in the person of Major General Moses Obi was Commander of UNMISS in South Sudan.

    Insofar as it is peacekeeping rather than a peace enforcement mandate which is operable there, their continued stay there is not making any sense any longer. We have gained eight years of desert operations which would serve as well in the Far North of Nigeria and rotated over 50 battalions and regiments in Darfur – Field Engrs, Armour, Arty, Signals, Infantry all have gone and come back – rotated in 6-month tours of duty.

    The people are just natural belligerents and have never known what it means to live in peace – same as the Somalis and Afghans. For the heck of it, they just ambush and shoot peacekeepers who are only protecting civilians? They have killed Nigerians, Egyptians, Rwandese, Senegalese.

    Those guys are not interested in peace so why be a peacekeeper with your hands tied by a mandate whereas you can come back home and fight insurgents on a daily basis?

  10. doziex says:

    @peccavi, I am all for peace keeping and experience. But in the case of sudan, It would be wise to have some hard punching military powers present. Unless you want to re live the UN’s humiliating experience at the hand of the serbs in bosnia.
    Egyptian armoured brigades armed with M1 abrams should be deployed alongside ethiopian forces to separate the 2 sudans. Other powers such as south korea, turkey, india etc should also deploy armoured and mechanized forces in order to tame bashir’s appetite for war.

    Poorly equipped armies in APCs and toyota pick ups ain’t gonna cut it. Sometime last year, if you remember SAF(north) lunched a lightening armoured thrust into Abyei.
    Both the UN and the south sudanese army were caught napping. All the UN could do was protest the invasion. The SSA could have counter attacked with MBRLs and then their own tanks.
    Then SAF would have responded with airstrikes.
    All this with the UN forces caught in between.
    How ready do you think our much critisized battalions are for such a scenario ??

    • peccavi says:

      There is too much history between Egypt and Sudan for the Egyptians to deploy and the western powers are really not that bothered or else they would have pushed for a no fly zone of something.
      As beeg said those people’s wahala is too much, like the Somalis they seem to enjoy fighting for fightings sake but whether Sudan, Liberia etc we should keep up the PKO’s its great experience for our troops and officers and keeps us in the worlds eye.

      Also foreign deployments are more interesting for individual soldiers. If we end PK’s now then we will have the in the most part sitting doing nothing

  11. beegeagle says:

    From the off, al-Bashir interfered with the deployment and made sure that the force did not acquire an offensive capability. He refused to allow AFVs, tanks or helicopters of ANY sort to be brought in by Nigeria. All of that was done with a view towards ensuring that the forces lacked an offensive capability. Add to that the unworkable mandate that is peacekeeping (even in the clear absence of peace) and you would realise that the Sudanese are not serious about peace.

    Again Al Bashir plays by no known paradigms of decorum – look at the scorched earth tactics deployed to depopulate the oil producing areas of central Sudan using his Popular Defence Force militiamen in the mid-1990s and just imagine the current hiatus – stealing South Sudan’s oil and keeping the revenues of a sovereign state.

    The guy is too low for zero..

  12. Bomber says:

    I quite agree with Peccavi on this issue. We cannot afford to pull out of Sudan now considering what is at stake. Let me state here that one of the reasons why Nigeria have consistently supported peacekeeping abroad is because of a PERMANENT SEAT IN UN SECURITY COUNCIL (If the security seat is expanded to eight as envisage and one representative is needed from Africa). That’s one reason Nigeria will always support the western countries on so many issues. To put it in another way. The issue is more political than u imagine.

  13. Gbash says:

    It was a strategic blunder for the FG to have sent our troops to Sudan under that none- sensical UN mandate!

  14. beegeagle says:

    Thank you, Bomber. We have advertised our peacekeeping skills for half a century, led more PKOs than any African nation and are the 4th largest troop contributing country.

    BUT the surest route to the attainment of that goal is to sternly equip the military for that role. We have the men and the means to knock the military into shape so as to really look the part, by or before 2015.

    When we are able to enforce a no-fly zone against drug runners in the Sahara, can deploy a Hamilton-class frigate and two OPVs with helics on board to sail back and forth between Guinea Bissau and Gabon and to deploy an LPD and an OPV to help out in the anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, the Permanent members would also realise that we mean business.

    We need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Yesterday, we detailed how we can spend $765m and acquire an Absalon destroyer, three used Pohang corvettes, five additional OPVs (to add to the four already in the loop) and 12 KCR-40 missile boats to form a coastal defence flotilla. Yeah, $765m.

    For the NAF, given the chance, I would deliver a mix of eighteen factory-refurbished and brand-new Su-27 and Su-30 jets for $500m while for the NA, we can grab 100 surplus Leopard 2A4 tanks, 100 GILA MRAPs, 200 PVI-Oshkosh Alpha MRAPs and 100 upgraded T72 tanks for $300m.

    That is about $1.6bn. We gave a breakdown of the SECURITY sector budget here sometime in December and proved that there is an overhang of about $1.4bn somewhere which is almost certainly intended for acquisitions.

    It follows that ALL the acquisitions detailed above can be effected in 2012..on the strength of budgetary provisions alone. That is why the cannot afford to fall short of the mark.

    We are here to make things happen if they need our support.

  15. Sometimes i know /confess I AM THE LAST TO THE PARTY
    However in this case SUDAN has already fractured into two and South Sudan has just turned the taps to the oil fields off upping the stakes in brinkmanship.OMAR BASHIR is known for HIS UNPREDICTABILITY ( please ask his ex former COMRADE TURABI WHO HE PUT IN A JAIL CELL REPEATEDLY)The same goes for the SOUTH sudanese WHO HAVE alternatley clamoured for p.k. troops and then alteranatley turned on them in order to STEAL WEAPONS and equipment.
    SUDAN/ SOUTH SUDAN /SOMALIA SORRY GUYS THESE ARE SOME REALLY nasty fellows who have no interest in peace but war . Please check on any reliable weapons source Both parties are on shopping binges . THAT IS WHY I EMPHASIZED WE SHOULD LEAVE
    @$120 A BARREL the hard- liners in bashir’s cabinet are tellling him repeatedly he needs to retake the ABEYEI oil fields before the un monitors get their act together hence the high” transit charges”the situation might JUST GET NASTIER

  16. beegeagle says:

    REBELS RELEASE 49 PEACEKEEPERS IN SUDAN’S DARFUR REGION

    KHARTOUM, Feb. 20 (Xinhua)

    The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Sudan’s Darfur region said on Monday it has released 49 members of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) it held earlier.

    “Forty-nine UNAMID soldiers have been released, but three Sudanese who were with them are still held. We will investigate them to know if they belong to the Sudanese intelligence and security service or not,” Jibril Adam Ibrahim, a JEM spokesman, told Xinhua by phone.

    The JEM said earlier it was holding 52 UNAMID soldiers in Sudan ‘s western region of Darfur. The JEM spokesman told Xinhua earlier that they held the UNAMID personnel because they entered the movement’s territories without permission.

    “The held members of UNAMID include 46 Senegalese, a Yemeni, a Rwandan, a
    Ghananian and three Sudanese,who we
    believe work for the Sudanese
    intelligence and security service,” he
    added.

    He stressed that all the UNAMID held personnel were fine and at a safe place. “They have been held at a safe place and they are fine. We are waiting for a justification from the mission on why this force moved into the movement’s areas,” he said.

    “This incident came only a few days after the movement has asked for the signing of an agreement between it and the UNAMID to facilitate the work of the mission in Darfur, but Ibrahim Gambari, the chief of UNAMID, refused to do so,” he noted.

    The UNAMID, deployed in Darfur since 2008, has encountered repeated attacks by unidentified gunmen in the region which resulted in the death of more than 34 of its soldiers.

  17. Victor Ibañez says:

    I am worried.

    I am from Peru, a Captain of Peru Marine Corps. My whole life I wanted to serve in a UN Mission, but the only thing I was waiting for is the SUDAN visa. Now that SUDAN is denying visa to everyone, my dreams are gone.

    I am not a war junkie, I know what it is like. I just wanted to have my own part trying to solve this, that may sound stupid, but all peacekeepers believe in the mission and the system, so we want to do our best.

    Hope this situation changes, I have been waiting for the deployment since 3 months ago.

    Victor from Peru

  18. doziex says:

    Hey senor, I mean captain Ibanez, we all appreciate the work done by peace keepers world wide.
    But, one has to face the facts, and prepare for the worst.

    So if and when you get your visa, don’t forget to bring peru’s MBT2000 tanks and may be your mig-29s and mirage 2000s.
    Because most likely, you would NOT be peace keeping. You would either be hostages( God forbid), or peace ENFORCERS or in self defense mode.

    Anyway, I wish you the best and welcome to africa.

    * PS – Quick question, why weren’t FAP’s(peruvian airforce) mirage 2000s or mig-29s flying top cover for FAP’s su-22 bombers when they encountered FAE’s (ecuadorian airforce) F-1 mirages in your brief border clash in the 90′s ?
    Your jets were superior and should have gained air superiority over the ecuadorian F-1s, Jaguars and Kfir C2s.

    • Victor Ibañez says:

      To doziex.

      I am sure, according to a Resolution of the Security Council, my government will send the necessary assets for the mission. For now my mission would be to observe separation of forces, but if it comes to a different scenario I am sure UN and the troop contributing countries will act, now we cannot assume another failure as Rwanda or Bosnia. Now the focus is POC, protection of civilians. In the case of Peru, I think my country can send all of these units, if needed. For now, it is just me and some other staff officers from Peru air force.

      About the last conflict with Ecuador, Peru did not use all the military arsenal, because for us it was limited conflict. Ecuadorians understood it was a total war, because they were the invaders. But we knew that they have allways been allied to the Chileans, so we had to keep an eye in the South too. (So those air fighters were saved to face Chile Air Force) Talking about simple infantry, my unit, the Special Forces from Peru Marines, raided the ecuatorian positions close to the mangle and sea, and made the Ecuadorians to fear. Finally Tiwinza was taken back in 1995, again an Infantry action, (no tanks or artillery) and that was the end of the conflict. Now we live clearly without thinking about the war, and I have some great friends from Ecuador Forces.

      Again, the topic here was the visa, I really want to go and serve in my mission.

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