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Efforts to Placate Kerubino

In mid-January 1998, after the SPLA Adefections@ to Kerubino, Sudan television announced that President Bashir had appointed Kerubino as the deputy chairman of the SSCC, a position Kerubino had long coveted, and as minister of local government and public security in southern Sudan, two positions the Peace Agreement attached to the SSCC deputy or vice presidential position.201

In January 1998 Riek Machar and First Vice President Zubeir were dispatched to Kerubino's stronghold at Marial Bai to talk him into going to Khartoum for the Coordinating Council swearing-in ceremony. They were stopped at a checkpoint by Kerubino's men outside of his Marial Bai base. The soldiers radioed for clearance before permitting them to pass, an embarrassing procedure for these two high-ranking government officials.202 The army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Sid Ahmed Hamad, and the minister of state for defense also visited Kerubino at Marial Bai on January 25, 1998.203

Kerubino declined to go to Khartoum for his swearing in until after the Areturnees@ were settled and they, with their women and children, received 100 million Sudanese pounds (U.S. $ 48,780) of assistance.204 He asked instead to be sworn in Aunder a tree.@ He may well have feared that he might not be permitted to return from Khartoum, and might possibly be detained. In 1987, while a high-ranking officer in the SPLA, he answered a summons by SPLA sponsor President Mengistu of Ethiopia to appear at the palace in Addis Ababa, where he was detained, handed over to the SPLA, and jailed without trial for five years.205

201 Alfred Taban, ASudan Names Ex-rebel as Vice-President,@ Reuters, Khartoum, January 16, 1998.

202 Human Rights Watch interview, Wunrok, Bahr El Ghazal, May 8, 1998.

203 "Army Chief Visits Returnees in South,@ Sudan TV, Omdurman, in Arabic, January 25, 1998, BBC Monitoring Service: Middle East, January 27, 1998. On December 26, 1997, according to Governor Charles Julu, the army chief of staff and the minister of state for defense went to meet Kerubino in Marial Bai. Arop Madut, AGovernor Julu Speaks About the January Rebels,@ Sudanow, Khartoum, April 1998, pp. 18-19.

204 Madut, AGovernor Julu Speaks About the January Rebels;@ Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, May 1, 1998. As of January 1998 the exchange rate was U.S. $ 1 = 2,055 Sudanese pounds.

205 Human Rights Watch/Africa, Civilian Devastation, p. 229.

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