SUDAN UPDATE: The Referendum and the Dams in Nubia

9 -15 January 2011

There are historical roots linking north and south  Sudan. The Nile
River ties the parties  together for better or for worse. Music and
food are shared by the two people. Commonalities created a union
government for all Sudanese in the north and south. Some say that the
commonalities  far outreach constitutional differences  and if these
are not respected in future the fault will be laid at the door of
politicians, not the people.
Some 1800 journalists, representing some 50 media houses attended the
Referendum held in Southern Sudan 9-15 January 2011.  Such an influx
of media people had not been seen in Southern Sudan before.
Consequently the conspiracy is broken. For a long time what went on in
South Sudan was hushed up The same applies to the Afro-Arab
Borderlands in general stretching from Mauritania on the Atlantic to
Sudan on the Red Sea. For instance the protracted war in the Sahel
involving the Touareg in Niger Mali and Tchad, was not reported in the
international press. South Sudan’s emergence as a sovereign state as a
result of protracted war with Khartoum, reveals to the world the cause
of ‘Africa’s longest war’, which are the  Arabisation and Islamisation
Project of Arabia in Africa.
The international media in Southern  Sudan had ample opportunity to
mingle with the people and learn first hand about the atrocities
committed against civilians by Khartoum and to see for themselves the
arrested development  of Southern Sudan. When the Sudan People’s
Liberation Army (SPLA) entered Juba after the signing of the CPA in
2005 there were approximately 15 cars in the town, with no street
lighting  and no running water.
The vote  for unity or separation in Southern Sudan last week met with
much enthusiasm. Most had never believed that peace would hold long
enough for the Referendum to take place. Families in the South over
generations had given of  their offspring to fight the war. This was a
matter of honour. The Referendum opens up a possibility that the youth
of today and their children may live in peace for the rest of their
lives.  Since  1821 the South has been  fighting  for liberty and
justice. Southern Sudanese are a peaceful people who want to live in
peace with their neighbours. Over 2.5 millions lost their  lives in
the wars in the South.
In 2006 when your author arrived in Juba he was advised ‘not to let
Khartoum know your price’ and that once that happened Khartoum loses
all respect.  This type of counsel has often been ignored. The
conundrum of the future of Sudan revolves around  the inability of
Africa South of the Sahara to confront the issue of Arabisation and
Islamisation in Africa. Will we continue to profit on the backs of the
sacrifices of our kith and kin in the Afro-Arab Borderlands?
Comparisons can be made with those Africans who sold their people into
slavery. Will such askaris continue to receive comfort amongst us ?
So long as such mercenary and murderous  behaviour  continues there
will be no peace in Darfur, not withstanding the work of the African
Union (AU) High level Group. Indeed the AU  took over 50 years to
acknowledge that bringing peace to Sudan is the task of Africans, not
Despite the smooth referendum process, which showed the world what the
Southern Sudanese are capable of, after the wide dissemination of the
image of Southerners as wild ethnic fighters, there were incidents of
violence in Abyei and Southern Kordofan.  These were not allowed to
interfere with the voting process.
Despite the global attention given to oil-rich Abyei and the playing
up of ethnic divisions in Abyei, no referendum was conducted there,
ensuring Abyei will remain a bone of contention between Khartoum and
Juba, despite provisions in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
for  a referendum to take place not only in Abyei but also in the Nuba
Mountains and in Blue Nile. These three regions of Sudan lie between
North and South Sudan. During the long years of war they sided with
the Southern Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM). The fact that
no referendum has been held in these three territories  raises the
possibility of acrimony. Discussions are underway to hold referendae
in the three territories soonest.
The leadership qualities of H.E Salva Kiir have now to be
acknowledged. In the past six  years he steered the ship of state
through troubled waters. Some grew  impatient with what was perceived
as his inability to make swift decisions. Many have come to appreciate
his patience and stamina in the face of great provocation. Those whose
task is to moderate, should know that Sudan is a product of
decolonisation. They should heed the words of the South, rather than
imposing their own will. South Sudan is an issue of ‘liberation’.
Liberation does not permit an approach of ‘business as usual’. Money
making, especially with Arabs, does not facilitate  arbitration,
rather it confuses issues.
The liberation of South Sudan opens up the prospects  of a new chapter
in Sudan affairs and the transformation of a war zone into an area of
peace. However so long as war continues in Darfur, Southern Sudan and
Sudan in general are endangered. Even after ‘independence’ Khartoum
has the capacity  to cut oil revenues to  the south.  So long as the
piping of oil is done thought the Sudan Red Sea port –Port Sudan,
rather than through Kenya and Uganda, the possibility of economic
development for South Sudan will remain precarious.
The calendar going forward is as follows :-
14 February 2011 final Referendum results are available
Thereafter the SPLM to prepare the draft Interim Constitution to take
effect on 9 July 2011
All outstanding CPA issues ( eg border demarcation, revenue sharing,
nationality etc etc )to be resolved before 9 July 2011 when the six
year CPA interim period expires
After the declaration of Independence elections will take place in
Southern Sudan, including Presidential elections.
On the 9 July 2011 The President of Southern Sudan will take the Oath
of office of the Interim Government of the Republic on South Sudan
The events unfolding in the Afro-Arab Borderlands, which in the case
of Sudan are delineated as passing through Abyei, are of a magnitude
similar to the ending of Apartheid in Southern Africa. These
developments represent a strategic shift, the turning of the corner,
redefining the basis for relations within continental Africa.
B.F.Bankie, Juba,South Sudan, 16th January 2011

Nubia- Sudan
A Letter to the Sinohydro Company, China
The Chinese Government via the Chinese Embassy, Khartoum
12 January 2011
We, in the Anti Dal-kajbar dam Committee, address this letter of
protest and resistance to the Chinese company called Sinohydro so as
to bring to its attention the total rejection of the Nubians to be
affected with the Kajbar dam whose construction contract the named
company has won on 28 October 2010. We bring to its attention that the
building of this dam (and its other sister, Dal dam) is part of a plan
of demographic engineering engendered by the regime of Khartoum so as
to enhance the Arabization of the Nubians by resettling them far away
from their historical homeland. This plan will be facilitated by a new
population injection from Egypt. We consider this plan as a crime
against humanity upon which we call the international community to
show its responsibility and commitment to the human rights of the
Nubians. We also bring to the attention of the named company and any
other parties involved that both Kajbar dam and Dal dam will bring
misery to the area similar to that of Darfur, and that it will be of
no substantial benefit either with regard to power or irrigation.
We believe that the concerned parties will give heed to the alarms
raised by the committee. Hence we write this letter. The
implementation of the various dams presently running in the Sudan has
failed to meet the criteria set up by the World Dams Commission. No
consultation has been made with the affected people; no heed is given
to their just demands; and the reaction of the government of Khartoum
has been ruthless to any manifestation of public protest and
rejection. Below is a detailed study undertaken by the Anti Dal-kajbar
Dams committee so as to outline the.
In 2005, immediately after signing the Naivacha Agreement between the
Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement
(SPLM), the National Congress Party (NCP) held its general congress
where the former minister of Finance, Abdul Rahim Hamdi, presented a
paper in which he drew a triangle that comprises roughly the middle of
the Sudan under the claim that this is what will remain after the
disintegration of the Sudan with southern region, Darfur and other
areas breaking away; hence the Hamd’s Triangle . This report marks the
official endorsement to the policy of Demographic Re-engineering, upon
which areas lying outside this triangle were to be quickly Arabized
by, 1, resettling the African ethnic groups deep inside the triangle,
a matter will eventually lead them to be completely Arabized, and 2,
by a new Arab population injection from outside the Sudan. In fact the
government of the Sudan started implementing this scheme in Darfur
years before the signing of Naivacha Agreement (in 1994), where Arab
tribes from over Chad and Niger were welcomed into the country.
Without addressing the issue of land grabbing that has taken place in
Darfur, upon which the African ethnic groups have lost their lands, no
peace is deemed possible. The Hamdi Triangle dates the time where the
policy of Demographic Engineering has been implemented in other parts
of the Sudan, such as Nuba Mountains (southern Kurdufan), eastern
Sudan (the Gash and Tokar delta) and northern Sudanese Nubia, where at
least two dams are being built on the Nile with the flooded areas
planned to be evacuated .
In the case of Nuba Mountains the minister indicted by the
International Criminal Court, Ahmad Hārūn, was appointed Governor of
the State of Southern Kurdufan in 2009. Hārūn has been indicted by the
ICC for alleged crimes against humanity in Darfur crisis; he was seen
to have acted as the resident engineer of the policy of Demographic
Engineering in Darfur that has lead to hundreds of thousands to be
killed with at least 2 millions losing their lands and thus living in
refugee camps. Although the Nuba Mountains had fought with SPLM
against the Islamo-Arabist regime of Khartoum, it is believed by many
that it has not been addressed with due focus by Naivacha Agreement.
The region has been the theatre of continuing clashes between the
indigenous Nubians and their pastoralist Arab neighbours, the Baqqāra
of Miseiryya Arab tribes, who have kept encroaching into the Nubians’
lands with evident support from the Khartoum government. With Hārūn
appointed as Governor of this troubled region, it is expected that the
scenario of Demographic Engineering that took place in Darfur is going
to be repeated. In the case of the Beja people of eastern Sudan, it
was announced lately that lands in the delta of al-gash and Tokar are
being expropriated from the Beja under pretext of not being able to
pay back loans they received from the Agriculture Bank, and then
handed over to Egyptian companies.
In the case of Sudanese Nubians, the Arab population injection will be
brought this time from Egypt (Arab Egyptian peasants). The
legalization for this Egyptian mass settlement in northern Sudan has
already been provided by the signing of the Four Freedoms Agreement
(2005) upon which citizens from both countries are free to move from
one country to the other without obstruction; they are free to do
business; to own lands; and to settle. In 2004 there were only 20.000
Egyptian people in the Sudan; now they are over 3 millions. They all
entered Sudan without visa; however, Sudanese citizens below 50 years
old (i.e. the productive age) still need visa to enter Egypt.
The Khartoum government is aware that these demographic upheavals will
neither pass unnoticed by the concerned people nor will the
international community let them get away with it. However, it is sure
that it will take considerably long time for all these parties to take
due measures. By then they aim to create new situations on the ground
that no one can reverse, just as the case in Darfur .
More dams are also being built in other areas of northern Sudan. This
damming of northern Sudan has a history; it was a top down process,
contributed to development in Sudan and Egypt but had high cost on
local population being displaced and who did not benefit in any way
conceivable. In this part, the present report will trace this history
that goes to the early years of the 20th century up to the present
moment where a series of dams are being planned in the Sudan. The
presidential-mandated Dams Implementation Unit (DIU) declared plans to
construct more than 20 dams with six of them in northern Sudan;
Mugrat, Dagash and al-Shireik Dams at the 5th cataract (affecting
Ja’aliyyin and Rubatab tribes); Mirwi dam (or Merowe dam) at the 4th
cataract (has already affected all Manasir tribe and part of Shayqiyya
tribe); Kajbar dam at the 3rd cataract (affecting the southern part of
Mahas Nubians and the northern part of Dungula Nubians); and Dal dam
at the 2nd cataract (affecting all Sukkout Nubians and the northern
Mahas Nubians). The damming of the river Nile in the Sudan is driven
by the notion that hydropower is the cheapest and cleanest energy so
far technology has come up with. Hydropower in the Sudan has a history
of its own as there are four dams that had been built in the 20th
century. Below is an overview of the dams with a look at issues of
hydroelectricity in Sudan. We will try to paint a picture of the
overall vision/politics.
The experience of Mirwi dam has clearly shown that the flooded areas
will be evacuated in the same way that took place in the case of Aswan
High Dam. Incidentally news broke out revealing plans that aim at
bringing in millions of Egyptian peasants to settle in the areas
evacuated by the indigenous groups. Such a plan of demographic
engineering will naturally be implemented in collaboration with the
Egyptian government; it was the Egyptian government who first
engendered this plan in its own Nubian region. It seems that this is
not the first time for the Khartoum government to adopt such a policy
as it was implemented in Darfur leading to the crisis there. In the
case of Darfur a whole Arab nomadic tribe from Chad and Niger was
welcomed into the region. It was armed and supported by the Sudanese
government to eventually wreak havoc in Darfur.

This section will show that it is Egypt who will mostly benefit from
the building of these series of dams in northern Sudan. In the past,
Egypt used to veto any dam building on the Nile course south of its
borders as that was seen as a direct threat to its water security. The
Nile treaty when first signed in 1929 after completing the building of
Sennar Dam to irrigate al-Gezira Scheme, made clear that riparian
countries had to seek the approval of Egypt in case they wanted to
build any dams upstream. Now Egypt supports building all these dams
even though it might potentially threaten its share of water by
evaporation. The settlement of Egyptian peasants in the flooded areas
evacuated by those affected by dams is supported by the fact Egypt has
long since started doing this in its Nubian region. The Khartoum
governments have historically been lenient if not submissive when it
came to Egypt. Although the present Islamist regime began posed in its
early days as opposing to Egypt to the extent that it attempted to
assassinate the President of Egypt, it has ended up being much more
submissive than its predecessors.
1. Egyptian Nubians
The construction of the High Dam in Aswan was completed, resulting in
an area of 500 km along the Nile course (310 km in Egypt, 190 km in
the Sudan) to be submerged under the reservoir. The reservoir, i.e.
the lake, bears two names, 'Lake Nasser' in Egypt, and 'Lake Nubia' in
the Sudan. This has lead to the resettlement of about 16500 Nubian
families in Egypt (with a similar number of Nubian families on the
Sudan side) away from their historical lands. In the case of Egyptian
Nubians, the area resettlement was a barren place called Koum Ambo
near Aswan. In the case of the Sudanese Nubians the area of
resettlement was a place called Khashm al-Girba in middle-eastern
Sudan, known to be of rainy autumn, contrary to the Saharan Nubian
region. Thus the High dam of Aswan has literally resulted in the
submerged area being completely de-populated. Since then the evacuated
area has witnessed no development project. It is just in recent years
that the Egyptian government started to re-populate the area so as to
develop it.

2. Sudanese Nubians
The Nubians have been traumatized by the dams that were built on the
Nile since 1902 when the first Aswan dam was constructed. Their trauma
continued on all through the raising phases of it (1910, 1933) to the
construction of the High dam in 1964. All this has prompted the
Nubians of Dungula, Mahas, Sukkout to organize themselves to resist
building any more dams. The Nubians of Halfa region that were affected
by the Aswan High dam and long since have been resettled in the
eastern Sudan joined their brethren in the fight against dam-building.
The President announced that dams are not going to be built without
the explicit consent of the people in the affected area. The exact
maps showing the boundary of the areas to be affected by the dams of
Mirwi, Kajbar and Dal were kept secret. However, classified
information leaked from the DIU telling that the water reservoir of
Kajbar dam will extend to 105km up the river to Dungula city; the
water reservoir of Dal dam will extend to 65km up the river to a small
village called Kid Urma, just 6 km down the dam of Kajbar. To curb for
these wide spread information, the DIU began speaking about the areas
to be affected, with every time increasing the size of the reservoir
and submerged areas. As the policy of total de-population has been
adopted in all these projects, it was decided that the people affected
by Mirwi dam to be resettled in areas far from their historical
homelands under the point of gun. To make it even worse, the
government was so secretive about the project, totally ignoring to
consult the concerned communities.
1. Food security
Egypt has always been short of food. The Camp David agreement of 1979
provided Egypt with food donation from the USA. Since then Egypt has
been subject to American pressure a matter that has caused it to lose
its regional status as the strongest Arab nation and the spearhead of
pan Arabism. To regain its regional and Pan Arab status of power Egypt
began seeking ways to free itself from the American food bondage.
2. New lands for agriculture and settlement
To free itself from wholly depending American wheat, Egypt had to
cultivate its own food. The cultivated land in Egypt is very limited .
This meant that they have to grow their food either in other people’s
lands, or to acquire new lands by expanding into northern Sudan where
there are enough cultivable lands with climate convenient for growing
wheat. This was also going to resolve Egypt’s chronic problem of
population explosive increase which is being worsened by the scarcity
of food. When the government of Sudanese Islamists approached Egypt to
improve the bilateral relations, the latter immediately embarked on
bargaining the Islamist regime with the following: to forgive the
Islamist regime of the Sudan for the assassination plot and to provide
it with political support internally, regionally and internationally
if it will agree to help Egypt realize its long-dreamt emancipation
from American food dependency. The Islamist regime agreed to that
without any reserves. The two regimes of Khartoum and Cairo came up
with an executive plan to implement what they agreed upon.
De-population of large areas as a result of building dams
The components of this policy go as follows: a/ building a series of
dams in the northern Sudan so as to evacuate the region and resettling
the affected people far away from their home villages; b/ resettlement
of millions of Egyptian peasants in the areas evacuated as a result of
building the dams.
Clandestine plans for the resettlement of millions of Egyptian
peasants in Northern Sudan
The covert plans are indirectly revealed through a series of articles
published by Sudanese writers, journalists and politicians in daily
newspapers aimed at de-sensitizing the resettlement plan. A flow of
pro-Egyptian, anti-Sudan newspaper articles began appearing regularly.
They were all characteristic with particular discursive clauses, such
as “the strategic demographic equilibrium” the Egyptians are assumed
to realize in de-populated northern Sudan “the dire necessity for
Egyptian public presence in northern Sudan”, and cynical allusions to
the claimed to be “free and un-inhibited move of West Africans into
the Sudan” into the Sudan. In August, 2009 in a newspaper interview
the President Omer Hasan al-Bashir replied to the accusatory question
that the government brought certain Arab tribes accused of forming the
Janjaweed militias from Chad and settled them into Darfur, by denied
the allegations adding that they came into the Sudan by their own as
the boundaries of the Sudan are too big to be monitored by the
government and that many foreign tribes form West Africa, such as the
Fulani and Hausa . This labeling of foreignness prompted the Fulani
and Hausa to ransack both al-Gadarif and Kasala towns in eastern Sudan
where they have big population.
In a symposium held in Khartoum and sponsored by the Ahram Strategic
Centre (the symposium was presided by an Egyptian journalist) and the
Centre for Media Services (CMS, a media arm affiliated to Sudan
Security organ) a Sudanese ambassador said: “The present integration
has not gone beyond the bilateral relations. To have it [the true
integration] the top priority should go to food security, agricultural
integration and the expansion in wheat cultivation in the northern
region of the Sudan so as to encourage the Egyptian peasant to cross
the border into the northern region in order to achieve the structural
demographic equilibrium, which lacks attractiveness with regard to the
Arab countries, especially Egypt, while it is attractive to people of
West Africa who knew their way to the Sudan since long ago” .
Explicit plans for the resettlement of millions of Egyptian peasants
in Northern Sudan
In late 2003 head news read that negotiations on highest levels with
the Egyptian government had been made so as to facilitate the
settlement of millions of Egyptian peasants, along with their
families, in the triangle of the Nubian basin, Halfa-Dungula-Uwainat.
The aim of this move is said, on one hand, to safeguard the Arab
identity of Sudan against the growing awareness of Africanism in Sudan
generally and among the Nubians in particular. On the other hand, it
is said to serve a very cynical purpose; that is to help re-populate
the Nubian region from which its people has kept moving away for the
last half century.
The Sudanese delegation, which was backed by a Presidential mandate,
was led by Islamo-Arabist Nubians, General-Brigadier Abdul Rahim
Muhammad Husain (then Minister of Interior, presently Minister of
Defense). A cover-up plan named “the Four Freedoms” which
theoretically allows the Sudanese and the Egyptians as well to own
agrarian lands and settle in both countries was officially declared.
The cover-up plan has come out half cooked as both parties were too
eager in their scrambling to create a de facto situation before the
Nubians become aware of what was going on. There is no agrarian land
to be owned by the Sudanese investors in Egypt. But there is land for
the Egyptians in the Sudan.
On 31/03/2004 a mainsheet press release from the State Minister of
Agriculture in Khartoum (Dr. al-Sadig Amara, an Arabist Nubian as
well) revealed that 6.1 Millions of fedans in the triangle of Nubian
basin had been sold to the Egyptians (investors and peasants) with
long term leases, i.e. investment through settlement.  There is no
mention of the Nubians in all these deals which seem like have been
made overnight.

Online evidence
In official visits to Cairo, the two ministers mentioned above held
meetings with Egyptian scholars and intellectuals who were sceptical
about the viability of resettling millions of Egyptian peasants in the
Sudan . Such a scheme applied in Iraq a few years ago during the war
against Iran resulted in physically eliminating the poor peasants
immediately after the war ended. However the two flamboyant ministers
chivalrously gave their solemn pledges reminding their audience that
they are backed by a Presidential mandate.
The Minister of Defense went out of his way challenging his audience
to bring forward their solutions about tackling the population
explosion in Egypt if not by migrating to the vast areas of the
sparsely populated northern Sudan. Furthermore, lamenting the fact
that the Egyptian migration to the Sudan has significantly diminished
in the late decades after independence, he drew the comparison that
the migration from West Africa has steadily increased. The State
Minister on his behalf lamented the hesitation of some Egyptian
intellectuals and officials, urging them to expedite moving to the
Nubian basin before [sic] other people move there .
3. Egyptian connection with dam-related de-population policies
The policies adopted by the Egyptian government with regard to the
complete de-population tactic of the areas affected by the
construction of the High dam give string indications of how it is
going to benefit from the dams being built in the Sudan simply because
the same tactic of de-population is being followed.

The Non-Nubian re-population of Nubia
The Nubians in both Egypt and the Sudan did make many attempts to go
back and establish small colonies of settlements and agriculture. They
farmed the drawdown areas by pumping water from the reservoir of Lake
Nasser/Nubia . However, all these attempts were occasionally aborted
by the fluctuating water level of the reservoir, a matter the Nubians
believe it to be intentional by the authorities which never encouraged
them to go back.
By the 1990s the Egyptian government began following a policy of
repopulating the evacuated Nubian regions. It began encouraging
Egyptians other than Nubians to settle in the evacuated areas around
the reservoir lake. It did this while the Nubians were kept away from
their own historical lands, living in a pigsty style of life in their
barren area of Koum Ambo. However, two economical activities have been
available to develop in the evacuated area; namely fishery and
agriculture. And indeed there are such projects, but with no Nubians
among either the fishers by the Egyptian government . The same thing
happened in the Sudan, with tacit encouragement from the government to
the Arab Bedouin who began settling in the evacuated area. The full
and open selling out of Sudanese Nubia by the Sudanese government was
to wait for a few years to come yet.
The re-population of the Nubian region in Egypt has become an official
policy entrusted to both the Minister of Agriculture and the military
Governor of Aswan. Villages with full facilities and utilities built
by the Egyptian government and distributed to individuals and families
from outside the regions with bank loans to start with. In 2006 the
inauguration of the settlement at the old Nubian village of Kalabsha
with 150 non-Nubian families took place; it was opened by the Minister
of Agriculture Amin Abaza . The al-Ahram Newspaper (the unofficial
voice of the government) announced that tens of thousands of fedans
were to be distributed in the Nubian region to people other than the
Nubians . When the Nubians demanded that their lands be returned to
them, they got an arrogant reply from the military Governor of Aswan:
"If you want your lands, go fetch them beneath the water .
This policy is adopted by the Egyptian government in order to contain
the discontent among its Arab population who had been negatively
affected by the 1992 Agricultural Law, which has come into effect by
1997. This law has liberalized the land tenure market by abolishing
the old land rental and tenure by returning it to its old feudal
owners, thus compelling the peasants to re-hire it all over again,
with the threat of rental price increase looming over their heads.
During the 1990s the price actually tripled and by now it has
quadrupled . This has caused a turmoil and unrest among the peasants
who began seeking other jobs. Migration of the peasants to other areas
of agricultural schemes of reclaimed land, away from their home
villages, was encouraged by the government. The Egyptian government
adopted the policy of inter-migration so as to solve (1) its chronic
problem of population explosion, and (2) to compensate those who have
been negatively affected by its land liberalization law. Re-settlement
in the reclaimed land of the New Valley in Sinai was officially
encouraged, a matter the peasants were not enthusiastic about. Being
riverain all through history, such a move was too much for them. That
is how the Egyptian government began re-settling them in the Nubian
regions which was evacuated four decades ago against the will of its
historical people, the Nubians.

The Hamdi’s Triangle gave way to the policy of Demographic Engineering
to be conceived and  hastily implemented in Darfur and now in Nuba
Mountains (southern Kurdufan) and northern Sudan. In northern Sudan it
is going to be implemented under the pretext of development that
necessitates building a series of dams on the Nile so as to produce
power and irrigation. The DIU has declared that it is going to build
at least 23 dams in the Sudan with at least 4 of them in Southern
Sudan. In northern Sudan (down stream from Khartoum and further north)
where millions of Egyptians peasants are going to be settled after
evacuating the dam-affected people, at least 6 dams will be built with
the 7th already complete.
This section will review and discuss the series of dams being built in
the Sudan weighing their pros and cons. It will give evidence to the
damage they wreak with regard to the affected people and ecology
weighed with the very little benefit to be gained from them. It will
discuss the arguments pertaining to the two points of view. To do this
one needs to set up the general guides for dam building. Dams are
built either for productive (agriculture and power) or preventive
(against floods and draught) objectives; their function however is not
eliminatory as a dam can serve one, two, or even all the above
functions (as the case with the Aswan High Dam). However, it is deemed
necessary to clearly state the function of dam when building one. If a
dam is built to irrigate water, then the agricultural scheme should
necessarily be conceived before the idea of the dam; the same rule
applies when the dam is built to generate power for industry. So far,
aside from generally speaking that these dams are meant for both
agriculture and industry, the Sudan government has failed to publicly
bring forward the details of any development project in relation with
the dams it intends to build.
1. Power generation claims
The total of power to be generated from all the dams in the Sudan will
not exceed in any way 5.000 MW (according to Makkawi al-Awad, the
former Director-General of National Electricity Corporation . The cost
of Mirwi dam has so far exceeded $2.25 billion, borrowed from China
and various Arab states and banks; the dam has not yet come to
completion. With such little amount of power the dam is thought not
feasible with regard to the high cost. For instance, the
non-industrial consumption of power in the Saudi capital, Riyad, is
8.000 MW. This raises a host of questions such as: if Saudi Arabia, as
an oil country, is able to generate all this power (35.000 MW in
total), why not Sudan which has also become an oil country? What will
Sudan do when Khartoum becomes the size of Riyad? Makkawi al-Awad
gives us the following options for power generation covering the
period up to year 2030, thermal and hydro as well:
• Hydro-power generation: 4.587 MW (%28)
• Thermal-power generation: 18.491 MW (%28)
The news broke out telling that, according to Afifi Abdul Wahab, the
Egyptian Ambassador in Khartoum, Egypt has agreed to supply northern
Sudan with electricity . This was understood by the Nubians to be
meant as services rendered to facilitate the Egyptian settlement in
the Nubian basin. It also shows that the electricity of Merowe (Mirwi)
dam is not enough.
2. Irrigation claims
Dams are often built to provide irrigation for the agricultural
development projects. However, this presupposes that there is enough
water to be irrigated. The total share of Sudan in the Nile water is
18 billion cubic meters (BCM), while its consumption is 14 BCM, with a
surplus of 4 BCM only. This means that it can rely on these 4 million
cubic meters for its agricultural development projects. But building
the five dams in northern Sudan will waste more than its surplus in
evaporation as the region is known of its very hot climate. To make
things worse, the region is also known of its relatively flat
topography, a matter that results in the dam reservoirs being
extensively stretched thus providing big water surface for
evaporation. Of the five dams, we will bring the evaporation loss of
only three of them: Mirwi, Kajbar and Dal. These figures are taken
from: Dr. Seif al-Din Hamad Abdalla (2008) . The importance of this
reference is that the writer, more than being a highly qualified
person on water resources, is the expert of the Ministry of Irrigation
and Water Resources and in this capacity he submitted this paper:
Merowe (Mirwi) Dam evaporation loss of water: 1.5 BCM; Kajbar Dam
evaporation loss of water: 1.7 BCM; Dal Dam evaporation loss of water:
800 Million CM.
This shows that the building of these three dams only will literally
leave Sudan without any water surplus that may allow it to undertake
further agricultural development projects. The same author, speaking
in the same capacity in a symposium held by the government in
Khartoum, stated that only 2 BMC of Sudan’s surplus of water will
remain after the completion of Merowe (Mirwi) dam ; the remaining 2
BMC will vanish into the thin air by the completion of Kajbar and Dal
dams.  In the conference of Arab ministers of water resources held in
Sharm al-Shaikh resort in Egypt, the Sudanese minister, Kamal Ali,
admitted that the dams of northern Sudan are being built only for
power generation . This means that building the other dams (Mugrat,
Dagash, al-Shireik, and al-Sabalouga) will even make Egypt’s share of
the Nile water decrease sharply. For Egypt to sacrifice water in this
extravagant way there must be a bigger compensation; nothing than new
cultivable lands can equal the prize of water to Egypt.
3. Dam duration
Dams built on rivers with high alluvial sediments, such as the case
with the river Nile, are deemed unfeasible . The dam of Khashm
al-Qirba on the river Atbara in eastern Sudan was built to irrigate
the agricultural projects set up solely to sustain the Nubians
affected by the Aswan High dam who had been resettled there. It was
built at the same time with the Aswan High dam. The last 40 years have
been enough to relegate it into redundancy as a result of the river’s
annual 170 million tons of sediments . This has lead to the
deterioration of the Khashm al-Qirba agricultural scheme to the extent
that it could not sustain the Nubians who were compelled to mount
another exodus.
The situation of the Aswan High dam with regard to sedimentation
remains a matter of guess due to the secrecy enveloping it. However,
it is known that the USAID had funded $154 million in improvements to
the High Dam since the late 1980s . More than harming the turbines of
the dam, the high alluvial sediments of the Nile water have caused
acute problems of salinity in Egypt. In R.J. Oosterbaan, 1999 , we
read: “The salt concentration of the water in Lake Nasser [read Lake
Nubia in the Sudan] at the High Dam is about 0.25 kg3 salt/m. The salt
import into Egypt’s water use systems thus amounts to about 14
million3 3 tons per year (55 billion m water/year x 0.25 kg salt/ m
water) or roughly 1.6 ton/fedan/year over 8.7 million fedans of
irrigated land, i.e. 4.0 ton/ha/year”. So, if the last 40 years were
enough to turn the Khasm al-Qirba dam into redundancy, then it is
quite possible that the dams being built in northern Sudan will face
the same fate. When the river Atbara joins the Nile, the alluvial
sediments reach 270 million tons. All the six or seven dams are
located down the confluence of the Atbara and the Nile. This makes one
question the feasibility of building these dams. However, by building
them, Egypt will definitely be the major beneficiary as they are going
to save the Aswan High dam from the fate that has befallen Khashm
al-Qirba dam.

1. Kajbar Dam (3rd Cataract)
The main reference relied on in this regard is a study prepared by the
DIU . So far, this is the only release of the DIU with regard to
Kajbar dam; the summary is not a study in the strict meaning of the
word, but rather a mobilization introduction aimed at the
de-sensitization of the affected people toward the project. It is
written with loose, rhetoric and flowery discourse. The Informative
Summary talks a lot about the benefits of hydropower, other dams such
as Merowe dam, which has already been implemented, and benefits of Dal
dam whose feasibility studies have not yet finished according to the

Kajbar is a small village in the middle of the Nubian Mahas region
about 120 km down the river from Dungula, the capital of the northern
state. The most northerly part of the third cataract ends at Kajbar,
where the government declared in 1995 its plans to build a dam.

The causes for proposing the building of Kajbar dam is to generate
power (Installed Capacity of 360 MW). The government thought of
building it in 1995. By 1999 it declared unofficially that it had
abandoned the project due to the lack of fund and little feasibility.
In 2005 the government through the Dam Implementation Unit declared
that it was going headfast to build the dam. Equipments were brought
to the site the matter that caused anxieties among the villagers. To
curb the fears of the people the government assured the villagers that
the dam was not going to be build unless they explicitly agree to
that. They even conveyed a Presidential message that people had the
right in deciding not to have a dam built on their land.

The objective listed in the Informative Summary are vaguely general
without specifying a single project with a specific name of product,
area, producer, investor let alone ways of marketization and/or
industrialization. They go as follows:

• Power for water pump instead of diesel-fueled pumps to irrigate
present-day cultivated lands
• The building of the dam will lessen the cost of irrigation which
some times is more than the income of cultivation
• The use of the hydroelectricity in pumping underground water and
thus increasing the cultivated areas
• The expansion in the production of various fruits of which the
Northern State is known so as to export them
• The use of electricity in mining and building material which are in
abundance in the State
• The creation of an attractive tourist environment by exploiting the
lake of the reservoir plus the antiquities of which the State is rich
• The encouragement of various industries such as food and foliage industries
• The promotion of the social and cultural life of the local
communities and the increase of living standards as a result of the
spread of investment activities
• Architectural development in various towns of the State with service
provision which will result from the flow of investment
• Providing sustainable electricity for urban and rural societies in
the State with very little cost for various utilities
• The saving of the huge sums of money presently being paid by the
farmers to provide for fuel; and providing support for them so as to
raise their production capacities
• The hydropower supports animal production in its all kinds (poultry,
dairy, and meat) a matter that will make the State a pioneer in this

The Funding of the Project
When the idea of the dam was hatched in 1995, a company was
established under the name of Kajbar Electricity Co. The company
financed the initial studies and designs which were made by the
Russian Institute of Hydro-Project. The share holders were as follows:
 The Government of the Northern State
 The Farmers Union of Northern State
 The Cooperative Union of the Northern State
 The Women Union in the Northern State
 The Bank of Khartoum
 The Islamic bank of the North
 The farmers Bank
 Individual shareholders from the Northern State

The accompanying projects
No accompanying projects were mentioned in the Informative Summary.
The Informative Summary says about this: “By transferring the project
to the Dam Implementation Unit (DIU) all the documents and studies
have become the property of DIU”. Neither a date is given when this
took place nor any information about what has become of the shares of
those holders. No information is either given about who is funding the
project or who is implementing it. However, other sources say that it
is a partially financed by China. Matthias Muindi writes : “Of the
three dams that Awadh al-Jaz, Minister of Energy and Mining, approved
in April 1998, the Merowe Dam will be the second to be constructed.
The other, Kajbar Dam on the second cataract, has been under
construction since late 1998. It is co-financed by the Sudan and China
governments and is expected to add another 300 megawatts. China, which
is financing 75 percent of the project, has so far spent US$200
million on the project” .

Construction Companies
 Sinohydro Company (China) which has already won the contract on 28
October 2010.
 The China International Water & Electric Corporation CWE and CCMD
Consortium (China)?
 Harbin Power Engineering Company (China)?

Power, Construction & Reservoir
 FSL: El. 218 / 213 m
 Dam Height : 17 m
 Installed Capacity : 300 / 108 MW
 Reservoir: 3 km3
 Length: 67.5 km long (20% of the Nile annual flow)

Collateral Damage
 No figure is given with regard to the archaeological sites to be submerged
 No figure is given about the number of people to be displaced in the
Informative Summary; however, other sources give the figure of 10-20
 Cultivated land lost is 3.600 according to the Informative Summary,
a matter the affected people do not agree with
 One main ethnic group to be affected (the Mahas) plus part of the
northerly Danagla
 No proper resettlement has been arranged; the Informative Summary,
which is issued in March 2008, states that the preliminary studies
have indicated toward the suitability of Kukka Plains, immediately
upstream from the dam site on the left bank of the Nile, with only
15.000 fedans. It admits that the area has neither been studied in a
proper way nor there any exact statistics
 At least 500 archaeological sites will be submerged (the area
surveyed from the site of the dam upstream to Tombos, approximately 20
km (i.e. out of the 70 km which is the extent of the dam lake) .
 Clashes between the affected people and the military militia related
to the Dam Implementation Unit (DIU) in June 2006.

 Weakness of 1995 Mahmoud Sharif’s Feasibility Studies
 Outdated assessment studies
 Inadequacy of resettlement issues or the environmental and cultural
impact studies
 Lack of transparency
 Disregard of the international principles

2. Dal Dam (2nd cataract)
The information on Dal dam is very scanty due to the lack of
transparency that has so far characterized the policies of the Dam
Implementation Unit (DIU). Three sources only have been available. The
first is the study conducted by the Russian Hydroproject Institute .
The second study is the pre-feasibility study was conducted in
November 2006 by EDF Scot Wilson . The third source is a study
prepared by the DIU , which will be given special emphasis as it is
the only document that issued by the DIU. The fact that the
information related to Dal dam is included in a DIU publication that
bears the title Kajbar Dam Project is very telling of either the
unprofessional way of doing its job or of its intention to envelop its
job with shrouds of ambiguity and obliteration.
In matters pertaining to the dams being built in the Sudan, the
Egyptian press has generally been more revealing than their Sudanese
counterpart. The former Egyptian First Undersecretary of the Ministry
of Irrigation, Engineer Ibrahim Subsuba, has been reported to say that
the future of agriculture in Egypt is doomed due to high salinity
caused by the High Dam of Aswan; the only solution that Egypt has
opted to is to build a dam in Dal village in northern Sudan so as to
dig a canal out of it that will join the river Nile immediately after
the High dam of Aswan so as to tackle the problem of salinity by
feeding the Nile with alluvial loaded water . Above when discussing
the durability of dams built on high sedimentation rivers, the
problems facing the High dam of Aswan was briefly discussed with the
fact that the USAID had funded $154 million in improvements to the
High Dam since the late 1980s . More than harming the turbines of the
dam, the high alluvial sediments of the Nile water have caused acute
problems of salinity in Egypt. In R.J. Oosterbaan .
The Informative Summary (March 2008) states that the field studies
have already begun and were supposed to finish in August the same
year. So far, nothing has come out to this effect. It also states that
the studies targeted two scenarios, names Low Dal (201 m above sea
level) and High Dal (219 m above sea level). The Informative Summary
does not give the exact heights of any of them (however, other sources
show this, see below). Then it states that the socio-ecological
studies have proved the infeasibility of Dal High. The Informative
Summary does not mention any details about any socio-ecological
studies. However, a social impact assessment is claimed to have been
conducted . The people of Sai island, which lies about 50 km upstream
from the site of Dal dam, told the present investigator  that a team
from the Karima-based Faculty of Arts and Human Studies, University of
Dongola, had tried to conduct such a social impact survey starting
with Sai island in June 2008. At the beginning the team denied to be
part of the studies undertaken for the building of Dal dam. When
confronted with the above mentioned study, which was provided to
villagers by the anti dam committee, members of the team admitted that
the survey was part of the studies of the Dal dam. The team was chased
out of the island and that was the end of the survey as it has not
dared enter any other village as the rest of the villages were
notified. However, the same team which was lead by Dr. Nasreldin
Sulaiman, from Karima-based Faculty of Arts & Humanity Studies,
University of Dungula, did conducted the survey covering the area from
Saadin Fenti (north Mahas region) down to Akasha which is about 20 km
downstream from Dal village .

Low Dal
(Source: EDF Scot Wilson, ibid)
 Low to moderate dam height, 20 – 45 metres
 Extensive bedrock evident at site in river channel and on abutments
 Geological mapping proposed
 Cost (Millions Euro) : 298.600

Assessment of Dal Site (Low option)
 Dam Hieight : 25 + 20 m
 Installed Capacity MG: 340 + 108/300
 Annually Energy GenerationGWh/yr : 3.000-4.000
 Population displaced by Reservoir : 5.000-10.000

High Dal
(Source: EDF Scot Wilson )
 Dam Height: 45 m
 Installed Capacity MG: 700-800
 Annually Energy Generation GWH/yr: 4.000-5.000
 Population displaced by Reservoir: 10.000-20.000

Assessment of Dal Site (High option)
 Very low topography, especially on West bank
 Shallow reservoir, high evaporation losses
 Only power benefits, no benefits from irrigation, flood alleviation
or regulation
 High affected population 10,000 – 20,000
 Substantial loss of date palm trees and irrigated agriculture
 Rumours among the local people talk about a third scenario of Dal
Higher, whose lake will extend to 20 km upstream from the site of
Kajbar dam. It is claimed that this is Plan B in case of cancelling
Kajbar dam due to pressure from the local communities of the affected
Mahas and northerly Danagla lest they get united against the

Power, Construction & Reservoir

(Source: EDF Scot Wilson )
 FSL : El. 218 / 201 m
 Dam Height : 45 / 20 m
 Installed Capacity : 780 / 340 MW

Collateral Damage
 No figure is given with regard to the archaeological sites to be submerged;
 No figure is given about the number of people to be displaced in the
Informative Summary; however, other sources give the figure of 10-20
 Cultivated land lost is 3.600 according to the Informative Summary,
a matter the affected people do not agree with;
 One main ethnic group to be wholly affected (the Sikkout) plus part
of the northerly Mahas;
 No proper resettlement has been arranged; the Informative Summary,
which is issued in March 2008, does not say anything about the
resettlement of the affected people;
 No archaeological survey has been conducted to assess the possible
loss of sites and antiquities. However, five major sites of
antiquities, namely Amara West, Sai, Seidenga, Soleb, and Sesebi are
potentially and directly threatened by the construction of the dam .
 Clashes between the affected people and the authorities of the State
in 2008 indicate in the future the same will happen with the Dam
Implementation Unit (DIU) when it starts the construction.

 Weakness of the studies of Informative Summary , Hydroproject
Institute  and the pre-feasibility study by EDF Scot Wilson .
 Scientific and Methodological deficiencies;
 Inadequacy of resettlement issues or the environmental and cultural
impact studies prepared by EDF Generation & Engineering Division ;
 Lack of transparency
 Disregard of the international principles

This chapter will show to what extent the threat posed by the dams is
grave and how the government is stealthily executing them with
reckless readiness to use un-proportional force to suppress the
affected people. It will also show how the affected people react to
the building of the dams, at the beginning peacefully and later
developing into very violent measures. The chapter will try to answer
the question of whether the reaction of the frustrated affected people
may trigger off civil strife and war in northern Sudan or not.
i. The Dam Implementation Unit
Rather than being a purely technical matter, where transparency is
most needed along the technical qualification, building dams in the
Sudan has become a political matter. The unit responsible for building
the dam of Merowe (Mirwi) in the Sudan used to be under the authority
of a technical ministry that is of Irrigation and Water Resources
until it had been put it under the direct authority of the Presidency
in 1999. In 2007 the Presidential Decree No. 217 was issued upon which
the small unit was promoted into a Presidential department responsible
for the building of all dams in the Sudan, hence the Dam
Implementation Unit (DIU).
The website of the Dam Implementation Unit (DIU) gives us the
following information about itself : “On 27th Feb. 1999, the President
of the Republic formed an Executive Unit to promote and follow up on
the implementation of the Dam’s Project. Article (8), Paragraph (D) of
the Presidential Decree mandated the Unit to prepare and execute all
investment activities related to the project, and search for funds. At
that time, Mr. Osama Abdullah Mohamed El Hassan was appointed as State
Minister and made the Executive Director for the Merowe Dam Project
Implementation Unit”. The first observation that attracts attention in
this mandate is the fact that DIU is to be in charge of not only the
construction of the dam, but furthermore of the investment activities
related to its construction. In 2005 another Presidential Decree was
issued (No. 206) upon which all the lands of northern Sudan (i.e. that
lie in the State of the River Nile and of the North State) were
ordered to be expropriated from the authority of the two respective
state governments to fall under the authority of the DIU, which
eventually started selling them to Arab investors as mentioned above.
The second point to be observed is the wide power given to DIU by the
Presidential Decree. Article (13) is titled “Exemptions” upon which
the DIU is exempted from the following Civil Service Law:
• Service Retirement Law
• The National Social Insurance Fund Law
• Civil Servants Accountability Law
• Fiscal and Accounting law

This makes the DIU an institution above the law of the state as it has
been launched with a law of its own that immunes it from litigation
and auditing. Since then building dams has been politicized to the
extent that a number of specialist and experts feared that this might
have compromised the professionalism and technicality of dam building
. The DIU gave no heeds to such opinions. In a newspaper interview,
when faced with such anti dam arguments, the Director of DIU, Osama
Abdalla (a first year university drop-out), defiantly retorted back:
“The more they attack me, the more projects I will come up with” . In
the last two years, the DIU took to organize proportional tours to the
dam. Trade unions, Government employees, mosque committees all over
the country were invited to these free of charge tours where they were
provided with transportation (that varies from rented 4X4 vehicles,
luxurious coaches and airlines), food, drinks, and more than often
accommodation. Thousands of trips were said to have been arranges
costing tens of millions of US Dollars.
ii. Broken promises and mistrust in Merowe (Mirwi) dammed Area
The people affected by Merowe (Mirwi) fall into three groups, namely
the Hamdab, Amri, and the Manasir. In the beginning the affected
people agreed to the project, with the condition that they remain
living in their home areas at the shore of the lake of the dam, i.e.
not to be evacuated. However, the government seemed to have other
agendas. By then the regions of northern Sudan were reeking with rage
as the news telling of the secret agreements between the Sudanese and
Egyptian governments upon which Egyptians peasants were going to be
moving to the region. In The people were aware that the Four Freedoms
agreement has paved the way to this Egyptian resettlement.
The adopted policy of total de-population decided that the people
affected by Merowe (Mirwi) dam to be resettled in areas far from their
historical homelands under the point of gun. To make it even worse,
the government was so secretive about the project, totally ignoring to
consult the concerned communities. Those who lived immediately behind
the dam, i.e. the Hamdab, were compelled to resettle in an arid area
covered by sand dunes about 100 km down the river far from its shore.
They had to submit to that because by they were not fully aware about
the plight to befall them. The people next to them, i.e. those of Amri
region, resisted the plans of resettlement, demanding to be allowed to
resettle on the shore of the artificial lake of the dam, just above
the contour the rising water would stop at. The government declined
them this right. The Manasir who are the only ethnic group to be
wholly affected by the dam, adamantly rejected evacuating the area,
demanding, like their brethren in the Amri area, the right to resettle
on the shore of the lake. They were also denied this right. Up to the
moment, one third of the Amri people and the majority of the Manasir
are there sticking to their home villages notwithstanding the rising
water of the dam as on 16/4/2008 the last gate of the dam was closed.
The sufferings of the people who have remained are available in the
web worldwide .
The cases of broken promises relating to each one of the affected
groups of Merowe (Mirwi) dam will be reviewed with an emphasis on the
Manasir as they constitute 67% of the affected population. In 1999
immediately after the Presidential Decree upon which the Merowe Dam
Implementation Unit (MDIU) was formed, a socioeconomic survey was
conducted so as to count the population their belonging in order to
evaluate the compensation. The survey was flawed due to the secretive
way of conducting it and consequently was rejected by the affected
people as they were not consulted . The Manasir Council noted that the
MDIU was responsible for both the building of the dam and the
decisions pertaining the resettlement and compensation of the affected
The MDIU, without consulting either the Hamdab people, Amri people or
the Manasir, decided that the areas of resettlement were going to be
as follows: (1) al-Multaqa, far down the river; (2) al-Mukarāb, up the
river, close to  Atbara; (3) al-Fidā’ Scheme, up the river close to
Abu Hamad in the Rubatab tribe region; (4) Wadi al-Mugadam Scheme. It
had declined the latter as no studies were made to assess its
suitability (See appendix 2). All places were at least 5 km far from
the Nile. The Hamdab and Amri people were forced to move without much
resistance as they were also completely ignorant on what they were
going to live through.
The Manasir, on the other hand, decided that they were not going to be
resettled afar from the shore of the Nile; they opted to what has come
to be known as “the Local Option”. Accordingly they came up with 6
areas to be allocated close to the shore of the dam reservoir (Um
Sarih; al-Haraz; al-Huweila; Kiheila East; Kiheila West; and Um
Tineidba). The DIU, however, had other plans for the resettlement; it
was decidedly determined in the studies it did of the dam and in
particular about the human activities around the dam reservoir that no
population was to be left back there. We read in the study conducted
by Lahmeyer International  on behalf of the Merowe Dam Project
Implementation Unit, Commission for Social Affairs and Environmental
Assessment, that: “The population that is currently resident along the
reach of the Nile river that will be submerged by the future reservoir
will be resettled, leaving an unpopulated area around the lake shore.
This situation will remain so for an unpredicted period of time
because the natural conditions will not allow agricultural
In 2002 a Temporary Decree named “the Law of Resettlement and
Compensation of People affected by Merowe dam for the Year 2002” was
issued in accordance to the Presidential Decree No. 1, 2002. It was
supposed to either be ratified by the National Assembly in the Session
number 2 on 10/8//2002 or to be amended or nullified. The National
Assembly eventually formed a committee that concluded to the following
• The Presidential Decree No. 1 did not take on board the results of
the studies made with regard to the compensation categorization
• The Decree did not give the affected people enough time to in
deliberation with the government
• The necessity for a separate commission for the compensation and resettlement
• The observation made by the affected people with regard to the
aloofness of the MDIU was taken on board.
Accordingly a separate commission was formed to run the affairs of the
compensation and resettlement (the Commissioner of Resettlement &
Compensation- CRC). The Manasir could have felt satisfied by these
developments if it were not for the rumour that leaked telling that
the CRC was in fact appointed by the Director of the MDIU himself,
i.e. Osama Abdalla. This proved that the CRC is not going to function
as an independent body but rather as a body that takes orders from the
MDIU. On 28/1/2004 the Governor of the River Nile State wrote a letter
 to the Director of MDIU urging him to be transparent and cooperative
with the affected people and to expedite the studies related to the
Local Option. He further urged him to disclose the information
pertaining to the exact delimitation of the reservoir and to do his
best to preserve the heritage and antiquities of the region. Not only
did the MDIU ignore such pleas, but it went further to falsify the
will of the people of the Manasir. On 19/1/2004 the Commissioner of
Social and Ecological Affairs in the MDIU, Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad
al-Sadig, had stated in a letter addressed to the Manager General of
Agriculture, Animal Resources and Irrigation of the State of the River
Nile that the Manasir have made up their minds to be resettled in the
Mukabrab area, the very area that they adamantly kept rejecting up to
the moment. On 20/7/2004 the Federal minister of agriculture, late
Majzub al-Khalifa, issued a ministerial decree upon which clear
directives were given to all concerned departments to start making the
studies of assessing the Local Option so as to implement it. A
committee of 8 members representing concerned government corporations
and departments was formed to do that. However, it failed to make the
Manasir happy as there was no one among its member to represent the
The year 2004 elapsed with contradictory government letters issued
from one side by the pro-Manasir various federal and state government
ministries, states, and departments with regard to the facilitating of
the Local Option, and, on the other side, other letters issued by the
Anti Manasir MDIU with regard to the facilitating the resettlement of
the Manasir in the Mukabrab against their will. It was clear that the
MDIU over-ruled the various institutions of the federal state by
simply being empowered by the Presidency. In 2005 the Manasir People
Committee was arrested twice to stay almost 9 months in prison (3
months in the first arrest and 6 months in the second arrest) from
2005-2007 .
In Amri the situation was the same as that of the Manasir; the people
supported by various government institutions, were insisting on the
Local Option with the MDIU stubbornly insisting on areas far away from
the shore of the reservoir, a matter the people flatly rejected.
On 8/4/2006 a Presidential Decree  was issued upon which a host of
decisions were made. They were as follows:
1. The concerned parties in the River Nile State are to take over
lands on the shore of the Merowe dam reservoir which lie within its
frontiers so as to allocate them to those who rightfully deserve them
[i.e. the Manasir]
2. The River Nile State should under take the following so as to
facilitate the implementation of Clause 1:
a. Formation of basic committees with regard to those who are affected
by the Merowe dam within the frontiers of the State
b. It is upon the State Governor and the concerned parties in the
River Nile State to immediately implement this Decree by taking the
necessary measure.
The State Governor immediately issued a host of State Decrees in
accordance  upon which the lands around the reservoir were allocated
to the Manasir; another accordance  upon which the surveying of the
lands around the reservoir were begun so as to facilitate the
resettlement of the Manasir; another accordance upon which the
resettlement of the Manasir in the areas suggested by the DIU were to
be suspended.  The Manasir could have never been happier if it were
not for the TV interview with Osama Abdalla, the DIU Director that
took place 4 days after these decisions were taken. In the interview
Osama Abdalla mocked those decisions and sarcastically spoken of the
Local Option. Still the Manasir could have ignored what Osama Abdalla,
the DIU Director said, if the President did not praise the former for
what he had said in the TV interview (for more details, see: Muhammad
Abdalla Sid Ahmad .
At this point a group of very influential figures in the ruling party
intervened to bring this un-necessary trouble to an end. They mounted
an internal campaign upon which two major events took place. The first
was the release of the the Manasir committee from the prison as it was
a condition made by the Manasir not to go into negotiation while their
committee members were detained. The second was the census which was
conducted among the Manasir to check who many of them supported the
Local Option. The census was made under the auspices of the Central
Organ for Statistics. The results were as follows: 70% for the Local
Option; 30% for the Mukabrab and other faraway areas . All this was
announced in huge gatherings of the Manasir in Khartoum and were
hailed by the Manasir in their respective villages.
In all this no mention whatsoever was made of the DIU nor was there
any one to represent it. It simply resumed its old policy of
compensating the Manasir people according to the 1999 census which was
totally rejected by both the Manasir and the government. The Manasir
committee retorted back (cf. Al-Ayyam Newspaper, 6/9/2007) accusing
the DIU of trying to sow dissension among the people and not heeding
any respect to its own government which had formed it.
In April 2007, i.e. prior to the flood season, the temporary gates of
the dam were closed a matter that caused the water to rise to
unprecedented levels flooding most of the shore lands in Amri area.
The people of Amri stuck to their villages not heeding the pleas of
some of the government officials to evacuate their homes. This closure
of the gates continued to the end of the flood season. According to
the organization of International Rivers: “During the flood seasons of
2006 and 2007, the dam builders restricted the Nile’s flow so much
that the homes of thousands of families were flooded. According to
affected people, the authorities decided to close the dam’s gates
completely on the Eid holiday of September 30. The rising waters now
threaten Sherri Island, a historically important island of 200 square
kilometres in the Nile and a centre of the resistance against the
Merowe Project. The island counts more than 1000 families and is a
regional centre with schools, a hospital and local council offices” .
On 16/4/2008 the DIU celebrated the last re-diversion of the river
course giving the signs that it was going to close the gates to fill
up the reservoir , with news of thank-giving between the two
governments of the Sudan and China made by top officials representing
them. No mention in these two papers was made of what had become of
the people of Amri. Next day, the head news  read about SOS pleas made
by the people of Amri who were fighting the rising water. By the end
of 2008 the whole area affected by Merowe dam was under water. This
happened without fulfilling any of the promises made by the
government. Nor there was any counting of belongings made to
substitute the results of that of 1999 which were flatly rejected by
both the people of Amri and the Manasir. The Human Rights Unit of the
United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) concluded in a two days
finding trip (29-30 October 2008) that the DIU had forced the Manasir
and Amri people to evict their lands without providing them with the
least aid .
On 26/1/2009 President Omer al-Bashir visited the River Nile State and
addressed the masses. The Manasir were indeed there among the masses
raising high their banners of demands. President al-Bashir announced
that he recognized and positively responded to the demands raised by
the Manasir and all those affected by Merowe dam . That speech meant
nothing new as the President had already responded positively to the
demands of the Manasir by issuing the Presidential Decree No. 70 . The
problem was that the Presidential Mandated DIU defiantly refused to
take action accordingly. What more than a Presidential Decree can the
President do?  This made many people raise the question whether what
al-Bashir had said was simply election frenzy. On 18/2/2009 the
minister of Presidential Affairs, Lieutenant General Bakri Hasan Salih
dispatched a Presidential executive memo  with regard to the
directives pertaining to the visit of the President to the State of
the River Nile. It has 10 items to be implemented as the President
publicly promised the people of the State. Against each item the
government ministry or institution responsible with the implementation
was mentioned. Item two read as follows: “To pay compensation to every
body of the Manasir who is rightly entitled to; and the committees of
counting belongings should start their work immediately”. The first
government institution mentioned as responsible for implementing this
item was the DIU, then the government of the River Nile State and last
the federal ministry of Finance. This has even made the Manasir to be
more frustrated than ever. They wondered what a publicly delivered
pledge from the President can do today when a Presidential Decree had
failed yesterday.
iii. Obscurantism in Dal-Kajbar to-be-dammed Areas
In order to obscure the affected people, the government adopted the
policy of giving contradictory news that creates confusion rather than
clarification. Part of this tactic was to combine both dams of Kajbar
and Dal in the official statements made by the government officials
and the documents. This was shown in the documents discussed above
where the feasibility study of Kajbar dam included discussion
pertaining to the building of Dal dam.
On February 12, 2008, the governor of Northern State, while addressing
the people of Serkinmatto village which lies across the river from Dal
village, declared that the building of Dal dam is pending the ongoing
studies and that it was not going to be built without  consulting the
affected people . On 18/8/2008 the Government of the Northern State
publicly dispatched a public release  where it announced that “Of the
great works your government is facing up is the building of both
Kajbar and Dal dams when the Merowe (Mirwi) dam is just about to
finish. We believe that these dams mean the get out the patient
citizen of this state from the narrowness of scarcity of living means
and services so as to approach the wide space of sunshine development
and construction. In this context the Resolution No. 73 for the year
of 2008 of the Council of Ministers of the National Government has
unanimously supported the construction of the Kajbar and Dal dams so
as to preserve the rights of our people in the state”. A day later,
i.e. on August 19 2008, in a press conference held at the Journalists
House in Khartoum, the governor of Northern state states that there
was no place for negotiating the principle of the building of Kajbar
and Dal dams . On 30/8/2008, in a visit to Sai Island, the governor of
Northern state defiantly declared that his government has not and will
not drop the decision to build both Kajbar and Dal dams . On
15/1/2009, the same governor declared that the building of Dal dam is
pending the ongoing studies while the building of Kajbar dam, whose
studies have concluded its feasibility, is pending the agreement of
the affected people .
The government officials kept denying their intentions of resettling
millions of Egyptian peasants in the Sudan while working for it
openly. The Nubians we interviewed in June and December 2008 thought
of it as a way to de-sensitize the issue. An Egyptian newspaper
wrote: “Jalal al-Dugeir [Secretary General of Democratic Unionist
Party], the Sudanese minister of industry, has revealed that his
country had received offers from Egypt, Qatar and the Emirates to
cultivate about 6 million fedans of wheat”. When asked about the
expected mass migration of Egyptians to the Sudan, the minister
resignedly said: “The Egyptians are coming in all cases, whether we
like it or not” . The number given by the said newspaper for the
Egyptians was only 5.000. However, on 26/5/2008 the news appeared with
the following head news:  “Arrangements for the Resettlement of 5
Million Egyptians Peasants in al-Gezira Region [just south of
Khartoum]. The Nubians also took the naming of al-Gezira as a
de-sensitization tactic, expecting it to eventually be their own
region as it is their region that has all the lands greedily sought by
the Egyptian government.
iv. The “shoot-to-kill” policy of DIU
Resistance in the Fourth Cataract
The three affected people of Merowe dam (Hamdam, Amri, and Manasir)
established their respective organization to negotiate with the
government the compensation and resettlement in 2000 when the project
started. The Hamdab people, the first group to be resettled were, made
no resistance as they were not given ample time to grasp the impact of
the up-coming situation. In interviews with people there, the
investigator was told that that was not going to be the case had they
known. The DIU painted a rosy picture for them and they believed it.
They have been resettled in a newly established area called al-Multaqa
(i.e. road junction) as it is the spot where the newly paved tarmac
road coming from Omdurman splits into two directions, Merowe and
There they were resettled with the agricultural scheme of al-Multaga
for their subsistence. The Lahmeyer study  says about the agricultural
scheme that the “… total gross area of the scheme is 6.300 ha and the
net irrigated area is 5.600 ha” . Instead of being irrigated from a
canal branching directly from the dam reservoir as the same study
states in another place, it is rather to be irrigated by two main pump
stations with one of them on the Nile and the second serving as a via
media that pumps water from a gathering pool. This is due to the high
level of ground which has necessitated that the canals to be built on
an 8 meter fill from above the bank of the Nile; the lifting of the
canal keeps on the higher it goes towards the fields. We read: “The
first distribution point along the canal at kilometer 4+270 about 50%
of the water of the first lift is to be conveyed to the field through
two secondary canals (S1 and S2). The remaining 50% is to be lifted
again at the end of the main canal and distributed through two other
secondary canals (S3 and S4) for irrigation of the upper part of
scheme . The secondary canals have a total length of 23 km and the 13
branch canals have a total length of 25.5 km.”
The fields grown by the Hamdab people in this scheme more than once
ran out of water in the seasons of 2005, 2006 and 2007 due to breaking
down of more than one of the various pumps that lifted the water from
one level to the other. On 2/3/2009, just a day before President
al-Bashir inaugurated the Merowe dam , the people of Hamdab took out
to the streets and congregated at the roundabout of the junction
blocking the way to commuting vehicles in protest of this problem. On
23/5/2209 the General Union of Hamdab Farmers issued a public release
declaring the total failure of the agricultural scheme in the area
they have been resettled into . According to the Sudan Tribune  “The
farmers at the new resettlements, who lost their crops for the third
time due to water shortage, decided to block the vital highway between
Khartoum and Dongla to protest against the water shortage, but the
police intervened and clashed with them to end the blockade”.
Taking lessons from the failing situation of Hamdab people, the Amri
and Manasir people prepared themselves for the confrontation with the
DIU. They established their respective representative organizations.
The Manasir had the Dam-affected Manasir Committee which was
recognized later by the Government of the River Nile State on 2/6/2004
to be developed into the Council of the Dam-Affected Manasir with its
Executive Committee. However, the DIU did not recognize the Executive
Committee. In response to this the committee held a meeting in Shiri
Island on 2/9/2004 upon which they decided to withdraw their consent
to the dam building. In early January 2005 the DIU deployed big
military forces. The Manasir people reacted to this by calling for a
mass meeting in al-Kab town upon which they re-confirmed the
withdrawal of their consent to building the dam, declaring the region
of the Manasir a closed area where no government institutional
presence, military or civilian, was allowed. The DIU retaliated by
taking to prison the members of the Executive committee where they
spent a month. In December 2004 the members of the committee were
arrested again to be released on 27/5/2005 . Three months later the
frustrated Manasir took to the streets in their secluded villages.
Some of the demonstrators threatened to take to arms and declare a
civil war against the Federal government. The government sent huge
heavily armed troops which searched the villages house by house for
arms to find none.
The Amri people established their own committee which is called “the
Amri Dam-affected People Committee. Their scenario goes in the same
steps as that of the Manasir: resisting evacuating their home area;
opting for the local settlement; demanding fair compensation. The DIU
did not heed any of these demands. In early 2006 the DIU changed
tactics to crack down the resilience of the defiant people of Amri. It
began intimidating the people in their villages to provoke them. The
Amri People Committee was aware of the plans of the DIU and therefore
kept its people under control ordering them not to respond to the
provocative behaviour of the DIU.

Shooting in Amri
On the 22nd of April, 2006 in Amri island government security forces,
militia groups and special paratroops belonging to the DIU opened fire
on a small congregation of people who resisted being evicted. Three
people were killed immediately with others injured. The Sudan Human
Rights Organization reported the murderous attack with strong
condemnation: “As relayed by several witnesses, as well as families of
the injured citizens, the attack was planned and executed by the
assaulting troop in collaboration with the security headquarters of
the dam administration, which had been threatening with ‘severe
reactions’ the natives opposing the dam’s location and the
resettlement plans far away from their ancestral land at the Nile
bank” .

Shooting in Kajbar
In 2005, when the government renewed its idea of building Kajbar dam,
the governor of North State, ministers, and top officials of DIU
assured the people that the dam was not going to be built without
their explicit consent. These pledges were said to be based on a
direct order from the President that not to build any dam against the
will of the people of the concerned area. Believing in the
Presidential and official promises, they wanted to express their total
rejection to the dam-building. On the 10th of April 2007 they
organized a peaceful demonstration in the small villages overlooking
the cataract, which was assumed to be the site of the dam. The special
security force, which was putting on an army fatigue, opened fire
wounding at least five people. Taking the injured people and heading
back to the nearest hospital, at a certain river-mountain strait
(called in Nubian ‘Kidin Takkār’) that allows for only one vehicle to
pass at a time, the demonstrators came across a group of about 20
heavily armed soldiers apparently meant as reinforcement. Outnumbering
the armed men, the angry demonstrators encircled the two vehicles and
took the soldiers as hostages after stripping them of their arms for
about two hours before releasing them.
On the 13th of June 2007 the villagers organized another peaceful
demonstration that started from a village called Farrēg and then
headed down the river toward the cataract. About five km up the river
from the cataract, exactly at the same strait where they had held the
armed men as hostages, the demonstration was ambushed by a group of
heavily armed force that was positioned atop the mountain. The force
opened fire killing instantly four people with one of them (Muhammad
Faqir) a teenager of only 18 years old. More then 15 people were
injured. The whole massacre was filmed by a video amateur; it shows
the armed men cheering and dancing when shooting the villagers . In
the coming weeks more than 20 people were arrested, among them
journalists who tried to report . Leading figures of Nubian senior
activists resisting the dam-building were also arrested for months .
Young Nubian activists were also arrested in northern Sudan and
Khartoum . On 24/6/2007 the Attorney General office dispatched a memo
to all newspapers prohibiting them from publishing any material
discussing the issue of Kajbar bloodshed or dam .
With the disintegration of the Sudan looming, the Khartoum government
adopted a policy for concentrating spending public funds in an area
that comprises the middle Sudan (the Axis of Kordufan-Dungula-Sennar)
hence known as Hamdi’s Triangle; areas of predominant African ethnic
groups outside this triangle were to be Arabized by a new population
injection from neighbouring countries (from Chad in the case of
Darfur; from Egypt in the case of northern Sudanese Nubia; from local
Arab tribes in the case of Nuba Mountains). This is the policy that
has so far merited the name of “Demographic Engineering”.
In the last five years the government of the Sudan announced that it
is planning to build at least 6 dams on the River Nile downstream from
Khartoum upon which the flooded areas will be evacuated in the same
way that took place in the case of Aswan High Dam. The governments of
both the Sudan and Egypt have openly announced endorsing plans aimed
to bring in millions of Egyptian peasants to settle in the areas
evacuated by the Sudanese groups in specific the Nubian region.
Egyptian government has been engaged in a similar plan in its own
Nubian region. The people of northern Sudan, specially the Nubians,
affected by the dams have started resisting this by civilian means and
will eventually take to rebellion as they have established their
ethnic political and military organization. These organizations have
already made contacts with the Darfur military movements to
orchestrate efforts of resistance. The Egyptian Nubians have declared
their alliance with their brethren in the Sudan. A civil war in
northern Sudan and southern Egypt lead by a coalition of the Nubians
and other Arab people of the region also affected by dams and the
military movements of Darfur will destabilize the region more than
ever. The northern Sudan problem will very quickly develop from a
national affair to a regional affair and then into an international
crisis. As Egyptian Nubians will join their brethren across the
border, Egypt will eventually be drawn into this civil war at its
borders with the Sudan. Under the pretext of containing the situation
and crushing the rebellion of its own Nubians, Egypt is expected to
invade northern Sudan, particularly the Nubian region, with the real
intent to grab new lands, chase away the Nubians, rebel or non rebel
alike, and to implement the plans of settlement of its millions of
peasants. However, the moment this war goes off with both Sudanese and
Egyptian Nubians getting united with other dam-affected Arab groups of
northern Sudan, nothing less than an independent Nubian-Arab state
will satisfy the rebels.
Concluding demands: Hereby, we, in the Anti Dal-Kajbar Dams Committee,
demand from Sinohydro Company, first, to withdraw from this project,
and, secondly to contact directly the affected people through us so as
to see that the people totally reject the building of both the named
dams or either of them.
Contact Persons:
Khartoum, Sudan:
1. M. Jalal Hashim
Tel: +249914490044

2. Abdalla Abo Zaid
Tel: +249912960239

London, the United Kingdom:1. Hamza Uwais
Tel: +447810657298

2. Geili Farah
Tel: +447967719461
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