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Cablegate: Gos Releases Sadiq, Mohammed Osman and Turabi

O 191451Z NOV 89
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0250
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA NIACT IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI IMMEDIATE
INFO AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY MOGADISHU
AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 12704

FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

NAIROBI PLEASE PASS TO CARTER PARTY

E.O. 12356: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR SU
SUBJECT: GOS RELEASES SADIQ, MOHAMMED OSMAN AND TURABI

1. SUMMARY. THE GOS RELEASED NOVEMBER 17 THE DETAINED
LEADERS OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES EXCEPT THE COMMUNIST
PARTY. GENERAL OMAR AL-BASHIR TOLD PRESIDENT CARTER THAT
ONLY FOURTEEN POLITICAL PRISONERS ARE STILL DETAINED. WE
ESTIMATE THE NUMBER OF POLITICAL DETAINEES, MOSTLY
UNIONISTS AND SUSPECTED COMMUNISTS, HAVE DECLINED
SUBSTANTIALLY TO ABOUT 150. THE RELEASES APPARENTLY ARE
PART OF AN ONGOING EFFORT TOWARD NATIONAL RECONCILIATION
THAT SEEKS TO BROADEN THE BASE OF THE GOVERNMENT. SEPTEL
WILL INCLUDE NAMES AND BIOS OF ALL DETAINEES. THE
FOLLOWING ARE ONLY THE MOST PROMINENT. END SUMMARY.

2. PARTY LEADERS RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 17 INCLUDE:

-- SADIQ AL MAHDI OF THE UMMA PARTY. SADIQ WAS PRIME
MINISTER FROM 1986 UNTIL THE JUNE 30 COUP;

-- MOHAMMAD OSMAN AL MIRGHANI, LEADER DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST
PARTY (DUP). MOHAMMAD OSMAN IS ALSO RELIGIOUS LEADER OF
THE KHATMIYYA RELIGIOUS SECT;

-- HASSAN AL-TURABI OF THE NATIONAL ISLAMIC FRONT (NIF);
TURABI SERVED AS MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND ATTORNEY
GENERAL/MINISTER OF JUSTICE UNDER SADIQ FROM JULY 1988 TO
MARCH 1989. TURABI'S PARTY WAS IN OPPOSITION AT THE TIME
OF THE COUP;

-- ELIABA JAMES SUROUR OF THE PROGRESSIVE PEOPLES PARTY
(PPP), AN EQUATORIAN-BASED PARTY. SUROR SERVED AS
OPPOSITION LEADER IN THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY FROM JULY
1988 TO APRIL 1989. A PROMINENT SOUTHERN POLITICIAN, HE
ALSO HEADED A SOUTHERN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE, THE UNITED
SOUTHERN AFRICAN PARTY (USAP);

-- SAMUEL ARU BOL OF THE SOUTHERN SUDAN POLITICAL
ASSOCIATION (SSPA), A DINKA-BASED PARTY FORMED IN 1985.
ARU BOL HEADED A PRO-SPLM FACTION THAT OPPOSED SADIQ
UNTIL APRIL 1989.

3. GENERAL OMAR AL-BASHIR TOLD VISITING FORMER PRESIDENT
CARTER THAT ONLY FOURTEEN POLITICAL PRISONERS REMAINED
DETAINED, WE ASSUME AFTER THE RELEASE OF THESE
DETAINEES. THIS NUMBER, HOWEVER, PROBABLY DOES NOT
INCLUDE MANY UNIONISTS AND PERSONS OFFICIALLY
UNAFFILIATED WITH A PARTY WHO COULD BE CONSIDERED
POLITICAL DETAINEES. WE ESTIMATE THAT THE NUMBER OF
THESE DETAINEES HAS DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE LAST TWO
MONTHS TO ABOUT 150 (FROM OVER 400).

4. FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER MOHAMMED TEWFIQ (DUP) AND
SADIQ'S WIFE SARRA AL-FADIL AL-MAHDI ARE AMONG A NUMBER
OF OTHER POLITICIANS RELEASED (SEPTEL).

5. THOSE IDENTIFIED WITH THE SUDAN COMMUNIST PARTY (SCP)
REMAIN IN PRISON, INCLUDING SCP CHIEF MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM
NUGUD, AL-TIJANI AL-TAYEB, AND JOSEPH MODESTO. ALL
SOUTHERN POLITICIANS HAVE NOW BEEN RELEASED EXCEPT
MODESTO AND YOHANNES AKOL (A FORMER MEMBER OF THE
ASSEMBLY AND LAM AKOL'S BROTHER). PROMINENT NONCOMMUNIST
POLITICIANS STILL DETAINED INCLUDE FORMER FOREIGN AND
INTERIOR MINISTER SID AHMED AL-HUSSEIN (DUP SECRETARY
GENERAL AND VERY ANTI-NIF), FORMER FINANCE, ENERGY AND
INFORMATION MINISTER BASHIR OMER (UMMA), FORMER STATE
COUNCIL MEMBER IDRIS AL-BANNA (UMMA) AND OSMAN OMER
AL-SHARIF (DUP).

6. COMMENT. FORMER PRESIDENT CARTER'S VISIT TO KHARTOUM
NOVEMBER 17-18 PROBABLY PLAYED A ROLE IN THE TIMING OF
THE LONG-RUMORED RELEASES OF POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS.
THE RELEASES APPEAR TO BE PART OF AN ONGOING EFFORT BY
THE RCC TOWARD DEFUSING OPPOSITION AND BROADENING THEIR
BASE OF SUPPORT. THE PARTY LEADERS WERE APPARENTLY
RELEASED UNCONDITIONALLY AFTER PARTY REPRESENTATIVES
SIGNED A DOCUMENT SUPPORTING GOS EFFORTS TOWARD NATIONAL
RECONICILIATION. MANY SUDANESE BELIEVE A CABINET
RESHUFFLE BRINGING DUP, UMMA AND NIF MEMBERS INTO THE
GOVERNMENT MAY BE IN THE CARDS.


CHEEK

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