Press release: JEM-Kordofan responds to the quibble around the release of oil-field hostages
Responding to the unfortunate quibble that marked intended handover of Oil Filed hostages with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), we would like to clarify the following issues:
JEM Presidency ordered the release of the hostages and the JEM field commanders responded and started making initial arrangements for their hand-over to the ICRC. But the
Khartoum security agents placed huge hurdles which rendered this humanitarian work extremely difficult. They sought to use this opportunity to launch military attacks at our field commanders, with the possibility of killing the hostages and to subsequently charge JEM with their murder.
As it became apparent (to JEM) that the hand-over process could not go on in the face of these difficulties JEM agreed with a civil committee made up of tribal leaders namely Mr. Mohamed Mahmoud Rajab, Omda Al-Doreek, Omda Ali Garshaik and Omda Eisa Hammad to act as mediators. It was agreed that the hand-over would take place near the
Dabab. Again, the Khartoum security forces did not like the hand-over process to go on this way and reacted by sending two of its agents, namely Hamdin Ahmed Al-Kibeida (known as “Kongor”) and Ali Musa Halawa, who arrived at the scene prior to the arrival of the civil committee. The security agents offered 50 million Sudanese pounds to JEM commanders as ransom and wanted the deal to be finalized before the arrival of the civil committee. Brigadier Abdel Hafeez Ahmed Al-Bashir, the Director for Oil Security Administration was the government agent who supplied the bribe. But our commanders turned down the offer and refused to entrust the fate of the hostages to the discredited
Khartoum security agents. The two agents left empty-handed and later on the civil committee arrived and was handed over the hostages who were in very healthy conditions. The civil committee and the released hostages headed towards the town of
Mujlad, but later found that Brigadier General Abdel Hafeez Ahmed Al-Bashir blocked the routes using 40 fully armed land cruisers. The civil committee returned to the area where it received the hostages and reported the
Khartoum piracy attempt to JEM commanders.
It is JEM’s responsibility to disclose all these facts in detail to the Sudanese public and to the international community, given that JEM actually handed over the hostages as early as the 12th of November 2007 and they are in the hands of the civil committee since. On disclosing these facts JEM would put the blame squarely on the
Khartoum junta and warns against any harm to the hostages or to the civil committee. The responsibility for the safeguard of the hostages and of the civil committee lies entirely with the
Mohamed Bahar Hamdeen
Secretary for Kordofan
The Liberated Areas.