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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 1, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Wcclnct'.oy, MtirtS 1, 197Z THE UTHBRIDGE HERAID _ 39 Sudan asks for help By COLIN LEGUM Ixmrion Observer Service KHARTOUM The Sudanese revolutionary government lias thrown open its doors to the world's relief and humanitarian organizations to contribute to- wards its own plans to relieve the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese in lha southern provinces. These Su- danese have been in a state of rebellion for 17 years longer than any in Africa. Parallel witli this imaginative move, President Gaafar el Nu- meiry's government is negotia- ting with leaders of tlM rebel movement Anyanya in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Aba- ba, in an attempt to settle the bitter dispute which Iras cost untold thousands of lives. The true numbers will never be known. The future stability o{ the Sudan and the survival of Numeiry's revolutionary' emment may depend on the success of these two separate events. Numeiry's decision to sponsor an international conference on relief in Khartoum is signifi- cant for a numebr of reasons. Unlike his predecessors he has chosen not to hide skeletons in the Southern Sudan cupboard and has given delegates carte blanche to travel through Equa- toria, Upper Nile, and Bahr el Ghazal the three provinces ravaged by rebellion. He has invited the ten United Nations specialized agencies and 26 humanitarian organizations mostly fivm Western Europe, and many representatives ol Christian bodies! They include relief organizations like Cari- tas, Danish Church Aid, the Swedish Red Cross, the Nor wegian Refugee Council and the German Protestant Aid organ! zation which were at the cen- tro of controversies over the role of relief agencies in the recent civil war in Nigeria These are relief groups wliicl were mentioned at the recen trial here of Colonel Rolf Stein er the German mercenary, who was given a long prison sen fence for his part in helping the Southern rebels: Numeiry is ready to let the present bury the past in his drive to restore peace to the South. Another important feature o this conference is that it is be- ing run largely by Southern Su danese themselves, rather than (as in the past) by mainly Arab Northerners. The- conference keynote speech was delivered by Abe Aleir, now a vice president o Sudan and minister in diarg of southern affairs a British- trained lawyer trusted on al sides. Following him were the three ministers who are now the top officials in southern provinces all of them south erners and each serving in hi own home area. Commissioner for Equatoria the worst hit province, Hilary Logali, has himself been a con troversial political figure dur ing the nightmare years of h rebellion. Thesa three commissioners took the conference through th problems facing them in reset tling and rehabilitating thei people. The story they told was narrowing. The current estimate is tha over southerners are still refugees in surroundini neighboring 'Countries. Anothe are b'ving as vYtual ret ugces in the bush, still toe afraid to return to their brokei farms and villages. When the; do return most seek safety i the few larger [owns. The re suit is the creation of huge coi centrations of families with n vrork, no income, very fe1 schools, and grossly inadequate medical services. The projects for work and re- I settlement already started hy N'umeiry's Government cannot cope with even the immediate j problems. i Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, i the UN High Commissioner for j Refugees, was the first to pledge the international com- 1 munity's support for Sudan's ap- peal for help and co-operation in getting refugees moved back into (lie country and then to create opportunities for tlKm to lead productive lives. The senior member of the large Scandinavian contingent is Prince Ifenrik of Denmark. The British contingent includes Leslie Kirkley of Oxfam, Colo- nel Skelton of the Save the Chil- dren FXmd, Vernon Littlcwood of Clirisfian Aid and Toby Goach of the standing confer- ence of British organizalions for aid (o refugees. The League of Red Cross So- cieties and World Council of C'-urches are also represented. Kf) arc the Wrst Germans, but the sole American is a dele- gate of the Catholic Relief Ser- vice. SIMPSONS-SEARS 3 Beautiful Ways to Warmly Inviting Price! 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