April 12, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese 1st Vice President Ali Osman Taha on Thursday chaired the first meeting of the Supreme Mobilization and Recruitment Committee (SMRC) formed late last month by his boss president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.
- FILE - Sudan’s First Vice President Ali Osman Taha (Reuters)
SRMC was established in wake of the growing frequent border military confrontations between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on one side and South Sudan’s (SPLA) along with northern rebel groups, particularly SPLM-North.
On Tuesday, SPLA managed to take over Heglig in South Kordofan which contains Sudan’s biggest oilfields. South Sudan claimed that it occupied the town after SAF carried an incursion inside Unity State which prompted a pursuit of Sudanese soldiers all the way up to the oil-rich region.
In today’s meeting, Taha accused Juba of being ungrateful to Khartoum’s pursuit of peace. He said that mobilisation means dedicating all the country’s resources and efforts to defeat the "aggression".
"We have to confront the visible aggression which represents a violation of all norms and international law and we promise those holding the trigger that we are able to deter them [South Sudan]" Taha was quoted as saying.
He noted that mobilisation does not mean a reversal of economic development programs adding that the entire country is united including opposition parties which, he said, threw behind them their differences to stand by SAF to repel aggression and preserve Sudan’s dignity.
There has been widespread panic in the Sudanese capital for fear that Heglig’s occupation will disrupt fuel supplies. South Sudan announced yesterday that they have suspended oil production in Heglig. South Kordofan’s governor Ahmed Haroun said Thursday that the shutdown occurred on Tuesday.
Eyewitnesses reported a rush to gas stations by motorists over the last few days seeking to fill their tanks in anticipation of a shortage.
But Sudan’s information minister, Abdullah Masar, who was part of today’s meeting, assured citizens that the situation is stable and that there has not been any impact from events in Heglig.
He warned against unspecified parties whom he said are working from inside Khartoum to bring down the regime and noted rumors circulated by what he described as a "fifth column" on a shortage of food supplies, electricity and services.
Masar asserted that there is currently no financial, administrative or executive issues and urged the media to be cautious in their coverage.
"We are for the freedom of the press and the media houses but it must serve the national cause to repel aggression and leave all the things that put [SAF and people] down" he said.
The official said his government is monitoring "fifth Column" but offered little details.