Home | News    Wednesday 17 June 2015

Report on Sudanese troops holding S. African peacekeepers in Darfur ‘hostages’ draws swift denials


June 16, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese and South African governments as well as the United Nations (UN) strongly denied a report alleging that Khartoum held its peacekeepers in Darfur ‘hostages’ while they ascertain that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has arrived safely from the African Union (AU) summit in Johannesburg.

A UNAMID peacekeeper during a routine patrol in Tawila, North Darfur.(Photo UNAMID/Hamid Abdelsalam)

Bashir narrowly escaped an arrest order issued by High Court judges in South Africa in compliance with the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants against him for war crimes and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur.

South Africa refused to execute a court decision issued last Sunday that ordered Bashir to remain in the country while a case against him is being reviewed.

After his departure, the government suggested that he left without their knowledge and vowed to submit an affidavit early next week explaining how this happened.

On Tuesday, South Africa’s website News24 quoted unnamed peacekeepers in Darfur as saying that they were held “hostage” by Sudanese troops when the drama around Bashir’s possible arrest in Johannesburg.

“We were so scared – we were surrounded by soldiers. We handed out extra ammunition to all our troops in case they needed it,” said one South African soldier in Sudan on Tuesday.

“Vehicles approached our bases and the commander placed us on State 2 of readiness,” said another soldier. This meant all troops had to be in combat gear, fully armed, and positioned in bunkers and against embankments.

Another soldier said if the situation got out of hand, “we would have had to surrender to save our lives, because you can’t fight a country’s army with a poorly equipped battalion”.

“I am so thankful that South Africa did not arrest Bashir. The battalion commander said after Bashir touched down safely in Khartoum, all the [Sudanese] troops were withdrawn. The calamity has returned to normal,” reads a message sent by a soldier in Darfur to his friends in South Africa.

But the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) rejected the report calling it unfounded.

“There is no iota of truth in these allegations. There is equally no substance to support these allegations. The SANDF did not come under any threat during this period,” SANDF said in a statement.

“No extra-ordinary operational preparedness was done by the SANDF in view of the reported situation in South Africa. No additional instructions, with regard to higher alert levels, were issued. The security situation in Darfur is calm where our troops are deployed.”

The United Nations also dismissed the report.

"South Africa currently has 802 members of an infantry battalion deployed in Kutum, Malha and Mellit team sites in North Darfur. We can confirm that the mission’s South African troops were not held hostage or under any threat as reported in the media," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.

A Sudanese official speaking to Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity called this report “part of a domestic political battle in South Africa.

“This is the same battle that moved the court proceedings [in South Africa against Bashir] from the start,” the official added.

The Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement to al-Sudani newspaper that the information included in the report are “imaginary” adding that Khartoum has no control over Darfur peacekeeping mission.

But the South African National Defence Union’s (SANDU) Pikkie Greeff told Eyewitness News (EWN) on Tuesday said this incident had been confirmed by several sources, some of them soldiers.

“The Sudanese army only withdrew from their position once al-Bashir left South Africa. This would boil down to blackmail by threatening someone with war.”

Greef said he has no reason to doubt the reports because they come from the soldiers.

“We are concerned about the safety of our soldiers because they are there as peacekeepers and not there for conventional war. Zuma must take a firm stand on this issue,” he added.

SANDU is the South African trade union for SANDF members.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 17 June 2015 05:36, by Kenyang

    Not only that but attack on embassy and killing South Africans including friends of South Africa would had taken place across Sudan. Those denying are naive with zero idea about NiF and Sudanese at large.

    repondre message

    • 17 June 2015 11:28, by Konan

      During the civil war between North & South Sudan, millions of Southerner were living peacefully in the North, although every day we used to receive news about the killing of our fathers, sons and brothers by SPLA and other rebels, we never target Southerners in revenge, because unlike others we have ethics and principles. Just compare what is going on between Dinka and Nuer right now.

      repondre message

      • 17 June 2015 12:14, by Clausewitz


        You mean the same ethics and principles that compelled you to steal the Kafia Kingi enclave from the South in 1960? Kafia Kingi is larger than Lebanon. Where were your ethics and principles when you unleashed Arab militias to destroy crops in Bahr el Ghazal resulting in the deaths of 100, 000 Dinka in 1998 in an artificial famine?

        repondre message

        • 17 June 2015 12:19, by Clausewitz

          What the Dinka and Nuer are doing to each other is no worse than what the Arab tribes in Darfur did to the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit tribes. You are in no position to moralise to anyone. God, it’s like being moralise to by a citizen of Nazi Germany.

          repondre message

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Sudan’s legitimate request for UN assistance: the opponents their interior motives? (2-3) 2020-06-05 12:29:45 By: Trayo A. Ali To expose and preempt the plot these opposing forces to the UN are hatching, the tricks and tactics using, the ploys they are crafting and ulterior motives they harbour and the (...)

We neither Forget nor Forgive the 3 June 2019 Massacre 2020-06-04 06:41:26 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman Today Wednesday, June 3rd 2020 comes as the great epic of redemption at the dawn of the third of June 2019, whose memory will remain immortal in the history book, (...)

The untold crisis of health system in South Sudan 2020-06-03 06:49:09 by Dr Jok Gang The South Sudanese war began in 1955 at the time when people of the region began to feel a lack of representation in the government and therefore the absence of the crucial (...)


Latest Press Releases

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2020 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.