US Mission Sudan: USAID Employees’ Convicted Killer Currently in Prison Designated a Terrorist

—By Domani Spero

We blogged previously about the challenge of holding the killers of USAID Officer John Granville and FSN Abdel Rahman Abbas accountable in the Sudanese judicial system. After their 2010 escape from Khartoum’s max security prison, one is reportedly dead, one is back in jail and two remains at large three years after their escape.  These two have a $5 million bounty on each head.  The State Department has now designated the third and last of the convicted murderers as a terrorist under E.O 13244.  The individual is back jail, so not sure why this designation is happening now.  Unless this is in preparation for when Hamza gets to escape again.

The U.S. Department of State has designated Abd Al-Ra’Ouf Abu Zaid Mohamed Hamza under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Hamza has any interest is blocked and any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him.

Hamza, with three co-conspirators, participated in an armed attack in Khartoum, Sudan on January 1, 2008, which resulted in the deaths of a U.S. diplomat serving with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), John Michael Granville, and a locally employed U.S. Embassy staff member, Adbelrahman Abbas Rahama. The attack occurred when Granville and Abbas were leaving a New Year’s Eve party in Khartoum. Granville worked on democracy and governance programs for USAID.

The four men were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in a Sudanese criminal court in 2009. In 2010, the four men escaped from a maximum security prison, killing a Sudanese police officer and wounding another in the process. Shortly thereafter, Hamza was recaptured and is currently in prison in Khartoum. Another escapee was reportedly killed in Somalia in 2011, and the other two remain fugitives at large. These two fugitives, Abdelbasit Alhaj Alhasan Haj Hamad and Mohamed Makawi Ibrahim Mohamed, were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under E.O. 13224 on January 8, 2013 and remain at large. The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the capture of the two fugitives.

In making this designation, the Department seeks to emphasize to the public and, in particular, to the Granville and Abbas families, our commitment to justice prevailing in this case.

Active links added above.  Check out the Rewards For Justice rogue’s gallery here.

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$10 Million Bounty for Sudanese Killers of USAID Employees Killed in 2008

Almost five years to the day a USAID officer and FSN were killed in Khartoum, the U.S. Government announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of two of their killers.  The announcement says to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  The embassy, however, has no arrest power, so presumably the arrest and capture can only be done with the cooperation of the host country.  What we don’t want to see is for these criminals to be arrested in the Sudan (again), the USG paying off the $10 million bounty and for the killers to escape once more, as they have done once before from what purportedly was the country’s maximum security prison.

Convicted Killer of USAID Employees in Sudan, and 2010 Escapee Reportedly Killed in Somalia

How much does a US diplomat’s life worth? About $1,800 US dollars, and look there’s no raging mob…

US Embassy Sudan and Those Critical Pool and Picnic Resources
Here is the announcement:

The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program is offering rewards for information on two individuals involved in the January 1, 2008 murders of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) diplomat John Granville and USAID employee Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama.

The Department has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the capture of Abdelbasit Alhaj Alhasan Haj Hamad and Mohamed Makawi Ibrahim Mohamed, two of five individuals convicted in Sudan for the murders.

Granville, a U.S. citizen, and Abbas, a Sudanese national, were leaving a New Year’s Eve celebration in Khartoum, Sudan, when gunmen opened fire on their car, killing both of them. Granville worked on democracy and governance programs for USAID. He was credited with being the driving force behind the distribution of over 200,000 solar-powered radios used to inform citizens in remote areas of Sudan of their rights and responsibilities under the historic 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and subsequent 2010 national elecions. Abbas was born in Juba, now the capital of South Sudan, and began his USAID career in 2004 as one of the original members of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team for Darfur.

Five men were tried and convicted in 2009 by a Sudanese court for their involvement in the murders. Four of those men – including Abdelbasit and Makawi — were convicted of murder and sentenced to death but escaped from prison on June 10, 2010, before their sentences could be carried out. Of the four escapees, one was recaptured. A second was reportedly killed in Somalia in May 2011. Abdelbasit and Makawi remain at large and are believed to be in Somalia.

Makawi had ties to the Sudan-based terrorist organization al-Qaida in the Land of the Two Niles, which conspired to attack other U.S., Western, and Sudanese targets. He was the leader of the attack that killed Granville and Abbas and was identified as one of the gunmen. Makawi was born in 1984 in Sudan and speaks English and Arabic.

Abdelbasit was the second shooter in the attack. He was born in Sudan and has used birthdates in 1979 and 1983. He also speaks English and Arabic.

More information about these individuals is located on the Rewards for Justice web site at http://www.rewardsforjustice.net. We encourage anyone with information on these individuals to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or the Rewards for Justice office via the website (www.rewardsforjustice.net), e-mail (RFJ@state.gov), or mail (Rewards for Justice, Washington, DC 20520-0303, USA). All information will be kept strictly confidential.

The Rewards for Justice program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid more than $125 million to more than 80 persons who provided actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.

Shortly before the fifth death anniversary of the USAID employees, the Sudan Tribune reported  that a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda has published a video purportedly showing the escape of four men accused of killing John Granville and his Sudanese driver from a maximum security prison in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.  The four managed to escape in June 2010 from Kober Federal prison under mysterious circumstances. The report says that the YouTube video produced by a group calling itself ’Al-Hijratain for Media production’ explained in extensive details how the escape was planned and executed. Apparently, a substantial portion of the 41-minute video was filmed from inside the prison in broad daylight raising questions about the level of security the prisoners were subject to.  The warden of Kober prison, according to the Sudan Tribune was suspended from duty over the incident but was later reinstated after being cleared from negligence.

domani spero sig

 

 

 

US Embassy Sudan and Those Critical Pool and Picnic Resources

Every now and then we get tips for blog post ideas, sometimes offline, via email or sometimes via social media as was the case a few days ago:

@tradeaidmonitor
Hope @Diplopundit catches “U.S. State Dept. Sending Critical [Pool & Picnicking] Resources to Sudan” http://www.tradeaidmonitor.com/2012/08/state-dept-resources-sudan.html

Sometimes we catch the toss, sometimes we don’t, primarily because we have some time constraints.  But this one, we thought we’d catch because in a place like our US Embassy in Khartoum, pool and picnic resources are critical resources in our view.  And we’ll tell you why.

Let’s start off with Sudan as the third largest country in Africa.  Slightly less than a quarter the size of the continental United States. It achieved independence on January 1, 1956 from the British, and has been at war with itself for more than three-quarters of its existence.

The USG designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 and the U.S. Embassy operation in Khartoum was suspended in 1996. According to the no longer updated Background Notes in October 1997, the U.S. imposed comprehensive economic, trade, and financial sanctions against the Sudan. In August 1998, in the wake of the East Africa embassy bombings, the U.S. launched cruise missile strikes against Khartoum. The last U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan, Ambassador Tim Carney, departed post prior to this event and no new ambassador has been designated since.

We do have a Special Envoy to Sudan —Ambassador Lyman since 2011; he succeeded Ambassador Gration who was appointed to office in 2009.

The U.S. Embassy is headed by a series of Charge d’Affaires. Joseph D. Stafford, III, a career Foreign Service Officer has been Charge’ d’ affaires in Khartoum since June 2012. The US Embassy reportedly continues to re-evaluate its posture in Sudan, particularly in the wake of the January 1, 2008, killings of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) officer John Granville and local USAID employee, Abdel Rahman Abbas.

(see How much does a US diplomat’s life worth? About $1,800 US dollars, and look there’s no raging mob…)

The U.S. Mission in Sudan has declared disasters due to the complex emergency on an annual basis since 1987. On October 1, 2009, President Obama renewed the Sudan complex emergency disaster declaration for FY 2010.

Sandstorm Over the Nile
(Photo by US Embassy Khartoum/Picasa)

So let’s just agree that it’s not a very nice, cushy place when its dry. And it’s not a very nice place when it’s wet.

In fact, it’s one of those places where family members of embassy personnel under age 21 are not allowed to reside.  State Department employees in Sudan also get a 30% cost of living allowance, a 25% hardship differential and a 25% danger pay differential, and for good reasons.

Cost-of-living allowance (COLA) is granted to an employee officially stationed at a post in a foreign area where the cost of living, exclusive of quarters costs, is substantially higher than in Washington, D.C.

Hardship differential is established for any place when, and only when, the place involves extraordinarily difficult living conditions, excessive physical hardship, or notably unhealthful conditions affecting the majority of employees officially stationed or detailed at that place.  Living costs are not considered in differential determination

Danger pay allowance is designed to provide additional compensation above basic compensation to all U.S. Government civilian employees, including Chiefs of Mission, for service at places in foreign areas where there exist conditions of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions which threaten physical harm or imminent danger to the health or well-being of an employee.

So in a country where Al Qaeda has a long history, what do people do to entertain and de-stress themselves?  You can go to a fitness club where the monthly fee for adults is $192.50 (or 352.94 % more than what you’d pay in WashDC) according to numbeo.com. Or you can eat out where the combo meal similar to McDonald’s is $11.14 (except that you’re a real moving target).  Or you can go to the movies for $5.00, certainly cheaper than DC but do you want to be in the dark with people with guns? Probably not.

You can stay home and surf online; 6 Mbps Internet is at $67.50 a month whether it works or not. Or have a roaring pool party. Maybe. And invite even people you can’t stand. In which case you need to shop for party food.  You can shop for chicken breasts which at $8.00/kilogram is actually cheaper in Khartoum than in DC. You can also buy 12 pack eggs at $2.93, and a kilogram of fresh cheese at $16.33. Beer, the 0.5 liter bottle is reportedly $5.00. And there goes your COLA.

Then there’s the haboob, a small one or a big one, it doesn’t matter, it gets into everything. And they don’t have haboob days like snow days back in WashDC, which frankly, isn’t fair.   We terribly missed our undiplomatic diplomat from Facts Are Strictly Optional; you betcha she would have had insightful things to say about these critical resources.

The patio furniture below is similar to those required under the solicitation mentioned above and posted by US Embassy Khartoum at fedbiz. The complete solicitation is here: https://www.fbo.gov/notices/b8deabb7df3866417121ac528cf8a837.

Wave Square 4 Seater Set”Weatherproof, Rust-Free Guaranteed, 5 Year Warranty, Durable, UV Resistant, Powder Coating, Door to Door Free Delivery, All prices include VAT.
Manufactured by Golden Barley Garden Furniture Trading as HomeGarden.co.za, South Africa
(Photo from Golden Barley Garden Furniture Trading) 

Rust-fee, weatherproof, five year warranty – what’s not to like? More to the point, and this is important — you can hose them down after a dust storm, they’re too heavy to fly away in a sandstorm and they are deliverable from South Africa, just 2900 miles from the Sudan instead of some 6,000 miles from the United States.

So frankly, we cannot find it in our hearts to quarrel with these pool and patio furniture. All that dust and sand would probably drive us nuts ala The Shining if we live down there.  And anyways — what use is a pool if you cannot sit down or lounge or have a picnic with people you see every single day at work and at play?

Dear US Embassy Khartoum – we hope you folks enjoy your new pool and patio furniture. The bronze ones look really lovely.

The end.

Domani Spero