Sudan has no links with Boko Haram —Envoy

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WS-3The Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to Nigeria, His Excellency, Tagelsir Mahgoub Ali, says that contrary to the insinuations in some circles about his country having links with the Boko Haram sect, following the arrest of one of the suspects in the Nyanya bomb blast, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche,  in his country, Sudan  has no links with the dreaded sect, and definitely does not support terrorism anywhere.
In this interview with INNOCENT ODOH, the envoy says that Sudan is at the forefront among those fighting terrorism and will continue to cooperate with Nigeria to curb it. He also denounces the abduction of school girls from Chibok in Borno State.  Excerpts:

Can you clarify the insinuations linking Sudan to the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria?

The last two months witnessed unprecedented escalation in the activities of the violent Boko Haram (explosions in Abuja- Abduction of school girls). In the process, some circles tried to drag the name of Sudan negatively, into theatre by making deliberate confusion out of some events such as the arrest of one of the key Boko Haram suspects in Sudan. This single event which received huge coverage, could feed directly into the ongoing propaganda making the round by some elements who were trying desperately, through various media articles, to establish links between Sudan and Boko Haram.
First of all Sudan is not a training ground for those kinds of insurgents as some people have alleged. Secondly, the government of Sudan does not provide some sort of logistical support to the Boko Haram and thirdly there is no sympathy for the Boko Haram in the Sudanese community.

Some of those insinuations about a link between Sudan and terrorism were intensified some years ago when Osama bin Laden was based there. What is your reaction to this?
That is history you know. Back in the early 90s that was when al-Qaeda started doing its work but they were sent out of Sudan. We hear of Al-Qaeda in many places but I don’t think al-Qaeda operated in Sudan. Al-Qaeda was formed after the departure of bin Laden from Sudan.
We don’t want people to misunderstand the role of Sudan in this. We have no affiliation with al-Qaeda, we don’t support such criminal acts and we try to help Nigeria put an end to this kind of insurgency.
We want to give a clear picture and we hope that the Sudanese community in Nigeria will also be safe because such insinuations may create some sort of problems.

The Boko Haram in Nigeria are fringe elements who do not necessarily have widespread sympathy of the Nigerian people. The insinuation is that there might also be fringe elements in Sudan, who are linking up with Boko Haram. What is your take on this?
We always ask whether there is any common denominator because even these religious people in Sudan are not holding the same ideals as Boko Haram. Therefore there is no affinity whatever; there is no sympathy with the kinds of things put forward by the Boko haram.

On the fallacy of Sudanese schools being training and recruitment ground for Boko Haram
African International University admits students from 101 nationalities. No single case was reported on the graduate from any of these 100 countries.

On the fallacy of the possibility of penetration of Boko Haram ideals into Sudan, Sympathizers and followers of Boko Haram in Sudanese society
In Sudan; yes you can find anti- western sentiments regarding imperialist policies and practices like unfair trades and financial systems, military invasion but never about so called western education? In Sudan people believe knowledge and science is a universal human achievement not western. It is not imaginable that a Sudanese person would say; western education is HARAM!. Even Islamic studies are carried out by professors and highly trained teachers. May be historically speaking the way colonial powers introduced education into the Northern Nigeria is completely different from the historical development of education in Sudan.

Sudanese policy and practice on Girl education and women Empowerment are quite different from the perception of the likes of Boko Haram
Gender wise; enrollment rate into higher education schools in Sudan is imbalanced in favour of girls!. Sudan is the only country in Africa that you will see a university that is exclusively for girls.
By law, Sudanese women occupy 25 percent of seats in parliaments. These facts show that there are no enough common grounds that make Sudan a fertile land for Boko Haram ideals.

Preventing measures
Sudan cannot deny Nigerians their fundamental human rights (freedom of movement and access to education). It is not imaginable to ban Nigerian from travelling to Sudan or deny them entry visa without good and sound reasons. Apart from the human right aspect, such policies of restriction would work against our efforts to develop a people focused bilateral relationship with Nigeria.
But yes there is a big room for preventive measures through the development of the existing level of cooperation between the security agencies in the two countries to take care of such measure. There is also a room for regulation of cooperation in the area of education through various mechanisms; such as bilateral agreements and MOU between the State educational authorities and Sudan Universities

 Abduction of school girls
Sudan condemns in the strongest term the abduction of school girls. This act is beyond terrorism. It is a crime of its own character. Traumatizing female children and placing them to untold risks and hardship. Destruction of school is destruction of the future of the nation.

Means of actions and partnership
We partner with Nigeria through Diplomatic channels (Ministry of Foreign Affair, other diplomatic missions); Security Channels (through the available links in the embassy Media (focused interviews with selected newspapers) with our networks in the media.
Sudan is a key player in the global fight against terrorism. The effort of the government of Sudan,   in terms of policies and practice were well recognized and appreciated by the international community. Anti terrorism policies are well internalized and integrated into the legislative and legal system and institutionalized within the security set up of the country. This was evident by the quick, prompt and extraordinary response of the Sudan Government to request of Nigeria in the case of the arrest of the key suspect in recent Abuja explosions.
We are supporting Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and so when the issue of Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, who was arrested in Sudan, came up, we cooperated. The Sudanese government did not shy away from this, they immediately responded, they started looking for the terrorist and laid hands on him.
We feel that the security of Nigeria means the security of the Sudan because we don’t encourage terrorism whatever the situation. And so we condemn these acts and we provide the support and we are sure that we will never relax until terrorism is completely wiped out of Africa.

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