Sudan reaches settlement with Cole families; FdL sailor among victims

Elias Hubbard
February 14, 2020

He said the figures could not be disclosed because the Sudanese government is still in negotiations to reach settlements with families of victims of the 1998 bombings of USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

On October 12, 2000, a rubber boat loaded with explosives blew up as it rounded the bow of the guided-missile destroyer, which had just pulled into Aden, Yemen, for a refuelling stop. Among those sailors was Marc Nieto of Fond du Lac.

Thirty-nine sailors were injured.

But Sudan's interim government spokesman, Faisal Saleh, told The Associated Press that the figure could not be disclosed because the Sudanese government is still in negotiations to reach a similar settlement with families of victims of the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Sudan has agreed to compensate the families of 17 USA sailors who died when their ship, the USS Cole, was bombed by al-Qaeda at a port in Yemen in 2000.

Sudan's transitional authorities and rebel groups have agreed to hand over former president Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, including mass killings in Darfur, a top official said.

The United States has set certain benchmarks that Sudan has to meet to be removed from its state sponsor of terrorism list, which also includes North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Faisal Saleh, Sudan's information minister and interim government spokesman, told the AP that settlement figures could not be disclosed, because the Sudanese government is still in negotiations to reach settlements with families of victims of the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

It is not clear how much Khartoum has agreed to pay to the families, but the Reuters news agency quotes a source close to the deal as saying it is $30m (£23m).

Hall said the families have been pursuing the case for more than 15 years. Observers and Sudanese officials have said that the settlement with the USS Cole bombing victims was among the last hurdles faced by Sudan.

This is a key condition set by the U.S. for Sudan to be removed from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The new Sudanese rulers say they weren't responsible for the attack on USS Cole and that they had negotiated the deal out of their "keenness to resolve old terror claims inherited from the ousted regime" of al-Bashir.

But in March 2019, the US Supreme Court overturned on procedural grounds a lower court's ruling ordering Sudan to pay damages to the families of the victims.

But in October 2017, the USA lifted its trade embargo imposed on Sudan, but kept the country on the terrorism blacklist.

"The Americans believe Sudan's support for terror was carried out through its security apparatus", Saleh said.

Sudan's new rulers are desperate to end the country's economic isolation and gain access to the dollar-based global financial system to attract loans and investment. Sudan was added to the U.S. terrorism list in 1993.

Sudan has for years denied allegations that it provided material support to Al Qaeda or caused the attack on the Cole.

Also, Sudan's interim leader earlier this month met in Uganda with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who announced that Israel and Sudan would normalize relations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER