Sudan’s transitional government agreed Thursday to compensate victims of a suicide bombing on the USS Cole, while at a port in Yemen in 2000, that resulted in the death of 17 US sailors. This move is an essential requirement before Sudan can be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The bombing of the USS Cole is attributed to members of al Qaeda whom the US maintains were financially supported by and trained in Sudan. As a result of Sudan’s support of the al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who also lived in Sudan form 1991-1996, the US placed Sudan on the blacklist in 1993. After the attack on the Cole in 2000, the US held Sudan as culpable for the attacks, although both attackers were Yemeni citizens. The US placed stringent sanctions on Sudan and has maintained its culpability in the incident ever since.
In 2012 a US District Court issued a judgment awarding $314,705,896 in damages to the families of the soldiers killed during the attack after Sudan failed to appear in the court. However, the Supreme Court 2019 ruling in Republic of Sudan v. Harrison reversed this decision citing a lack of proper notice. Despite this decision, the US government has continued to maintain its stance on Sudan’s role in the attack and its support of the plaintiffs’ attempts to recover damages.
The agreed-upon settlement has not yet been revealed, and, according to the Sudanese government, will not be made public until similar negotiations regarding Sudan’s responsibility for those killed in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are concluded. More than 200 hundred people were killed in those attacks making negotiations a much more difficult endeavor. However, Reuters is reporting that sources close to this deal have informed them that the settlement is for $30 million.
The ex-president of Sudan Omar al-Bashir came to power in Sudan in a coup in 1989 and ruled under a brutal dictatorship for decades. He was overthrown by the Sudanese military last April, and the transitional government agreed on Wednesday to hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stand trial on charges of genocide and war crimes.