Sudan government has agreed to pay a $30 million settlement amount to the families of US Navy sailors who were killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, reported Reuters.
17 sailors were killed, and dozens of others injured, in the attack on October 12, 2000, when two men in a small boat detonated explosives alongside the US Navy guided missile destroyer as it was refueling in the southern Yemeni port of Aden. In 2014, a US court concluded that Sudan had provided militant group Al Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the attack, with aid that led to the attack, awarding the families $35 million in compensation.
Although Sudan’s government still denies its involvement in the attack, it says the payout is intended to “settle the historical allegations of terrorism left by the former regime.”
Under former President Omar al-Bashir, Washington designated Sudan as a “state sponsor of terror” for hosting the group’s leader, Osama bin Laden, in the early years of his militant movement. Bashir’s three decades of autocratic rule was brought to an end in popular protests last year.
Sudan’s Justice Ministry confirmed the settlement agreement was signed with the victims’ families on Feb. 7. It currently remains unclear how much Khartoum has agreed to pay to the families, but a source close to the deal told Reuters that Sudan had agreed to settle the case for $30 million.
The latest move is in line with the government’s efforts to get Sudan’s name removed from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism as it was one of the key conditions set by Washington.
Sudan’s transitional government has made it a priority to get off that punitive list since it took the helm last year. The state sponsor of terrorism designation makes Sudan ineligible for debt relief and financing from lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.