School Students Shot Dead At Sudan Rally Ahead Of Talks

Tires are set ablaze by Sudanese protesters during a rally in the capital Khartoum to condemn the “massacre” of five demonstrators including four high school students at a rally in the cantral town of Al-Obeida on July 29, 2019. Credit: ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

Four Sudanese school students were among five demonstrators shot dead Monday during a rally against shortages of bread and fuel, a day before protest leaders and ruling generals are set to hold new talks on the country’s transition.

Authorities announced a night-time curfew in four towns following the deaths in the central town of Al-Obeid, as a key protest group called for nationwide rallies against the “massacre”.

The ruling military council and protest leaders earlier this month inked a power-sharing deal providing for a joint civilian-military administration which in turn would install civilian rule.

That is the main demand of a nationwide protest movement that led to the April ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and has since demanded that the generals who took his place cede power to civilians.

But on the eve of Tuesday’s talks aimed at resolving outstanding issues over the transition, five protesters were killed in Al-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state, said a doctors’ committee linked to the protest movement.

“Five martyrs succumbed to direct wounds from sniper bullets during a peaceful rally in Al-Obeid,” the committee said in a statement.

Prominent protest leader Babikir Faisal told AFP that the dead included “four high school students”.

Al-Obeid residents and a local journalist also confirmed that the dead included high schoolers.

A key protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association, said “live ammunition” had been used against a “rally of school students”.

In a post on its Facebook page, it urged “all citizens and medics” to head to hospitals treating the wounded.

In a separate statement, it called for nationwide protests against the “massacre,” demanding that “the perpetrators be brought to justice”.

Hundreds of protesters later rallied in Khartoum’s two districts of Bahri and Burri, but they were swiftly confronted by riot police who fired tear gas, witnesses said.

The office of North Kordofan’s governor announced an overnight curfew in four towns including Al-Obeid, starting Monday and continuing indefinitely.

It added that all schools in the province had been told to suspend classes.

Calls to suspend talks

Residents of Al-Obeid said the rally had been over a shortage of bread and fuel in the town.

It was a sudden tripling of bread prices that initially triggered December protests against Bashir, which later turned into a nationwide movement against his three-decade rule.

“For the past few days there has been a shortage of fuel and bread,” an Al-Obeid resident told AFP by telephone.

“School children were affected as there is no transport to help them reach their schools. Today, they staged a rally and when it reached downtown there were shots fired.”

The town had not previously witnessed major rallies against Bashir even as provinces, cities and towns were swept up by the campaign against his rule.

Monday’s deaths sparked calls for talks set for Tuesday to be suspended.

“We cannot sit at the negotiating table with those allowing the killing of revolutionaries,” Siddig Youssef, a prominent protest leader, said in a statement.

Tuesday’s talks were set to cover issues including the powers of the joint civilian-military ruling body, the deployment of security forces and immunity for generals over protest-related violence, according to protest leaders.

The power-sharing deal agreed on July 17 provided for the establishment of a new governing body of six civilians and five generals.

It was then to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for 39 months, followed by elections.

Impartial probe

Khartoum has seen angry demonstrations since Saturday, when investigators announced the results of a probe showing into a deadly crackdown on a protest camp.

Shortly before dawn on June 3, gunmen in military fatigues raided the site of a weeks-long sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, shooting and beating protesters.

Doctors linked to the protest movement say the raid left 127 people dead and scores wounded.

But the joint investigation by prosecutors and the ruling military council that took power following Bashir’s ouster found that just 17 people were killed on June 3, with a total of 87 dying between that day and June 10.

The probe identified eight officers involved in the violent crackdown on the protest camp, including three from the feared Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group.

But protest leaders have rejected the findings, saying the inquiry exonerated the military council and gave a far lower death toll than their own figures.

The investigation “was commissioned by the military council, this is challenging its integrity as the military council itself is accused in this case,” said the Sudanese Professionals Association.

Demonstrators have called for an independent investigation into the raid.

The country’s ruling generals have insisted they did not order the dispersal of the sit-in.

AFP

Sudan Paramilitaries ‘Torture’ Civilian To Death

 

 

Paramilitary men beat and tortured to death a civilian in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, a doctors committee linked to the country’s protest movement said Tuesday.

The civilian died on Monday in El-Daen, in East Darfur state, after members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) clashed with youths accused of stealing mobile phones, the committee said on its Facebook page.

“Members from Al-Janjaweed (RSF) militia beat and tortured a number of youths… on allegations that the youths had stolen a mobile phone,” it said.

“One youth passed away due to torture by Al-Janjaweed,” it said, referring to the RSF which has its origins in the militia that fought ethnic African rebels in Darfur during a civil war that broke out in 2003.

Witnesses AFP contacted by telephone backed up the claims of the doctors committee.

Two witnesses said an RSF unit had arrested five youths — accusing them of stealing mobile phones from their base — and took them outside town, where they tortured them, before throwing them into the street. One of the victims allegedly died, they said.

After the victim was buried, town residents converged on the RSF base and torched it, while other RSF personnel arrested the unit responsible, the two witnesses said.

The RSF spokesman was unavailable for comment.

The doctors’ committee alleged a total of six civilians have died over the past three days at the hands of the RSF, including four members of a family run over by a vehicle driven by a paramilitary unit in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum.

The sixth person was killed by gunfire in El-Souki, in the southeastern state of Sinnar, as residents protested against the RSF, demanding they leave town, according to the doctors committee and witnesses.

“The continuation of the barbarity and tampering with civilians’ safety daily by Janjaweed (RSF) militias, coupled with not holding them accountable under any law or code of ethics, prove that the Transitional Military Council protects these militias,” the committee said.

On Monday, scores of protesters demonstrated in parts of the capital, including at night, against the killing of the civilian in El-Souki.

Protesters and rights groups also accuse RSF personnel of carrying out a brutal raid on a protest camp outside military headquarters in Khartoum on June 3 that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.

RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy chief of Sudan’s ruling military council, has portrayed the allegations as part of an attempt to distort the image of his paramilitary force.

Nine Dead As Sudan Military Rulers Try To Disperse Protesters

A Sudanese protester walks past burning tyres as military forces tried to disperse the sit-in outside Khartoum’s army headquarters on June 3, 2019. At least two people were killed Monday as Sudan’s military council tried to break up a sit-in outside Khartoum’s army headquarters, a doctors’ committee said as gunfire was heard from the protest site. PHOTO: ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least nine protesters were shot dead on Monday as Sudan’s military rulers tried to break up a sit-in outside Khartoum’s army headquarters, a doctors’ committee said as gunfire was heard from the site.

Heavily armed security forces in pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns were deployed in large numbers all around the capital, while protesters put up makeshift barricades and closed off streets.

The United States and Britain called for an end to the crackdown on demonstrators, who want the generals behind the overthrow of veteran president Omar al-Bashir to hand over to civilian rule.

Three more people were killed “by the bullets of the military council,” bringing the total to nine dead, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is close to the protesters, wrote on Facebook, calling it a “massacre”.

It also reported a “large number of critical casualties”.

Gunfire was heard from the protest site by an AFP journalist, who reported a heavy deployment of security forces around the streets of the capital.

There were multiple reports of the military using force to disperse the sit-in in front of army headquarters, where protesters have been camped out for weeks.

“Now an attempt is taking place to disperse the sit-in at the headquarters of the people’s armed forces by force by the military council,” said the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the group which spearheaded nationwide protests that started in December.

The SPA said it amounted to a “bloody massacre” and called on Sudanese to take part in “total civil disobedience” to topple the military council.

Rallies against Bashir’s authoritarian, three-decaderule led to his ouster in April, but protesters have remained outside the army headquarters calling on the generals to cede power to a transitional authority.

Near the demonstration site, a witness living in the Burri neighbourhood said he could “hear the sound of gunfire and I see a plume of smoke rising from the area of the sit-in.”

Another resident of the area, in east Khartoum, said he had seen forces in “police uniform” trying to expel the demonstrators.

‘Heavy gunfire’

Britain’s ambassador to Khartoum, Irfan Siddiq, said he had heard “heavy gunfire” from his residence.

“Extremely concerned by… reports that Sudanese security forces are attacking the protest sit-in site resulting in casualties. No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now,” he wrote on Twitter.

The US embassy in Khartoum said “security forces’ attacks against protesters and other civilians is wrong and must stop.”

“Responsibility falls on the TMC. The TMC cannot responsibly lead the people of Sudan,” it added referring to the transitional military council.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group of the protest movement, urged “peaceful marches and rallies” nationwide and for barricades to be put up including in the capital.

Protesters had already set about building a brick barricade and had set tyres and tree trunks alight on Street 60 — one of the main streets in the capital.

The SPA had said on Saturday that it had reason to believe the military council was “planning and working to end the peaceful sit-in at the headquarters with excessive force and violence” after three people were killed in incidents on the fringes of the demonstration last week.

Negotiations between protest leaders and the ruling military council have broken down, as the two sides have failed to agree on whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or a military figure.

AFP

One Killed As Protest Rocks Sudan Over Rise In Bread Price

 

A protest sparked by rising bread price has led to the death of a student demonstrator in eastern Sudan.

A local official and relatives affirmed the report amid mounting protests over the rising price of bread on Thursday.

“The situation in Al-Qadarif is out of control and the student Moayed Ahmad Mahmoud was killed,” said Mubarak al-Nur, a lawmaker in the city 550 kilometres (340 miles) from the capital Khartoum.

Mahmoud was a university student, he said.

Nur called on authorities “not to use force against demonstrators, who are asked to peacefully exercise their right” to protest.

A government decision to raise the price of bread this week from one Sudanese pound to three (from about two to six US cents) sparked protests across the country on Wednesday.

Angry protesters on Thursday set fire to the headquarters of President Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) in two locations, witnesses said.

Demonstrators in Al-Qadarif “threw stones at banks (in the city centre) and smashed cars,” resident Tayeb Omar Bashir told AFP by phone.

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They then “moved to the ruling party headquarters near the market it torched it completely”, he added.

Demonstrators then moved towards the police station where they called for “freedom” and chanted “the people want the fall of the regime”.

Protests in Dongola, 500 kilometres north of Khartoum, “started with university students who were joined by others when they reached the city centre”, an eyewitness told AFP by phone.

“They attacked the headquarters of the NCP and set it ablaze,” the witness said.

In the city of Atbara, around 400 kilometres east of Khartoum, police fired tear gas to disperse protesters just hours after authorities imposed a curfew on the city because demonstrators had torched its NCP headquarters.

“Some 1,500 demonstrators tried to enter the city of Atbara from (a suburb) calling for the fall of the regime,” an eyewitness said.

“Riot police intercepted them and fired tear gas at them,” the witness added.

The bread shortage has hit Sudan’s cities for the past three weeks, including the capital.

In the past year, the cost of some commodities has more than doubled in Sudan, where inflation is running at close to 70 percent and the pound has plunged in value.

Sporadic protests broke out in January this year over the rising cost of food, but they were soon brought under control with the arrest of opposition leaders and activists.

Sudan had significant oil reserves until South Sudan gained independence in 2011, and the north-south split saw the country lose three-quarters of its reserves.

AFP

Flights Cancelled As Sandstorm Engulfs Sudanese Capital

 

A thick sandstorm engulfed the Sudanese capital on Thursday, forcing authorities to cancel flights and shut schools in Khartoum and other nearby towns.

Children and office workers stayed indoors while vehicles kept off roads as a thick orange haze shrouded the capital from early morning.

Several domestic and international flights were cancelled after the meteorological department issued a pre-dawn advisory, an official at Khartoum airport said.

“From 3:00 am (0500 GMT) no flight has landed or taken off from Khartoum airport,” Mohamed Mahdi, Khartoum airport spokesman, told AFP.

“Because of the bad weather we expect the airport to remain shut until further notice,” he said.

Two flights operated by private Sudanese airlines and coming from Cairo and Kuwait had been diverted to Port Sudan, he said.

Sand or dust storms, known as “haboob” in Sudan, frequently occur in the east African country, especially Khartoum, but they usually blow over in a couple of hours.

But Thursday’s storm is expected to last longer, according to the meteorological advisory, and residents who attempted to venture out complained of low visibility.

These storms usually follow days of rising temperatures, transforming entire cities and towns within hours by shrouding them under a thick layer of sand.

Experts warn that Sudan and the region will experience more such storms as climate changes drive temperatures up and destroy the fertile soil.

AFP

Yobe, Sudanese Government Partner For Establishment Of Medical School

yobe, Sudanese University, medical schoolThe Yobe state Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam has sought for collaboration and effective partnership with Sudanese Al- Ahfad University, Khartoum, for the commencement of the School Of Medicine of the Yobe State University.

The Governor made the call when he received visiting professors and council members of Al-Ahfad University, who called on him at the Government House Damaturu, the state capital.

Governor Gaidam said the need for the partnership which could be achieved through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was born out of the fact that the College of Medicine is set to kick-off at the Yobe state University, in 2017.

“To this end, I wish to request for collaboration from the Sudanese Government and institutions, towards take-off of the Yobe State University School of Medicine, as this will scale up studies and research in our school and it will greatly encourage training and exchange of ideas”.

The request of the partnership according to the governor, was based on the fact that Sudan has the largest number of Yobe students, studying medical sciences abroad.

“Available records have indicated that that there are 163 Yobe state students, studying medicine and related fields in Ten Sudanese Universities.

“This represents about 40% of Yobe indigenes studying medicine within and outside Nigeria and out of the 163, 10 are studying at Al-Ahfad University,” Governor Gaidam explained.

The required fields of medical sciences according to the governor are in the areas of Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology as well as students exchange programmes for students of Sudan universities and university teaching hospitals.

He informed the team of the peace currently being enjoyed across the state and the efforts government has invested in remodeling hospitals across the state.

This according to him, would provide enabling an environment for the medical profession.

The leader of the delegation, Professor Mubarak who gave a vivid requirement of setting up a college of medical sciences, assured the Yobe state Government of partnership that would lead to the establishment of the school of medical sciences in the Yobe state University.

He assured that “the partnership will further scale up the number of medical students studying in Sudan as well as provide scholarships that would also encourage learning among the undergraduates”.

Furthermore, both parties discussed the need for partnership in other fields in which development still seems rudimentary across the state.

South Africa Set To Leave International Criminal Court

Zuma, al-Bashir
The failure of South Africa to arrest the Sudanese President has been a knotty issue in African politics.

South Africa has begun the legal process of formally withdrawing from the Roman Statute setting up the International Criminal Court.

If it formally withdraws from the statute, it means the country would no longer be bound to the International Criminal Court.

In the ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ signed South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, states that South Africa “has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court of obligations contained in the Rome Statute.”

Under that statute, South Africa is obligated to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.

The United Nations spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, is however yet to confirm if  the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has received the notice of withdrawal from South Africa.

al-Bashir Brouhaha

South Africa is exiting the ICC after a controversial visit by Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who was wanted by the tribunal over allegations of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

President al-Bashir in June 2015 was in Johannesburg to attend an African Union summit but the South African government refused to arrest him.

During the visit, provincial court has ruled that the Sudanese president remains in the country while judges considered whether he should be arrested on the ICC warrants.

President al-Bashir left for Khartoum before the court ruled that he should be arrested.

South Afica’s Supreme Court of Appeal later ruled that the government’s refusal o arrest President al-Bashir was a “disgraceful conduct”.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda insists President al-Bashir as a sitting president, directed a campaign of mass killing, rape, and looting against civilians in Darfur.

The charges against the Sudanese president follow the unrest in the Darfur region which started in 2003.

The United Nations said 300,000 people died in the conflict while 2.7 million people were displaced.

Flying Eagles Edge Closer To Zambia 2017

flying eaglesNigeria’s U-20 team, the Flying Eagles are optimistic that a place at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, Zambia 2017 is within grasp as they confront visiting Young Falcons of Sudan at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Saturday.

The Emmanuel Amuneke-tutored side won the first leg in Khartoum 2-1 two weeks ago and are tipped as favourites to reach the finals coming up in Zambia next year.

Samuel Chukwueze and Victor Osimhen scored as the Flying Eagles came from behind to defeat their hosts in Khartoum, and both players are in top shape for Saturday’s clash.

Osimhen, was a record scorer at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2015, hitting 10 goals in Chile as Nigeria roared to a fifth triumph. Chukwueze’s goals also counted and he scooped the bronze boot as the third highest scorer of the tournament.

The Young Falcons have a mountain to climb against a squad that is not used to tasting defeat.

Amuneke has come to this level with the bulk of the boys who did Nigeria proud in Chile, and have maintained an unbeaten streak ever since.

Borno To Sponsor 30 Female Citizens To Study Medicine In Sudan

muslim womenThe Borno State Government has said that it would sponsor 30 female citizens of the State to study Medicine at the El-razi Medical University, Khartoum in Sudan.

The 30 female students were drawn from the 27 Local Government areas of the state, according to the State Governor, Governor Kashim Shettima, who launched the programme with presentation of scholarship letter at the Government House Maiduguri.

Governor Shettima also said that the programme was part of the Female Medical Intervention Programme of his administration.

The Governor said, “Having 30 female medical doctors which the State desperately needs is the greatest legacy government can give the state, in view of the fact that women have peculiar health challenges arising from maternity, menstrual and other issues that women would be in the best position to handle as a result of the African culture and religion”.

He noted that 30 female candidates would be sent every year for training as medical doctors and stressed that no amount of money spent on their training would be a waste.

While commending the management staff of the Ministry of Higher Education which facilitated the programme , Governor Shettima directed the Commissioner to add 3 more Christian female candidates and 2 female students from the Northern part of the state to the 30 scheduled for the training and urged the candidates to be good ambassadors of the state and the country.

The State Commissioner of Higher Education, Mr Bello Ayuba said that the education sector has been receiving adequate attention since the coming of the present administration. He explained that the selection of 30 candidates was based on merit. He further disclosed that the ladies had been provided with laptop computers.

According to him, $9500 would be spent on each of them per session, stressing that none of their parents is expected to contribute anything.

The Commissioner added that the 30 students would leave the country for the 4 year programme to Khartoum by Saturday, April 5, 2014. He urged them to reciprocate the gesture by being good ambassadors of the country.

One of the beneficiaries, Falmata Bukar, expressed gratitude to the Governor for sponsoring them for the programme and also promised to reciprocate the gesture.

South Sudan Attack Leaves Over 100 Dead

More than 100 people have been killed in South Sudan in an attack by rebels and ethnic allies on a convoy of families from a rival tribe and their cattle, an official said on Sunday.

Since breaking from Sudan in 2011, oil-producing South Sudan has struggled to assert control over remote territories awash with weapons after a 1983-2005 war with the north and torn by ethnic rivalries.

The attack on Friday was the worst violence in Jonglei State since 900 people were killed there in tribal attacks linked to cattle rustling in 2011, the United Nations said.

Rebels loyal to former theology student David Yau Yau and members of the Murle community had killed 103 people, most of them women and children, in the ambush on ethnic Lou Nuer families, state governor Kuol Manyang said.

“They came under attack from people in a huge force,” he told Reuters. “There are many children and women missing. Their fate is not yet known.”

Fourteen soldiers escorting the convoy were also killed, he said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had sent a medical team to treat the wounded.

Yau Yau rebelled in July last year. He recruited armed youths antagonized by a government campaign to end tribal violence in Jonglei, which human rights groups say was marked by abuses by soldiers.

More than 1,500 people have been killed in Jonglei since independence, according to the United Nations.

South Sudan accuses Sudan of dropping weapons and ammunition to Yau Yau’s rebels, an allegation denied by Khartoum.

The violence in Jonglei is hindering government plans to explore a major oil concession with the help of France’s Total.

 

 

South Sudan Attack Leaves More Than 100 Dead

Four Nigerian peacekeepers killed in Sudan’s Darfur

Four Nigerian peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded in an ambush in Sudan’s western Darfur region, the international peacekeeper force UNAMID said on Wednesday.

“They were killed last night some 2 km (1.2 miles) from our regional headquarters in El Geneina. They came under fire from all sides,” a spokesman for UNAMID said.

UNAMID, the world’s largest peacekeeping mission, was deployed by the United Nations and the African Union in the arid western territory after fierce fighting in 2003 which forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

A total of 42 peacekeepers have been killed since UNAMID was set up, according to the force.

Violence in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, has ebbed from a 2003-04 peak but international efforts to broker peace have failed to end the conflict.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other officials to face charges of masterminding atrocities in the region where Sudanese troops and allied Arab militias have sought to crush the rebellion.

Estimates of the death count vary widely.

Sudan’s government signed a Qatar-sponsored peace deal with an umbrella organisation of smaller rebel groups last year, but the major factions refused to join.