Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) detained 32 Darfuri students of the University of Sennar in eastern Sudan from their rented house on Sunday and have been moved to NISS detention centres in Khartoum where sources allege they were subjected to severe torture.
The group was later shown on state television and presented as a cell belonging to the Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW). They were allegedly "trained in Israel and returned to Sudan to carry out acts of sabotage".
Haidar Bushara, a student at the University of Sennar and a member of the Darfuri Students’ Association, told Radio Dabanga that on Thursday December 20, following a demonstration in Sennar, police and NISS agents came to university and beat students.
“Two other Darfuri students cam to the rescue of one who was severely beaten, and escorted him to the student house. Police then arrived outside and ordered the students to vacate the building.”
Bushara says that two students were arrested, charged, and released on bail the next day, and warned to appear in court on this students should appear in court on Sunday, December 23. However, in afternoon the security came to the student house and arrested 32 students, including the chairman of the association.
Bushara was not present at the house at the time of the raid. “The detainees have nothing to do with the Darfur rebel movement, nor the eastern Sudanese United People’s Front, or with Israel, and most of them have never visited Khartoum, let alone coming from abroad.”
He explained that the house where they were held, of which he himself is a resident but was not present at the time of the raid, has been rented to the students of Darfur for about six years. Two bakery workers who are also living in the house, were detained as well.
Several graduates and students of the University of Sennar confirmed that except for two, all those detained were not politically active, and that they had never left Sudan. They called them “peaceful and highly respected students within the university”.
On Friday, NISS director Salah Gosh said in a press conference in Khartoum that the detained students were elements of the SLM-AW. They were trained by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad to organise the demonstrations in a number of Sudanese towns in the past three days.
He said: “We have identified 280 people from the SLM-AW group, who were transferred from Israel to Nairobi, and we estimate that the Mossad recruited some of them and formed a network for subversive work in Khartoum, Omdurman, Khartoum North, and the northern Sudanese towns of Berber and El Damer.”
Darfur Bar Association
A delegation of the Darfuri Students’ Association in Sennar travelled to Khartoum where they met lawyers of the Darfur Bar Association yesterday. They handed a list of the detained students and requested the lawyers to defend them.
The Sudanese Congress Party condemned the “brutally torturing of the students and forcing them to confess of belonging to the SLM-AW”.
Khalid Omar, deputy-head of the party, told Radio Dabanga that “the brutal racist detention of the Darfuri students is a violation of human rights. We will spare no time or effort in resisting them”.
The Change Now Movement strongly condemned the detention of the Darfuri students of the University of Sennar as well. Spokesman Amjad Farid the described their arrest to this station as a racist scenario and a new crime added to the regime’s previous crimes and an attempt to spread division among the Sudanese people.
The Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) has ridiculed the claims. Mohamed El Nayer, the spokesman for the SLM-AW, described the official television report as saying that it aims to hit the uprising and divide the Sudanese on a geographical basis by preparing a new crime against the Sudanese from Darfur. He considered it a desperate attempt to distract the Sudanese people from the current intifada.
“But the people of Sudan will retaliate, no matter how long it will take, against the regime for the detention of the students who have been subjected to torture in order to extract confessions from them,” he told Radio Dabanga.
On Wednesday, NISS agents arrested a large number of traders, car cleaners, and farm workers in Khartoum North. The detainees are all originally from Darfur.
A relative of the detainees told Radio Dabanga from Samarab district that all of them are from Wadi Saleh in Central Darfur: Abdelnasir Ateem, Ayman Haroun, Eisa Zakariya, Abdelrazig Adam, Hussein Abdelrahman, Hussein Abdelkarim, and Feisal Saad.