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Angry workers close Sudan’s second largest sea port

July 29 - 2022 SUAKIN
File photo
File photo

The harbour of Suakin, the second largest sea port of Sudan, remained closed yesterday for the fourth consecutive day in a row following a dispute between old port workers and those who have been recently appointed.

Journalist Amin Senada told Radio Dabanga from the Red Sea state capital of Port Sudan that newly appointed port workers blocked access to the port of Suakin on Monday to protest the hostile position against them held by the older workers.

The staff that has been deployed years ago rejected a decision by former governor Ali Abdallah Adarob to appoint 190 new port workers. They claim that the Suakin Port does not need extra workers. Moreover, the selection of workers was made on a tribal basis.

In response to this stance, the new workers closed the port, Senada explained.

He claimed that “a hidden agenda lies behind the issuance of this decision at this time” and said that “all official authorities in the state have confirmed that they had nothing to do with the decision” to appoint new workers.

The journalist warned that this decision may lead to more tribal strife in Red Sea state.

Rift

He pointed in this context to the recent rift within the High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains in eastern Sudan.

On June 7, the council’s president, Sayed El Amin Tirik, submitted his resignation citing “conspiracies, intrigues, mutual accusations within the council, and deviation of the council from its natural course” as reasons for his move.

Abdallah Obshar, the then spokesperson for the Beja Nazirs Council, told Radio Dabanga that the council decided to freeze Tirik’s resignation, and to look into “the imbalances among the members and restructure the council”.

A month later, on July 7, Obshar accused of the Supreme Committee for Addressing the Situation in Eastern Sudan, headed by Deputy-Chair of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, of unacceptable interference in eastern issues, practicing divide and rule within the Beja Nazirs Council, and seeking to abort the Beja revolution in eastern Sudan.

Five days later, Obshar accused community leaders in the state of sowing discord between the council’s members. He added that “eastern Sudan has its problems like other regions, and that they refuse to cooperate with some council members who were influenced by high-level leaders in Sudan, and are working together with the same parties that contributed to the marginalization of the people of the East.”

Obshar last week called on the head of the Sovereignty Council, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, to withdraw “the file of the East” from Hemeti – who was the one who agreed with the High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains in December last year to suspend the Eastern Sudan Track Protocol of the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement for "two weeks". The Beja Nazirs Council, chaired by Tirik, welcomed “the step in the right direction” at the time.

The Beja nazirs have opposed the Eastern Sudan Track since it was first agreed upon by the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance in the South Sudan capital of Juba in February 2020. They fear that the rich resources in the east will continue to be exploited by foreign companies.

The eastern Sudanese protocol was negotiated by members of the Beja Congress in Opposition and the Unified Popular Front for Justice. The Beja High Council was not involved.


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