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Army Major resigns, 'thousands' arrested across Sudan

September 25 - 2013 KHARTOUM (UPDATE)

At least six people were reportedly shot dead by police forces in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Wednesday, while across the Nile in Omdurman, some troops of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are reported to have joined the demonstrators. In Gezira state, an army Major who refused to suppress the demonstrations reportedly resigned.

An unknown number of people have allegedly been killed and injured in demonstrations across Sudan, which have spread to the major cities of the country including greater Khartoum, Atbara, Kassala, Port Sudan, El Obeid, El Fasher, Kosti, and Damazin. According to activists in Khartoum, more than 1,500 people were arrested in the capital.

The Sudanese Organisation for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms reported that on Wednesday 1,000 protesters were arrested. The number of demonstrators killed in the various areas of Khartoum has not yet been counted, they said, while noting that hospitals in Khartoum are hosting large numbers of dead and injured. The national government has demanded the formation of a committee to investigate the killings.

During an earlier demonstration last week in Nyala, at least five demonstrators were killed after a popular businessman was killed by gunmen. Rallies started again on Monday after President Omar Al Bashir announced he was lifting petrol subsidies leading to rising prices of fuel and commodities in Sudan.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, sources affirmed that protesters torched government buildings and the other assets belonging to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). According to news coming from Khartoum, a huge crowd of protesters went from the south of the capital towards its centre and security forces tried to escape from demonstrators.

Citizens were chanting slogans such as “Freedom, Peace, Justice”, “Down with the regime”, “The people condemn the traders in religion”, “We came onto the streets against the thieves of our sweat.”

The government of Khartoum State announced the closure of schools, shops , government institutions and banks. The public transport from Khartoum North and from Omdurman to Khartoum was cancelled.

A number of political leaders were arrested, among them the chairman of the National Umma Party (NUP) in North Kordofan state, Mansour Mirghani Zaki El Din, and Osman Hassan Saleh and Ali Abu El Gasim, prominent members of the NUP in North Kordofan.

Police kill protesters

Witnesses reported of large demonstrations in various neighbourhoods of Khartoum, like Halfaya, Samiraab, Durushaab and El Fitihaab El Shagla, and Sahafa Sherig. Sources affirm that six protesters were shot dead by the police in three separate incidents.

In Sahafa Sherig protesters reportedly burned a police station. Others occupied the large El Mina El Barri bus station and the Central Market in the south of the capital. Almost all of the main roads in Khartoum were blocked by burning tires.

In the neighbourhoods of Mayo and Kalakla, south Khartoum, demonstrators set fire to a police post, chanting slogans demanding the “overthrow of the Al Bashir regime and his National Congress Party”. In the Salama neighbourhood, also in southern Khartoum, witnesses reported that two demonstrators were shot dead by the police.

In the large district of Umbadda, hundreds of protesters blocked the road between Dar es Salaam and the Libya market of Khartoum. In Dar El Salam two petrol stations were torched.

One of the demonstrators told Radio Dabanga that in the large area around the Libya market citizens took to the streets in large numbers at around 9am shouting ‘Down with the regime’.

Police forces fired tear gas, but the number of demonstrators was so large that the police had to flee. The protesters set assets on fire on the road to the Libya market and broke into the premises of the court nearby the market, during which two demonstrators were killed by police bullets. 

In the area of Haj Yusif in Khartoum North, witnesses told Radio Dabanga that four protesters were shot dead by ‘government forces’, which led the demonstrators to set fire on the municipality of Haj Yusif. It burned down completely.

Protesters also surrounded the police station of Haj Yousef, where police used tear gas and bullets. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga of the demonstrations in Haj Yousef broke out at 8 am in the morning. Demonstrators burned tires.

Activists told Radio Dabanga that the government suspended all internet services in Khartoum since Wednesday morning, in order to “prevent the world witnessing the demonstrations as well as to limit the communication through social media.”

Across Sudan

In Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile, hundreds of citizens went out to the streets chanting slogans demanding to bring down the regime. One of the protesters informed Radio Dabanga that a group of citizens and students demonstrated on Wednesday condemning the huge rise in fuel and commodities' prices. The police then fired tear gas, dispersed the demonstrators by force, and arrested more than 20 of them.

In the city of Port Sudan, hundreds of citizens and students went to the streets on Wednesday condemning the increase in prices and demanding the downfall of the regime in Khartoum. The demonstrations led to the shut-down of the city market, government buildings, shops, and restaurants. Public transport was cancelled. Witnesses in Port Sudan told Radio Dabanga that a number of demonstrators was arrested.

Other sources from Port Sudan informed Radio Dabanga that pupils and students of basic and secondary schools, as well as university students, went out to demonstrate and were joined by dozens of citizens.

In El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan, demonstrations of secondary school and university students together with citizens reached the Soug El Kabir, chanting against price increases. Witnesses in El Obeid told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that the police took to excessive violence to disperse the demonstrators.

In Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, demonstrations of students on Wednesday morning were quickly dispersed by police forces. The Deputy Governor and minister of Education of South Darfur state, Mahdi Bosh, closed the basic schools and secondary schools in the city until Sunday.

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RelatedSudan's security service orders press to 'cooperate or shut down' (25 September 2013)

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