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Beja Congress demands public trial over ‘2005 Port Sudan massacre’

July 8 - 2015 PORT SUDAN
Eastern Sudan faces extreme poverty, under-nutrition and high rates of maternal and infant mortality (Simonsen/Unicef)
Eastern Sudan faces extreme poverty, under-nutrition and high rates of maternal and infant mortality (Simonsen/Unicef)

The Beja Congress has demanded a public trial for those responsible for the “massacre” of demonstrators in the Deim Arab district in Port Sudan more than ten years ago.

The opposition party described the Constitutional Court's decision to file a case against “political, security and military leaders” involved in the killing of peaceful protesters as “historical”.

Abdallah Musa, member of the Central Committee of the Beja Congress, told Radio Dabanga that they have been demanding the prosecution of the people since 21 people were killed, more than 400 were injured, and hundreds were detained on 29 January 2005. The demonstrators demanded from the federal government in Khartoum to allocate more resources to the marginalised region. 

He accused agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of being behind the crimes, saying that troops had been flown in from Khartoum. “They were stationed at the NISS headquarters in Port Sudan, and then transferred to Deim Arab to violently stop the demonstration.”

Although Mousa doubts the possibility that NISS officers and members of official bodies will be brought to justice, he considers the step by the Constitutional Court as “important”.

Former Red Sea MP for the Beja Congress, Hamed Idris, considers the Constitutional Court's decision as “an attempt to confine the case internally, as it came in anticipation of efforts exerted by eastern Sudanese activists to take it to the AU, as well as to the International Criminal Court, so it will be added to Al Bashir’s file”.

Idris stressed to Radio Dabanga that that “all Sudanese state organs, from the Presidency, the Ministries of Defence and Interior Affairs, the NISS, until the soldiers who shot the demonstrators, were involved in the crime”.

He accused “certain government officials of concealing the results of an early investigation into the massacre. “For instance, the judge, who chaired the committee of inquiry, was relocated to a post outside the Red Sea state,” he said.

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