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‘Bread crisis in eastern Sudan caused by NISS monopoly’

August 28 - 2017 KASSALA
Bread for sale in Khartoum (file photo)
Bread for sale in Khartoum (file photo)

People in eastern Sudan’s Kassala are suffering from a severe shortage of flour. They hold members of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) responsible for the crisis.

Since Friday, many bakeries in Kassala closed their doors because of an acute shortage of flour.

“People are queueing for five to six hours in front of the few bakeries that are open,” listener Abdelrahman Osman told Radio Dabanga. “In the end, they get only a number of loaves. Many restaurants and cafeterias are selling food without bread.”

According to the source, the bakeries that are still working belong either to members of the NISS Economic Security Department, the Chamber of Commerce, or the private SAYGA Mills.

“The private bakers have closed their businesses,” he said.

The price of a 100kg sack of flour reached SDG 500 ($15) at the black market.

“Some bakers are buying flour from the Anti-Smuggling Department, that regularly confiscates loads of flour being smuggled into the neighbouring countries,” Osman explained. “Yet, one needs permission from the Economic Security Department to obtain five sacks of flour for SDG 300.”

He further reported that the authorities worked out an emergency plan on Saturday, according to which three sacks of flour will be distributed daily to each district.

In Kassala’s Halfa El Gadeeda, the situation is not much better. “Many people are waiting in lines in front of the bakeries to no avail,” a resident of the locality told his station.

“The reason for the crisis is that the NISS is fully controlling the distribution of commodities such as gas, fuel, sugar, and flour,” he said. “Certain quantities of flour are distributed to state officials, NISS members, and people associated with them.”

The source further pointed to the skyrocketing of prices in the region. “With SDG 20 ($3), one can buy five tomatoes only.” He said that “The huge costs of living and the dire economic situation are the daily talk of the people in Kassala”.

People in Kassala also complained about a shortage of flour in July. Earlier this month, Radio Dabanga reported about shortages of bread in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref. The bread crisis in Khartoum still continues.

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