The University of Zalingei in Central Darfur decided to suspend studies for an indefinite period of at least four days after the bloody events that took place in the university on Tuesday, in which two students were killed as regular armed forces used live ammunition to crack down on a protest. Various organisations hold the government and the state’s security committee responsible for the events.
The university announced the suspension of studies yesterday and the measure went into effect immediately.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the situation in Zalingei was one of a ‘cautious calm’ yesterday after the student protests. 17 students were injured, including five injuries with live ammunition, and two students died as regular forces used heavy firearms to disperse protesters.
The students from Zalingei University protested in front of the former UNAMID team site because authorities had not fulfilled their promise to open the eastern gate of the site after its official handover to the university.
The sources said that the town is now witnessing a heavy deployment of regular forces, with a curfew and a state of emergency in force. They explained that three students with severe gunshot wounds were taken to Nyala Hospital, while others were treated in Zalingei Hospital.
They also explained that most of the other injuries were cases of suffocation due to the use of tear gas by the forces.
State government reaction
The secretariat of the government of Central Darfur reported that members of the regular forces were subjected to various injuries while the buildings of the government secretariat were almost completely destroyed.
In a second explanatory statement on Wednesday, secretariat said that the protests resulted in the burning of 15 vehicles, including 4 Hiace Minibus vehicles designated as ambulances for the displaced. The statement also stated that 17 vehicles had their windows broken and that some equipment and devices had been stolen.
Repair and maintenance work began at the offices of the Government Secretariat yesterday morning and it is expected to be completed within 48 hours.
The state's wali (governor), Adeeb Abdelrahman decided to form a fact-finding committee to investigate the events at Zalingei University.
The resolution also stipulated that the committee will be responsible for the procedures and communications against those responsible for the events. This gives the committee the right to summon any person related to the events for investigation.
The governor also issued a decision to form an emergency room to follow up and collect information on the events in Zalingei.
Condemnation and protest
The Ministry of Higher Education condemned the use of excessive violence and the shooting of unarmed students in Zalingei and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice ‘speedily’.
In a statement published yesterday, the ministry announced its support for the university’s decision to close the university for at least the next four days.
The ministry also lauded the decisions of the state government to impose a curfew for two weeks and to form of a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the violent crackdown and the shooting of unarmed students.
In Khartoum, students and activists from the Resistance Committees organised vigils in front of the Council of Ministers and inside the Shambat Complex at the University of Khartoum to publicly denounce the Zalingei events.
The participants in the vigils raised banners condemning the use of ammunition against the students, demanding an independent investigation, and demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
'Very sorry for the bloody events in Zalingei, we condemn the use of violence for whatever reasons'
Minni Minawi, the Governor of the Darfur region, expressed his regret over the bloody events in Zalingei. In a post on Twitter, he condemned the use of violence for any reason and stressed the need for an immediate investigation into the events.
Jibril Ibrahim, the Minister of Finance and head of the Justice and Equality Movement, condemned the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians and also called for a transparent and prompt investigation to bring the accused to justice without delay.
The Darfur Bar Association announced the formation of an independent fact-finding committee on the events in Zalingei. In a statement, the DBA indicated that there was sufficient information that clearly indicates the criminal role of the regular forces and their responsibility for the excessive violence against unarmed students.
Government forces held responsible
The Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM El Nur) holds government forces and the Central Darfur Security Committee fully responsible for the events in Zalingei. In a statement, the movement called for a transparent investigation by a neutral body and demanded that those involved face trial in transparent and public courts.
The Sudanese Congress Party also holds the Central Darfur Security Committee fully responsible for these events and called for immediate investigations and for all those involved to be brought to fair trials without delay or procrastination. In a public statement, the party called to reform the regular forces.
'What happened could have been avoided if the governor had fulfilled his promise to open the gate on time'
The University of Zalingei Lecturers Association also holds the state’s governor fully responsible for the events in Zalingei. The association said in a statement that what happened could have been avoided if the governor had fulfilled his promise to open the gate on time and that the damage and disaster could have been reduced if the governor had been willing to meet the students in front of his office and receive their memorandum.
The Coordination of the Zalingei Resistance Committees blamed not only the state government and the security committee but also the university administration and the fund administration