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'Civil disobedience' against land expropriation in Khartoum

September 8 - 2017 KHARTOUM

A committee in El Jireif East, in Khartoum, announced actions of civil disobedience lasting three days starting next Wednesday, over the return of expropriated lands.

For three years the ‘sit-in committee’ in El Jareif East has protested against the authorities’ failure to implement their demands to return the expropriated lands to the initial owners.

Badredin El Haj, the secretary of the committee, told Radio Dabanga that a statement issued on Wednesday gave the Sudanese government a week to return the expropriated lands to the residents.

“The actions of civil disobedience will include all facilities, except bakeries and pharmacies,” El Haj said. Demonstrations in El Jireif East district date back to April 2014, when demonstrators were beaten by riot police in their protest against the sale of their land.

El Haj said that the committee has carried out a three-year sit-in, met with the relevant bodies, including the executive and the legislative and the First Vice-President of Sudan, in addition to resorting to the judicial process.

“The implementation of the penal conditions as stipulated in the contract that was signed in 2007 with the company that uses the lands to implement a new part of the city, has failed to implement the agreed terms – such as compensations.”

One of the partial conditions provides for the return of all land to the owners in the event of non-compliance with the conditions of the contract within a year, said El Haj.

Land ownership

Tension over land rights in the capital city of Sudan have resulted in several demonstrations, with some quelled by riot police. Last year, riot police stormed a sit-in by residents of El Jireif in Khartoum against the confiscation of lands. People sustained injuries when the police started to shoot. In June 2015, hundreds of people in El Jireif staged a peaceful demonstration for the same reason. The police used tear gas and fired live bullets to disperse the crowd. Three people were killed.

A man was run-over by a police car, and ten others were injured in clashes between police and people in the northern countryside of Khartoum state in July 2017. Residents protested against handing over 7,000 acres of land to an investor from the Gulf.

This year, 27 churches in Khartoum were threatened with removal because of the ownership of the land they are built on is disputed. But these actions of the authorities to purge the Soba El Aradi district of illegal buildings is according to the decision of the Khartoum state Land Department in 2012 to remove all illegal buildings in Soba Aradi, said Commissioner Jalaleldin El Sheikh El Tayeb in May.


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