Court: File case against culprits ‘Port Sudan Massacre’

After ten years, a court instructs to file a case against the offenders who killed more than 20 civilians in a demonstration in Port Sudan, early 2005.

After ten years, the Constitutional Court has instructed to file a case against the people who were involved in the killing of 21 civilians in a demonstration in Port Sudan, the capital of Red Sea state, early 2005.

The decision was reached after the prosecutors had refused to file complaints against the perpetrators since the incident.

The head of the National Beja Congress party, Dirar Ahmed Dirar, and also one of the leaders of the 29 January 2005 protest, spoke to Radio Dabanga. He said they will begin immediately to file complaints against the culprits, who killed 21 Beja “in cold blood”.

On 29 January 2005, Sudanese security forces killed 21 people, among them women and children, and injured 70, during a protest that followed a memorandum by members of the Beja tribe to the governor of Red Sea state. They demanded greater wealth and power sharing.

“We will not let the blood of the martyrs of 29 January go in vain,” Dirar said. He called on all Sudanese people to join forces and continue the legitimate demands to restore freedom, democracy, justice and equality, as did the demonstrators on 29 January 2005.

Use of fire arms

According to Amnesty International, government security forces that day reportedly used live ammunition against demonstrators, allegedly armed with sticks and stones. The security forces also attacked houses outside the area of the demonstration, and reportedly threw grenades inside houses which wounded residents, including children.

The provincial governor, Maj Gen Hatim El Wasila El Samani, was quoted by AFP at the time: "Instead of coming for the meeting, [the demonstrators] staged riots in which shops were looted and cars were burned, and they engaged in clashes with the riot police and security men, who at first used batons and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators and then they had to use fire arms.”

After the incident, the local state Native Administration coerced relatives of those killed to accept blood money, according to historian John Slight, researcher at the University of Cambridge. A group of six relatives refused to accept this blood money and demanded a proper investigation into the incident.

The Beja Congress has been calling for an investigation into the 2005 massacre during its annual commemorations of the victims.


Eastern Sudanese have complained before of underdevelopment and marginalisation by the central government. Their region, inhabited mainly by the nomadic Beja and Rashaida tribes, is among the poorest in Sudan. .

Related article:

10th anniversary of 'The Massacre' marked in Port Sudan (31 January 2015)