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Darfuri student killed in Sudan protests against price hikes

January 8 - 2018 EL GENEINA / NYALA / ED DAMAZIN / KHARTOUM
RSF militiamen enter El Geneina, West Darfur, on Sunday, after protests broke out against the price hikes (RD)
RSF militiamen enter El Geneina, West Darfur, on Sunday, after protests broke out against the price hikes (RD)

On Sunday, the third day of demonstrations against the 300% price increases that hit the country last week, a student was killed in the West Darfur capital of El Geneina. Other parts of the country witnessed protests as well,

When demonstrators in El Geneina set fire to the local headquarters of the ruling National Congress Party in the city, government forces opened fire on the crowd.

Secondary school student El Zubeir Ibrahim Sikiran was killed instantly. Eight others were wounded. Dozens were detained.

The West Darfur authorities ordered the formation of committee to investigate the killing. All schools are closed for a week.

Abdelwahab Mohamed, Head of the National Equality and Justice Party in West Darfur called on the Sudanese government to intervene and halt the price surges of basic commodities in the country. He also urged the Economic Security Service to regain control of the market prices.

Sudan imports many food items and most of the medicines needed. In 2015, Sudan imported more than two million tons of wheat at a cost of $1.5 billion. The recurrent flour crises during the past few years have been attributed to the scarcity of foreign currency.

In a bid to fight the steadily increasing hard currency rate at the black market, the government in end December decided to raise the customs rate of the Dollar from SDG 6.7 to SDG 18. After this measure came into effect on Tuesday, the prices of the main consumer goods doubled or even tripled.

Rapid Support Forces

On Sunday morning, secondary school students demonstrated also in Nyala, capital of South Darfur. They chanted slogans against the doubling of the bread price. Others blocked the main three streets in the city with burning tyres for several hours.

The South Darfur authorities deployed large numbers of militiamen belonging to the Rapid Support Forces in the centre of the capital to support the state police.

In Ed Damazin, people took to the streets on Saturday morning. The security forces used tear gas and excessive force to break up the demonstrations that moved from various neighbourhoods of the Blue Nile State capital to the city market.

A student reported to this station that two houses in El Zuhour district burned down during the violence. Dozens of demonstrators, among them a number of students of the Blue Nile University, were held, and have been taken to an unknown destination.

Security forces guard a gate of the University of Khartoum, Jan. 7, 2018 (RD)

On Friday and Saturday, Khartoum, Atbara, and Sennar witnessed small protests in a number of neighbourhoods as well.

A demonstration of students of the University of Khartoum on Sunday afternoon was immediately halted by police forces who closed the nearby streets, and used tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Students told this station that many of them suffered from breathing problems because of the excessive use of tear gas. An unknown number of students were wounded. Dozens were detained.

Sabotage’

On Sunday, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Babikir Digna, told the press in Khartoum that his Ministry “will not hesitate to crack down on any subversive demonstration against the price hikes”.

“We will suppress any sabotage attempts,” he stressed, and added that peaceful demonstrations are permitted after obtaining a permission from the authorities in advance, “just as in any other country in the world”.


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