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Darfuri students in Sudan 'in dangerous situation'

May 19 - 2015 OMDURMAN
Darfuri students speak at a press conference at the Umma Party premises in Omdurman, 19 May 2015 (RD)
Darfuri students speak at a press conference at the Umma Party premises in Omdurman, 19 May 2015 (RD)

The Darfur Students Association (DSA) reported today that 28 Darfuri students are currently being held in detention centres of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum.

At a press conference at the headquarters of the National Umma Party in Omdurman this (Tuesday) morning, Hasabelnabi Mahmoud, Secretary-General of the DSA branch of the Ahliya University in Omdurman, described the situation of Darfuri students at Sudanese universities these days as “dangerous”.

He said that militant student members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), supported by elements of the security apparatus, are still denying Darfuri students at the Ahliya University in Omdurman access to the campus. “Darfuris who want to enter the campus are beaten, after which they are detained by security agents.”

“About one third of the Darfuri students in the Sudanese capital have been subjected to beatings the last couple of weeks,” he reported. The number of Darfuri students who were wounded in attacks at Khartoum universities has risen to 221.”

Mahmoud further said that many Darfuri students have not been able to sit for their exams. “Others have left the universities, and returned to Darfur.”

‘Racist campaign’

The “racist campaign” as Mahmoud called the attacks against Darfuri students by youth members of the NCP intensified after the death of Mohamed Awad El Karim, a senior member of the NCP student wing at Sharg El Nil College, on 29 April. According to reports, a group of 150 militant NCP students attacked a number of Darfuri students, who were having a meeting of the Darfur Student Association at the campus. In the ensuing clashes, Awad El Karim was killed.

In the following weeks, Darfuris studying at universities in Sudan’s capital were assaulted. The security apparatus detained a number of Darfuri students, as well as their relatives.

Darfuri student Fawzi Suleiman Abdallah told Radio Dabanga that “until now” 37 students from Darfur have been seriously injured. He added that student Mohamed Baggari, charged with the murder of the NCP student, is wounded too, but has not been allowed to see a doctor, or his family.

Abdallah strongly condemned the start of the “fake trial” of Baggari last week without the presence of a defence lawyer, and reported that court cases have been opened against 157 Darfuri students in Khartoum.

Defence lawyers

Mohamed Dia, member of the National Committee for the Defence of Darfuri students, demanded the immediate release of the detained Darfuris in the capital.

“The militant NCP students are the ones who should be brought to trial instead,” he said at the press conference today. “President Omar Al Bashir should be held responsible for the violence against the students from Darfur in the first place, as he is the chairman of the NCP.”

He announced that a committee has been formed, “of hundreds of lawyers, to defend Darfuri students during their trials”, and added that the medical doctors’ syndicate and the Democratic Doctors are treating the wounded students.

Dia urged the Sudanese government to solve the problem of university fees for the Darfuri students, and provide affordable accommodation for them. He also appealed to Sudanese abroad to financially support the affected students. 

Tribal fighting

The Darfuri students also commented on the upsurge of tribal clashes in the war-torn western region.

According to Yasir Mohamed Abdeljabar, Chairman of the DSA branch of the Omdurman Islamic University, the ruling NCP is behind the clashes between various tribes in Darfur.

He stressed that there are “no real tribal clashes” in Darfur. “We, of the DSA, are convinced that the violence is part of a systematic campaign by the Khartoum regime and its security apparatus to set up the people of Darfur against each other, in order to destroy the social fabric in the region. It is the Sudanese government that distributed these heavy weapons to the tribesmen.

“The government is now doing the same with the universities. They are setting up students against each other, dividing them into ordinary students and so-called adherents of the armed movements, in order to target the Darfuri students, and deny them academic education,” Abdeljabar said.

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