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‘Detainees in Port Sudan tortured’

August 19 - 2020 PORT SUDAN
The Red Sea state governor welcomes the arrival of Rapid Support Forces in Port Sudan last week (Social media)
The Red Sea state governor welcomes the arrival of Rapid Support Forces in Port Sudan last week (Social media)

People arrested in connection with the recent tribal clashes in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, have reportedly been subjected to severe torture. The Red Sea state governor lifted some of the security measures taken last week to stop the violence.

On Sunday August 9, fighting erupted between eastern Sudanese Beni Amer tribesmen and people from the Nuba Mountains in several districts of Port Sudan. At least 34 people died.

The city witnessed a cautious calm after the arrival of hundreds of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in the Red Sea state capital on Thursday morning.

Listeners told Radio Dabanga from Port Sudan on Friday that many people were arrested, among them also a activists who started a peaceful coexistence campaign in the area.

The Network for Social Justice (NCJ) active in eastern Sudan reported yesterday that “a regular force” subjected four detainees to “severe torture by pouring caustic substances on parts of their bodies”. They were then handed over to the Central Police Department in Port Sudan without Form 8*.

The NCJ said that the detainees were later transferred to “the competent Revolution Division”. Three detainees were subsequently taken to the hospital, where one of them underwent surgery because of severe burns on the lower half of his body.

Radio Dabanga has tried to contact the Red Sea state police chief for comments, but received no response.

The Governor of Red Sea state, Abdallah Shangarai, ordered the resumption of work in both the public and private sector. Petrol stations and public transportation are allowed to operate. On Sunday, the governor already lifted the curfew. In a statement he said yesterday that the arrival of military reinforcements has made “remarkable progress in Port Sudan’s stability”.

Violence towards medical personnel

The Red Sea state Ministry of Health reported that personnel of the Epidemiology Laboratory was exposed to violence at a checkpoint in Port Sudan.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry said that “a regular force” did not allow a team form the laboratory to pass the checkpoint on Monday evening, even after having seen the team’s permits and after inspection of the vehicles. They violently detained the team members, who were released only after the authorities were contacted.

The Ministry of Health strongly condemned the actions that “do not represent justice nor the rule of law”. It called for an immediate investigation into the incident, and implementation of the 2020 Medical Personnel Protection Act.

* In Sudan, people wounded in an assault can only be treated after submission of the so-called Form 8. The form is issued only by police stations or by approved hospitals and clinics. Critics state that Form 8 is “glaringly inadequate” as sufficient evidence is often very difficult to obtain.

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