Security officers in Omdurman detained the director of a Comboni School in Omdurman’s El Sawra district 58 this morning, during a sit-in organised by a number of parents in front of the school. They protested against the confiscation of the school premises by the authorities.
“The security agents ordered the parents to leave the place, and detained the director of the school, Ishag Andrawes Mandi,” one of the parents reported to Radio Dabanga.
“The authorities of Karari locality had ordered the closure of the school already in 2012,” Mandi told Radio Dabanga yesterday, “on the pretext that the school had been established by South Sudanese refugees. They said that the school was not needed anymore after the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, as the Southerners had returned to their homeland.”
Mandi explained that the legal advisor of the Catholic Institution had produced documents confirming that the school was a Comboni school, and convinced the Khartoum state Minister of Education of the importance and legal rights of the school.
“Yet, when the Minister issued an order to restore the school to its owners, the locality took the case to the High Court, which ruled that the school definitely belongs to the Comboni Institution,” he said. “The locality, however, has been delaying the procedure of restoring the school for three years.”
He added that the students have been transferred to a Comboni school in El Sawra district 47, “which lies quite far from district 58. Most of the students now have to take two buses to reach district 47, which is very costly too these days”.
The Comboni schools are named after Daniel Comboni (1831-1881), an Italian missionary who lived and worked in Sudan for several years. The Comboni Missionaries Institute, he established in 1867, set up schools in Sudan, South Sudan, and Egypt, where students are accepted regardless of their religious background.
In Sudan, many families prefer to send their children to a Comboni school, saying that the teaching level is much better than in the public schools, and affordable, as the fees are less than those demanded by private schools.