In a report published yesterday, the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) laments that “political assassinations and violence against university students in Sudan have reached epidemic proportions,” and that it is “deeply concerned about the aggressive intrusion by political forces in universities and high education institutions and their efforts to recruit university students into their ranks through different tactics”.
The DRDC, based in Geneva in Switzerland, highlights: “University campuses across Sudan are no longer places of peace and intellectual and academic development rather they became killing grounds mainly for political motives. University students originating from war-torn Darfur, especially members of the United Popular Front (UPF), bear a major share of the brunt of these crimes and aggressions.
“The suspected culprits in most, if not all, these incidents of violence and criminality are members of the students’ wing of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) referred to as the National Islamic Students’ Movement and its Jihadists Units. Members of the Jihadists Units receive special military and security training and they are armed with all kinds of light weapons to be used against dissident students. They work in complicity with the security forces thus enjoying full immunity against investigation, prosecution and accountability.”
The report continues: “The DRDC is deeply concerned about the aggressive intrusion by political forces in universities and high education institutions and their efforts to recruit university students into their ranks through different tactics. The supervision over dormitories, housing and other services provided to the students through the government-controlled National Students’ Support Fund puts many students, especially those perceived as supporters of the pro-democracy opposition and the insurgent groups, into great disadvantage.
‘Atmosphere of intolerance’
“Control of the students’ unions and associations by pro-government militant elements through what other students consider as corrupt means and the bias of university administrations towards NCP members has highly polarized the students. Accordingly, the behaviour and actions of the students have become largely politicized and driven by the general atmosphere of intolerance, violence and armed conflict in Darfur.”
The report also notes that “students from Darfur have been facing systematic violations of their human rights and multiple forms of harassment and oppression.